The Important Of Humanities

From philosophy, history and literature to music, art, sociology, psychology, and anthropology, the humanities are as they sound: the study of what makes us human.

Often pitted against the sciences, the humanities and sciences go hand-in-hand in understanding the world around us.

If the humanities are so crucial, why are they so undervalued?  Because it’s hard to put a value on how we process the human experience—it’s hard to determine your career trajectory with a humanities degree.  The humanities are difficult to quantify, which is precisely why they’re more important than ever.

What is it about the humanities that make them so interesting?  Their slowness—a perfect 180-degree turn-around from our daily, point and swipe lives.

Let’s take a closer look at four reasons why the humanities are critically important to us now.

1. Not everything can be reduced to a data point.

Data points can be useful, but not only are they not always necessary, they’re not always possible.

In an article in The Atlantic, cultural critic Leon Wieseltier said, “What we need to do is recognize the limitations of that mentality.”  He added, “The purpose of the humanities is not primarily utilitarian, it is not primarily to get a job… The purpose of the humanities is to cultivate the individual, cultivate the citizen.”

He argued that our present culture prioritizes speed and definitive answers over thinking and asking complex questions.

Consider history—while you could make the argument that dates are data points, we don’t study history for the dates—we study history to think about the context of choices made in the past, and the consequences of those choices for the future.

Hard to put a data point on that.

It’s’ also critical that we think about it.

2. The opposite of humanities is ignorance.

If you think about the humanities as the study of what makes us human, that includes not only our history, but our values and how we choose to live.

Ignoring these choices and these stories sets us—all of us—up for failure.  It makes room for misguided opinions, drives wedges into reason. and encourages chaos.

How are we to understand how to make choices moving forward if we choose to ignore the choices of the past and present?

3. New technologies depend on the humanities to survive.

Consider User Experience, or UX—how easily you interface with technology to have an easy, friendly, productive experience with every interaction you have with technology.

How does Facebook make you feel good?  How does online shopping make you feel—how does your UX with your online shopping cart make you want to buy more?

Put simply, how does technology appeal to people?  It appeals to people by having tech designers understand humans—and to understand humans requires, you guessed it, a deep knowledge of the humanities.

How we like to look at art.  How we like to envision ourselves.  How we like to envision others.

Think about Steve Jobs—his focus was on the integration of the humanities with technology to make better products.  The end results?  You use some form of them every day.  His most useful university course?  Calligraphy.  Why?  He liked the way he could invoke a feeling with the appearance of a word.  See all those cool fonts on your smartphone?  That’s why they’re there.

4. Allows you to interpret the world in different ways.

The humanities give you permission to see the world through a different lens, while still understanding facts.  They give you perspective.

The world is not black and white—it’s big, nuanced, complicated, and filled with every shade in between.

Your education in the humanities gives you the power to understand another perspective, even if you don’t agree with it.  It encourages you to use reason, not emotion, to arrive at conclusions.

It allows you to empathize with someone, even though you disagree—and forces you to challenge your own beliefs.

Provided you consistently apply logic and reason to your decision, you may change your mind, convince someone else, or keep your own opinions.  Why is this important?  It’s how we get along—or don’t.

To study the humanities opens a door.  Give yourself the time and space to think, draw your own conclusions, and learn from the past.  Why?  Because we all have to move forward—it helps to have folks who are thinking along the way.

Survive An Enduring Career

It’s like riding on a subway without holding onto anything for balance: the consistent shifting and evolution of your place and space on the train mirrors the metamorphosis of today’s work landscape. One consistent trend in workplace evolution? Time. Young graduates will have to work longer than their parents. Sure, you want to survive. But we know that you want to do more than that. You want to thrive. Here’s how.

1. Changing Life Cycles

According to a recent Financial Times article, life used to be measured in three stages: education, work, and retirement, all with fairly equal amounts of time. That cycle looks different now, with a significantly longer working life. While an MBA used to be the catalyst for the job that would get you to your final burst of highly successful employment, it’s now somewhere in the middle. When your working life begins in your 20s, you need to begin to think of this cycle lasting for fifty—or even sixty—years. How should you prepare? What do you want it to look like? Consider what it would take to sustain your spending habits—and extrapolate those costs over the next half-century plus.

2. Transition and Change

Recognize that transitions—even positive ones—are always difficult. They rattle your sense of self, and often your sense of place. They are always a time for growth, whether you want it or not. The keys to your success? Flexibility and adaptability. It’s unlikely that you’ll have the same job for 50 or 60 years. Keep your networks broad and varied—reach out to people of different ages, genders, and occupations. As you build your portfolio, consider the trends that potential employers will invariably seek—and see. With perseverance, your career portfolio will tell your story of resilience—and a willingness to try new things.

