What to Expect When Studying the Humanities

October 31, 2019 Choosing to Study the Humanities

Students fresh out of high school have many choices when entering colleges and universities. One of the very first is deciding what area to study. Programs are often divided into large categories, such as the sciences and the humanities, which may or may not include fine arts. If you have been taking classes in the sciences through high school, and are continuing them, you’ll have a fair idea of what to expect at university, but if you are going to be studying the humanities, you may be uncertain as to what to expect.

The humanities are a study of humans, their experiences through time and around the world and how they’ve dealt with and documented those experiences. The umbrella of humanities at most post-secondary institutions is broad and encompassing including courses (and faculties) in history, philosophy, literature, religion, law, ethics, languages, anthropology and more.

You’ll find that while a lot of what you’ll be learning in most areas of the humanities is actually history, through different lenses and with different focuses, depending on the focus, a fair bit, if not most of the focus is actually questioning, theorizing and discussing. You’ll look at what people did in the past, but also wonder at the motivation, the reasons and how they documented and learned from it. The humanities can be fun because very little is quantitative, and there is room for a lot of personal exploration. Your coursework will likely include a lot of reading, and your assignments will primarily be essay writing, where you can explore concepts.