Requirements for the Humanities Major (48 semester hours)

Three survey courses in humanities disciplines (12 semester hours)

Take three courses from the following list. Courses must be taken from different disciplines (as indicated by the course prefix).

  • ARTH 112 Introduction to South Asian Art History (4)
  • ARTH 113 Introduction to Chinese Art History (4)
  • ARTH 114 Introduction to Japanese Art History (4)
  • ARTH 116 Introduction to Renaissance and Early Modern Art (4)
  • ARTH 117 Introduction to Modern and Contemporary Art (4)
  • CLAS 171 Love and War, Gods and Heroes: Greek and Roman Epic Poetry (4)
  • CLAS 244W The Greek and Roman Stage (4)
  • CINE 110 Introduction to Cinema Studies (4)
  • ENGL 371 Regional Literature (4)
  • HIST 113 Topics in United States History: Early Period (4)
  • HIST 114 Topics in United States History: Later Period (4)
  • HIST 116 Western Civilization since 1650 (4)
  • HIST 118 East Asian Civilization Since 1800 (4)
  • HIST 240 Ancient to Early-Medieval European Ideas (4)
  • IDS 322 The Idea of Europe (4)
  • MUSC 212 Jazz, America and Beyond (4)
  • MUSC 242 Music History I (4)
  • MUSC 343 Music History II (4)
  • PHIL 110 Philosophical Problems (4)
  • PHIL 111W Philosophical Problems (4)
  • PHIL 112 Philosophy and Religion (4)
  • PHIL 151 Historical Introduction to Western Philosophy (4)
  • REL 115 Introduction to the Study of Religion (4)
  • THTR 110 Introduction to Theatre: The Act of Creativity (4)
  • THTR 217W Performance Historiography (4)
  • THTR 219W Theatre Literature and History: 1850-present (4)
  • THTR 318W Theatre and Culture (4)

Three theory or methods courses (12 semester hours)

Take three courses from the following list. No more than two courses can be from the same discipline. At least one course must be writing-centered (indicated with a W). At least one course must address interpretive strategies for visual texts (indicated with an *).

Five courses from one of the following tracks (20 semester hours)

Take five courses in one of the five tracks listed below. These courses must be drawn from at least three different disciplines (as indicated by the course prefix). No more than two courses may be selected at the 100-level and at least two courses must be at the 300-level. Each course can satisfy only one requirement towards the major. A student may not use a single course to satisfy a survey or methods requirement and also apply it towards their elective track.

1 - Public Humanities

Education in the classical tradition was centered on training for citizenship.  The public humanities track draws on that tradition, encouraging students to reject the misleading vision of academia as an ivory tower, divorced from the real world, and instead to explore how the analytic perspectives central to the humanities prepare students to understand, assess, and engage with the sometimes conflicting practical and ethical demands of life in a diverse, democratic society.  Whether concerned with shaping of law and public normative behavior, examining stories (history, literature, film, speeches or mass media) that are told to explain or justify those norms, or assessing the role of the arts in enriching and informing society, a deep engagement with the humanities is vital for engaged citizenship.

100- and 200-Level Courses:

  • ARTH 243 Contemporary Art: 1970-present (4)
  • ARTH 246 Modern Art [Europe and America]: 1890-1945 (4)
  • ARTH 247 18th- and 19th-Century Art History (4)
  • CCM 201 Arguing about the Right Thing to Do (4)
  • CCM 245 Civic Media (4)
  • CCM 260W Media and the Environment (4)
  • CCM 261 Persuasion and Mass Media (4)
  • CCM 345 Latina/o/x Communication Studies (4)
  • HIST 259 American Jewish History (4)
  • PHIL 153 Self and Other (4)
  • REL 214 Religion in America (4)
  • RHET 242 Rhetoric and Leadership (4)
  • RHET 271 Telling the Internment Story (4)

300-Level and Higher Courses:

