What Are the Top Humanities Programs and Schools?

A graduate program in the humanities is often combined with social sciences. Learn about individual disciplines within the broader humanities programs such as English, History, Political Science, Sociology, Criminology, or Languages. Discover the top three schools that offer undergraduate and graduate degree programs in humanities and review the key characteristics you should look for when considering a program in the humanities. Schools offering Interdisciplinary Studies degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Makes a Top Humanities School?

The humanities include a wide range of disciplines involving the study of the human condition from a largely analytical perspective rather than an empirical viewpoint. You should determine which area of specialization you are interested in studying and then search for schools that are highly regraded for those programs. Consider schools that encourage multidisciplinary study, or offer small faculty to student ratios as well as faculty expertise.

What Are Three Top Schools for Humanities?

Stanford University in Stanford, CA

Stanford University ranked among the top five national universities in 2015 and was highly ranked for humanities and social science programs in 2015 by U.S. News & World Report; it tied for fourth place for its graduate history programs and tied for second place for its graduate English programs. The university also placed in the Princeton Review's rankings for top schools in the West and top values for private schools in 2012. Average enrollment is about 7,000 students each year, with a student-to-faculty ratio of 5:1. As an undergraduate, you can double major, undertake a major and minor, or design a major yourself. The School of Humanities and Sciences is the largest within the university. Some of its degree programs include:

  • B.A. in Classical Studies
  • B.A. in Drama
  • B.A. in Linguistics
  • B.A. in Philosophy
  • M.A. in Chinese
  • M.A. in Religious Studies
  • Ph.D. in Jewish History
  • Ph.D. in Islamic Studies
  • Ph.D. in History of Science
  • Ph.D. in English

University of California - Berkeley in Berkeley, CA

The University of California - Berkeley was ranked number one on U.S. News & World Report's list of Top Public Schools in 2016. It was also ranked first for its graduate humanities programs in English and history and third for global universities. UC Berkeley placed on the Princeton Review's Best Value Colleges for 2012-Public and Best Western Colleges lists. If you pursue an education at the school, you'll be part of a population of around 25,500 students. The College of Letters & Science administers the university's humanities programs, the faculty of which has included 13 Nobel Prize and three Pulitzer Prize winners. The college offers you opportunities to study both inside and outside of traditional disciplinary lines. Some humanities degree programs you can choose from include:

  • B.A. in History of Art
  • B.A. in Comparative Literature
  • B.A. in Rhetoric
  • B.A. in Philosophy
  • M.A. in Music
  • M.A. in Greek
  • M.A. in Hispanic Languages and Literatures
  • Ph.D. in Buddhist Studies
  • Ph.D. in Scandinavian Languages and Literatures
  • Ph.D. in Ancient History and Mediterranean Archaeology

Williams College in Williamstown, MA

Williams College ranked first in U.S. News and World Report's category of National Liberal Arts Colleges in 2016, as well as placed third for Best Undergraduate Teaching. It has an enrollment of approximately 2,000 students and a student-to-faculty ration of 7:1. The Princeton Review included it on its Best Northeastern Colleges and Best Value Private Colleges lists, as well as its Most Accessible Professors and Best Classroom Experience roundups in 2012. As a Williams student, you have the option to participate in tutorial courses, which demand student participation to a greater extent than seminars and encourage close listening and discussion. About 35% of students at the school choose to double major. Some humanities programs you can enroll in at the university include:

  • B.A. in Russian
  • B.A. in American Studies
  • B.A. in Philosophy
  • B.A. in Music
  • B.A. in Literary Studies
  • B. A. in Religion
  • B.A. in Japanese
  • B.A. in Theatre
  • B.A. in German
  • M.A. in History of Art

Top Schools for Humanities/Social Science Majors

College/University Institution TypeLocation
Columbia University 4- year, Private New York, NY
University of Pennsylvania 4- year, Private Philadelphia, PA
Tufts University 4-year, Private Medford, MA
Duke University4- year, Private Durham, NC
University of California--Berkeley 4- year, Public Berkeley, CA
Fordham University4- year, Private Bronx, NY
Colby College 4- year, Private Waterville, ME
Hofstra University4-year, Private Hempstead, NY
Colgate University 4-year, Private Hamilton, NY
Northwestern University4-year, Private Evanston, IL

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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