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Humanities Class and Course Descriptions

To study the humanities is to examine human culture. For this reason, humanities courses vary widely in scope and encompass art, history, cultural values, social movements, philosophy and many other areas. 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

Courses in the humanities are available at all levels of college study and include survey, general, and specific course topics. Humanities courses are part of most undergraduate degree program curriculums, and students may also choose to major in the humanities. On 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.

List of Common Humanities Courses

The following list includes descriptions of just a few of the large number of courses available in the humanities.

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.

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