Bachelor of Arts in Humanities

The Humanities program offers students understanding of cultural experience through interdisciplinary study of the humanities. Undergraduate and graduate students study creative practices, cultural values, and insights of diverse human communities, past and present. Humanities majors explore methods of bringing the various humanities, such as literature, music, visual forms, and architecture, into an integrative view of the world's cultural diversity.

With this integrative approach to American and world cultures, the humanities major provides an excellent foundation for jobs in government, business, law, education, and the arts. Practical training in a specific professional field (TESOL, journalism, museum work, etc.) may well be taken in conjunction with the major or the minor in humanities. The Bachelor of Arts in Humanities program is also good preparation for entering a K–12 single subject or multiple subject teaching credential programs.

The B.A. in Humanities (42 units) includes a core of five courses (including a senior seminar) in basic methods of understanding culture through the humanities, and then choose combinations of courses in European, American, Asian and Middle Eastern/African, and Cross-Cultural Studies. Up to three appropriate courses in related departments such as ethnic studies, English, comparative and world literature, philosophy, art, and music may be included in the major with an advisor's approval.

The minor in Humanities (21 units) includes three core courses and four additional courses in one or more of the culture-study areas, depending upon the emphasis desired.

Program Learning Outcomes

Students completing a B.A. in Humanities should, by the completion of their degree, be able to:

  • identify and describe the formal features of a range of cultural forms including (but not limited to) texts, images, and films;
  • place an expressive work in its cultural context through close reading of its formal details; 
  • articulate cross-cultural differences, similarities, and relationships represented by cultural works from different areas of the world;
  • perceive and articulate — both in discussion and in writing — formal and historical relationships among written texts and other expressive forms. 

Humanities (B.A.) — 42 Units

The department's lower-division General Education courses (HUM 130HUM 220, HUM 225) or other lower-division courses concerned with ideas, social conditions, and art forms are recommended for students planning to major or minor in Humanities. Up to 6 units of lower-division coursework may be counted as electives in the major. Study or practical experience toward mastery of a foreign language is strongly recommended along with the major or minor.

Humanities majors who successfully complete HUM 300GW will have satisfied the University Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR).

Core Requirements (15 units)

HUM 300GWJunior Seminar Humanities Writing - GWAR3
HUM 301Form and Culture3
HUM 303History and Culture3
HUM 425Thought and Image: Humanities3
or HUM 510 Comparative Form and Culture
HUM 690Senior Seminar in the Humanities3

Cross-Cultural Studies (6 units)

Units selected from the following or other appropriate courses on advisement:

HUM 130The Humanities: Major Works3
or HUM 220 Values and Culture
HUM/LS 317Critical Animal Studies3
HUM 320Music, Ideas, and Culture3
HUM/CMX 325Comics and Culture3
HUM 345Humanism and Mysticism3
HUM 380Nature and Human Values3
HUM 390Images of Eroticism3
HUM 391Images of Eroticism in Contemporary Culture3
HUM 415Contemporary Culture3
HUM/CWL 424Multicultural Middle Ages3
HUM 438The Reading Experiment: The Power of the Book3
HUM/LS 440Mind, Body, and Culture3
HUM/JS/PHIL 501Judaism, Christianity, and Islam3
HUM 510Comparative Form and Culture3
HUM/CMX 625Advanced Readings in Comics3

European Culture Studies (6 units)

Units selected from the following or other appropriate courses on advisement:

HUM/HIST 315History of Science from the Scientific Revolution3
HUM/HIST 348Thought and Culture in Modern Europe3
HUM 373Biography of a City: European Cities3
HUM/MGS 378Athens3
HUM 401/CLAS 410Ancient Greek Literature3
HUM 402/CLAS 415Ancient Roman Literature3
HUM 403/HIST 330The Early Middle Ages3
HUM 404/HIST 331The High Middle Ages3
HUM 407Romanticism and Impressionism3
HUM 410The Modern Revolution3
HUM/CWL 423Going Medieval: Medieval Literature and Contemporary Adaptations3
HUM 426Literary Orients and Orientalisms, Classical to Contemporary3
HUM/PHIL 432Nietzsche and Postmodernism3
HUM 434/JS 414/PHIL 434/PLSI 434Arendt and Heidegger3
HUM 550The Art of Autobiography3

American Culture Studies (6 units)

Units selected from the following or other appropriate courses on advisement:

HUM 225Values in American Life3
HUM 340/A U 302Bay Area Culture3
HUM 371Biography of a City: Latin American Cities3
HUM 375Biography of a City: United States Cities3
HUM 376San Francisco3
HUM/JS/HIST 441American Jews and Popular Culture3
HUM 450/AMST 410California Culture3
HUM 455Humanities of the Americas3
HUM 470American Autobiography3
HUM/HIST 480Thought and Culture in America to 18803
HUM/HIST 481Thought and Culture in America: 1880 to the Present3
HUM 485/AMST 310The Arts and American Culture3
HUM 490American Images: Photography and Literature3

Asian, African, and Middle Eastern Culture Studies (6 units)

