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Humanities, Arts, and Civilization Studies

All students must complete six (6) courses across these three areas: at least two (2) in Humanities, one (1) in the Arts, and two (2) in Civilization Studies. Students also take a 6th course that falls into one of these three Core categories.


Humanities (or "Hum," pronounced as Hume) sequences establish methods of appreciating and analyzing the meaning and power of exemplary texts through the close reading of a range of literary, historical, and philosophical texts. These courses include a writing seminar on the practice of expert academic writing. None of the nine Humanities sequences are meant as preparation for a particular major, so we encourage you to look for sequences whose themes speak to your broader interests. Learn more about and see descriptions of the Humanities sequence options.

Humanities is designed for first year students, and all first-years are required to complete at least the Autumn and Winter quarters of one of the Humanities sequences. Some may continue their sequence into Spring quarter for a total of three Humanities courses.


Arts courses provide an introduction to methods for analyzing, comprehending, and appreciating works of dramatic, musical, or visual art. They are generally not meant to be specialized introductions to a single field or creative practice but instead broadly investigate the arts through study and practice. However, some departments encourage prospective majors to begin their exploration with Core courses in that subject. Learn more about the Arts Core options

Students must take at least one approved Arts course, and most commonly do so in their second year or in the latter part of their first year. Unlike the other requirements in this section, there are no multi-quarter Art sequences; these are all stand-alone courses.

Civilization Studies

Civilization Studies (or "Civ") sequences emphasize texts as a way of getting at the ideas, cultural patterns, and social pressures that frame the understanding of events and institutions within a civilization and stress the grounding of events and ideas in historical context. Students must explore a particular civilization or cultural theme in depth by taking two or three courses in the same sequence. In some cases, the sequence is comprised of only two courses, in which case your 6th course in this collective requirement must fall in Humanities or the Arts. Unless otherwise specified, courses in a Civ sequence should be taken in order, like any other sequence. Learn about and see descriptions of the Civilization Studies sequence options on campus and abroad. 

Students most commonly begin their Civ sequence in second or third year, in part because many students complete their Civ requirement through a quarter-long UChicago Study Abroad program. Some students interested in subjects like History, Anthropology, or area studies like Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, may start earlier because these courses can give them a taste of the broader discipline. In fact, some of these programs require their students to complete specific Civ sequences.