Discover the Humanities

Discover the Humanities


American University’s humanities curriculum cultivates a wide variety of skills including critical thinking, innovation, and collaboration.

Af-Am & Diaspora Studies

African American and African Diaspora Studies (BA, Minor) examines African American culture in the continental United States in the context of the cultures of the African diaspora.

American Studies

American Studies (BA, Minor) examines American institutions, cultures, and society, while also inviting students to engage in community research and service in Washington, DC, and the metropolitan area.

Arabic Studies

Arabic Studies (BA, Minor), offered through the Department of World Languages and Cultures, helps students attain proficiency in reading, writing, listening, and speaking the Arabic language, while also fostering in students a higher degree of cultural proficiency.

Arab World Studies

Arab World Studies (BA, minor) is an interdisciplinary major, offered through the Department of Critical Race, Gender, and Culture Studies, that offers students the opportunity to learn about Arab societies from multiple perspectives.

Art History

Art History (MA, BA, Minor) provides historical study in period specializations in European and American art from the early Renaissance through the present, as well as Asian art and other non-Western topics.

Asian Studies

Asian Studies (BA, Minor, Grad Cert, Ugrad Cert) aims to understand Asia in a dynamic global context: enhancing students’ understanding of historical and contemporary global culture and politics by enabling students to engage with an extensive and intensive study of Asia in the past and present.

Creative Writing

Creative Writing (MFA, minor) workshops provide a rigorous yet supportive environment where students explore a range of approaches to the art and craft of fiction, nonfiction, media, and poetry. Students pursuing the Literature BA can select Creative Writing as their specialization.

French Studies

French Studies and French Language & Area Studies (BA, Minor), offered through the Department of World Languages and Cultures, help students develop fluency, critical-historical understanding of the Francophone world, and intercultural awareness.

German Studies

German Studies and German Language and Area Studies (Minor, BA) foster high level oral and written communication skills as well as a deep understanding of German culture and history.


The History (Minor, BA, MA, PhD) program at American University introduces history broadly, then allows students to pursue study and research in areas that interest them, developing original work and a unique and deep specialization.

Jewish Studies

Through the Jewish Studies Program (Minor, BA), students may train for a career in the Jewish community or in Jewish education, learn about Jewish issues and opportunities for Jewish public service, and develop a deeper understanding of American and world Jewry.

Leadership & Ethical Development

CAS LEAD is a 12-credit, cohort based undergraduate certificate program designed to teach and empower students to become effective and ethical leaders.


Literature (Minor, BA) students in any of the four tracks (Literary Studies, Cinema Studies, Transcultural Studies, or Creative Writing) garner excellent writing and communication skills. They know how to learn, to analyze and comprehend other viewpoints, and to argue for ideas.

Literature, Culture, & Technology

The MA in Literature, Culture, and Technology will teach you how the deep study of literature, culture, and ideas interfaces with the increasingly digital professional world.


Our Philosophy program (Minor, BA, MA) exposes students to multiple disciplines including bioethics, ethical theory, feminist philosophy, and phenomenology.

Religious Studies

The Religious Studies program (Minor, BA) allows students to explore and critique areas in Eastern and Western religions.

Russian Studies

The Russian Studies and Russian Language and Area Studies programs (Minor, BA) include a variety of courses focusing on the Russian language and culture.

Spanish Studies

The Spanish Studies and Spanish Language and Area Studies programs (Minor, BA) offer a variety of courses focusing on the Spanish language and Latin American area studies from a variety of disciplines.


The Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) program (Undergraduate Certificate, Graduate Certificate, MA) will prepare you to begin or advance your career in teaching English as a second language or English as a foreign language in the US or abroad.

Women's, Gender, & Sexuality Studies (WGSS)

The Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies program (Two Minors, BA, Graduate Certificate) is an interdisciplinary program encompassing feminist studies, masculinity studies, and sexuality studies.


Humanities News

The Humanities Truck in front of Batelle-Tomkins building. There is a map of DC on the truck.

In the Community ·

The Humanities Truck Brings Food and Community to DC’s Day Laborers

AU’s Humanities Truck engages DC communities by gathering and disseminating research and shared stories. Now it’s doing much more than that—it is helping ease food distribution to people in need impacted by COVID-19.
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American University alumni Khalifa Said-al Mahmoud  talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Alumni ·

Historic Moment Between Netanyahu and Former AU Student

Former AU student Khalifa Said-al Mahmoud, who now is a representative of the United Arab Emirates, talks peace with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
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Donald Earl Collins

Achievements ·

Opening Eyes to Racism, African American Identity, and American Narcissism

Professorial Lecturer of History and American Studies Donald Earl Collins writes about American history identity, race, and the ways in which he sees our country moving.
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Anti-Semitic behavior in both 1945 and 2019

Announcement ·

Distinguished Scholars to Talk About Antisemitism in Series of Virtual Conversations

This fall, American University is bringing together distinguished scholars of Israeli, American, and European history to examine antisemitism over the past seventy-five years.
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antiracist word cloud

Research ·

AU Launches Anti-Racist Pedagogy Library Subject Guide

This week, American University unveiled its new Antiracist Praxis, which gives the entire AU community easy access to the main ideas, key terms, and definitions within the scholarship that inform antiracist practice.
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Allan Lichtman

Government & Politics ·

How Did the Keys Turn?

AU’s Allan Lichtman defied pollsters and pundits to predict Donald Trump’s 2016 victory based on his “13 Keys.” He’s been right in every presidential election since 1984. Now he is making his prediction for 2020.
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David J. Vázquez

Announcement ·

David Vázquez Joins AU to Build Latinx Studies Program

Associate Professor of Literature David J. Vázquez has joined American University to launch a Latinx Studies Program, which will reside in the new Department of Critical Race, Gender, and Culture (CRGC).
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A microphone at a podium in front of a lecture hall

Technology ·

Journalists and Historians “Come to Class” Virtually

When classes went online this spring, Professor Pam Nadell had a spark of inspiration. If students were stuck at home, then prominent journalists, historians, and scholars were stuck at home too. So why not invite them to class? Virtually of course.
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literature. culture. technology.

Literature ·

AU Offering New Technical Writing and Rhetoric Class in Fall

As the world grows more data driven, it needs professionals who can make technical information accessible. To ensure that AU students have this critical skill, WRT 610: Technical Writing and Rhetoric will be offered for the first time this fall.
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