3. A Few Paces Ahead

Plan your career like you’re a chess master: think strategic steps. Always. Sitting still gets you nowhere. Learn a new skill. Try a new language. Add some people to that fantastic network of yours (see #2). Learn some new technology. Reach out. Look out. Do what you enjoy. Keep yourself relevant, happy, and think about how you can apply what you know and love to what you want to do—recognize that those things will probably change over time.

4. Identify and Invest in…

Your interests and skills. Easier said than done. Why? You need to know what interests you—without having someone else tell you. When you’re just starting out, this can be difficult because there are so many people—family members, friends, professors, career advisors—telling you what you should do. The key is for you to tell yourself what you should do—and then invest the time in learning how to achieve your goals. Don’t wait for a professional development opportunity to land in your lap. Make your own. You’ll be thankful you did.

5. Career as Financial Asset

Your career has the potential to pay off dividends bigger than all of your other financial assets combined—car, house, stock portfolio, 401K. Manage your career like it’s gold—because it is. When you maximize the opportunities for your career, you maximize your financial security—and also your lifestyle satisfaction. Do what moves you, and figure out a way to maximize your returns. Find a reliable mentor, assess your risks, survey the economic landscape—and most importantly, establish your classy reputation in whatever path you choose. You won’t regret it.

Your takeaway for the next 50 years? Find out what makes you tick—and do it. With resilience, grace, commitment, and a little bit of strategy, you’ll get there with flying colors.

 

Shape Your Future

The world’s first public schools date all the way back to ancient times. And while trends, philosophies, policies and institutions have come and gone since then, a surprising amount stayed the same through the millennia. However, technological advancements — and digital technology, in particular — have ushered in an entirely new era for educational delivery. For the entrepreneurially-minded, meanwhile, this ongoing shift represents a wide-open field of opportunities. Just how important is education technology (AKA “edtech”) and what does it mean for everyone from investors to students? Here’s a closer look.

EdTechReview defines edtech as “a study and ethical practice for facilitating learning and improving performance by creating, using and managing appropriate technological processes and resources.” In more specific term, this means using technology-based products and tools to enhance how students learn and how teachers teach. It’s not about superseding current approaches, but instead out determining how technology can improve and enhance the delivery of education.

Given the meteoric ascent of everything from computer-aided classrooms to online learning over the past two decades you may be thinking to yourself, “But wait — that’s nothing new.” And you’re right, edtech has already transformed the educational sector. But insiders argue that we’ve only seen an inkling of what’s still to come. Reports one Hot Topics article on edtech, “As we witnessed the digitization of the media industry via the profusion of new content, audience fragmentation, data centricity and the convergence between content and platform players, so will they impact the education market, leading to a raft of opportunities for innovators in edtech.”

Indeed, much of the conversation about edtech surrounds its tremendous potential for innovators and investors in this red-hot industry, and with good reason: Between the massive education market — between $4.5 and $5 trillion USD annually and predicted to reach up to $7 trillion within the next couple of years, according to data from Worlds of Education — and the comparatively minuscule amount of funds funneled into the sector in recent years, and the result is a perfect storm of potential. Concludes TechCrunch, “But now the cat is out of the bag. The rise of a new education and learning world has begun with investment in edtech set to reach $252 billion globally by 2020. Just as digitalization has transformed the financial services industry, it too will soon have its progressive grip wrapped around education.”

The Impact of Edtech

Despite the buzz over edtech’s abundant entrepreneurial opportunities, something else remains at the heart of the equation: the students themselves. In what specific ways can we expect to see edtech play out in the lives of its direct beneficiaries? Here’s a closer look:

1. Engagement will improve.

Smart learning software will offer lesson plans customized to each student’s specific needs. More engaging materials, meanwhile, promise to further improve outcomes. Says Hot Topics, “Indeed, user experience and engagement is fast becoming the main differentiator among the ever-growing field of education technology options. The integration of multi-media, gamification, mobile casual and informal learning apps and peer-to-peer learning platforms are all making content increasingly immersive; designed to not only attract students but also keep them engaged – all the way to the end.”

2. Progress will be more measurable.

A large part of supporting the growth of smart learning software? Big data and analytics techniques, which give teachers access to more specific and extensive insights into the achievements and progress of individual students. Not only can this help bridge any knowledge gaps, but this information can continue to be called upon throughout an individual’s academic and professional life.

