Jhumpa Lahiri and students
All areas of study

Scholarship in the humanities forms and deepens us as individuals and as contributors to society. At a time when technology offers dazzling new possibilities and cultures collide in ways both exciting and dangerous, the arts and humanities provide crucial insight into what matters in life, into the character of civilization, and into the capacity — and the limits — of people's ability to understand societies different from their own.

Programs

  • African American Studies

    For students who wish to study the complex interplay between political, economic, and cultural forces shaping the historic achievements and struggles of African-descended people in the United States and their relationship to others around the world.

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  • African Studies

    The Certificate in African Studies provides opportunities to learn about the continent. The program offers classes in Africa's political, economic, and social history; built environments and urban geographies; ecology, genetic diversity, and epidemiological concerns. The program also offers classes in Africa's vibrant art scenes, past and present, where literature, music, and art have come to define a new post-colonial African cosmopolitanism.

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  • American Studies

    The Program aims to give students an understanding of American society -- its culture, its institutions, its intellectual traditions, and the relationships among its diverse people.  We encourage study and debate about America’s place in the world and the world in America, as well as what it means to grapple with the horizons and limits of its democratic aspirations.

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  • Architecture

    The School of Architecture's undergraduate program is known for its rigorous and interdisciplinary approach to pre-professional education within the framework of a liberal arts curriculum. The master’s degree has both a professional and a post-professional track, emphasizing design expertise in the context of architectural scholarship. The doctoral program focuses on the history, theory, and criticism of architecture, urbanism, landscape, and building technology.

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  • Art and Archaeology

    The Department of Art and Archaeology is devoted to the study of the visual arts and the investigation of material artifacts from a wide range of cultures and periods. Undergraduate programs of study include history of art and studio arts. An undergraduate certificate in archaeology is available. The graduate program in Art and Archaeology is designed to prepare students for teaching and research at the university level, curatorial positions in museums, and other careers in the visual arts.

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  • Classics

    Undergraduates can pursue three programs of study: Classics, which uses knowledge of Greek and Latin as a gateway to the literature, history, and culture of ancient Greece and Rome; Classical studies, which allows for the study of classical civilization and its impact; and Ancient history, which focuses on the history of the ancient world.

    The graduate program offers a varied and comprehensive course of study appropriate to their developing research interests. The department offers four curricular options: literature and philology, history (Program in the Ancient World), classical philosophy, classical and Hellenic studies.

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  • Comparative Literature

    Undergraduate study approaches literature from a broad, cross-cultural perspective. The curriculum encompasses literatures, languages, and cultures from around the world. Students motivated to understand literature in the broadest terms or those interested in particular examples of literary comparison will find an intellectual home in Comparative Literature.

    The graduate program enables students with exceptional training in languages and literatures to profit from the increased awareness and understanding from the considered view of more than one literature and of the theoretical presuppositions behind literary study as a whole. 

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  • Contemporary European Politics and Society

    The program encourages the interdisciplinary study of modern Europe, with a particular focus on politics, economics, and society in western and central Europe since World War I.

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  • Creative Writing

    The program allows undergraduates to work with practicing writers to develop their writing skills, learn the possibilities of modern poetry, fiction, nonfiction, screenwriting, and translation, and gain a special access to the critical understanding of literature through their involvement in the creative process.

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  • Dance

    The program familiarizes students with creative, performative, and analytical approaches to dance through exposure to professional choreographers, dancers, critics, and scholars. Students undertake demanding, studio-based courses with dance professionals, provides advanced courses for the pre-professional dancer and offers courses to students who have never danced. The creation of original work, both choreographic and written, is emphasized alongside rigorous technical training.

