Overview

The programs in the Division of Humanities and Fine Arts range from traditional areas that have been at the heart of a liberal arts education for thousands of years (represented by departments such as Classics, History, and Philosophy) to programs that are redefining the university in the 21st century (such as Media Arts and Technology). They include a broad spectrum of languages and literatures and all of the performing and visual arts. The Division’s departments and interdisciplinary programs focus on the intellectual, historical, and artistic traditions of cultures throughout the world and the modes of expression and representation that have given them voice and form.

On the undergraduate level, the Division of Humanities and Fine Arts prepares students for a wide variety of careers while providing them with the knowledge and the skills of critical thinking, communication, and expression that will allow them to participate in society as informed and engaged citizens. Graduate students receive rigorous professional training that prepares them for careers in academia, the arts, public and cultural institutions, and related fields. Internationally-recognized scholars and artists teach undergraduate and graduate students and advance their fields with innovative research, publications, and creative activity that both preserve our traditions and map new fields of study. Collaborative research projects, departmental centers, and interdepartmental programs and consortia promote interdisciplinary teaching and scholarship that bring together students and faculty across the Division of Humanities and Fine Arts, the College of Letters and Science, and the university.

The Interdisciplinary Humanities Center expands traditional definitions of the humanities by sponsoring activities in the performing and visual arts and by encouraging dialogues among the humanities, the social sciences, and the sciences. Departments work closely with UCSB Arts and Lectures, sponsoring residencies and/or classes with well-known performers and artists. The Art, Design, and Architecture Museum has a collection of over 7,000 works of art and is one of the largest repositories of architectural design records in the United States. The University Library has over two million volumes, as well as access to the California Digital Library and many electronic resources and archives.

A wide variety of arts and humanities degrees are available at the undergraduate and graduate levels. These include Art, Art History, Classics, Comparative Literature, Dance, Theatre, Music, Asian Studies, Chinese, Japanese, French, Italian, Russian, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Russian, Latin American and Iberian Studies, Linguistics, English, History, Philosophy, Religious Studies, Renaissance Studies, Medieval Studies, and Film and Media Studies. The Writing Program provides a wide variety of courses in which students study and practice writing in academic, professional, and civic contexts. A minor in Professional Writing offers tracks in Professional Editing, Multimedia Communication, Business Communication, and Writing and Civic Engagement.  

Majors in the arts and humanities prepare students for a wide variety of careers and professions. Employers, businesses, government agencies, and non-profit organizations, as well as law schools, medical schools, and other professional schools, want college graduates with research, analytic, and interpretative skills, trained in critical thinking and communication, who are able to collaborate, create, and innovate—the hallmarks of a liberal arts education. They need graduates who understand the histories, cultures, and languages of our diverse 21st-century global society. Some UCSB arts and humanities alumni have pursued graduate study and become distinguished scholars and university professors. Others have become well-known actors, directors, screenwriters, producers, musicians, artists, and authors. Most have had successful careers in law, medicine, education, finance, business, journalism, media, government, museums and cultural institutions, and the film and television industry.