Outline of academic disciplines

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Collage of images representing different academic disciplines Academic disciplines (collage).jpg
Collage of images representing different academic disciplines

An academic discipline or field of study is a branch of knowledge, taught and researched as part of higher education. A scholar's discipline is commonly defined by the university faculties and learned societies to which they belong and the academic journals in which they publish research.


Disciplines vary between well-established ones that exist in almost all universities and have well-defined rosters of journals and conferences, and nascent ones supported by only a few universities and publications. A discipline may have branches, and these are often called sub-disciplines.

The following outline provides an overview of and topical guide to academic disciplines. In each case an entry at the highest level of the hierarchy (e.g., Humanities) is a group of broadly similar disciplines; an entry at the next highest level (e.g., Music) is a discipline having some degree of autonomy and being the basic identity felt by its scholars; and lower levels of the hierarchy are sub-disciplines not normally having any role in the structure of the university's governance.


Performing arts

Visual arts


Also regarded as a Social science

Languages and literature

Linguistics listed in Social science


Also regarded as a Social science

Also listed in Applied science


Also regarded as the separate, an entry at the highest level of the hierarchy

Religious studies

Also regarded as a social science



Social science



Futurology (also known as future studies or prospective studies)

Main articles: Outline of futures studies and Futures studies




Also regarded as a formal science

Political science



Natural science



Earth science



Formal science

Computer science

Also a branch of electrical engineering


Pure mathematics

Applied mathematics

Applied science


Architecture and design



Engineering and technology

Chemical engineering

Civil engineering

Educational technology

Electrical engineering

Materials science

Mechanical engineering

Systems science

Environmental studies and forestry

Family and consumer science

Human physical performance and recreation

Journalism, media studies and communication


Also regarded as a social science

Also listed in Humanities

Library and museum studies

Medicine and health

Military sciences

Public administration

Public policy

Social work


See also

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  1. Khaled Nabil, Al-Momani (25 August 2020). "Characteristics of Design as an Academic and Creative Discipline". Kne Social Sciences. Ural Federal University: 294–298. doi: 10.18502/kss.v4i11.7560 . S2CID   221710217.
  2. Bravo, Rafael Ángel (4 March 2016). "Vigencia de la Bauhaus en la formación académica de los diseñadores gráficos" [Currency of the Bauhaus in the academic training of graphic designers] (in Spanish). Francisco José de Caldas District University. Archived from the original on 12 March 2022.
  3. "Graphic Design". College of the Sequoias. Archived from the original on 22 September 2021. Retrieved 26 August 2022.

Further reading