Units selected from the following or other appropriate courses on advisement:

HUM/ARTH 205Asian Art History3
or HUM 271 The Classic Chinese Novel in Contemporary Pop Culture
HUM 360Styles of African Cultural Expression3
HUM 370Biography of a City: Asian Cities3
HUM 374Biography of a City: African and Middle Eastern Cities3
HUM 379Jerusalem3
HUM 527Japan and Modernity3
HUM 530Chinese Civilization3
HUM 531Images of Modern China3
HUM 532/CWL 432From Ghost Stories to Short Stories: Japanese Fiction in Comparative Contexts3
HUM/CLAS 582/HIST 370Tales from Ancient India: Hinduism and Buddhism3
HUM 586/HIST 374Bollywood and Beyond: Indian History Through Film3

Additional Courses (3 units)

Units selected from one of the above culture study areas or other appropriate courses on advisement

Note: Up to three appropriate courses (9 units) in related departments or programs may be substituted for departmental coursework in the culture-study areas. No more than 6 units in the major may be taken CR/NC. Up to 6 units of lower-division coursework can be counted as an elective in the major.

Complementary Studies

Twelve units of Complementary Studies are required of all candidates for the Bachelor of Arts in Humanities. These units must come from courses bearing a prefix other than HUM and not cross-listed with HUM. Humanities majors will be offered several pathways toward completing this requirement, each of which is designed to facilitate graduation in a timely manner. Humanities majors may, with the approval of a Humanities department advisor, apply 12 units in a single foreign language of their choosing, courses taken in an approved study abroad program (e.g., CSU Study Abroad), courses taken as partial completion of a second major, a minor, or a certificate, or courses in a related discipline. Related disciplines typically include: African American Studies, American Indian Studies, American Studies, Anthropology, Art, Asian American Studies, Broadcast and Electronic Communication, Cinema, Classics, Comparative World Literature, Creative Writing, English, Foreign Languages, History, International Relations, Jewish Studies, Journalism, Liberal Studies, Middle East and Islamic Studies, Modern Greek Studies, Music, Philosophy, Political Science, Race and Resistance Studies, Theatre Arts, and Women and Gender Studies.

These courses should either have a direct bearing on the study of the humanities, or they should be shown to deepen and enrich the study of humanities in particular and articulable ways. Up to 9 units of Complementary Studies can count toward the major, leaving 3 other units to be met by another course in consultation with an advisor in the department. 

General Education Requirements

Requirement Course Level Units Area Designation
Oral Communication LD 3 A1
Written English Communication I LD 3 A2
Critical Thinking LD 3 A3
Physical Science LD 3 B1
Life Science LD 3 B2
Lab Science LD 1 B3
Mathematics/Quantitative Reasoning LD 3 B4
Arts LD 3 C1
Humanities LD 3 C2
Arts or Humanities LD 3 C1 or C2
Social Sciences LD 3 D1
Social Sciences: US History LD 3 D2
Social Sciences: US & CA Government LD 3 D3
Lifelong Learning and Self-Development (LLD) LD 3 E
Physical and/or Life Science UD 3 UD-B
Arts and/or Humanities UD 3 UD-C
Social Sciences UD 3 UD-D
SF State Studies
Courses certified as meeting the SF State Studies requirements may be upper or lower division in General Education (GE), a major or minor, or an elective.
American Ethnic and Racial Minorities LD or UD 3 AERM
Environmental Sustainability LD or UD 3 ES
Global Perspectives LD or UD 3 GP
Social Justice LD or UD 3 SJ

Note: LD = Lower-Division; UD = Upper-Division.

First-Time Student Roadmap (4 Year)

Find the correct roadmap (A, B, C, or D):

  1. Select the row that matches your English Course choice for A2.*
  2. Select the column that matches your QR Category (found at your student center under Math Alert).
  3. Click the Roadmap that lines up with your row and column.

For example, if you are taking ENG 104 as your first English course and your student center math alert says you are QR Category III, you should choose Roadmap D.

Pathway QR Cat I/II QR Cat III/IV
ENG 114 Roadmap A Roadmap C
ENG 104/ENG 105 Roadmap B Roadmap D

*Composition for Multilingual Students: If taking ENG 209 as your first English course, choose the ENG 114 row. If taking ENG 204 for your first English course, choose the ENG 104/ENG 105 row.

SF State Scholars

The San Francisco State Scholars program provides undergraduate students with an accelerated pathway to a graduate degree. Students in this program pursue a bachelor’s and master’s degree simultaneously. This program allows students to earn graduate credit while in their junior and/or senior year, reducing the number of semesters required for completion of a master’s degree.

This roadmap opens in a new tab.

Transfer Student Roadmap (2 Year)

For students with an AA-T in Art History. This roadmap opens in a new tab.

This degree program is an approved pathway (“similar” major) for students earning the ADT in Art History

California legislation SB 1440 (2009) mandated the creation of the Associate Degree for Transfer (ADT) to be awarded by the California Community Colleges. Two types of ADTs are awarded: Associate in Arts for Transfer (AA-T) and Associate in Science for Transfer (AS-T). 

