Why Study Humanities at New College?

The Humanities are often considered the cornerstone of the liberal arts, and at New College our Humanities AOC features both the breadth and depth you would expect in this rich field of interdisciplinary study. Through advanced coursework in fields ranging from art and art history to literature, music, philosophy, religion and languages that include Classical Greek and Latin, Chinese, French, German, Russian and Spanish, you will learn to integrate and critically analyze different forms of knowledge. You will also strengthen your written and oral communication skills. All will prepare you well for future graduate school study and employment.

Humanities area of concentration

If you are fascinated by world cultures and religions, have read your favorite novel dozens of times, and are drawn to music, philosophy and the arts, then you may find that our Humanities Area of Concentration (AOC) is just the right fit for you. Combining study within a variety of disciplines, you will engage in critical and analytical study of primary works such as literature, historical documents, philosophical analysis and speculation, cultural artifacts and documentation, as well as critical engagement with secondary or scholarly approaches to these subjects and their fields.

View Humanities Academic Learning Compact

View Humanities courses offered in last 5 years


Area of Concentration Requirements

A student who intends to complete a Divisional AOC in “Humanities” will meet the following requirements:

  1. The student should demonstrate the ability to read, think, communicate, create and perform in the humanities through successful completion of one or more undertakings in each of the following fields:
    1. the arts
    2. literature(s)
    3. philosophy and religion
  2. The student should explore diverse approaches to the humanities through successful completion of at least one undertaking in each of the following areas (examples in parentheses are meant as suggestions, not as prescriptions):
    1. historical study in one of the humanities disciplines (ex. The Western Art Music Tradition, Christian Scriptures, art history courses)
    2. theoretical/critical study in one of the humanities disciplines (ex. Introduction to Music, Music Theory I, courses in philosophy, Introduction to Religion)
    3. creative work in one of the humanities disciplines (ex. courses in art, music theory, acting, directing, creative writing, dance, stagecraft.
  3. The student should complete from 10-12 term-length activities in the humanities. Transfer students should discuss their coursework from other institutions with a faculty member in the humanities in order to determine if fewer than 10 courses at New College in this area would be appropriate.
  4. The student should study a foreign language (modern or classical) that is related to his or her special interest in the humanities. Students will be required to successfully complete at least one course in a foreign language sequence at New College, at the intermediate level (third semester) or above. A course or tutorial studying literature in the original language fulfills this requirement. Intermediate-level coursework in a language not taught regularly at New College from regionally accredited institution will be considered on a case-by-case basis as fulfilling the language requirement of the Humanities AOC.
  5. Students who declare a Humanities AOC during their fifth contract are encouraged when possible to create a pre-thesis ISP that designs a plan to complete a thesis or thesis project in the humanities, to develop the Thesis Proposal, and consider the appropriate work for the sixth, seventh and eighth contracts.
  6. The student’s senior project should involve work in one or more of the disciplines in the division. The form and content of senior projects [thesis-monograph, creative project, or “academic portfolio”] will be defined in close collaboration with the academic sponsor and with the approval of the baccalaureate committee.

Recent Theses

  • Stendhal and the Heroines of His World
  • The Evolution of Orpheus from the Classical World Period to the Renaissance
  • The Pioneer Spirit: A Biographical Play
  • Faith in Spite of Evil
  • Poet Under Saturn: An Evening with Paul Verlaine
  • Style and Form in Print Journalism
  • Inside Out: Collaborative Authorship and Narrative Distribution in Public New Media Artworks and Contemporary Technocultural Developments
  • Word, Myth, Seeing and Becoming: A Revision in the Education of Black Teenagers
    Justice and Happiness in the Republic
  • “You Are About to Begin Reading”: Accessibility and Postmodernist Performance in Works by Italo Calvino, Christian Jankowski, and Francis Alÿs
  • “Feminist Fairy Tales”: Female Agency and Subversive Messages in Fairy Tales of the Traditional European Canon Tale Type AT425A

Careers of Humanities Graduates

Guidance Communications, Inc.

Consulting Associate
Brakeley Briscoe, Inc., San Francisco, California

SAMPLE PATHWAYS to complete AOC Requirements

These pathways show how you could complete the AOC requirements within four years at New College or within two years after earning an associate’s degree. Please consult with your academic adviser to determine the most appropriate courses for your area of concentration.

A Sample Four-Year Pathway for Humanities

YearFall Term January / ISPSpring Term
Year 1Intro to Religion (LAC)Group ISP/ Ex. Psychoanalysis & Creative ArtsRussian Short Story
Spanish IBeginning Spanish 2
Social Science or Natural Science Course (LAC)Embodiment (Philosophy)
Other courseSocial Science or Natural Science Course (LAC)
Year 2Drawing I (LAC)Theatrical Production Whose Renaissance? (LAC)
Intermediate Spanish (LAC)Acting II
Acting ISocial Science or Natural Science Course (LAC)
Social Science or Natural Science Course (LAC)
Year 3Lecturas Hispanicas (Spanish lang/lit) Environmental Studies InternshipGender and the Ancient World
Music & Environment (LAC)Novella (Spanish Lit)
Other courseOther course
Other course
Year 419th-century French NovelThesis Tutorial
Performance StudiesOther course
Thesis Tutorial Other course
Other course

A Sample Two-Year Pathway for Humanities

YearFall Term January / ISPSpring Term
Year 32nd year Chinese IGroup ISP Ex: Meals in Jewish TraditionLanguage, Thought, and the World (Philosophy)
Buddhism2nd year Chinese II
Social Science or Natural Science Course (LAC)Drawing II
Social Science or Natural Science Course (LAC)Social Science or Natural Science Course (LAC)
Year 4Chinese language (tutorial)Group ISP Ex: Meals in Jewish TraditionStories of the Strange (Chinese lit)
Calligraphy (tutorial)Thesis Tutorial
Masterpieces (Art History)COURSE /Internship
Thesis Tutorial