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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 Professions?

Professions are organizations of people with specific expertise working to solve problems. Professional fields are vast, and are a key aspect of modern society. Professionals are interested in identifying solutions to problems and actively implementing those solutions.

At UCM, the following are profession-oriented fields of study:

  • Accountancy
  • Agriculture
  • Aviation
  • Automotive Technology
  • Business Adminstration
  • Computer Information Systems
  • Computer Science
  • Construction Management
  • Counseling*
  • Education*
  • Engineering Technology
  • Human Development & Family Science*
  • Industrial Hygiene
  • Industrial Management
  • Library Science & Information Services
  • Occupational Safety
  • Nursing
  • Speech-Language Pathology
  • Technology Science

* - Crosses disciplinary categories

Focus & Methods of the Professions

The key focus of professions is that people practice their expertise to solve specific problems. Therefore, the key method of professionals is implementation - meaning that engaging in the study of a problem is not enough - action is the key element.

Professionals make informed decisions requiring specialized knowledge and practices. They often work in group settings with others to determine the best course of action to solve a problem. Professionals are expected to both gain work experience and to continually learn any new knowledge or skills applicable to their specializations. Continuing education opportunities are usually provided by professional organizations where individual professionals are members.

Professionals tend to cite personal work experiences and other professionals in their writings. Professionals usually cite publications distributed by their professional organizations and theories produced by academic fields that are applicable to the need.


Bucher, R. & Stelling, J. (1969). Characteristics of professional organizations. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 10, 3-15.

Nye, Jr., J.S. (2008). International relations: The relevance of theory to practice. In The Oxford Handbook of International Relations (pp. 648-660).

Shirky, C. (2008). Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations. New York: Penguin Press.

Tebbel, J. & Zuckerman, M.E. (1991). The triumph of the business press. In The Magazine in America: 1774-1990 (pp. 346-357). New York: Oxford University Press.