Should More Humanities Majors Be Offered in Tech?

By Ruthie Ostrow

If you go to the Brooklyn Tech website and scroll through the list of majors, you may notice a pattern: a majority of those listed focus on engineering, math, and science. There are only two majors, Law and Society (LAS) and Social Science Research (SSR), which do not conform and provide a refuge for the school’s history buffs and critical thinkers.

With only two humanities-based majors, competition for seats are high for those interested.

It is ridiculous that these two majors, the flexible College Prep aside, are the only ones that branch out to students not interested in the “technical” majors.

The issue with having so few humanities-based majors lies in the content covered. While both LAS and SSR offer a varied curriculum, they do not accurately represent the broad scope of subjects encompassed in humanities. Literature, philosophy, and the visual and performing arts are among the some of the subjects not covered in SSR and LAS.

Many point out that our school has “technical” in its name. However, why should that prevent us from including more humanities-based majors in our repertoire?

Not all students who apply to Tech come with the sole intent of becoming a scientist, engineer, or mathematician.

All students are exposed to engineering courses their freshman and sophomore years, with the exception of those in Gateway to Medicine. If those students stumble out of Digital Electronics at the end of their sophomore year and decide that they absolutely detest engineering and PLTW programs, their options for alternative courses for the next two years are severely limited. 

That scenario doesn’t account for all students. Some may enjoy or be impartial to the “technical” fields and seek something new. Humanities majors should act as a safety net for students like Michelle Tang, ’16, who say, “I can stand engineering. I’m okay with it, but I don’t really want to be an engineer.”

Since we all take engineering courses early in our high school career, a wider range of options should be available for us to explore before college. High school is our last time to explore our interests without the consequence of paying for a course, and it should be taken advantage of.

Scott Weber, a Biology teacher, says, “I’d love to see a pottery lab or a painting course of which we have nothing.”

Our STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) courses are important and provide amazing opportunities as our school’s specialty, but with so many science and engineering majors, the inclusion of something different would be a breath of fresh air. It would make the school and its students more well rounded and world-wise.

Serge Avery, a Social Studies teacher, says, “The humanities and social sciences are really important disciplines to make use of the world around us. I continue to be sympathetic to the STEM, but they feed off each other. Engineers need to be humanitarians as well.”

So, throw the right-brained souls a bone and allow them to foster an appreciation for the humanities.

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