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Fast Facts: Humanities

  • The humanities major affords students an opportunity to create an individual program of study within two or three disciplines within the School of Arts and Letters. The humanities disciplines are central to a liberal arts education. For example, previous humanities majors have combined coursework in the arts, English and history to develop their humanities majors. Another example would be a combination of communication and global, cultural and language studies.
  • Students have the opportunity to study the broad relationships and connections among the humanities disciplines, while also focusing on those of particular interest and significance.
  • Programs included in Humanities are:
    • American Indian Studies
    • Art
    • Catholic Studies
    • Communications
    • English
    • Global, Cultural and Language Studies
    • History
    • Medieval and Renaissance Studies
    • Music
    • Philosophy
    • Politics
    • Theatre
    • Theology and Religious Studies
    • Women's and Gender Studies 

Program Requirements

Major: 48 credits


Students are encouraged to talk with their advisor about completing an internship experience as part of the humanities major.


A major in humanities is an excellent, multifaceted preparation for many careers. The emphasis on reading, writing and critical evaluation of a broad range of historical/theoretical/artistic developments give a graduate the skills essential to personal fulfillment and professional success in the world, a world which demands effective communication skills, multicultural understanding and the ability to identify and articulate an understanding of and position on a range of issues and problems.

Sample Curriculum

Here are some classes you could take as part of this major or minor. Please note that you would not necessarily need all of these courses to fulfill a major or minor. This list doesn't include general education courses. Be sure to create your course plan in consultation with your advisor.

Course Creation Center

Expand and Collapse Coursework

Expand and Collapse ART 1120 - Drawing I

Develops the student’s sense of familiarity and ease with drawing materials as well as his/her sense of perception, which goes beyond the limitations of habit. It also explores subjective approaches to subject matter. Traditional situations and materials form the basis of the course.

Expand and Collapse ART 1124 - Basic Design

Studies the elements and the principles of design and their application to fine art and commercial art. Various media are used to experiment with both two- and three-dimensional structures.

Expand and Collapse ART 3420 - Advanced Drawing

Develops a greater level of conceptual knowledge and technical skill, through drawing utilizing observation, portraiture and experimentation with a variety of mediums and techniques. Enhances depth of knowledge through critical readings, demonstrations, visiting artists, and/or visits to contemporary art exhibitions. Course can be taken for 2-6 credits and/or repeated for a total not exceeding six credits.

Expand and Collapse CTA 1014 - Writing for Mass Media

To introduce students to the fundamentals of media writing, as well as to increase students’ knowledge of local, national, and international current events. The emphasis of this course is placed upon writing in a variety of formats under deadline. Specific attention is focused on print news reports, feature stories, media reviews, radio newscasts, press releases, advertising copy, and lateral reporting for the Web.

Expand and Collapse CTA 1114 - Media Literacy

Analyzes the relationship between media and society through the interaction of technology, business, audiences, culture and government. Through lecture, discussion, field trips and other in-class activities, the course reviews the history and theories of mass communication as they relate to specific media.

Expand and Collapse CTA 2514 - Digital Media Studio

An introduction to the basic concepts of postmodern media production and networking with an emphasis on creative digital media. The course provides an examination of past, present, and future trends in media production and the development of a postmodern digital media workflow. The latest trends and debates in the field of digital media are explored, including social networking and the latest methods of generating, editing, and syndicating various digital media (text, audio, video, and photo). Other topics include digital radio, iPods and podcasting, the growth of Google and YouTube, social network syndication, cable and Internet advertising. Students develop a working knowledge of practical principles that will be useful for a career in the electronic media, with an emphasis on creating new digital media content in a studio lab environment. Prerequisite: CTA 1014 or consent of instructor.

Expand and Collapse CTA 3445 - Argumentation

Examines the elements of persuasive speaking and argumentation. Begins with persuasive presentations and progresses to the formal study of argumentation framed by the Toulmin model of reasoning. Using this model, students will study the four primary types of warrants and the four primary types of argumentative claims. The class concludes with the argument of cases.

Expand and Collapse CTA 4214 - Online Media Writing

Students will learn advanced reporting techniques, news judgment and news gathering skills for feature writing, column writing and editorial writing in print and online media. The course includes researching, interviewing, developing sources for various stories, as well as the principles and practices of editorial decision-making from copyediting to layout. Includes the skills to use social networking and online publishing as a journalistic tool. Prerequisite: CTA 2214 or consent of instructor.

Expand and Collapse CTA 4417 - Mass Media Law And Ethics

First Amendment rights, government regulation, Supreme Court decisions and ethical standards and conflicts are analyzed. Case studies address libel, privacy, regulation, and ethical issues. Prerequisite: CTA 1114 or consent of instructor.

Expand and Collapse ENG 2250 - Introduction to Poetry

Study of theory, forms and techniques of poetry with greatest emphasis on close study of selected poems. The course focuses on the major forms of poetry and the relationship of metaphor, symbol, tone and metrics to meaning.

Expand and Collapse ENG 3300 - Creative Writ: Fict & Nonfict

The reading of appropriate fiction and writing of short weekly pieces and a final short story. The class includes presentations on technique. Students need not be English majors. Work from this class is often published in the St. Scholastica literary journal, Out of Words.

