The Certificate Program in Humanistic Studies encourages students to explore the frontiers of their home discipline and build bridges to others, illuminating one field with approaches, questions and insights of another.
While concentrating in a home department, students will design a curriculum that links one or more fields that can enrich their work. In this pursuit, they will join a lively community of faculty and students who meet regularly for discussion, lectures, colloquia, meals and cultural activities. While the word “interdisciplinary” appears in many contexts at Princeton this program will provide explicit practice in bridging fields.
Students from all divisions–natural sciences, social sciences, engineering, and the humanities–who want to forge meaningful connections with another field are welcome to apply.
Complete two interdisciplinary courses during the first two years:
- HUM 216-217 or 218-219, Interdisciplinary Approaches to Western Culture; or
- HUM 233-234, East Asian Humanities; or
- HUM 247-248, Near Eastern Humanities; or
- Two other equivalent courses (e.g., HUM 346, Introduction to Digital Humanities) that provide a rigorous interdisciplinary or comparative approach to the humanities.
In addition to the two prerequisites, students complete six additional courses, which may also be used to fulfill departmental requirements.
- Four of the six must be explicitly interdisciplinary in their approach and/or subject matter.
- The students chooses the remaining two, in consultation with the Humanities Council Executive Director, Dr. Kathleen Crown, as part of an individual plan of study. In these courses, students are expected to forge their own interdisciplinary connections and pursue them in their written work.
- One of the six courses is an interdisciplinary capstone seminar created specifically for certificate students, and normally offered once a semester or at least once a year. Other team-taught, advanced, cross-disciplinary seminars can sometimes fulfill the capstone requirement, in consultation with the Humanities Council’s Executive Director, Dr. Kathleen Crown.
Students in the Program must also complete either:
- A senior thesis in their home department with an interdisciplinary focus; or
- An interdisciplinary research paper written specifically for the Certificate Program (if their thesis topic does not lend itself to an interdisciplinary approach)
Applicants to the Certificate Program are encouraged to reflect on the meaningful connections they wish to forge, then propose a curriculum for their junior and senior years that combines the requirements of their home departments with the pursuits that best complement their interests. These individual paths will likely fall into five major trajectories:
- Bridges within the humanities and arts: Students on this path deepen their study of one particular partnership among the possible combinations of religion, philosophy, history, literature and the arts.
- Bridges between the humanities and related social sciences: This path highlights intersections between a specific branch of the humanities and a neighboring field of anthropology, sociology or politics.
- Intercultural studies: This path illuminates the study of western culture with comparative approaches to other areas of the world, for example, or study one or more regions through different methodologies. In this pursuit, they might benefit from participating in global seminars or other opportunities for study abroad.
- Bridges between the humanities and the sciences: This path enables concentrators in the humanities or social sciences to cognitive science or other natural sciences.
- Digital approaches to the humanities: This path creates new kinds of knowledge in the humanities using the resources and insights of computer science.
When should one apply?
Students may apply (or “register”) as early as first-year spring, if they have completed the two prerequisite interdisciplinary courses. Applying early makes you eligible for reserved spaces in the capstone seminars and other desirable courses.
Students are normally admitted to the Certificate Program during the second semester of their sophomore year.
Please contact Stephanie Lewandowski, Program Manager, Humanistic Studies, with questions about academic requirements.
For students interested in:
- Learning more about the certificate in Humanistic Studies
- Discussing the program requirements in relation to their academic goals and interests
Submit the email form below and the Program Manager for Humanistic Studies, Stephanie Lewandowski, will confirm your appointment.
Current certificate students may also use this form to make an appointment to discuss progress on requirements, course selection, summer opportunities, and other humanities-related research projects or questions.