Bachelor of Arts in Humanities

The Humanities program is dedicated to the interdisciplinary study of arts and ideas in their cultural and historical contexts, including our own. Global in its reach, comparative in its approach, and theoretical in its foundation, the program attracts students who to want to explore the creative practices, cultural values, and significant ideas and debates of human communities past and present. Students who complete this course of study will have a grasp of basic methods and approaches in the study of cultural expression, and an acquaintance with diverse cultural forms and traditions.

Rather than steer you towards one particular career, the humanities major prepares you for virtually any pathway you choose to pursue after college. Our recent graduates work in many different fields and contexts, including K-12 and higher education, museums, social work, IT, law, libraries, graphic design, human resources, and non-profit literacy programs.

The B.A. in Humanities (39 units) requires 15 units of required core courses and 24 units of electives. The core includes an introductory seminar building skills in reading and writing; three global humanities courses focusing on past, present, and future; and a senior seminar. For electives, students may choose any HUM-prefix courses. Many of our electives can double count in related minors, including American Studies, Comparative World Literature, History, Comics Studies, and Video Game Studies. Up to three appropriate courses in related departments may be included in the major with an advisor's approval.

Program Learning Outcomes

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

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

Humanities (B.A.) — 39 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).
  • No more than 6 units in the major may be taken CR/NC.

Core Requirements (15 units)

HUM 300GWReading and Writing Across Creative Forms - GWAR3
HUM 303Remembering our Past: Memory, Tradition, History3
HUM 415Thinking the Present: Comparative Arts and Culture3
HUM 500Imagining New Futures: Capitalism, Climate, Technology3
HUM 690/CWL 680Senior Seminar: Research in the Humanities and Comparative & World Literature3

Electives (24 units)

Select an additional 24 units of HUM-prefix courses that you have not counted toward the 15-unit core. For suggested elective pathways and advice on how to choose electives that could count towards a minor (in American Studies, Classics, Comics Studies, Comparative World Lit, History) please consult a Humanities advisor or the Humanities website.

Note: Up to 6 units in related departments or programs may be substituted as electives with the approval of a faculty advisor. 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 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
Lifelong Learning and Self-Development (LLD) LD 3 E
Ethnic Studies LD 3 F
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)

The roadmaps presented in this Bulletin are intended as suggested plans of study and do not replace meeting with an advisor. For a more personalized roadmap, please use the Degree Planner tool found in your Student Center.

First-Time Student Roadmap

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.

SF State Scholars Roadmap

Transfer Student Roadmap (2 Year)

ADT Roadmap.

For students with an ADT in:

  • Art History (AA-T)
  • English (AA-T)
  • History (AA-T)
  • Philosophy (AA-T)

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 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

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.