Student Info & Guide

What is humanities all about?

by on November 2, 2018 | Top Stories, Career Guide

What is humanities all about? -

Are you good at speaking and writing? Do you like studying literature and art, and making connections between different subjects and disciplines? Are you passionate about discovering knowledge about people and ideas?

The field of humanities is involved in the study of the human condition. It uses qualitative methods that are primarily analytical, critical, or speculative, in contrast with the empirical approaches of the natural sciences.

Humanities is also the study of different cultural aspects – it analyses the flaws in humankind and how it can be improved. These cultural aspects includes speech, knowledge, beliefs, arts, technologies, ideals, and rules. With a focus on these aspects, it examines and prescribes the type of behaviour considered appropriate to an individual in his or her efforts to achieve the status of being a cultured human being. A cultured person is often thought to be refined and well versed in the arts, philosophy, and the languages.

Through the arts such as painting, sculpture, architecture, music, dance, literature, theatre, and cinema, the study of humanities also investigates fundamental human activities, sentiments, aspirations and opinions.

What you will study

In a humanities programme, you will learn how to think creatively and critically, to reason, and to ask questions. The study of humanities covers all aspects of society -- from past events and achievements to human behaviour and relationships among groups. Your course emphasis can be on any combination of languages, literature, art, music, philosophy and religion. The objective is to learn how to learn, developing your skills in researching, reading, writing and thinking your way through abstract problems.

Typical areas of study include modern languages, classical languages, linguistics, literature, history, jurisprudence, philosophy, archaeology, anthropology, religion, ethics, and history, criticism and theory of the arts.

Some of the courses you might take in a humanities programme include:

  • Anthropology
  • Art history
  • Foreign languages
  • Gender studies
  • Gerontology
  • Human health
  • Interdisciplinary art
  • International literature
  • Psychology
  • Religious studies
  • Revolution of humankind
  • Sociology
  • Women's studies
  • World history
  • World religions
  • Autobiographical reading and writing
  • Critical reasoning
  • Cultural diversity
  • Cultural studies
  • Cultural studies
  • Culture and civilisation
  • Ethics
  • Introduction to creative non-fiction writing
  • Modern philosophy
  • Music appreciation
  • Myths and mythologies
  • Peace studies
  • Philosophy, politics, and social theory
  • Political theory
  • Race and gender
  • Social and political philosophy
  • Theatre and film
  • Theories of knowledge
  • Visual communication
  • World archaeology
  • World civilisations

Is this course right for you?

Are you good at speaking and writing? Do you like studying literature and art, and making connections between different subjects and disciplines? Are you passionate about discovering knowledge about people and ideas?

If you're considering a humanities course, you should have an interest in what differentiates human groups and the complex cultures that people develop. You should also be interested in studying the social, moral and aesthetic values that define diverse human cultures.

As a student of humanities, you should have good attention to detail and enjoy critical reading and thinking. You need to be open-minded and have a curious nature that will help you in your exploration and analysis of issues that encompass a range of disciplines.

Students who choose a humanities course typically have multiple academic interests. The versatility that comes with a humanities major provides students with a flexible and unique academic path for future professional opportunities.

Courses in humanities

Courses in humanities are offered at diploma, and bachelor degree level. Postgraduate study in this field is also offered at selected higher education institutions.

Career prospects

Job prospects for students of humanities programmes are among the most flexible. Employers value creativity and critical thinking as much as technical skills or training. If you have both, you’re a winner.

Some of the industries that hire graduates of humanities include journalism and publishing, advertising, international relations and education.

Examples of jobs:

  • Actor
  • Archivist
  • Art Dealer
  • Author
  • Brand Strategist
  • Career Advisor
  • Children's Rights Activist
  • Communications Consultant
  • Cultural Consultant
  • Cultural Program Director
  • Education Policy Consultant
  • Diplomat
  • Entrepreneur
  • Ethics Board Director
  • Event Planner
  • Financial Advisor
  • Fundraising Coordinator
  • Historian
  • Immigration Office
  • Journalist
  • Legislative Aide
  • Librarian
  • Lobbyist
  • Market Analyst
  • Marketing Director
  • Media Correspondent
  • Mediator
  • Museum Curator
  • Non-Profit Organization Director
  • Political Advisor/Consultant
  • Public Relations Representative
  • Public Policy Researcher
  • Publisher
  • Retail Strategist
  • Social Service Worker
  • Song Writer
  • Speech Writer
  • Teacher
  • Television Producer
  • Translator

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