Associates Degrees in Humanities: Program Info by Specialization

Associate's degree programs in humanities are typically transfer programs for students who intend to complete a bachelor's degree in the field. These programs may have specializations like history, literature and social science.

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Essential Information

The curriculum in associate's level humanities programs encourages students to broaden their view of the world by studying world history and literature, fine arts, philosophy and foreign languages. Participants who choose the history specialization will learn about the origins of the United States, various wars and civilizations around the world. Students of literature programs focus on the reading and writing of essays and short stories. A humanities and social science major explores various world movements and cultures, and students may hone their writing and research skills. Applicants must have a high school diploma or GED. Program length is 2 years.


Associate of Arts in Humanities with a Specialization in History

The curriculum in this 2-year liberal arts program consists of general education courses and electives such as art, drama and philosophy. The program is designed for students who plan to pursue elementary and secondary teacher education programs and degree programs in majors like English, history and more. Programs with a history focus cover topics such as:

  • Religion
  • The World Wars
  • World civilization
  • The U.S. Civil War
  • The Industrial Revolution

Associate of Arts in Humanities with a Specialization in Literature

As a writing-intensive program, students learn writing, research and critical-thinking skills and receive a broad education in cultural studies, history and art. The literature specialization includes studies in poetry, drama and novel studies. Other focus areas are world philosophy and composition. In addition to coursework in the major, students take courses in subjects like psychology and sociology. Coursework consists of topics such as:

  • Argumentative essays
  • Post-modern literature
  • Short stories
  • Plays
  • The Harlem Renaissance

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  • General Studies
  • Humanities
  • Liberal Arts and Sciences

Associate of Arts in Humanities with a Specialization in Social Science

This program combines studies from departments of English, history, art and social and behavioral science. The curriculum explores world cultures and the history of civilization. Students will learn interpersonal, written and oral communications skills and develop cultural sensitivity and diversity awareness. Course topics include:

  • Ethical choices
  • Socialization
  • Classic philosophers
  • Human knowledge
  • Social movements

Popular Career Options

History and social science specialization graduates can find jobs in business, publishing, human services and a variety of other settings. Common job titles include:

  • Museum guide
  • Social services worker
  • Administrative assistant

Literature specialization graduates can pursue careers in a variety of industries, including communications, media, education and more. Possible careers are:

  • Editor
  • Writer
  • Proofreader

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

Because the humanities are broad areas of study, careers and earnings for graduates vary greatly. Although a humanities associate's degree program is generally a transfer program, graduates can pursue a variety of careers, including jobs in the arts and in human services.

Graduates of an associate's degree program in humanities with a specialization in history can pursue a career working in a museum or for a historical society, and a specialization in humanities and social science can lead to a career as a human or social services worker. An associate's degree program in humanities with a specialization in literature can lead to a career as a writer, author, or other publishing professional. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that writers and authors earned a median annual salary of $60,250 as of May 2015 and held 43,380 jobs in the U.S. at that time (www.bls.gov).

Continuing Education Information

Graduates who want to pursue careers as teachers can enroll in a post-bachelor's teacher preparation program. Typically 1.5-2 years in length, the program prepares students to teach in elementary and secondary schools. Teacher licensure requires graduates to complete additional licensing requirements, which vary by state.

Graduates can transfer to a bachelor's degree in humanities to enhance their career and increase their salary expectations. Degree options include a bachelor's degree in women's studies, anthropology, English, history, philosophy and more.

Associate's degree programs in humanities with a specialization in history discuss topics like religion and major wars. Those with a literature focus feature courses on poetry and composition, while the social science specialization concentrates on cultural movements and civilizations.

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