Studies in Humanities: College and University Program Options
Humanities can be described as the broad, interdisciplinary study of society and culture throughout history. Students may want to consider specific research interests when choosing a bachelor's, master's or doctoral degree program in the humanities.
How to Select a Program in Humanities
A humanities program, whether at the undergraduate or graduate level, prepares students to think critically, write and speak effectively and conduct independent research. Humanities programs do not prepare students for specific careers. Rather, they teach skills that are useful in many employment settings. Because of this, students may want to look for schools that offer career services that can help them direct their studies to ensure employment upon graduation or to plan for further academic study. Students may also want to know what career paths previous humanities students have pursued. Some common career paths include academia, law, teaching and public service.
Many undergraduates decide to study humanities after they are already enrolled at a university. Other students know before they enroll that they have an interest in the humanities. These students might want to consider the research interests of the faculty at specific programs in making a choice of school. This can give students an idea of what courses are likely to be offered and what guidance possible mentors may be able to offer.
Humanities Program Overview
Bachelor of Arts in the Humanities
Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) programs in the humanities are highly interdisciplinary and allow motivated students to design their own courses of study. Programs help students develop analytical and communication skills while instructing them on subjects such as philosophy, art history and literature. Many programs emphasize multiculturalism and help students understand societies other than their own. Most schools require current students to complete an additional application demonstrating academic ability and curiosity to enter into a humanities program.
Master of Arts in the Humanities
Master of Arts (M.A.) programs last 1-2 years and help humanities students synthesize knowledge in religion, philosophy, art, literature and history. Students might pursue an M.A. in conjunction with another graduate-level degree, such as a law or education degree, or in preparation for a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) program. Artists and writers may find that an M.A. in humanities helps them develop critical understanding of their fields. Master's programs in the humanities do not normally include funding, so tuition and fees should be taken into account in choosing a program. A bachelor's degree with relevant coursework is a prerequisite.
Ph.D. in Humanities
A limited number of schools offer Ph.D. programs in the humanities. Students complete 2-3 years of advanced coursework and usually must fulfill a foreign language requirement. Completion of an original, independent dissertation normally requires an additional two years of study. Most Ph.D. graduates work in teaching or research positions. A bachelor's or master's degree and a record of academic excellence are requirements for entry.
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