Why choose a degree in Humanities?

The BA in Humanities is an interdisciplinary degree program that provides excellent preparation for twenty-first century careers. Students choose from three major tracks and complete coursework in three or more humanities departments or programs across the university. The program's focus on values, ethics, and civil debate is also reflected in its emphasis on critical thinking, reading and writing, and on individualized student advising and a flexible curriculum.

Undergraduate Admission

Admission to KU

All students applying for admission must send high school and college transcripts to the Office of Admissions. Unless they are college transfer students with at least 24 hours of credit, prospective students must send ACT or SAT scores to the Office of Admissions. Prospective first-year students should be aware that KU has qualified admission requirements that all new first-year students must meet to be admitted. Consult the Office of Admissions for application deadlines and specific admission requirements.

Visit the Office of International Student and Scholar Services for information about international admissions.

Students considering transferring to KU may see how their college-level course work will transfer on the Office of Admissions website.

Admission to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Admission to the College is a different process from admission to a major field. Some CLAS departments have admission requirements. See individual department/program sections for departmental admission requirements.

Requirements for the B.A. Major

Humanities Major Core Knowledge and Skills

The Humanities major requires a total of 30 credit hours. Students must take courses in at least 3 humanities or social science departments or programs with a maximum of 15 hours from 1 department (except HUM in which students will take more than 15 hours). 18 of the 30 credit hours must be in courses numbered 300 or above.

Note: Sharing course work (credit hours) between any of the HUM major tracks and another major is restricted to 6 hours.

All other courses taken toward the major must be approved by the HUM undergraduate coordinator.

Majors must choose 1 of the following tracks: Civilizations in a Global Context, World Literatures, or Peace and Conflict Studies.

Majors are strongly encouraged to study abroad. Please see your advisor about this opportunity.

Track 1: Civilizations in a Global Context

Civilizations in a Global Context

This track studies aspects of the cultures of Western civilization and of one non-Western civilization (e.g., Africa, Asia, the Middle East, or Latin America). It is designed to provide the student with knowledge of diverse civilizations and with methods for investigating their differences and commonalities. 30 credit hours, to include the following:

HUM 110Introduction to Humanities3
or HUM 111 Introduction to Humanities, Honors
HUM 206Contemporary Western Civilization3
HUM 424Senior Seminar in Humanities (The senior project for this track is to be a comparative and integrative study of a topic that bridges the two civilizations studied.)3
HUM 430European Civilization in World Context: _____3
Introductory and Core Major Requirements (15)15
15 additional hours to include: (15)15
6-9 hours in aspects of the cultures of Western Civilization, 1 of which must be an HUM course.
6-9 hours in aspects of the cultures of non-Western civilization

Track 2: World Literatures

This track offers literary-critical studies of both Western and non-Western literatures, designed to provide the student with knowledge of diverse literary traditions and methods for investigating their differences and commonalities. Majors choosing this option must complete 30 credit hours to include the following:

Introductory and Capstone Coursework (9)9
9 hours of introductory and capstone coursework:
21 additional hours to include: (39)21
HUM 110Introduction to Humanities3
or HUM 111 Introduction to Humanities, Honors
HUM 240Introduction to World Literature3
HUM 424Senior Seminar in Humanities (The senior project for this track is to be a comparative literary-critical study.)3
6 hours in the “Masterpieces of World Literature” series:
HUM 304World Literature I3
HUM 308World Literature II3
HUM 312World Literature III3
3 hours of additional literature coursework chosen from among the following:
either the third HUM Masterpiece of World Literature course
or any other HUM literature course upon approval from an advisor
6 hours in the literature of a non-English-language European culture in translation (France, Germany, Italy, Spain, etc.). Students possessing a reading knowledge of one of the European languages are strongly encouraged to take one of the literature courses in the original language.
6 hours in the literature of a non-Western culture in translation. Students possessing a reading knowledge of a Non-Western language are strongly encouraged to take one of the literature courses in the original language.

Track 3: Peace and Conflict Studies

This track provides students with opportunities to study issues of violence and methods of peace-making from an interdisciplinary humanities perspective. Majors choosing this option must complete 30 credit hours to include the following:

Introductory and Capstone Coursework (9)
9 hours of introductory and capstone coursework:
HUM 110Introduction to Humanities3
or HUM 111 Introduction to Humanities, Honors
PCS 220Introduction to Peace and Conflict Studies3
PCS 650Senior Seminar in Peace and Conflict Studies (students are required to carry out a substantive research project to produce a term paper or comparable work.)3
21 additional hours to include: (21)
6 hours PCS upper division courses (2 out of 3):6
Classics of Peace Literature
Topics in Peace and Conflict Studies: _____
The Literature of Human Rights
6 hours of interdisciplinary core courses, for example:6
Topics in Sociocultural Anthropology: _____
Environmental Geopolitics
Globalization: History and Theory
International Ethics
International Law: The State and the Individual
International Law: Laws of Armed Conflicts
Religious Perspectives on War and Peace
Human Conflict and Peace
Transnational Migration
9 hours of courses from one of the three designated areas:9
Area 1: The pursuit of social, economic and environmental justice, for example:
Globalization: History and Theory
Africa Today
Wealth, Power, and Inequality
Area 2: The role of nation-states and of international norms and institutions, for example:
The Great War: The History of World War I
The History of the Second World War
Politics of the Middle East
Chinese Foreign Policy
Topics in International Relations:
Area 3: The impact of religious, philosophical, and cultural influences, for example:
Topics in Sociocultural Anthropology: _____
Readings in the Holocaust
Topics in Peace and Conflict Studies: _____
Religious Ethics
Human Conflict and Peace
Women, Health, and Healing in Latin America

Major Hours & Major GPA

While completing all required courses, majors must also meet each of the following hour and grade-point average minimum standards:

Major Hours
Satisfied by 30 hours of major courses.

Major Hours in Residence
Satisfied by a minimum of 15 hours of KU resident credit in the major. 

Major Junior/Senior Hours
Satisfied by a minimum of 18 hours from junior/senior courses (300+) in the major.

Major Junior/Senior Graduation GPA
Satisfied by a minimum of a 2.0 KU GPA in junior/senior courses (300+) in the major. GPA calculations include all junior/senior courses in the field of study including F’s and repeated courses. See the Semester/Cumulative GPA Calculator.

Sample 4-year plans for the BA degree in Humanities with the following concentrations can be found here: Civilizations in Global Context and Peace & Conflict Studies, or by using the left-side navigation.

Departmental Honors

An undergraduate student must maintain a minimum overall grade-point average of 3.25 and of 3.5 in the major. Students must be recommended for honors by the advisor of the comprehensive project completed for HUM 424 Senior Seminar in Humanities. Members of the HUM advisory committee then evaluate the project to determine whether the student should be awarded honors.