Study the Evolution of Human Endeavor with Humanities Degree

Humanities is a broad field that relates to all facets of the human experience. Topics such as art, culture, history, government, social constructs and communications are all an integral part of an online humanities degree program. Due to the broadness of the field, students typically major in a specialized topic of humanities, such as language, art history or philosophy.

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Humanities Degree Information

Students do not earn a degree in humanities per se. Rather, students working towards earning an associate's degree or a bachelor's degree from a college or university receive a broad-based education in liberal arts, focusing on one particular aspect of the humanities, be it classics, language, philosophy, art history or some other liberal art.

Study Options

Students interested in the humanities can get started at a junior college pursuing an Associate of Arts degree with a liberal arts major such as philosophy, classics studies or comparative literature. Those prepared for a full four-year college or university will pursue a Bachelor of Arts degree in similar subjects. Students may then choose to move on to attempt to earn a master's degree or doctoral degree in the branch of humanities of their choice.

Advanced Humanities Degrees

Students interested in the humanities will usually pursue a master's degree or doctorate in the field of their undergraduate major, although this is not always the case. Humanities students may opt for a Master of Arts in English Literature, Philosophy, Theology, Classical Studies or any other liberal arts area. They may choose to branch out into social sciences such as history and psychology or may choose to pursue a professional degree such as one in law, business or medicine.

Master Of Arts Degree

Students who choose to obtain a masters degree in a humanities related field will gain expertise in that particular area, reading extensively and doing research on the subject in-depth. They will learn to think critically about the field and may be asked to write a thesis using original research. These degrees typically take around two years to complete.

Doctor Of Philosophy Degree

Students who opt for a Ph.D. in a humanities field will do even more intensive research on their chosen subject, reading the most difficult and complex texts and research in the field. These students will be expected to have a complete understanding of the material and its implications and must be prepared to submit original research that offers a significant contribution to the field. They will be expected to write a dissertation on their subject and to continue to publish in the field after the degree is conferred. These degrees typically take around five years to complete or more depending on the difficulty in producing and defending the dissertation.

Choosing A Degree

Designing a curriculum in the humanities is ideal for the undergraduate student who wants a well-balanced education that is rich in culture and the human experience and tradition. Students can start with a variety of courses in the humanities and then focus on one specific area once they know which one suits them the best.

Career Opportunities

A liberal arts education forms the basis for any number of desirable careers. The most obvious choice for many humanities experts is academia, but many of those who major in liberal arts disciplines become lawyers, doctors, philosophers, sociologists, writers, editors, classicists and historians. There are few limits to what one can do with a humanities education.

Earning Potential

The earning potential for humanities students is as unlimited as the career paths. Some lawyers and doctors make six or even seven figures annually, and full college professors make in the six figures as well. Writers and editors tend to make in the $40,000 to $60,000 range.

Getting Your Degree Online

Continuing education students may find that resuming their studies by taking humanities courses online is a great place to start. This can be the basis for an associate's or bachelor's degree in one of the liberal arts divisions. The great thing about online distance education is that the coursework can be completed at the studentís convenience without any worries about meeting scheduled class times.

Getting Your Degree Offline

The right liberal arts college or university can provide a top-notch humanities education. While undergraduate students will be encouraged to take some courses in the hard sciences to give them a complete education, they will have the opportunity to take as many humanities courses as they need to find the specialization they want. Once they find it, they may already have many courses that will count towards their Bachelor of Arts major requirements, making completing the degree within four years a very manageable task. Students can then confer with professors and classmates in their area of specialization to determine the best course for future education in the discipline.

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Humanities Degree FAQs

What Types of Jobs Are Available Through an Online Humanities Degree?

Due to the broad range of humanities topics, the career possibilities following a humanities degree are virtually endless. As many humanities students are inherently drawn to learning, investigation and research, many graduates reenter the college environment as professors.

The skills learned during an online humanities degree also lend themselves to helping professions in law, medicine and social work. Other popular career paths include historian, writer, philosopher and sociologist.

What Skills Are Helpful When Earning an Online Degree in Humanities?

Communication and critical thinking skills are paramount to succeeding in the field of humanities. Written and oral skills are helpful for arguing specific points of view and ideals. The ability to theorize expected results from specific human interactions, behaviors and forms of expression is also a valuable character trait.

What Kind of Salary Can I Earn With a Humanities Degree?

Graduates of online humanities degree programs find themselves in all possible earning brackets. Doctors and lawyers who have a base in humanities often earn above $100,000 annually. College professors can reach the six-figure salary mark as well.

Students with a bachelor's in a humanities subject typically earn less. For example, professional writers tend to earn between $40,000 and $60,000 annually.

Online Humanities Degree Programs

The ultimate goal of an online humanities degree is to teach individuals to understand how society evolves over time. Upon graduation, students should be able to apply critical thinking and data interpretation to offer humanistic approaches to a variety of issues.

Any liberal arts program may be considered a humanities degree. An associate's, bachelor's, master's and doctorate in humanities topics are all available. Lower level classes offer a broad overview of humanities topics. Upper level courses allow students to specialized in a particular field of interest.

A Bachelor of Arts in Humanities may lead to further studies in philosophy, classical studies or literature. Other students choose to apply an undergraduate degree in humanities to a related field, such as history, business or law.

Humanities Student Guide

As the name implies, humanities refers to areas of study that relate to humanity or the human condition. Some of the major humanities courses are ancient languages, religion, philosophy, history, music and literature. Humanities students analyze these subjects critically to try to uncover what they can tell us about who we are as humans.

Humanities Books

Your humanities studies will require books in many different fields, since a humanities education covers many different topics. Your school library or bookstore will have most of the publications you will need for your courses. Some sample texts you may find yourself working with include Arts and Culture: An Introduction to the Humanities, Vol. I and II, by Janetta Rebold Benton and Robert DiYanni, Ancient Greek Literature,î by K.J. Dover, E.L. Bowie, Jasper Griffin and M.L. West and Classics of Western Philosophy by Steven M. Cahn.

Humanities Articles And Databases

Your school's library, bookstore or website is also a good source of articles in the various disciplines of the humanities. Look up the specific area of the humanities you are interested in, be it philosophy, history, literature or some other field. Try to be as specific as possible (e.g. Platonic Dialogues, History of the Roman Empire, Plays of Sophocles). A helpful site to check out is the H.W. Wilson Humanities & Social Sciences Index Retrospective ( This resource contains indexing of almost 1,200 periodicals and over a million articles on humanities and the social sciences from 1907 through 1984.

Online Humanities Journals

The journals you use in your humanities studies will also vary depending on which aspect of humanities you are exploring, since there are separate journals for philosophy, history, literature and other disciplines. Some basic interdisciplinary humanities journals that you can access online include Janus Head (, Prometheus ( and The Wilson Quarterly (

Other Humanities Research Tools

Humanities students should make full use of their schoolís library in their humanities research. Humanities students will often be called upon to interpret material in a specific context of history or culture, meaning they will need to access both the primary source being analyzed and additional sources to aid in this analysis and support any claims made. This will require extensive research, meaning a large catalog of available material will be very important.

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