Expand and Collapse ENG 3301 - Creative Writing: Poetry

Reading and discussion of poetry to learn technique from published poets. A final portfolio of poetry required which will include students' choice of their best work. Students need not be English majors. Work from class is often published in the St. Scholastica literary journal, Out of Words.

Expand and Collapse ENG 3340 - American Novel

Analysis and discussion of the development of the American novel in the 19th or 20th centuries. There will be some attention given, where appropriate, to British and American antecedents. Classes focus on selected novelists and the variety of themes and forms characteristic of either century.

Expand and Collapse HIS 1102 - World History II

An introduction to world history since 1500. The course surveys the societies and cultures of Europe, Asia, Africa, the Middle East and the Americas. Themes include Europe's impact on the world, modernization and tradition, imperialism and empire, the great ideologies of the modern era, and growing consciousness of human rights and world citizenship. The course traces global patterns of change and continuity, while striving to understand the particular perspectives of distinct world cultures and the meanings these cultures have given to their historical experiences.

Expand and Collapse HIS 3214 - The World Since 1945

An introduction to world history from the end of World War II to the present. Major themes include the origins, course and end of the Cold War; the Soviet Union from Stalin to Gorbachev; China under Mao and his successors; decolonization, nationalism and the retreat from empire; the Vietnam War; Africa since independence; democracy, dictatorship and intervention in Latin America; war and peace in the Middle East; the Islamic world; human rights and the struggle for justice; the role of the United States in the contemporary world; and the meaning and responsibilities of global citizenship.

Expand and Collapse HIS 3325 - African American History II

Examines significant topics in African American history from Reconstruction through the current experience of diverse members of the African Diaspora living in the U.S. Analyzes the roles African Americans of different classes and genders have played in shaping U.S. history.

Expand and Collapse HIS 3335 - Issues in Asian History

Focuses on historical and cultural movements in the Asian region. Themes will vary from traditional Asian society and culture to the modern era with an emphasis on a multilayered perspective of these complex societies.

Expand and Collapse HIS 3355 - Islam & the Modern World

An introduction to Islam from its founding to the present day. The course traces the establishment of Islam as one of the world's great religions and explores the fundamentals of Islamic belief and practice (in theology, mysticism, law and way of life). The focus is on Islam in the 20th century, including topics such as the colonial legacy; the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; the Iranian revolution; militant Islam, jihad, and terrorism; the diversity of Muslim cultures; and the liberal tradition in Islam.

Expand and Collapse HUM 2150 - Ethnicity & Performing Arts

A consideration of the impact of the performing arts (music and dance) within African-American, American Indian, Asian-American, and Latino/a communities in the United States. Our study is structured around social and political movements that have emerged out of the performing arts. By examining songs, poetry, dance and martial arts forms in their cultural, historical and political contexts, we consider how individuals and communities use them to construct racial, class and gender identity, to express world view, make political statements, question authority and seek social justice. Throughout the course, we seek out common themes and concerns faced by the four communities we study, but we also note the ways in which individual artists creatively engage with, express, and are empowered by cultural difference.

Expand and Collapse HUM 3366 - Travel Writing

Designed for students interested in exploring Ireland through writing, this course emphasizes the writing process as adapted to travel experiences. Requirements include reading travel writing by others, keeping a journal of observations, writing several travel pieces, and participating in writers' workshops. When offered, the course is taught onsite in Ireland.

Expand and Collapse INS 2204 - American Indian Art and Music

Meaning and development of American Indian art forms. Expressions in symbolic form of Indian philosophy and religion are presented. A study of the traditional and contemporary forms of American Indian music including local and alternative music is included.

Expand and Collapse INS 3320 - American Indian Women: Myth/Rl

Issues of early American Indian/white relations, spirituality and religion, economic roles, policy, cultural persistence, land tenure, socialization and property rights and the role of mothers from the Indian female perspective.

Expand and Collapse INS 4415 - American Indian Families

Traditional and contemporary concepts of American Indian families. The social and political changes that have impacted American Indian families will be identified and the degree of impact is assessed.

Expand and Collapse OJB 1111 - Beg Ojibwe Lang and Culture I

A two-part sequence in beginning Ojibwemowin, implementing the double-vowel system. These courses introduce students to seasonal cultural practices as well as pronunciation, spelling and the usage of basic verbs and nouns (animate and inanimate) in a simple sentence.

Expand and Collapse OJB 1112 - Beg Ojibwe Lang & Culture I

A two-part sequence in beginning Ojibwemowin, implementing the double-vowel system. These courses introduce students to seasonal cultural practices as well as pronunciation, spelling and the usage of basic verbs and nouns (animate and inanimate) in a simple sentence.

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  • "I work in a fast-paced environment that requires me to think strategically, communicate clearly and effectively, and engage with diverse groups of people around issues of community change. My humanities education at CSS helped me develop these key skills while providing me with a sustaining, justice-oriented set of values."

    – Diane Tran, ‘06, Project Manager at Grassroots Solutions