Edtech is also being heralded for its potential to standardize — and ultimately democratize — the field of education. Reveals Hot Topics, “Now, a rundown, inner-city school can receive the same standard and level of content as a well-funded one in a wealthy area. And this is true not just on a school by school or country by country basis, but globally; offering developing nations access to developed educational institutions, both in an academic and professional learning setting.”

3. “Lifelong learning” will take on all new meaning.

One education market particularly ripe for edtech disruption? Adult learning. According to the Educause Review, “Despite its ‘basic’ image, adult education possesses the right set of circumstances to realize the promise of modern education and to illustrate the classic theory of disruptive innovation, where some are willing and able to use alternative pathways to forge more efficient and effective solutions to education. These approaches include both curricular and technology innovations.”

From more free and flexible online programs to career-tailored educational paths, “The adult education sector is uniquely positioned to lead the charge in the alternative education space, while continuing to leverage innovation as a means of maximizing students’ education experience,” says Educause.

Predicts TechCrunch, “Edtech is poised to be the biggest and possibly most profitable digitalized sector yet.” However, making the most of these learning technologies will rely on a few key factors, according to higher education higher-ups, as reported by the New York Times: keeping how students learn at the center of the process; addressing the challenges to adoption; and ongoing assessments of what’s working, what’s not, and for whom. The overall takeaway? In order to leverage edtech to its fullest potential, “We need to balance our sense of urgency with patience and deliberation, recognizing that fundamental change takes time.”

 

An Accelerated Degree Can Save Your Money And Time

It’s hard to argue that the cost of higher education isn’t exorbitant. After all, most families don’t have a spare $40,000 or so laying around every year for tuition and other college-related expenses. And while there are many amazing life advantages that come with getting undergraduate and advanced degrees, it’s also true that there are ways to cut costs without losing out on those benefits.

One lesser-known pathway worth exploring for students looking to save both time and money? An accelerated degree. Here’s a closer look at this alternative to conventional degree programs, along with four reasons why an accelerated degree program — particularly one overseas — might be right for you.

What is an Accelerated Degree Program?

An accelerated degree program is exactly what it sounds like: this non-traditional course of study offers students the same degree in a particular field of study in a shortened period of time — as little as half when compared to conventional degrees. Available at a number of different academic levels, accelerated degree programs usually come with more stringent admissions requirements, including a minimum GPA, course credits, work experience, professional certification, and/or completion of a lower-level degree program.

In addition to bachelor’s degree programs, other popular accelerated degrees include nursing, business, law and medicine. For each, admissions requirements, course format, and completion time vary depending on the school. Additionally, many accelerated degree programs are dual in nature, meaning enrolled students can work simultaneously toward a bachelor’s and advanced degree. (This avenue may also allow accepted students to bypass graduate admissions tests, and the fees that go along with them.)

Four Reasons to Consider an Accelerated Degree

1. You’ll save time while learning as much.

While most conventional degree programs are structured according to semesters, accelerated degree programs typically utilize shorter periods, such as terms or quarters. Additionally, accelerated degree program courses usually run continuously without lengthy breaks in between terms. The result? Students can pack in the same amount of learning in a significantly shorter amount of time. Yes, this means the demands are high. But if your goal is to graduate and enter the workforce sooner, accelerated degree programs deliver in a uniquely exciting way.

2. You’ll enjoy numerous financial benefits.

It makes sense that the less time you spend in school, the less money you’ll spend on tuition. But how much will you pocket in an accelerated degree program? According to Investopedia, an undergraduate who trims six months off of his/her degree stands to save more than $15,000. Similar savings apply to upper-level degrees, as well.

Students enrolled in dual degree programs, meanwhile, may find that their undergraduate scholarship funding also covers their graduate level coursework.

But the financial benefits don’t end there. In entering the workforce with an accelerated degree, you minimize lost income and start earning soon — more likely than not with a lighter debt burden.

If you choose an overseas program, meanwhile, you may also enjoy a lower cost of living, depending on the country in which you choose to study. (An added benefit of doing an international accelerated degree? A global education will make you a more attractive job candidate in today’s borderless business environment.)

3. You’ll climb the ladder faster.

Not only does entering the workforce sooner mean you start earning earlier, but it also gives you an inside edge in today’s competitive job market. As Australia’s Bond University Director of International Student Recruitment Cheryl Jolliffe told US News & World Report, accelerated degree programs offer students a “career head start [that] puts them on a promotional fast track.” According to Jolliffe many graduates of accelerated degree programs go on to land high-ranking administrative positions and even coveted partnership status within a decade of graduating.

