Human beings have always used their knowledge, their imagination, their 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, as beautiful as a painting, as lasting as a monument, as enduring as a philosophical or religious system, as ephemeral as the next fashion trend, 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. 

What knowledge and skills will you acquire by majoring in the Humanities?

The curriculum is cross-cultural in 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 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.

Fall 2020-Humanities Courses List

Starting Academic Year 2019-2020, the Humanities Major has a new, revised set of course and curricular requirements. Students entering NYUSH this Academic Year will follow the new course requirements (see below).

Students who entered in 2018-2019 or 2017-2018 can opt to follow the old Humanities course requirements for the major or to follow the new course requirements. For those Humanities majors (current sophomores and juniors) who wish to continue with the old Humanities course requirements, they must fulfill the following distribution of courses:

  • Critical Concept Courses 4 Units Total

  • Survey Courses 8 Units Total

  • Topic Courses 24 Units Total

  • Digital Approaches Courses 4 Units Total

  • Capstone 4 Units Total


If you first enrolled at NYUSH as a freshmen in Academic Year 2019-2020, or if you are a current sophomore or junior and wish to adopt the new, revised curriculum for the Humanities Major you will follow the following system for your required course distribution:

  • Foundations Course 8 Units Total

  • Introductory Courses 8 Units Total

  • Advanced Courses 24 Units Total (at least 4 credits, Advanced Interdisciplinary)

  • Capstone Seminar 6 Unites Total

Learn more about Fall 2020 Humanities course offerings

Faculty Mentors

Humanities Area Head: Professor Duane Corpis 

Room 1219 | Email: | Profile


Humanities Faculty Undergraduate Adviser and Mentor:  Professor Lala Zuo

Room TBD | Email: 


Humanities Undergraduate Coordinator: Heather Lee, Assistant Professor

Room 1220 | Email: | Profile


If you have specific questions about specific fields of study within the Humanities, you can search for Humanities faculty through the faculty directory.

Minor in Humanities
Any four 4-credit classes from the required and elective list of Humanities major courses.
Minor in History
Four classes from the required and elective list of Humanities major History courses.
Minor in Literature
Four classes from the required and elective list of Humanities major Literature courses.
Minor in Philosophy

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

Major Curriculum Worksheet

Humanities Major Curriculum Worksheet (AY 2020-21 Academic Bulletin) [Printable Version] [Editable Version