Human beings have always used their knowledge, imagination, physical and mental skills, and their understanding of the world around them to create things – things that could be as simple as a hammer, as complex as a computer and as abstract as society itself and the relations among people within society. The Humanities major offers students an opportunity to study the historical, cultural, social, and intellectual contexts and impacts of the many different types of things that human beings have created across different cultures and societies, including perhaps the most profound creation of all — the multitude of ideas defining what it means to be human. Students majoring in the Humanities will have a chance to explore art, literature, religion, philosophy, history, and culture, and to enrich this exploration with some of the most important recent theories stemming from the fields like gender and sexuality studies, urban studies, and science and technology studies.

Requirements for the Major

Students can choose to follow the academic bulletin from the year that they were admitted or a more recent academic bulletin. For example, if you were admitted to NYU Shanghai in Fall 2019, you can choose to follow the academic bulletin 2019-2020, 2020-2021, and 2021-2022.

Planning the Major

To declare the Humanities major, students must have a final grade of C in Global Perspective on Society Course.

Faculty Mentors

Faculty mentors are the leading faculty and experts in the major disciplines. Students can reach out to faculty mentors for specific questions about the major, and references for connecting with relevant discipline resources. If you have specific questions about specific fields of study within the major, you can search for faculty through the faculty directory.


brad weslake

Humanities co-Area Head

Duane Corpis

Humanities co-Area Head

Monika Lin

Humanities Undergraduate Coordinator​ 

Undergraduate Advisor and Mentor

Humanities FAQs
Why should I major in Humanities?

The curriculum is cross-cultural in the foundation and reflects the interdisciplinary strength of our faculty in areas including history and art history, philosophy, literature, religion, film and media, and cultural studies. Humanities students engage with Asian, African, European, American, and Oceanian cultures and intellectual traditions. They learn to employ multiple disciplinary perspectives and to engage with a wide range of different sources. Rather than developing career-specific skills that become obsolete within a few years, the Humanities major deepens a range of fundamental skills important in all professional paths, such as reading, writing, interpretation, analysis, argument and strategies for undertaking original research. These skills are both highly valuable and extremely transferable to any future goals students may choose for themselves. Humanities majors graduate with the capacity to critically engage with our globalizing world, to generate new ideas that can reinterpret our past and lay foundations for rethinking our shared future, and to pursue a wide range of careers.

How is the Humanities curriculum structured?

The Humanities major combines a rigorous general education in the humanities with a concentrated focus on a particular discipline or theme. The requirements for the major are designed to allow students to construct a program of study that fits their own intellectual interests. It is probably the most flexible curriculum of any major at NYUSH. During their coursework, Humanities majors learn a diverse set of methods for humanistic inquiry in their Foundations courses, which serve as introductory courses to various fields of study such as art history, literature, and philosophy. Students then develop an area of thematic or disciplinary focus by taking upper-level courses in Shanghai and other NYU sites in consultation with faculty advisors. In the senior year, they take the Capstone Course sequence and produce a final thesis to showcase their intellectual development.

Humanities Capstone

In students' final year of course work, Humanities majors are required to complete a substantial research project during a two-semester sequence of capstone seminar courses. In the Fall capstone seminar, students prepare for their research project. In the Spring semester, students may either:

Option 1: Continue their capstone thesis in the capstone seminar, under the guidance of faculty advisors.

Option 2: Continue in an Advanced Humanities course, and complete their capstone thesis as part of the course.

Humanities students with experience in the visual arts may also pursue a creative capstone in the visual arts, consisting of an artistic project, a research paper, and an artist statement. Students must apply for admission to the creative capstone, and this process must begin before the end of the Junior year. Please contact the Visual Arts Coordinator Monika Lin ( for more information.

Independent Study

Students are permitted to work on an individual basis under the supervision of a full-time faculty member in the Humanities discipline if they have maintained an overall GPA of 3.0 and have a study proposal that is approved by a Humanities professor.

Minor in Humanities, History, Literature, Philosophy

Humanities Minor

Any four 4-credit classes from the required and elective list of Humanities major courses.

History Minor

Four classes from the required and elective list of Humanities major courses.

Literature Minor

Four classes from the required and elective list of Humanities major Literature courses.

Philosophy Minor

Four classes from the required and elective list of Humanities major Philosophy courses.

Courses counted towards Humanities Major

Shanghai Courses Fulfilling Major Degree Requirements

Global Courses Satisfying Shanghai Degree Requirements (courses offered at NYU global sites)

If the course information is not available on the spreadsheets, you may request a course evaluation.

Courses offered in New York by the Departments of History (HIST-UA), Philosophy (PHIL-UA), English (ENGL-UA--exclusive of the creative writing courses ENGL-UA-201), Comparative Literature (COLIT-UA), and Art History (ARTH-UA) will count towards major requirements. Courses will be evaluated on whether they meet foundations, introductory, advanced, or advanced interdisciplinary requirements, based on the information in Albert. Courses offered by all other departments will need to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

Courses offered at other campuses and study-away sites will be approved on a case-by-case basis. They need to have substantive content in the disciplines of history, philosophy, literary studies, or art history to count towards the humanities major.

What should I do if I didn't meet the prerequisite of declaring a humanities major?

1. Students write a declaration of intention and purpose for majoring in the humanities (2 pages double space, 500 words).

2. Students meet with the Humanities Area Head and Humanities Undergraduate Coordinator: to discuss the purpose for majoring in the humanities (see contact information in Faculty Mentors section).

3. If the student completes one introductory or foundation course with a grade of C or higher and one advanced course with a grade of C or higher, the student may then declare the major.