What are the humanities?


When we talk about ‘the humanities’, we refer to the study of how people experience, understand and describe the world and their place in it.

In a university setting, ‘the humanities’ involve research and teaching areas concerned with humans and everything that they do. The humanities investigate human cultures, values and beliefs.

When mapping and reporting humanities research activity in Australia, Fields of Research (FoR) codes are used. These classifications are used by government departments and agencies, universities, the Australian Research Council, and the Australian Bureau of Statistics to evaluate research investment, outcomes and impact. The humanities and arts comprise four broad fields:

  • Art theory & criticism
  • Film, television & digital media
  • Journalism & professional writing
  • Performing arts & creative writing
  • Visual arts & crafts

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  • Communication & media studies
  • Cultural studies
  • Language studies
  • Linguistics
  • Literary studies

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  • Archaeology
  • Curatorial & related studies
  • Historical studies

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  • Applied ethics
  • History & philosophy of specific fields
  • Philosophy
  • Religion & religious studies

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