  • ARTH 339W Post-War Art: 1945-1970 (4)
  • ARTH 376W History of Photography (4)
  • CHNSE 258 Gender and Mass Communication in Asia (4)
  • HIST 315 Western Civilization and Sustainability: Beginnings to 1600 (4)
  • PHIL 330W Theories of Justice (4)
  • POLI 328W Political Metaphors (4)
  • PPLE 314 Politics and Religion in the United States (4)
  • PPLE 383 Dissent in 20th-Century American Political Thought (4)
  • REL 323 The Bible and American Culture (4)
  • REL 334 Liberation Theology and Social Change (4)
  • RHET 362W Telling News: Framing Reality (4)

2 - Comparative Humanities

Comparative Humanities is an interdisciplinary and comparative track within the Humanities major that studies different linguistic, literary, cultural, and intellectual traditions from a comparatist perspective. In conversation with their advisor, students select two different cultures and a literary, intellectual or artistic genre or movement that they would like to explore and compare across cultures. At least one of these cultures must be non-English speaking, but sources may be read in either the target language or English translation. The Comparative Humanities track encourages students to think critically about how different human societies conceive of themselves and others and enables them to acquire expertise in the literature, history, and values of at least two different cultures. By emphasizing the critical analysis of primary texts and cultural comparison across time and languages, the track helps students to develop strong analytical critical, and writing skills and a global perspective. As a unique approach to liberal and humanistic studies, the program provides a solid basis for post-graduate study in, for example, law, education, journalism, administration, comparative literature, or discipline-based area studies.

In this track, CLHI 250 Introduction to Comparative Literature and the History of Ideas (1) is required.  Students then select four additional courses in consultation with their adviser.

3 - Environmental Humanities

The Environmental Humanities traverses the boundary between the university and the world, engaging students with the key challenges facing human civilizations today:  How can we create communities that are both ecologically sustainable and socially just?  What are our choices in responding to climate change, species extinction, ecosystem degradation, and environmental injustice?  How can our stories, artist expressions, philosophies, histories, and spiritualities foster values that support the restoration of natural and human systems?  How can we rethink our understanding of the relationships between culture and nature in order to respond to environmental problems? The disciplines of the humanities offer traditions and tools to help understand the complexity of human behavior at the root of our contemporary environmental problems.  This track prepares students for a wide variety of career paths including environmental advocacy and lobbying, environmental policy and green non-profit work, environmental justice and community organizing, and a wide range of graduate programs including those in environmental law, management, journalism and public policy.

Choose no more than two from the following:

  • ENVS 120 Social Systems and the Environment (4)
  • ENVS 327W Water Resources of the Western US (4)
  • ENVS 328 Health and the Global Environment (4)
  • ENVS 343 Biogeography (4)
  • ENVS 347 Earth’s Climate: Past, Present, and Future (4)

Choose three or four from the following:

  • ANTH 351 Indigenous Peoples, Human Rights, and the Environment (4)
  • CCM 260W Media and the Environment (4)
  • ECON 445 Environmental Economics (4)
  • ENGL 371 Regional Literature (4)
  • ENGL 441 Tradition and Influence in Literature: Poetry of the Pacific (4)
  • ENVS 304W Politics of Environmental Ethics (4)
  • ENVS 321 Environmental Policymaking: Policy and Process (4)
  • ENVS 334 Political Ecology (4)
  • HIST 131 Historical Inquiry (Topic: The Rise of Capitalism) (4)
  • HIST 255 Cities and the Making of Modern Europe: 1750 to Present (4)
  • HIST 315 Western Civilization and Sustainability: Beginnings to 1600 (4)
  • HIST 331 Asian Environmental History (4)
  • IDS 208 Sustainability and Design (4)
  • IDS 214 Food Justice (4)
  • IDS 334 Field Studies: Environmental Studies and Sustainability in Japan (4)
  • PSYC 370A Topics in Psychology (Psychology for Sustainability) (4)
  • SOC 131 Sociological Inquiry (Topic: Environmental Sociology) (4)

4 - Visual Humanities

What does it mean to be human in a global society shaped by the rapid growth and usage of visual media, art, and culture? The Visual Humanities track is an interdisciplinary concentration that provides students with focused study in the critical analysis of this visual culture, including areas such as archaeology and material culture studies, art history, film, communication and media studies, as well as museum studies. Students will gain skills in visual literacy, the use and encoding of imagery in human cultures, as well as the history, concepts, and philosophies centered on understanding and ethical engagement with global visual culture.