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  • East Asian Studies

    The East Asian Studies concentration (A.B.) provides undergraduates with a broad-ranging knowledge of the languages and cultures of China, Japan, and Korea. The East Asian Studies certificate provides an opportunity for students who plan to major in the humanities, social sciences, or other disciplines to simultaneously pursue the study of East Asian language and culture. The Graduate School offers doctoral (Ph.D.) training in Chinese and Japanese history and literature, Korean history, Korean cultural studies, anthropology of East Asia, and in the transnational social and cultural study of contemporary East Asia.

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  • English

    Undergraduate students read widely across the genres and periods of British, American and Anglophone literature, and explore approaches to literary study with a distinguished, internationally renowned faculty. The department's ranks include historicists and formalists, theorists and poets, and postcolonialists and feminists. Faculty teach not only poetry, prose and drama, but film, music, art, architecture and technology. The department is united by a passion for works of the imagination, and for thinking about what they mean and the difference they make in the world.

    The graduate program produces well-trained and field-transforming scholars, insightful and imaginative critics, and effective and creative teachers.

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  • Entrepreneurship

    The program aims to supplement undergraduates in their major departments with an understanding and practice in entrepreneurship.

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  • European Cultural Studies

    The program deepens students' understanding of European civilization and strengthens their command of cultural interpretation through interdisciplinary investigation. The program focuses on the ways in which European societies, past and present, order reality, make sense of life and communicate meaning across a range of disciplines and in a wide variety of media.

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  • French and Italian

    The undergraduate program gives students a grounding in the language, literature, and culture. Courses provide practical instruction in the French and Italian languages, the literatures and cultures of France and Italy in all periods, and literature in French written in other parts of Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas.

    The graduate program trains students to become effective teachers and scholars of French language and literature. (The department does not offer a graduate program in Italian though it does teach graduate-level courses in Italian literature.)

     

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  • Gender and Sexuality Studies

    The undergraduate and graduate programs are dedicated to the study of gender and sexuality, as well as their intersections with race, class, ethnicity and disability, across cultures and global geographies both past and present. 

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  • German

    The department offers six areas of undergraduate concentration: German literature, German philosophy and intellectual history, media and aesthetics, Germanic linguistics, the study of two literatures (German and a second literature), and German culture and politics. 

    The graduate program offer students the chance to participate in an intense intellectual community and to work with scholars whose expertise encompasses the breadth of German literary tradition as well as contemporary interdisciplinary and theoretical approaches to the study of German culture.

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  • Hellenic Studies

    The undergraduate program is for students interested in the interdisciplinary study of the Greek world (ancient, Byzantine or modern) as well as the classical tradition. The program offers language courses in modern Greek and postclassical Greek, introductory courses in Byzantine and modern Greek studies, and freshman, upperclass and global seminars.

    The graduate program offers a broad range of seminars in Hellenic studies that are complemented by graduate courses in several departments and programs, with opportunities for doctoral research on Byzantine or modern Greek civilization.

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  • History

    The undergraduate program encourages students to gain further knowledge of the major developments in, and problems of, history, to do independent historical research and writing, and to develop an authoritative knowledge of one particular field of history.  

    The graduate program values an approach to scholarship grounded in the particular while retaining a sense of the whole. Students take a comprehensive a view of history with the goal of cultivating a far-reaching understanding of the past. Throughout their enrollment, students develop the necessary skills to conduct discipline-defining research.

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  • Humanistic Studies

    The undergraduate program offers two areas of study. Humanistic studies explore interrelated events, ideas, texts and artifacts of Western and Asian cultures. Journalism examines topics related to writing and the media, from creative nonfiction to relations between the media and society.

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  • Interdisciplinary Humanities

    The Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program in the Humanities at Princeton is a home for new experiments in an ancient enterprise. The program explores the widening possibilities for humanistic study in a young millennium, reaching out to the arts and sciences and testing the conventions of intellectual exchange. The program offers a joint Ph.D. in collaboration with participating departments, and current graduate students apply to the program in their third year of study.

  • Jazz Studies

    The program provides an educational forum for the study of the performance practices and rich cultural legacy of jazz. Students are exposed to the historical, cultural, social, theoretical, stylistic and creative issues that pertain to the jazz idiom.

