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Fields of Study Overview

This guide explains the four areas of academia: humanities, sciences, social sciences and the professions, including the focus and methods used by these different approaches.

What are the Humanities?

The humanities are a variety of academic fields pursuing questions into that which drives us as humans to create objects, stories and meaning. These scholars are interested in studying the artifacts humans make and what these artifacts signify.

At UCM, the following fields are traditional humanities oriented fields:

  • Art & Design
  • English/Literature Studies
  • History
  • Media Studies
  • Modern Languages
  • Music
  • Philosophy
  • Theatre

Focus & Methods of the Humanities Fields

Humanities fields focus on creating interpretations of human artifacts and arguing what deeper meaning(s) said artifacts possess.  These fields typically emphasize that humanities scholars provide unique insights regarding the artifacts they are studying.

The methods used by humanities scholars often include directly observing/reading artifacts such as art, literature, witness testimonials, music or other cultural artifacts for the purpose of interpreting meaning. A single artifact may be studied or a grouping of artifacts may also be analyzed or compared.

Humanities scholars will cite other researchers throughout their work. These scholars often invoke theorists if they are applying a theory to their work, use other scholars' work to support their interpretation of an artifact or cite another scholar if they argue against someone else's interpretation.


Bods, R. (2016).The New History of the Humanities: The Search for Principles and Patterns from Antiquity to Present. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Gould, C.C. (1988). Information Needs in the Humanities: An Assessment. Stanford, CA: The Research Libraries Group.