Note: no specific degree is required for admission as an upper-division student. However, the ADT includes specific guarantees related to admission and graduation and is designed to clarify the transfer process and strengthen lower-division preparation for the major.

An ADT totals 60 units and in most cases includes completion of all lower-division General Education requirements and at least 18 units in a specific major. (The Biology, Chemistry, and Environmental Science AS-T degrees defer 3 units in lower-division GE area C and 3 units in lower-division GE area D until after transfer.) Students pursuing an ADT are guaranteed admission to the CSU if minimum eligibility requirements are met, though not necessarily to the CSU campus of primary choice.

Upon verification that the ADT has been awarded prior to matriculation at SF State, students are guaranteed B.A. or B.S. completion in 60 units if pursuing a “similar” major after transfer. Determinations about “similar” majors at SF State are made by faculty in the discipline.

Degree completion in 60 units cannot be guaranteed when a student simultaneously pursues an additional major, a minor, certificate, or credential.

A sample advising roadmap for students who have earned an ADT and continue in a "similar" major at SF State is available on the Roadmaps tab on the degree requirements page for the major. The roadmap displays:

  • How many lower-division units required for the major have been completed upon entry based on the award of a specific ADT;
  • Which lower-division requirements are considered complete upon entry based on the award of a specific ADT;
  • How to complete the remaining 60 units for the degree in four semesters.

Students who have earned an ADT should seek advising in the major department during the first semester of attendance.

General Advising Information for Transfer Students

  1. Before transfer, complete as many lower-division requirements or electives for this major as possible.
  2. The following courses are not required for admission but are required for graduation. Students are strongly encouraged to complete these units before transfer; doing so will provide more flexibility in course selection after transfer.
    • a course in U.S. History
    • a course in U.S. & California Government

For information about satisfying the requirements described in (1) and (2) above at a California Community College (CCC), please visit http://www.assist.org. Check any geographically accessible CCCs; sometimes options include more than one college. Use ASSIST to determine:

  • Which courses at a CCC satisfy any lower-division major requirements for this major;
  • Which courses at a CCC satisfy CSU GE, US History, and US & CA Government requirements.

Remedial courses are not transferable and do not apply to the minimum 60 semester units/90 quarter units required for admission.

Additional units for courses that are repeated do not apply to the minimum 60 units required for upper-division transfer (for example, if a course was not passed on the first attempt or was taken to earn a better grade).

Before leaving the last California Community College of attendance, obtain a summary of completion of lower-division General Education units (IGETC or CSU GE Breadth). This is often referred to as a GE certification worksheet. SF State does not require delivery of this certification to Admissions, but students should retain this document for verifying degree progress after transfer.

Credit for Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, or College-Level Examination Program courses: AP/IB/CLEP credit is not automatically transferred from the previous institution. Units are transferred only when an official score report is delivered to SF State. Credit is based on the academic year during which exams were taken. Refer to the University Bulletin in effect during the year of AP/IB/CLEP examination(s) for details regarding the award of credit for AP/IB/CLEP.

Students pursuing majors in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines often defer 6-9 units of lower-division General Education in Areas C and D until after transfer to focus on preparation courses for the major. This advice does not apply to students pursuing associate degree completion before transfer.

Transferring From Institutions Other Than CCCs or CSUs

Review SF State's lower-division General Education requirements. Note that, as described below, the four basic skills courses required for admission meet A1, A2, A3, and B4 in the SF State GE pattern. Courses that fulfill the remaining areas of SF State’s lower-division GE pattern are available at most two-year and four-year colleges and universities.

Of the four required basic skills courses, a course in critical thinking (A3) may not be widely offered outside the CCC and CSU systems. Students should attempt to identify and take an appropriate course no later than the term of application to the CSU. To review more information about the A3 requirement, please visit bulletin.sfsu.edu/undergraduate-education/general-education/lower-division/#AAEL.

Waiting until after transfer to take a single course at SF State that meets both US and CA/local government requirements may be an appropriate option, particularly if transferring from outside of California.

All Students Must Meet the Transfer Eligibility Requirements Outlined Below for Admission.

For more information, visit the Undergraduate Admissions section.

  • Complete 60 or more transferable semester units or 90 or more quarter units.
  • Earn a college grade point average of 2.0 or better in all transferable courses. Non-local area residents may be held to a higher GPA standard.
  • Be in good standing at the last college or university attended.
  • Complete 30-semester units (45-quarter units) of General Education, including four basic skills courses:
    1. One course in oral communication (same as CSU GE Area A1)
    2. One course in written composition (same as CSU GE Area A2)
    3. One course in critical thinking (same as CSU GE Area A3)
    4. One course in mathematics or quantitative reasoning (same as CSU GE Area B4)
  • The four basic skills courses and a minimum of 60 transferable semester units (90-quarter units) must be completed by the spring semester prior to fall admission, or by the fall semester prior to spring admission. Earn a C- or better grade in each basic skills course.