Humanities, Cultures & Languages

To understand our humanity is, in part, to comprehend the underpinnings of the worlds societies and cultures. Many people, especially those who have taken a particular interest in understanding those underpinnings, have devoted their lives to asking questions and uncovering answers through the study of humanities, cultures and languages.

Humanities Class and Course Descriptions

Humanities is the study of human culture. For this reason, humanities courses vary widely in scope and are available at all levels of college study. Some college-level humanities courses focus on Western culture, while others address cultures all across the globe. Read on to find out more about humanities course options.

Essential Information

Humanities-related courses are part of most undergraduate degree program curricula, and students may also choose to major in the humanities. At the graduate level, students delve more deeply into art and cultural theory and interpretation. They may do scholarly research, write a thesis or dissertation, and participate in advanced seminars. Opportunities for study abroad may be available at both undergraduate and graduate levels. Common concepts taught in humanities courses include:

Cultural values
Social movements

List of Common Humanities Courses

Western Culture Course

This overview course introduces students to the various developments in the art, literature, music, philosophy and architecture of Western culture. Major eras covered include Medieval, Early Renaissance and Byzantine. Class discussion and lectures address the similarities and differences in moral and ethical values in Western culture throughout the ages.

World Mythology Course

Myths can be viewed as a reflection of the ideals and values of a culture. This course studies the legends, myths and folktales of many different cultures throughout the ages as depicted in art, literature and drama. Although myths of any culture in the world can be studied, some of the more common include those of Greek, Roman, Egyptian, Norse, African and Asian cultures.

Arts in 20th Century Western Culture Course

This course examines the art, literature, music and other performing arts of Western culture through an interdisciplinary perspective. Emphasis is placed on the way the aesthetic, social and cultural values of Western society are reflected in various art forms. Students may be required to attend one or more cultural events, such as music or dance performances or an art show.

Non-Western Culture Course

This course functions as an introduction to some of the larger cultural groups in the world. Coursework addresses the primary artistic and intellectual achievements of African, Asian, South American, Islamic and Native American cultures. Philosophy, visual art, music, literature and other performing arts are briefly touched upon in this overview course, along with the ways in which they compare and contrast to those of Western culture.

Modern European Humanities Course

Students in this course study the artistic, literary, dramatic, political, philosophical and historical accomplishments and output of Europe during the period from the end of the Enlightenment to the 20th century. Course topics require students to read famous and influential works and write essays relating to the influence this period had on contemporary life.


What are the humanities? They are the fine arts, culture, and philosophy. They are nonscientific, have nothing to do (at least directly) with business or economics, and they are not part of physical education or sports, either. They are the part of education, of knowledge, that makes for a more refined sense of knowing, thinking, and finer feeling. They are the ocean of all of humanity’s deeper, more inner awareness, knowledge, and sensitivity.

Here is a list of subjects often covered in humanities courses:

Why study these? The answer is that the humanities make us more human–in the very best sense of that word “human.” We can, by studying what other men and women have believed, created, and understood, also become better human beings. We can learn more about ourselves and our friends and everyone who works around us. We can realize our own potentials, and the potentials of others, much more thoroughly.

How does a humanities class operate? In a general introduction like this, the class will engage you in a classic pursuit of the humanities at a scholarly level. “Classic” means, simply, that teachers have been teaching the humanities to students for thousands of years. “Scholarly” means, simply, that we will both be objective and dig deep into the subjects at hand.

This classic, scholarly pursuit means that we will come to grips with real, immediate experiences of fine arts, culture, and philosophy. We will need to feel them– to let these experiences grip us wholly. And then we will be able to think about them, read, and then speak and write about them intelligently.

We are involved, in short, in discovering the deeper meanings of human life as it has been lived throughout the world over the history of the human race.

Here are a few examples of how one can actually engage in a pursuit of the humanities:
Career Information for a Degree in Liberal Arts and Humanities

Liberal arts and humanities is generally offered as an undergraduate degree with interdisciplinary emphasis. Continue reading for an overview of the programs, as well as job outlook and salary info for some career options for graduates.

Course Information

Degree programs specifically in liberal arts and humanities are typically found as undergraduate programs that can result in a Bachelor of Arts degree. They are broad-based programs with courses that explore the arts, world cultures and the human experience, such as philosophy, history, foreign languages, literature, and composition.

Career Options

Graduates of an associate’s program in Liberal Arts and Humanities are provided general liberal arts instruction. At the bachelor’s level, schools may grant general degrees in humanities or liberal studies. Students at this level could also choose a major, such as anthropology, political science or psychology, incorporating other liberal arts and humanities studies through general education requirements. Master of Liberal Arts programs build on previous knowledge while allowing students to pursue personal topics of interest. At the doctoral level, students typically must choose a specific area of interest; yet, interdisciplinary programs also exist, so students could meld several liberal arts subjects into their educational approach.

Programs can prepare students to work in many sectors of society by providing them with a comprehensive education and developing their critical inquiry skills, problem solving abilities and cultural understanding. The talents of a liberal arts and humanities student can be applied to many different careers, including writing, teaching and customer service.

Service Representatives

Customer service representatives handle customer problems and provide information about an businesses products and services. Though sometimes only a high school diploma is required for this occupation, undergraduate training in the humanities and liberal arts can give job seekers an edge. Graduates might obtain positions in call centers or retail stores. They could also land work-from-home telecommuting jobs. Customer service representatives require good communication skills to deal with unhappy customers, provide knowledge about a product or service, and relate problems or sales statistics to supervisors. Some customer service representatives may work evening or overnight hours at companies that cater to individuals in various time zones.

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