Critical Discussion


Degrees Offered:

  • BA
  • Minor*

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Degree Requirements

Sample Four Year Plan

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* = Minors are not technically a degree, but can be pursued to supplement a bachelor's degree

The Humanities Major offers students an integrated interdisciplinary program of study within a community of diverse-minded and energetic students and faculty.

Over the course of their studies, Humanities majors acquire a thorough knowledge of arts and culture while developing rigorous critical thinking, communication, and analytical skills that will prepare them for a wide variety of careers. The innovative adaptability and independence of thought our students develop make them valuable employees, conscientious citizens, and life-long arts enthusiasts.

The flexibility of the CU Humanities Program is incredibly valuable to me because I think it’s something I would struggle to find elsewhere. The way the Humanities is structured gives you a very strong foundation of analytical skills, but allows you to follow your passion and really create your own curriculum. The faculty and students are also really close knit and it makes for a really supportive community. I feel like all of my Humanities professors know me personally and want to make sure their classes help me reach my goals as well as theirs."

Iona Bruce, BA '18

Humanities is, at it's core, the story of what it means to be human, and the Humanities Program at CU Boulder is no different. 

The Humanities Major is part of an interdisciplinary program designed for students who wish to concentrate in more than one field or discipline. The major leads to a bachelor of arts (B.A.) degree and offers considerable flexibility, but courses should be chosen in consultation with your primary advisor.

All majors take the 12-credit hour Introduction to Humanities sequence, along with a 3-credit hour Methods and Approaches to the Humanities course. After completing these courses you will complete 15 more upper-division credit hours in Humanities, as well as 18 credit hours in a primary area of concentration, and 12 credit hours in a secondary area of concentration. Areas of concentration include a humanities-related discipline or a single language and its literature. 

Students interested in preparing for graduate work in comparative literature or other areas requiring extensive language training may want to select the language track option.

As an interdisciplinary program, Humanities is committed to a profoundly comparative perspective enabling students and teachers to bring together not only different arts and disciplines, but also works drawn from diverse eras and cultures. The program will help you develop an understanding of and empathy for complex works of human expression through analysis of the style, structure and cultural context; gain habits of analysis and critical thinking; sharpen your expression of clear thought both in writing and speech; and expand your sense of human history by recognizing meaningful connections between past and present — all skills highly valued in this current job market.

For the undergraduate students pursuing a degree from the Humanities Program and interested in research or scholarly work, there are a number of opportunities beyond just class work:

  • The Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) offers students a chance to work alongside a faculty sponsor on original research. Learn to write proposals, conduct research, pursue creative work, analyze data, and present the results. For more information, call UROP at 303-492-2596 or on the UROP website.
  • Majors have the option to seek honors in Humanities, which results in the designation of cum laude, magna cum laude or summa cum laude at graduation. Honors work involves a senior honors thesis. Look into this program early, as it involves securing a faculty sponsor and developing an individual project.  
  • Students may want to consider study abroad at some point during their years as a Humanities Major. Study abroad provides students with the opportunity to study, live and travel in a foreign country from a few weeks to an academic year, depending on the program selected. The university offers more than 100 programs throughout the world. Students may earn credit that counts as if you had taken courses here, in some cases fulfilling major and core requirements. Further information about study abroad is available from Education Abroad, 303-492-7741 or on the education abroad website.
  • Internships are a useful experience for students seeking a career in Humanities. The Internship in Humanities provides the opportunity to earn academic credit for appropriate internships in the field.

Many professions favor students with the background provided by the Humanities Major. Courses provide cross-disciplinary experiences that encourage students to think both expansively and precisely about social, aesthetic, historical, and ethical issues. In addition, majors develop the ability to articulate ideas clearly both in writing and speech.

A Humanities degree offers numerous career pathways, including business, communications, law and intelligence. Graduates from the program have gone into positions in business, education, government, industry, international relations, media, social services and the performing arts. A major in Humanities also provides a fine pre-professional background for students who plan to go to graduate school or into health sciences, law school, library sciences or public administration.

Career Services offers free services for all CU Boulder degree-seeking students, and alumni up to one year after graduation, to help students discover who they are, what they want to do, and how to get there. They are the bridge between academics and the world of work by discussing major and career exploration, internship or job searching, and graduate school preparation. 

According to the 2017-18 College Salary Report by PayScale Human Capital:

  • the median salary for someone with a bachelor’s degree in Humanities and 0-5 years of experience is $41,300;
  • median salary for 10-plus years of experience, $65,600.

Estimated Humanities Salary Info

At CU Boulder, Humanities graduates earn more than the nationwide average of comparable majors as reported by PayScale. CU Boulder alumni in this discipline earn an estimated annual salary of $83,991, based on a pool of 383 alumni who graduated between 1989 and 2018. This amount, however, is slightly lower than the average for all CU Boulder graduates with a bachelor's degree, according to a survey by Esmi Alumni Insight of 25,000 alumni who graduated during the same stretch.

The Humanities Program has an extensive list of alumni that are either working or have worked in a variety of industries across the globe. Some alumni of the program include:

  • Shea Johnson (BA '11) is a producer and lead creative at Shoot to Kill NYC, a digital creative agency. Prior to that, she was a freelance film producer who produced 50 commercials and two feature-length films.
  • Emily Lozow (BA '11) is marketing and digital manager for the Broadway and Cabaret divisions of the Denver Center for the Performing Arts.
  • Stephanie Strauss (BA Summa Cum Laude '11) is a social media producer and editor at Conde Nast publishing, where she produces, shoots and edits video content for Self and Brides magazine.