Think all of this sounds too good to be true? You’re right: There is a catch. By nature, accelerated degree programs are inherently challenging. Not only do most programs have rigorous admissions requirements, but the expectations remain intense throughout the length of the program. (After all, students do get the same education in half the time. Did you really think it would be easy?) Given all of the advantages of accelerated degree programs, difficulty level isn’t reason enough to stay away. However, it is reason enough to make sure you’re fully motivated, committed and focused before deciding to pursue an accelerated degree.

 

Stay In Touch From Abroad

Not joining the throngs headed “home for the holidays” on planes, trains, and automobiles? No fear. We’ve outlined some tips and tricks for those of you have don’t have data plans, those of you who do, and those of you who have none of the above, so that you can easily stay in touch with your family and loved ones—without actually being there. Step 1? Don’t worry.

If you don’t have a data plan

Here’s the key: access WiFi when you can. Use internet cafes, hotels, stores, libraries, and other “hot spots” where you know you’ll be able to access the internet.

A trick and an App…

1. Type your emails whenever you want and save them as drafts. When you get to WiFi, all you have to do is hit “send.” Huge timesaver. (That’s the trick).

2. Have you met Boingo? Boingo Wi-finder is an app that helps you find thousands of free WiFi and Boingo hotspots around the world. Easily. You don’t have to wait until the internet café opens or until you pass advertised WiFi. Boingo tells you where to go. It’s reasonably priced, and you don’t have to buy a plan for a year. You can buy one of their “AsYouGo” plans for an hour, a week, a day, a month if you want, and have access to free WiFi and Boingo hotspots to connect with your family and friends. (That’s the app).

If you do have a data plan

It’s a beautiful thing: you can send emails any time you want. That’s not a trick. That’s a reality.

Fun Apps to consider:

1. Skype

Probably the most well-known and it works well. It’s a free download for phones, tablets, and computers, and you can also call cell phones and land lines (what are those?!) for a small fee. Biggest plus? Lots of folks already have accounts and use it. It boasts free Skype-Skype video and voice calls. You can instant message, screen share, and operate from a Mac or PC phone, tablet, or computer.

2. Viber

For starters, the app is free. Everything is free if your family and friends have Viber, too. For a small fee, you can contact non-Viber users, too. You can call, text, and photo message, and you can use it from your phone, tablet, or computer. Mac or PC? Doesn’t matter.

3. WhatsApp

Avoid SMS fees by messaging friends and family for free. You can also talk internationally for free, and have free face-face conversations. You don’t use your cell plan’s voice minutes, but you may have to pay for data. Double check your plan if you don’t want the “hidden” data charges to show up on your bill.

4. Facetime

Make video or audio calls from an iOS device. Super easy to use—but the folks you contact also need to have iOS devices.

If you have none of the above…

Write a letter. Get out paper and your favorite pen and have at it. No, it’s not as “instant” as everything else. The act of writing is slower than typing and swiping. That can be a good thing. Writing a letter home will force you to pause and reflect, think before you write, share something truly thoughtful with your family and friends—and give them the benefit of having a physical thing. From you. Plus, there’s the added joy of finding an envelope in their mailbox—and it’s not a bill or an ad.

 

Bachelor With An International Master’s Degree

There’s no magic to a master’s degree—but the right one at the right time and in the right place can make a significant difference in your overall happiness, salary, and career opportunities. What can sweeten the pot? How about an international master’s degree? Graduate studies abroad can give your undergraduate degree a big boost, but adding more years to your education is a big decision. So, what in it for you?

You Can Improve Your Career Opportunities

Do your research. If your prospective master’s degree is tied to a specific type of job that you want, then you’ll definitely have a broader reach of opportunity. Consider occupational therapy, in which a master’s degree is the key to success, or business management, where that MBA will certainly give you a competitive edge. Public school teachers will experience almost immediate benefits with a master’s. In some fields, where a master’s is a terminal degree, such as an M.F.A., you’ll be able to teach at the university level. Clinical psychology is another great example of pursuing a master’s in a specific field so that you can do the job you want.

You Can Earn a Better Salary

A graduate degree doesn’t always mean extra money, but in some fields, it’s the only way to make more of it. If you choose to study medicine or law, of course, you’ll need an advanced degree, but those of you who have your bachelor’s and are contemplating the endeavor? You can plan on making at least $400,000 more over your working lifetime with a graduate degree. Teaching is one profession for which you’ll automatically get paid more. Graphic design, marketing, finance, and therapy are other fields in which you’ll definitely see a better salary—and more professional marketability – with a master’s degree.

