My niece, who is studying for her 10th-grade exam, asked me what field she should take for higher secondary courses. Considering her interest in literature, I suggested that she could take up arts and humanities. She then asked me what ‘arts and humanities’ mean and what else can she study in arts and humanities. To my own embarrassment, I was lost for words trying to describe the discipline. Arts and humanities is a big diverse field with various exciting fields and subfields.
I took this incident as an opportunity to educate myself on the overview of the various fields within arts, humanities, and social sciences and create this quick compilation. I hope this can be helpful for the students who are trying to get a general overview of the field and for those looking for an introductory gateway to further research in figuring out their majors.
The content in this article is compiled from various sources: Wikipedia, university websites, educational consultancies, and professional associations.
Anthropology is the study of humans.
It studies the evolution of human beings, the development of prehistoric cultures, cultural diversity, kinship, socio-political systems, religious practices, and value systems.
Anthropologists also compare humans with other animals to see what we have in common with them and what makes us unique.
Development Studies addresses global development issues.
It involves relations between rich and poor nations, causes and effects of unequal power relationships, gender relations, climate change, decision-making processes, aid, and health and environmental issues.
Economics is the study of the allocation of scarce resources by a society in relation to the production, distribution and consumption of goods and services.
It studies how individuals, businesses, governments and nations make choices on allocating resources to meet their needs. It tries to determine how these groups should organize and coordinate efforts to optimize material output while balancing social needs.
Economics ranges from the very small to the very large. The study of individual decisions is called microeconomics. The study of the economy as a whole is called macroeconomics. A microeconomist might focus on families’ medical debt, whereas a macroeconomist might focus on sovereign debt.
Fine Arts is the study of art forms that are visually and aesthetically appealing. It includes various disciplines such as painting, illustration, sculpture, graphics, filmmaking, photography, conceptual art and printmaking.
Geography is the study of the physical surface, underground features and climate of the landmasses of the earth and how people interact with them.
Geography has two major branches: Physical geography ( landforms, water, soils, climate, atmosphere and vegetation) and Human geography (population, urban, cultural, political, and economic geography)
History is the study of the past.
Historians may study the history of particular groups of people, particular events, a single country or region, or a certain time period.
Studying history teaches us to interpret and understand the events in the past and how they are affecting society or a nation’s present. Only through studying and understanding our past, we can understand and contextualize our present and the future.
Linguistics is the study of languages.
It involves analysis of structure, sound patterns, emergence and evolution of language.
It deals both with the study of particular languages, and the search for general properties common to all languages or large groups of languages.
Some linguistics departments are dedicated to preserving endangered languages.
Literature and Languages
A literature major involves reading and analyzing works of literature.
It includes discussing texts and understanding their historical, cultural and literary significance.
Literature majors read and write about a wide variety of literary works across periods, genres, and national traditions.
Tribhuvan University offers majors in English, Nepali, Nepal bhasa, Sanskrit, Hindi, and Maithili.
Mass Communications, Journalism and Media Studies
Mass communication is the study of how people exchange information through mass media (newspaper, magazine, book publishing, radio, television, film, internet and advertising).
Mass communication differs from the studies of other forms of communication, such as interpersonal communication or organizational communication, in that it focuses on a single source transmitting information to a large number of receivers.
Philosophy is the study of human knowledge. Philosophy uses the tools of logic and reason to analyze the ways in which humans experience the world.
It involves logic, ethics, aesthetics, metaphysics, epistemology
Studying philosophy teaches critical thinking, close reading, clear writing, and logical analysis.
Political science is the study of government and politics.
It involves systems of governance, political activities, political thoughts and behaviour, public policies, and institutional design.
Psychology is the study of how people behave, think and feel.
It involves studying perception and cognition, the biological basis of behaviour, child development and social psychology and personality.
Religious Studies is the study of religious beliefs, behaviors, and institutions.
Religious studies majors analyze beliefs, practices, symbols, superstitions, myths and sacred texts.
Religious Studies can be confused with Theology. Theology is the study of God, focusing on Christianity and requires its learners to have some degree of religious faith. Religious studies, on the other hand, analyzes different world religions and does not require its learners to have any religious faith.
Rural Development is the study of the theories, approaches, and designs aimed at developing the rural areas in Nepal.
It involves housing, developmental infrastructures, agricultural pattern, the use of rural resources, and the rural economy.
Social Work majors study organized means of providing basic support services for vulnerable individuals and groups.
This major involves instruction in social welfare policy; case work planning; social counseling and intervention strategies; administrative procedures and regulations; and specific applications in areas such as child welfare and family services, probation, employment services, and disability counseling.
Sociology is the study of society.
It studies patterns of social relationships, social interaction, social stratification, social class, social movements, social mobility, religion, and culture.
Sociology and Anthropology are similar fields and are often under the same department. The key difference between these two fields is that sociology concentrates on society (how does society shape human nature) while anthropology focuses on culture (how do humans behave and why).
Social Sciences and Humanities Majors and Potential Jobs, College Express
Bachelor of Arts-BA – Tribhuvan Universit, Edusanjal
Kathmandu University School of Arts
Tribhuvan University Central Departments
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences,
Pokhara UniversityFaculty Of Arts, Purbanchal University
Mid-Western University Academics
Bachelor of Arts, University of Melbourn
Author: Dovan Rai
Dovan is passionate about education technology and worked at OLE Nepal, where she designed educational software for public schools in Nepal. She has a PhD in Computer Science from Worcester Polytechnic Institute, USA