  • Judaic Studies

    The undergraduate program provides students the opportunity to explore more than three millennia of Jewish culture, history, religion, thought, politics and literature from the Bible to contemporary Jewish thought and society from an interdisciplinary perspective.

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  • Language and Culture

    The program is administered through individual language and literature departments to allow students in any concentration to earn a certificate in language and culture. Certificates can be earned in the departments of classics, East Asian studies, French and Italian, German, Near Eastern studies, Slavic languages and literatures, and Spanish and Portuguese languages and cultures.

  • Latin American Studies

    The undergraduate and graduate programs promote interdisciplinary study to inspire knowledge of and experience in Latin America.

     

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  • Latino Studies

    The undergraduate program traverses the arts, humanities and social sciences, seeking to provide students with a broad understanding of the emergence, transformation and consolidation of Latinos as a pan-ethnic group and to appreciate the range of Hispanic imprints on American society and culture.

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  • Linguistics

    Linguistics is the study of the distinctive properties of human language and the cognitive capacities of language users, including the rules that govern the patterns of particular languages and universal principles governing all languages. Linguists investigate the grammatical principles and processes that determine the structure of human languages, their evolution over time, and their psychological underpinnings.

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  • Media and Modernity

    The graduate program promotes the interdisciplinary study of the unique cultural formations that came to prominence during the last two centuries, with special attention paid to the interplay between culture and technology. The program centers on architecture, art, film, photography, literature, philosophy, music, history and all forms of electronic media from radio to video and information technologies.

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  • Medieval Studies

    The undergraduate and graduate programs encourages the interdisciplinary study of the Middle Ages: its art, literature (Latin and vernacular), music, religion, science, philosophy, politics and economic and social structures.

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  • Music

    The undergraduate program encourages students to explore music according to their individual needs, interests, and aspirations. Students may pursue work in composition, music history, theory, analysis and interpretation, non-Western music, music technology, performance and improvisation.

     

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  • Music Composition

    The graduate program offers a very open curriculum in which students are free to pursue their own individual compositional interests. At the core of the program is the student's own creative work, carried out in regular consultation with members of the composition faculty.

  • Music Theater

    From opera to Broadway musicals to experimental music theater, the many hybrids of singing, acting, and movement are among the most historically significant, socially relevant, and artistically adventurous forms of performance. The undergraduate program encourages students to explore music theater as an intensely collaborative art form, as a key component of world cultures, and as an entertainment genre that shapes and is shaped by history, economics, politics, and technology.

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  • Musical Performance

    The undergraduate program enhances the study of performance through the study of theory, composition, and music history— and vice-versa. The program can provide a foundation upon which a student may build to go on to further professional performance training at the graduate level.

  • Musicology

    Musicology embraces the study of history, theory and practice of music from many points of view. Graduate study in musicology may cover approaches such as historical and ethnographic investigation as well as music theory, hermeneutics and criticism.

  • Near Eastern Studies

    The undergraduate concentration gives students competence in a Near Eastern language and a broad knowledge of the literatures, civilizations, politics and history of the ancient, medieval and modern Near East. Study is built around courses in history, literature, religion, law, anthropology, politics, economics, public policy and Near Eastern languages (Arabic, Hebrew, Persian or Turkish).

    The undergraduate certificate provides students in any department the opportunity to study the languages, modern history and contemporary institutions of the Near East.

    The graduate program has been a leader in the study of the Middle East since 1927. While traditionally the strength of the department has been in the medieval and pre-modern studies of the geographical area that includes the Arab lands, Iran, Israel and Turkey, greater emphasis has been given more recently to the modern Muslim world in its entirety, including the Caucasus, Central Asia, South Asia and Southeast Asia.