It’s a Chance to Do Your Research at a Respected University

When considering an international master’s degree, it is important to choose the right university. When it comes to research and graduate studies, location isn’t everything but it can help. After all, you can’t spend all your time in a lab or behind a book. Consider Helsinki, Finland, where you’ll find a safe, green city surrounded by stunning natural beauty and a vibrant student scene alongside one of the world’s top research universities: the University of Helsinki. You’ll earn a world-class education at one of Europe’s leading research institutions, and a major international reputation. With over half a million friendly faces, a vibrant urban atmosphere, and 60,000 students from around the globe, Helsinki is a perfect place to pursue that master’s degree and immerse yourself in a culture of motivated, inspirational, and brilliant people. Did we mention the saunas and omenalörtsy?

You Can Build on Your Undergraduate Studies…or Explore Something New

Whether you want to expand on your undergraduate degree or move into a different, but related graduate program, consider the University of Helsinki. The university offers 28 master’s programs in English with a wide range of possibilities. Not sure where to start? These six programs build on many common undergraduate majors, offering something for nearly everyone.

1. Master in Environmental Change and Global Sustainability

If your undergraduate degree is related to environmental science or sustainability studies, select a master’s and focus on issues sustainability that interest you. Solve socio-ecological problems that affect you and the world around you. Jobs in policy, education, advocacy, and science await!

2. Master in Food Science

If you have a bachelor’s in food science or the molecular biosciences and you want to reshape how the world views food—from agriculture to processing to innovation and policy—consider a Master’s degree in Food Science at the University of Helsinki, one of the highest ranked food science programs in the world.

3. Master in Microbiology and Microbial Biotechnology

With antibiotic drug resistance and superbugs at the forefront of global concern, a Master’s degree in Microbiology and Microbial Biotechnology will help to ensure your role in preventing the destruction of the human race through microbes. Cutting-edge research and technology, and the opportunity to have a lasting effect on the world’s future make this master’s program an ace in your pocket.

4. Master of Life Science and Informatics

Earn a master’s in one of the University of Helsinki’s leading research programs: Life Sciences and Informatics. Combine mathematics, computer science, statistics, ecology, evolutionary biology, and genetics—and you’re guaranteed to find a job as an expert in life science research for either the public or private sector. This degree also puts you at a significant advantage to earn your doctorate in chosen field of study.

5. Master in Particle Physics and Astrophysical Sciences

Enjoy the secrets of the world with a master’s degree Particle Physics and Astrophysical Sciences. You will enjoy a career in research, or an infinite range of possibilities in the private sector. If you studied mathematics, physics, engineering, or astronomy as an undergraduate, consider unlocking the secrets of the cosmos with an advanced degree in Particle Physics and Astrophysical Sciences.

6. Master in Linguistic Diversity in the Digital Age

Language: the key to the past, present, and future of communication. Dialect. Accent. Linguistic scope. Orthography. Indigenous language. Synthesized language. Human speech. Music. Binary code. Did you study a specific language as an undergraduate? Or maybe anthropology, semantics, communication, linguistic theory? Do you want to make an impact on the connection between language and cognition? Are you curious about the ways language grows, evolves, becomes part of a culture? Thinking about advanced study in language? Consider the University of Helsinki’s Master in Linguistic Diversity in the Digital Age.

 

International Students Celebrate Thanksgiving

Giving thanks. Embracing friendship. Sharing a thoughtful meal. Telling stories. Thanksgiving conjures images of extended families and friends gathered around a beautiful table, sharing a delicious meal, and expressing gratitude for what they have. International students studying in the US during the holidays have a multitude of way to celebrate this quintessential American holiday. We’ve put together four fantastic options for you to consider as many US students return “home for the holidays.”

1. If an American friend invites you, accept the invitation

Thanksgiving is about, well, being thankful for what you have. This includes being thankful for new friendships. An American friend invites you? Accept. It’s an invitation to be a part of the family, to share the tradition, to take a break from school, and maybe even to participate in the day after Thanksgiving—Black Friday—the day that many retail shops offer sales and discounts in preparation for December’s holidays. How’d “Black Friday” get its name? It’s the day that many retailers’ ledgers assure that they will end their fiscal year “in the black,” or showing a profit for the year.

 

2. Consider on-campus opportunities

Feel like staying on-campus during the Thanksgiving break? Look for campus traditions at your school. Some schools offer their own Thanksgiving celebrations for any students and faculty who opt to stay on campus, or who may not have options to travel. Kansas’s Hesston College hosts an annual Thanksgiving weekend, with a dinner and a bevy of other activities, including art exhibits, concerts, talent shows, basketball tournaments, a benefit fun run, and other special events. At Ohio State University, any students, faculty, and staff who are not planning to head home are invited to attend an annual Thanksgiving feast—this year, the University expects over 1,600 attendees. At Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA, students and faculty spend the entire month of November learning about spirituality. Several faculty at the University host international students at their homes on Thanksgiving Day—as an expression of gratitude for sharing their learning.

