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Humanities Learning Outcomes & Courses

In Humanities, students practice analytical and critical skills for understanding history, literature, and film narratives. Our teaching offers concrete examples of how to adjust to new perspectives; how to tell new stories and imagine new realities; and how to give voice to visions relevant to oneself and one’s communities. We study texts and engage with histories across differences and commonalities alike, as these deepen our understanding of a shared humanity.

Every MassArt degree program includes at least eight general education courses offered in Humanities and ISBA departments , designed to provide context, insight, and fresh perspectives for students pursuing the arts. 

  • First Year seminars are offered in Humanities, Integrative Sciences and Biological Arts, and History of Art.
  • Our writing courses teach the basic and advanced skills of delivering coherent, purposeful, creative, and clear text—a fundamental skill for anyone who will craft an artist’s statement, fill out a grant application, articulate a critique, and so on. Our goal is to help students think critically, write effectively, and develop informed, flexible minds.
  • Literature and film criticism teach students to discern complex layers of idea and meaning in verbal, written or cinematic art.
  • In history courses, students learn the historian's craft: they differentiate, evaluate,  and contextualize primary and secondary sources, examine the deep connections between the past and the present, and develop a world historical perspective.

Courses Offered

Literature, Writing, and Film Studies | History, Music & Philosophy | GEN ED Requirements | Creative Writing Minor


Learning outcomes

Taken as a whole, the Humanities curriculum is designed to teach students to:

  • Think, speak, and write clearly and effectively
  • Communicate precisely, cogently, and effectively
  • Know facts, terms and persons important to an art or discipline 
  • Explain, defend, and critique opposing points of view 
  • Undertake cultural and historical analysis from a variety of perspectives
  • View moral and ethical problems from a variety of perspectives
  • Respect, understand, evaluate, and undertake research in a variety of disciplines
  • Understand and experience arts (such as literature, film, and music) other than visual arts and design
  • Synthesize critical thinking, liberal learning, and studio practice

Humanities Department