Jul 13, 2024  
2024-25 Western Washington University Catalog 
2024-25 Western Washington University Catalog

Humanities: History of Culture, BA

Location(s): WWU - Bellingham

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Department of Global Humanities and Religions, College of Humanities and Social Sciences

63-66 credits


The humanities include the disciplines which study philosophy, religion, history, literature, and the arts. The BA in Humanities: History of Culture serves students who want to major in more than one Humanities discipline, using interdisciplinary methods of investigation.

The department supports study of cultural history on a global level, including Europe and the Americas, East Asia South Asia, sub-Saharan Africa, and predominantly Islamic areas. Its courses give attention to historical development and cross-cultural interaction, both in the past and in the modern period. Students learn to analyze individual works of the humanities and to relate them to social and cultural developments.  The department’s curriculum includes some courses called “Humanities” (HUMA) and others called “Religion” (REL).  

The small size of classes and seminars in the Humanities: History of Culture BA program encourages close relationships between students and faculty. Working closely with faculty, students learn to formulate problems clearly, to consider and evaluate different methods and concepts, to do efficient and thorough research, and to write clearly, concisely, and effectively, culminating in work in rigorous senior seminars, with the option of writing an individually advised senior thesis.  

For more information or advising, contact the Program Advisor or the Global Humanities and Religions Department Office.

Why Consider a Humanities: History of Culture Major?

Students in this major acquire skills broadly applicable to professional careers. These include problem solving, critical thinking, research skills, integrative skills, and written and oral communication skills. While preparing students for knowledgeable participation in civic life, these also provide a solid foundation for careers in both public and private settings. Graduates have gone on to a variety of professional graduate schools and fields of work, including teaching, law, library science, archive administration, and research and administrative positions with business and non-profit organizations. The major has also proved to be excellent preparation for graduate academic programs in literature, history and the study of religion.

Students who plan a career in secondary education should contact the department for advising as soon as possible.

 Contact Information

Major Advisor
Seán Murphy
Bond Hall 160

Academic Department Manager
Maureen Christman
Bond Hall 152

 Sample Careers

Attorney | Teacher | Professor | Librarian | Writer | Business Administrator | Historian | Non-Profit Organization Administrator | Congressional Aide | Research Assistant | Editor | Lobbyist

 Major/Career Resources


How to Declare (Admission and Declaration Process):

Students interested in the Humanities: History of Culture degree should contact the Major Advisor (Prof. Seán Murphy) as soon as possible. There are no prerequisites for declaring the major.

Grade Requirements

A grade of C- or better is required for a student’s major or minor courses, and supporting courses for majors and minors.

Additional Advising Information:

At a minimum, students should have successfully completed at least two lower division (100 or 200 level) HUMA (Humanities) or REL (Religion) courses by the middle of their junior year, and before taking HUMA 302, which is ordinarily offered only in spring quarter. HUMA 302 is prerequisite to the department’s senior seminars (HUMA 421, HUMA 422, HUMA 423, REL 424, REL 426, HUMA 427, HUMA 425, REL 428, HUMA 490, and REL 490). It is also recommended that students undertake study of a language other than English concurrently with the major.


Thesis or Non-Thesis Options

There are two options (thesis or non-thesis) for completing the Humanities: History of Culture BA. Students should choose which option they will pursue by the end of their junior year.

Departmental Honors

Students must choose the Thesis Option to be considered for departmental honors. BA students who have completed HUMA 498 and HUMA 499, have a cumulative GPA of 3.3 in their major courses and receive a grade of ‘B’ or higher for their Senior Thesis (in HUMA 499) will graduate with departmental honors.

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