Credit: nbcwashington.comImage courtesy of nbcwashington.com

3. Attend a parade

What’s Thanksgiving without a parade? The most famous, of course, is the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City, with over 3 million in-person spectators and upwards of 40 million television viewers. Several major cities besides New York also hold parades where you can enjoy the holiday spirit of gratitude. Check out the Dunkin’ Donuts Thanksgiving Day Parade in the City of Brotherly Love, Philadelphia. Motor City has another option—check out America’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in Detroit, Michigan for floats, bands, music, and a glimpse at the history of the US auto industry. Also in the Midwest is Chicago’s McDonald’s Thanksgiving Parade, which began in the 1930’s in an effort to raise the spirits of Depression-era residents. Charlotte, North Carolina, Houston, Texas, and Seattle, Washington offer additional possibilities for big parades. If you don’t live near a city, don’t fret! Check your local paper for smaller, regional events. Watching a parade also gives you a chance either to travel to a new place, or to learn something new and interesting about your university town.

 

4. Take a break

Not interested in all of the hullabaloo? Not feeling the need for turkey, Black Friday, parades, or big get-togethers? Relax. Enjoy the quiet. Go for a walk. Read that book you’ve been wanting to read. Do some sightseeing—explore the city or town where you’ve decided to study. If you really feel like it, get caught up—or work ahead—in one of your classes. Take some time for yourself and recharge.

Best Degrees For A Better Future

The future is liquid—shimmering at the edge of our minds, moving and changing—and literally water dependent. When you think about what to study and why, remember this: no one on this planet is alone. We’re all in it together. Earn a degree in any of these areas and make a positive, lasting impact on the future.

1. Coastal and Marine Management

Ninety-seven percent of the Earth’s water is in the ocean—as is ninety-nine percent of the planet’s habitable space. 372,000 miles of this planet is coastline, and nearly 2.4 billion people live within 60 miles of a coast. Our oceans and coasts are the cradle of all life. It’s no surprise then that a degree in Coastal and Marine Management can put you at the forefront of a local, regional, national, and international—technically and politically complicated—and ecologically critically field. Check out the Coastal Ecology studies at the College of Coastal Georgia or the Master in Coastal and Marine Management in Iceland.

 

2. Humanities

Here’s what we know: STEM is vitally important for the future. Here’s the problem: STEM and the humanities have been pitted against each other. Here’s what we need to do: remember that we don’t live in a vacuum—the world is not compartmentalized. Neither are we. Studying the humanities gives students essential skills for living—especially in a STEM-infused world. Apple’s Steve Jobs once said “technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities, that yields us the result that makes our hearts sing.” You know what he studied? Zen Buddhism. Prefer a master’s degree? Try an MA in International Peace Studies or a Master of Arts in Peace and Justice. But you don’t need to focus on peace and conflict to impact the future. Do you want to change the world? Work hard, study something you enjoy—and make a ripple, even a wave for generations to come.

 

3. Future Studies

While there are no crystal balls or tarot cards in future studies—also called futurology and foresight studies—there’s a definitive need for those who can study history to make predictions about the future across all disciplines, from science and technology to the humanities. Even degrees like architectural engineering to robotics can give you a way into futurology. The field began during WWII, when there was a global need to understand the possibilities and ramifications of then “present” actions on the future. That need is even more present today with rapid globalization. Futurists tend to fall in one of two camps—and everything in between. On one side, there are the “doom and gloom” futurists who tend to focus on current, real-world problems without easy solutions: world hunger, overpopulation, depletion of non-renewable resources, pollution, to name a few. As a counterbalance, there are the positive, visionary, evolutionary futurists who acknowledge the doom and gloom, but focus on the technological, societal, and human potentials and empowering people to understand that the future is a choice—and not necessarily and inevitably. Which one will you choose? Consider a Master of Sustainable Futures or an MPhil in Future Studies.

 

4. Fintech

Bye-bye traditional banking and hello fintech. A marriage of finance and technology gives us fintech, one of the hottest new fields out there. What is it and how can you change the world? Fintech focuses on using technology to improve the efficiency of financial markets—investing, digital currency, credit scoring, cyber security, education lending to name a few. If there’s a role for technology in finance, fintech will find it, and it’s not just in banks. Global investment in the fintech sector has more than tripled over the last five years, reaching over $12 billion since 2014. Study fintech and play a role in the shape of the economic and technological future.

