You are not currently logged in. Please create an account or log in to view the full course.

Sociology   >   Is University Worth It?

Human Capital

  • About
  • Transcript
  • Cite

Is University Worth It?

In this course, Dr Matt Dickson (University of Bath) explores the value of going to university and gaining a degree. In the first lecture, we think about human capital theory and how human capital can be defined. In the second lecture, we think about the factors which have influenced higher education participation from the 1960s to the end of the 20th century. In the third lecture, we think about how higher education has been financed, including a timeline of tuition fees and loans. Next, we think about factors which have impacted higher education participation in the 21st century. In the fifth lecture, we think about the value of a degree in terms of the earnings returns it can provide. In the sixth lecture, we think about some factors which can influence the earnings returns that a degree might provide. In the seventh and final lecture, we think about some factors, aside from earnings, that a higher education can impact.   Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

Human Capital

In this lecture, we think about human capital, focusing in particular on: (i) Becker’s human capital theory from 1964, which states that human capital is a capital like any other, and is the knowledge and skills which make people productive in the labour market; (ii) the theory of human capital, which says that it can be invested in to gain a return; (iii) education as a form of investment in human capital; (iv) the calculation made to assess the value of education in terms of increased earning potential, weighed against the cost of gaining the qualification; (v) questioning whether this rational calculation truly represents how people decide on the level of education to undertake.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Dickson, M. (2023, September 07). Is University Worth It? - Human Capital [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Dickson, M. "Is University Worth It? – Human Capital." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 07 Sep 2023,


Dr Matt Dickson

Dr Matt Dickson

Bath University