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  • Philosophy

    Undergraduates enjoy small class sizes, have the opportunity to do independent work in close consultation with members of the twenty-strong faculty, and benefit from teaching assistants drawn from one of the world's very best graduate programs in philosophy. 

    The graduate program equips students for careers as philosophers and teachers of philosophy. The program provides broad general training, an opportunity for specialized research in the major areas of philosophic inquiry and experience in undergraduate teaching. Each student pursues an individual plan of study appropriate to his or her background, interests, and aims.

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  • Religion

    The undergraduate program examines religious life, the diverse forms it has taken in different cultures and historical periods, and the questions it poses for theoretical, ethical, and political reflection. Students study diverse cultures, peoples, texts and ideologies.

    The graduate program offers broad training in Religious Studies and enables students to specialize in the subfields of Asian religions, Islam, religion in the Americas, religions of Mediterranean antiquity, religion and philosophy, and religion, ethics and politics.

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  • Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies

    The undergraduate program draws on the humanities, history and social sciences to study of Russia, Eastern Europe and Eurasia. Students develop expertise in a core language of Eurasia and a scholarly grounding in the study of the region.

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  • Slavic Languages and Literatures

    The undergraduate program provides a critically informed appreciation for the literature and culture of Russia and the Slavic world. Students choose a literary tradition as their object of study and develop a comprehensive knowledge of its historical trajectories, artistic trends and intellectual currents. 

    The graduate program furthers interest, knowledge and scholarship relating to Russia, Slavic Central Europe and Eurasia, primarily through the cultural humanities. Students explore new intellectual paths and approaches through a strong background in the Russian literary tradition, an introduction to major schools of theory, and the opportunity to conduct research abroad.  

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  • South Asian Studies

    The undergraduate program offers students the methodological and theoretical tools to study the political, economic, social, religious, literary and cultural institutions of the region with particular focus on the modern history of India and Pakistan. Students take a four-term sequence of language instruction in Hindi, Urdu and Sanskrit.

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  • Spanish and Portuguese

    The undergraduate program studies the importance and influence of the Spanish, Latin American and Luso-Brazilian histories, cultures and languages around the world from the Middle Ages to the present day. Students prepare to be successful global citizens, ready to face the challenges posed by an increasingly cosmopolitan and multilingual professional world.

    The graduate program trains students to become effective teachers and scholars of Spanish and/or Portuguese language and culture. Students acquire a broad understanding of the whole field of Spanish and/or Luso-Brazilian studies as well as a specialized grasp of one of its subfields.

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  • Teacher Preparation

    The program combines coursework, seminars, laboratory experience, field work and practice teaching to become fully prepared and certified to teach successfully at the middle and secondary levels. Participants can earn certification in art, English, mathematics, music, the sciences, social studies and world languages. The program is approved by the New Jersey Department of Education and by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).

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  • Theater

    The undergraduate program allows students to work with professional artists and critics, as well as with scholars in the area of performance studies, to familiarize themselves with the nature of practical work in theater and the role theater has played and continues to play in various cultures at various times. 

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  • Translation and Intercultural Communication

    The undergraduate program seeks to develop skills in language use and in the understanding of cultural and disciplinary difference. Translation across languages allows access to issues of intercultural differences, and the program encourages its students to think about the complexity of communicating across cultures, nations and linguistic borders.

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  • Values and Public Life

    The undergraduate program focuses on modes of inquiry into important ethical issues in public life. The program helps students develop competence in pursuing such inquiries generally and supports them in applying these intellectual skills to the advanced analysis of one or more related topics. Students will be equipped to bring informed discussion of values into the public sphere and to integrate a critical value perspective into their future studies and pursuits.

  • Visual Arts

    In the undergraduate program, students explore visual art and media and develop their creative skills in connection with a liberal arts education. Courses are offered in painting, drawing, graphic design, media, sculpture, photography, filmmaking and film history and criticism. Studio courses emphasize direct, hands-on art making under the guidance of practicing visual arts professionals.

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