 

5. Technology and Biomedical Engineering

Blend biology, medicine, engineering and computer science, and make yourself an indispensable player in the future of science and medicine. Tackle modern research problems with a degree in Computer Simulation in Science or develop future-ready specialist knowledge with a Master of Electrical Engineering and IT. Or consider a Master of Science in Nanotechnology Engineering. With technology giants like Microsoft, Google, Facebook, IBM, and MIT making significant commitments to applying science and technology to medicine for the “eradication” of all disease, the future will certainly need bioinformatics experts, biotechnologists, and biomedical engineers who have the scientific, analytical, engineering, and computer skills to serve the common good and make the future for the future even better. Consider a Master from the Technical University of Ostrava in the Czech Republic, a MSc in Bioinformatics in Malaysia or Portugal, or an M.S. in Biotechnology from The Catholic University of America.

 

6. Instructional Design

There’s a lot to learn in this world and engaged learners learn. What makes for an engaged learner? Amazing Instructional Design (ID)! We live in a world with vast quantities of information, and the amount of that information continues to grow. Just look at big data! Instructional designers streamline and structure information so that it’s accessible to you—the learner. As an instructional designer, you will use technology to create better technology formats and programs in areas across the board—education, business, finance, STEM, the humanities. Want to study in the US? An MS in Instructional Design and Technology from Concordia University Chicago, the University of Tampa or Walden University will let you combine your studies in education and technology and a degree in ID will help the future learn what’s really important.

 

7. Hydrology

It all comes back to water. Without it, there’s no life on earth. Make an impact on the future and study the science of water, with a degree in hydrology and water resource management from schools in the Netherlands, Ireland, Germany, and around the world. Hydrologists study water’s form and function—its distribution, physical properties, patterns of circulation, and rainfall. How will we conserve one of the future’s most necessary natural resources? With a degree in hydrology, you can help ensure that future generations will have enough water to live—and to do amazing things.

 

Data Changing Higher Education

Six years ago, the UN General Assembly designated October 20th as “World Statistics Day.” As the science of learning from data, statistics plays an important role in how we wrangle massive quantities of information into meaningful insights — both within the world at large, and within microcosms of that world, including the higher education sphere. As big data gets, well, bigger, its impact on higher education is expected to continue to grow. Wondering how that will play out in higher education? Let’s take a closer look.

Leveraging Data into Smarter Admissions

While some colleges are small enough to have human eyes looking over each and every application, others have historically been at the mercy of factors like grades and standardized test scores. But were these elements an accurate reflection of student success in college? Not necessarily, according to industry insiders.

This is why many colleges and universities are using new types of data collection when trying to determine which students will ultimately succeed and graduate. One, in particular, which might come as a surprise? Social media. According to one report from PBS NewsHour, some colleges are turning to social media data as an indicator of whether students were likely to enroll and graduate based on factors ranging from how many friends they made in online communities for applicants to whether or not they uploaded many profile photos.

The ultimate goal? To reap the largest yield with the lowest risk. Statistics also come into play here, with one university chief data officer telling NewsHour that each applicant is assigned a numerical probability of enrollment to help guide the school’s recruiting spending. The benefits, admissions counselors insist, are dual fold: schools get the largest ROI, while admitted students are more likely to be a good fit, stay on, graduate, and reap the lifelong benefits of a college or graduate degree.

 

Leveraging Data into Student Success

High turnover rates are costly to universities, but they’re also costly to students. As Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario Executive Director Harvey Weingarten told The Globe and Mail, “For students, leaving is a failure. There is a loss of confidence, there is a psychological cost of failure.” But the costs are far from just psychological. College dropouts also do worse than their peers across everything from lifetime earnings to health and wellness.

In refining the admissions process, predictive analytics based on demographic and behavioral data also supports increased graduation rates. This allows universities not just to admit more appropriate candidates, but to better support them once they’re enrolled. Said Weingarten, “You accepted a student into your institution because you believed they could succeed, they would grow, thrive and develop. When it doesn’t work, you have an obligation to figure out what went wrong here.”

In addition to allowing universities to more proactively help struggling students, it can also be used to help teachers do their jobs better. Because feedback happens more quickly, teachers can more immediately take teaching actions in order to ultimately provide richer learning experiences for students.

And these techniques are working. Take results seen at the U.S.’s largest public university, Arizona State. Two years after implementing a new adaptive learning platform designed to assess, remediate and re-assess student progress in math readiness, pass rates skyrocketed from 64 percent to 75 percent with 45 percent of students finishing early. Drop-out rates, meanwhile, decreased by 56 percent.