Choose no more than two from the following:

Choose three or four from the following:

  • ANTH 303 Museum Studies Seminar (4)
  • ANTH 335 Visual Anthropology (4)
  • ARCH 137 Introduction to Global Archaeology (4)
  • ARTH 202W Introduction to Art Museum Studies (4)
  • ARTH 225W Monographic Studies in Art History (4)
  • ARTH 243 Contemporary Art: 1970-present (4)
  • ARTH 246 Modern Art [Europe and America]: 1890-1945 (4)
  • ARTH 247 18th- and 19th-Century Art History (4)
  • ARTH 259 Western Medieval Art and Architecture (4)
  • ARTH 263 Baroque and Neoclassical Visual Culture (4)
  • ARTH 267 Renaissance Visual Culture (4)
  • ARTH 270 Roman Art and Architecture (4)
  • ARTH 271 Greek Art and Architecture (4)
  • ARTH 275W Art, Literature, and Criticism (4)
  • ARTH 339W Post-War Art: 1945-1970 (4)
  • ARTH 345W Advanced Topics in Art History (4)
  • ARTH 376W History of Photography (4)
  • LAS 380 Latin American Cinema (4)
  • PHIL 242 What is Art? (4)
  • RHET 271 Telling the Internment Story (4)

5 - Humanities in the Pacific Northwest

The Pacific Northwest track allows focused interdisciplinary study of both the richness and conflicts in the history and culture of the region, past and present, ranging from the literature of the region to exploration of regional ethnic diversity and examination of regional ethnic conflicts like the Japanese American internment during WWII.  Topics courses (e.g. ANTH 358 and ENGL 371) may periodically focus on subjects appropriate to this track.  With approval from the program chair such courses can be taken for credit within the track. The track encourages students to engage in hands on learning through archival work, oral history, museum study and internships. Students in this track may earn up to one credit for the track through an internship or an approved service learning course.

Choose no more than two from the following:

  • ANTH 231 Indigenous Peoples of North America (4)
  • ENGL 371 Regional Literature (Topic: Northwest) (4)
  • HIST 221 History Workshop: The History of Willamette University (4)
  • IDS 205 Chemawa Indian School Partnership Program (2)
  • IDS 215 Willamette Academy Service Learning (2)
  • RHET 271 Telling the Internment Story (4)

Choose no more than three or four from the following :

  • ANTH 303 Museum Studies Seminar (4)
  • ANTH 358 Special Topics In Anthropology: People on the Move (4)
  • CCM 343 Controversies in the Northwest Public Discourse (4)
  • ENGL 441W Tradition and Influence in Literature (4)
  • HIST 369 History of the Pacific Northwest (4)
  • HIST 453W History in the Archives (4)
  • IDS 396 Chemawa Indian School Partnership Program Internship (2-4)
  • RHET 271 Telling the Internment Story (4)

One Senior Capstone Requirement (4 semester hours)

Take one senior thesis class in the Humanities (HUM 497W or HUM 495) or in one of the core humanities disciplines chosen from the following list (note: the prerequisites must be met, and/or the consent of instructor must be acquired). For double majors, the same senior thesis class cannot be used to fulfill this requirement in the Humanities major, unless prior arrangements are made with the instructor for a more extensive project. Consult academic advisor to determine the best option.


  • Sammy Basu, Professor of Politics, Program Chair
  • Contributing Faculty from various departments
Willamette University

Department of Humanities

900 State Street
Salem Oregon 97301 U.S.A.

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