Humanities Courses: Humanities Offer the Best General Education

Humanities is an area of academic study concerned with it means to be human. Humanities courses include archaeology, anthropology, law, religion, politics, art, literature, language, history, philosophy, and other liberal arts subjects. These subjects will give you a well-rounded understanding of humanity in terms of our mental processes, emotions, art, spirituality, and history.

If you are interested in discovering the literature, language, history, and philosophy of the global community, there are many types of humanities courses you can choose from. Read on as we illuminate what it means to study humanities and the best courses available.

What Is Humanities?

Humanities is the academic study of human cultures. Think of it as different ways of telling global stories through writing, verbal communication, and even art. For example, books, poems, art, the recorded histories of previous generations, and philosophical ideas are all forms of humanities.

Below is some background on the four main areas of the humanities.


Discover great writers from William Shakespeare to Charlotte Bronte and beyond. Reading the works of writers and poets helps us understand the emotions, messages, and worlds created by the writer. Much like learning history, literature often provides an image of the times that came before our own, making it a fascinating way to learn.


Language is the key to understanding cultures that are different from ours. The world is a vast place with rich and interesting languages and cultures to explore. Studying a language can help you to understand others, plus it always looks good on a CV. 


History is the exploration of the past: the archaeological discoveries, the wars waged, the peacemakers, and much more. History has many subcategories such as art history, which teaches students everything there is to know about the life and work of artists such as Van Gogh, Picasso, and other greats. 


“Cogito, ergo sum,” or in English, “I think, therefore I am,” is a famous saying from the French philosopher, scientist, and mathematician, René Descartes. Philosophy is the exploration of questions like this that deal with the meaning of humanity. In this captivating subject, students will learn to question everything and learn from both ancient and modern philosophers.

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The Best Humanities Courses 

Jez Timms 8muUTAmcWU4 UnsplashJez Timms 8muUTAmcWU4 UnsplashAllow us to shine a light on the best humanities courses.

If the humanities awaken a keen passion in you, there are several ways you can choose to study different humanities courses. You can go to a college or university and gain a bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree in humanities. Or, there are also great online courses you can take to enhance your understanding of humanities. 

If you are ready to begin your educational journey, below are our recommended humanities courses. They include on-campus degrees and online courses, as well as a mixture of subjects so there is something for everyone.

Stanford University


African and African American Studies

African Studies

American Studies

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Art and Art History


East Asian Languages and Cultures






Religious Studies

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Level: Undergraduate to Graduate

On-Campus Programs

Stanford is one of the leading universities in the United States and offers a wealth of degree programs in the humanities. In Stanford’s humanities programs, you can earn a bachelor of arts, bachelor of science, bachelor of applied science, master of arts, master of fine arts, master of public policy, master of science, doctor of musical arts, or doctor of philosophy depending on your area of focus. Prospective students should consult the relevant department for more information.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology


American Studies

Ancient and Medieval Studies

Women’s and Gender Studies

Asian and Asian Diaspora Studies

Latin American and Latino/a Studies

Russian and Eurasian Studies

Level: Bachelor of Science in Humanities

On-Campus Programs

At MIT, students can earn a BS in Humanities, Humanities and Engineering, or Humanities and Science. These undergraduate courses cover literature, music, writing, global languages, and more.

Princeton University


African American Studies and the Philosophy of Race

Introduction to Ancient Philosophy

Rhetoric: Classical Theory, Modern Practice

The Classical Roots of Western Literature

Creative Writing (Poetry)

Creative Writing (Fiction)

European Cultural Studies

French and Italian

A History of the World

Philosophy and the Modern Mind

Level: Undergraduate to Graduate

On-Campus Programs

Princeton is another top university that provides fascinating courses in humanities. Its programs are aimed at students looking to gain a bachelor’s or master’s degree on campus.

Harvard University


Modern Art & Modernity 

Vegetal Humanities

Linguistic Theory


Stranger than Fiction 

Global Art: Comparative Approaches in Art History & Ethnography

American Racial Ground 

Buddhist Visualization: Dunhuang Caves

Level: Undergraduate to Graduate

On-Campus and Online Programs

In many ways, Harvard is the arts and humanities hub, with a considerable variety of degrees available. But these on-campus humanities majors are just a drop in the ocean compared with the offerings of Harvard University Online. Check out Harvard Online for more or keep reading to see other courses offered by Harvard on the EdX website.



Buddhism Through its Scriptures (Harvard University)

Religious Literacy: Traditions and Scriptures (Harvard University)

AP® English Literature & Composition – Part 3: Plays (Berkeley) 

Pyramids of Giza: Ancient Egyptian Art and Archaeology (Harvard University)

Introduction to Digital Humanities (Harvard University)

Shakespeare’s Life and Work (Harvard University)

Storytelling for Social Change (University of Michigan)

Level: Beginner Certifications

Online Courses

These popular humanities courses on EdX are hosted by prestigious institutions including Harvard, The University of California-Berkeley, and the University of Michigan. There is a huge range of courses on Edx covering everything from religion and literature to archaeology and more. These courses are generally shorter than a degree, cost less money, and could be a great way to see if you genuinely love a topic enough to invest in a degree.



Roman Architecture (Yale)

Modern Art & Ideas (MoMA)

Film, Images & Historical Interpretation in the 20th Century (Royal Holloway)

Level: Beginner – Intermediate Certifications

Online Courses

Coursera also has some great classes for those who want to test out a humanities subject or add some extra certificates to their CV. Similar to EdX, Coursera has a range of online topics you can study at your own pace at home.

Should I Take a Humanities Course?

Pexels Iconcom 236530Pexels Iconcom 236530Take some time to ponder whether a humanities course is right for you.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a historian earns a median salary of $63,680 per year and a writer earns an average of $63,200. Depending on your desired career path, studying the humanities could be a worthwhile investment.

Consider whether you are interested in learning about the intricacies of human emotion, intellect, history, language, and literature. If you are, a humanities course will help you gain a deeper appreciation of cross-cultural human connections and apply it to your career.

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