The Humanities at BU | Arts & Sciences

If you come to Boston University and take our exciting humanities classes in the College of Arts & Sciences, you will study with world-class professors who will help you learn how to:

  • Bridge the different cultures of human experience.
  • Acquire creative and analytical skills that will last a lifetime and serve you well, both inside academia and in many careers in the world beyond.
  • Develop a versatile intelligence for a rapidly changing world.
  • Think critically, speak clearly, and write convincingly.
  • Tell again the stories that connect us, that challenge our minds and souls, and that ground us in the world.

If you come to BU, you will also meet engaged students taking humanities classes in the following academic departments:

History of Art & Architecture

Learn how buildings, paintings, sculpture, photographs, films, and the decorative arts have changed over time and around the globe.

History of Art & Architecture website

Majors: History of Art & Architecture (Two tracks: General or History of Architecture), Architectural Studies

Minor: History of Art & Architecture (Option 1: Western Art; Option 2: Non-Western Art; Option 3: Architectural History)

Resources: London and Paris internship programs in the arts, London Art History Program with the Courtauld Institute of Art, Undergraduate HAA Association


Learn what all human languages have in common and how they differ, how they change over time and give shape to society, and how children and adults learn languages.

Linguistics website

Majors: Linguistics; French & Linguistics; Italian & Linguistics; Japanese & Linguistics; Linguistics & African Languages; Linguistics & Computer Science; Linguistics & Philosophy; Linguistics & Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences; and Spanish & Linguistics

Minor: Linguistics

BA/MA: Linguistics

Resources: BU Undergraduate Linguistics Association Facebook page, BU Linguistics Facebook page

Alex Williams parlayed the study of Turkish, German Literature, and Linguistics into a fascinating academic journey. Read his story.


Debate the profound meanings of knowledge, values, the mind, and reality.

Philosophy website

Majors: Philosophy, Classics & Philosophy, Linguistics & Philosophy, Mathematics & Philosophy,Philosophy & Neuroscience, Philosophy & Physics, Philosophy & Political Science, Philosophy & Psychology, Philosophy & Religion

Minor: Philosophy

BA/MA: Philosophy

Resources: Undergraduate Philosophy Association, Undergraduate Philosophy Journal


Learn about the diverse spiritual beliefs, worldviews, and ways of worship shaping our communities.

Religion website

Majors: Religion, Anthropology & Religion, Classics & Religion, Philosophy & Religion

Minor: Religion

Related CAS minors, not part of this department: Jewish Studies; Muslim Cultures; Muslim Societies; and Holocaust, Human Rights and Genocide Studies

Malisha Shah (CAS’15) shares her experiences in finding her major in Religion.

Romance Studies

Learn the languages and literatures of Spain, France, Latin America, and Italy.

Romance Studies website

Majors: French Studies, French & Linguistics, Italian Studies, Italian & Linguistics, Spanish, Spanish & Linguistics

Minors: French, Italian, Portuguese & Brazilian Cultural Studies, Spanish

BA/MA: French Studies/French Language & Literature, Spanish/Hispanic Language & Literatures

Beginning and advanced courses offered in: Portuguese

Resources: Global House, study abroad programs in Spanish-language study, French-speaking study, and in cities across Italy

World Languages & Literatures

Study the literatures and cultures of Europe, Asia, South Asia, and the Middle East, and learn languages including Arabic, Chinese, German, Hebrew, Hindi, Japanese, Korean, Persian, Russian, and Turkish.

World Languages & Literatures website

Majors: Chinese Language & Literature, Comparative Literature, German Language & Literature, Japanese Language & Literature, Japanese & Linguistics, Middle Eastern & South Asian Languages & Literatures, Russian Language & Literature

Minors: Arabic, Chinese, Comparative Literature, German, Hebrew, Japanese Language & Literature, Korean, Persian Cultural Studies, Russian

Beginning and advanced classes offered in: Hindi-Urdu, Persian (Farsi), Turkish

Resources: Global House, Language Link (language discussion groups), Academic Advising (language advising); Arabic-speaking, Chinese-speaking, German-speaking, and Japanese-speaking study abroad programs

Alex Williams parlayed the study of Turkish, German Literature, and Linguistics into a fascinating academic journey. Read his story.


In addition to the programs above, the College of Arts & Sciences offers a grounding in the classic works of the humanities, as well as the natural and social sciences, through the Core Curriculum.

CAS also houses the Boston University Center for the Humanities, which supports humanities students through student awards for outstanding academic work and paid internships at Boston-area institutions including The Boston Globe, Beacon Press, and the Brattle Film Foundation. Read about students’ experiences in these internships here. The Center also sponsors student curated events, like film screenings. Read here about the first event in the Center’s Incarceration Film series that was conceived and carried about by humanities students.

The following academic programs offer further opportunities to delve into the humanities in a broad range of contexts:

Why study the humanities at BU?

Employers in today’s most competitive fields understand the value of creative thinking, cultural insight, clear writing, and incisive speaking. The skills and knowledge you develop through studying the humanities at BU will prepare you for success in a broad range of fields after graduation—and you will find yourself pulling from your humanities background 10, 20, and 30 years from now.

Most importantly, studying the humanities at Boston University will help you explore what it means to be human.

For a taste of what it’s like to immerse yourself in the humanities at BU, check out these students’ collaboration with former U.S. Poet Laureate and BU Professor of English Robert Pinsky: