Humanities Major

Humanities at UCU
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The Humanities comprise the study of subjects that are fundamental to understanding the human experience. How do we grapple with reality and give meaning to our existence? What lessons can be learned from the past? What are our values and beliefs? What are our dreams and fears? How do we communicate these feelings and ideas? What kind of representations do we use to make sense of the world?

The Humanities department at UCU offers courses in History, Philosophy, Media Studies, Performance, Linguistics, Literature & Classics, Religious Studies, Art History/Museum Studies and Languages & Culture. Students gain insight into the different ways humankind throughout the ages, and in different cultures, has tried to come to terms with the nature and meaning of its existence. They acquire the basic skills of humanistic scholarship, such as critical reading, analysis, and interpretation of sources within the relevant cultural historical context, but also the art of reasoning, argumentation and persuasion. It is also about the politics of truth as well as the search for beauty and the analysis of the cultural contexts of it.

The Humanities curriculum creates unique opportunities for students who wish to design an academic program that fruitfully links different fields of study. History, for example, is a must for any serious student of Politics or Law, as it puts their theory and application into context. The Art History/Museum Studies program combines well with Social Science courses in Anthropology and Human Geography, but also with Biology or Chemistry, if the student has a particular interest in the History of Science and/or Conservation Chemistry. Philosophy teaches students how to establish truth and meaning and is indispensable to learn how to reason logically. Literature allows to find beauty in narrative texts that can open a new window onto the world and manage to express the inner self. It teaches students how to master the skill of words and interpret the world through different imaginaries. The Linguistics program offers a Psycholinguistics course that uses paradigms from Psychology for studying linguistics phenomena. Media studies can offer insightful combinations with the studies of politics, anthropology and psychology but also with Science, for example mathematics of neuroscience, exploring how we live in a mediated world, enmeshed in technologies and new forms of connectivity. Students interested in Chinese language and culture can either follow a track in China Studies that includes a semester abroad at a top university in China (Tsinghua University in Beijing, University of Hong Kong, Chinese University of Hong Kong, XJTLU in Suzhou or CLI in Guilin) or do a minor in Chinese Language and Culture at UCU. And to complement the more rational realms of human activities, courses in the Performance studies offer ample opportunities to ‘re-unite the hands, the heart and the head’.

Fields of study: 

  • Art History & Museum Studies
  • China Studies
  • History
  • Language & Culture
  • Linguistics
  • Literature & Classics
  • Media Studies
  • Performance
  • Philosophy
  • Religious Studies

To obtain a degree in Humanities (Bachelor of Arts) your curriculum must satisfy a number of criteria.

You must take at least ten courses in the Humanities department. Four of these courses must be at the advanced 3-level (one of which is the research thesis). You must complete tracks in at least two different fields of study within the Humanities department. A track is a 3-level course and the prerequisite 1- and 2-level courses that lead up to it.

In addition you must take a general skills course in the Humanities. This course gives you insight into the methodological approaches that characterize research in the Humanities, and teaches you how to make a choice for the appropriate methodology in your own research.

The Humanities major is concluded with a research thesis, to be written in the third year. To produce this thesis you formulate a research question based on literature study, define research material and apply a suitable method to investigate the proposed topic. You perform a critical analysis and write a coherent paper to present and evaluate your findings.

The thesis not only serves as a final test of your academic and disciplinary capabilities, but will also allow you to showcase these capabilities when applying for a job or Master’s program