 

Keeping Big Data in Check

While the potential advantages of big data for universities and students alike are profound, experts are quick to warn of the potential dangers, too. And stolen data is just the beginning when it comes to safeguarding student interests — particularly in a world in which personal information — and the insights they lead to, thanks to big data — is just a few clicks away.

Posits Stanford News, “Consider, for example, what might happen if data show that students who fit a certain profile struggle in a core course. Could those students be prevented from taking the class or pushed down a different path just because the data say they should?”

Enter a coalition helmed by Stanford University and nonprofit education consulting firm Ithaka S+R aimed at protecting student through responsible use of big data and the implementation of a new standard of care. The group’s recommendation? That the opportunities represented by big data be accompanied by a code of ethics comprising four core responsibilities, including the recognition of the limitations of big data and data collection; transparency across the data’s collection and analysis process; the use of big data to improve teaching; and the harnessing of data-driven insights for the benefit of students.

 

All About Study Business Analytics

Data matters. “Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted,” attributed to Albert Einstein, explains the purpose of business analytics perfectly. We live in an age of bigger and bigger data—and businesses need ways to sift through it all, to figure out which combinations of data count—and which ones don’t. The success of business in today’s global economy depends on it. The Rady School of Management at UC San Diego offers a forward-thinking Master of Science in Business Analytics that teaches its students how to grapple with the reality of big data using business analytics.

What is Business Analytics?

Professor Vincent Nijs, co-director with Professor Terrence August of the Master of Science in Business Analytics program at the Rady School of Management at UC San Diego, describes the field this way, “I think of business analytics as the field focused on how to use data and models to make better business decisions. Data Science uses many similar tools (e.g. machine learning) but the set of questions they seek to answer are often different. You can think of business analytics as ‘data science for business.’”

 

The Amount of Data That Companies Collect Gets Bigger and Bigger…

Just how big is big data? Really big, and getting bigger all the time. The EMC Digital Universe Study predicts that by the year 2020, 1.7 megabytes of new data will be created every second for every human on the planet. What does that mean? There will be 44 trillion gigabytes (44 zettabytes) of data in the digital universe. Where does the data come from? Just about everywhere—1.2 trillion searches per year on Google alone, over 1 billion people using Facebook every day, trillions of photos taken, and billions shared. By 2020, there will be over 6.1 billion smartphone users, and at least 1/3 of all data will be transmitted through the cloud. We haven’t even talked about online banking, business, movies, television, music, and games.

 

…But Businesses Don’t Always Know How to Use the Data

The Rady School‘s Professor Nijs states, “Companies are collecting more and more data but often lack the people to use it effectively.” He referenced a quote from a well-known report by the McKinsey Global Institute (2013): “Big data promises big things—but only if organizations have the right people in place who know what to do with it. A recurring theme among senior leadership across all sectors is a shortage of professionals trained and experienced at the intersection of disciplines necessary to capture, analyze, and generate meaningful business insights from big data. In addition to deep analytics talent, organizations need management with the right balance of business judgment and statistical skills to translate analysis into action.”

 

A Company’s Future Relies on Its Business Analytics

The need for effective, efficient business analytics is stronger than ever. Businesses need to know what they want to learn from business analytics—and then how they’re going to use that data to inform their decisions across the board.

Businesses need to be able to determine what data they need and then identify the data sources for gleaning that information. The final piece? Distilling that information into actionable insights using the tools of business analytics. Once businesses have a plan for capturing the desired data, organizing it, and analyzing it, they are in a position to develop plans to stay competitive.

 

Business Analytics Has Excellent Job Prospects…

According to a McKinsey Global Report, the US alone has a shortage of about 190,000 data scientists and 1.5 million business analysts. Globally and in the US, companies need experts in business analytics. High demand means higher salaries, and a variety of options. Graduates in Business Analytics work at large companies, start their own businesses, work in banks or FinTech, web-based businesses, retail and food companies, media companies, and marketing companies.

 

…Especially When You Study at a Forward-Thinking School Like Rady

The Rady School’s new Master of Science in Business Analytics (MSBA) puts students at the forefront of the field. The program focuses on the problems big data poses to businesses—and how to solve them using models, statistics, and machine learning – in classes such as customer analytics, business intelligence, and supply chain analytics. The school’s bottom line? To graduate students who know how to use analytics to make a positive impact on business performance—and sustain it.

Professor Nijs says that “After graduation, our students should expect to work extensively with data, use statistics and machine learning, write code, and develop tools to enhance business decision-making. After gaining some experience, we expect them to be well-suited to lead an analytics team.”

First steps for prospective students? Those interested in studying in this program should have an undergraduate degree in a “quantitative discipline,” says Nijs, like “mathematics, statistics, economics, or physics.” They should also have some programming experience.