School of Humanities

"The term 'humanities' includes, but is not limited to, the study and interpretation of the following: language, both modern and classical; linguistics; literature; history; jurisprudence; philosophy; archaeology; comparative religion; ethics; the history, criticism and theory of the arts; those aspects of social sciences which have humanistic content and employ humanistic methods; and the study and application of the humanities to the human environment with particular attention to reflecting our diverse heritage, traditions, and history and to the relevance of the humanities to the current conditions of national life." 

--National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities Act, 1965, as amended

The Humanitieshumanities-montage

In keeping with the definition provided by the National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities Act, the disciplines of the humanities provide different methods and perspectives to studying people: past and present (history, American Studies);  people in other places (history, world languages, literature);  how we see ourselves and others (philosophy, literature, history); how we express ourselves (literature, philosophy, media-communications); and how we relate to our spirituality (theology). 

The disciplines of the humanities that are represented in Anna Maria College’s School of Humanities include American Studies, English, History, Media-Communications, Philosophy, Catholic Studies-Theology and World Languages. 

Courses in the School of Humanities expose students to the humanities as traditionally conceived, such as history, religion, literature, and languages, and as conceived in a more contemporary prism through media and communication, as well as provide perspective on the diversity of global cultures.

Guiding the curriculum and programs are the goals to:

  • Understand global cultures as they are expressed in art, music, literature, history, religion, language and philosophy;
  • Possess deeper knowledge of an area of concentration in the humanities;
  • Know how to access, employ, and analyze critical information available in libraries, archives, and databases;
  • Communicate effectively in English through writing and speaking;
  • Exercise the imagination through creative or interpretative endeavors;
  • Possess a critical aesthetic understanding;
  • Experience the world beyond their own community;
  • Be capable of applying ethics to decision making;
  • Be sensitive to the spiritual in all dimensions of the human experience.

Career Options as a Graduate from the School of Humanities

The career options for students with a degree from the School of Humanities are many and varied.  The School’s various programs prepare students for careers or graduate study in law/government, library science, ministry, museums/archives, public relations, writing/editing/publishing, media communications, among others.  Finally, in conjunction with the School of Education, our programs prepare students for specific areas of teacher licensure for a career in education, including: English (5-8; 8-12) and History (5-8; 8-12).

Media-Communications is our fastest growing major.  Graduates seek opportunities in radio and television, and newspapers and other positions in which professionals must present information to the public through writing, or videos.  Graduates acquire skills useful in all phases of electronic media, including the Internet.

Graduates with a degree in Catholic Studies can work at the parish level in a variety of capacities.


School of Humanities Faculty

The School of Humanities faculty is a diverse group with expertise in many disciplines including American Studies, English, History, Medieval Studies, Media-Communications, Philosophy, and Theology.  They have also lived, studied, taught and worked in many parts of the United States, as well as in China, Egypt, England, Germany, Italy, and Mexico.

The faculty speak several languages—American Sign Language, Arabic, German, Italian, and Spanish, with one member conversant in Middle English.  Besides teaching in many venues, the faculty have also made presentations at major academic conferences, published books, monographs, articles and book chapters, and position papers, as well as published poems and creative non-fiction.

The faculty share a passion for teaching Anna Maria students and a commitment to bringing their  best to the classroom each and every day.  

School of Humanities Majors


Options: English Literature
Teacher of English (5-8; 8-12)
English-Language Arts for Elementary and Early Childhood Education (see School of Education)
The program in English prepares students for a wide range of careers and graduate study, focusing as it does on the study of literature and the development of critical reading and writing skills. These skills are directly applicable to fields such as writing, publishing, editing, and research. Further, as the internet expands sources of information and forms of publishing, an English majors offer knowledge and skills honed through the pursuit of mastering critical thinking and writing skills.

Students can also prepare for a career in teaching through courses offered by both the School of Humanities and the School of Education. Concentrators in English may prepare for licensure as a teacher of English in the middle (5-8) or high school (8-12), or students seeking licensure in Elementary or Early Childhood education may major in a specially designed program in English-Language Arts.


Options: History
Teacher of History (5-8; 8-12)
The study of history provides students not only with a basis of knowledge about the past, it also builds in students a range of skills in research, critical thinking and writing. As part of a broad based liberal arts curriculum it prepares students for a range of careers in teaching, business, politics, museum, non-profit sector or archives. It also prepares students for graduate study in history or the law. Further, the School of Humanities, offers specially designed programs in conjunction with the School of Education to prepare students for licensure as Teacher of History (5-8; 6-12), as well as for students seeking certification in Elementary or Early Childhood Education.


The Humanities program prepares students for their future lives and professions by nurturing a love of learning and ideas, rigorous analytical skills, clear and accurate reasoning, as well as effective expression in writing and speaking. Likewise, it develops a capacity for prudent response to diverse circumstances and, most importantly, an appreciation of one's ethical and spiritual responsibilities. In short, the Humanities major seeks to assist students at learning how to be decent, constructive, productive, and thoughtful parents, professionals, and citizens in whatever vocation they follow. Students who enroll in this major tend to be intent not only upon doing well as responsible professionals, but upon being better human beings. As the major attempts to broaden the students' scope by the examination of cultures other than their own, it also encourages them to travel and study in a foreign country. In addition to developing the skills and values described above, the Humanities major ensures a basic knowledge of the social, physical and/or biological sciences, the study of literature and literary classics, the political, philosophical, theological, and cultural history of Western civilization, and the foundations and principles of our diverse American society. Further, successful participation in the international political and cultural community and in a global marketplace further requires knowledge of computers, and skills in also organization, writing, and speaking. The Humanities major also enables and encourages students to self-design an academic program, interdisciplinary in nature, that will broaden the scope of learning beyond the core and degree requirements, while at the same time focus the students' attention on areas of study most interesting or useful to them. For example, under the guidance of a faculty advisor, a student may design a Course of Study in an interdisciplinary field like American Studies, Medieval Studies, Philosophy, Women's Studies, and International Studies among numerous other possibilities. Further, the requirements of the Humanities Major will provide students accepted into the Teacher Licensure program in Elementary and Early Childhood Education (see the School of Education) the subject matter knowledge necessary to complete the Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure (MTEL).

Catholic Studies

 The mission of Catholic Studies is to provide a setting where students and faculty can explore the faith heritage of the Catholic Church found in ecclesial, liturgical, theological, philosophical, cultural, historical, and educational expressions. Interested persons can pursue individualized paths of study in this rich religious and humanistic tradition to come to a fuller understanding of human persons, their potentialities, and of the world in which they live.   

Since Catholicism is about community, the Catholic Studies program takes place within a communal framework. Professors and students meet regularly for formal and informal sessions centered on the liturgy, service to the poor and marginalized, and intellectual, cultural or social extracurricular events. Such community activities generate a felt appreciation of the Catholic heritage, build respect for the person, and contribute to fundamental character growth, all of which are major outcomes of an Anna Maria College education. The program is centered on Christ, the perfect revelation of God. In the Catholic tradition, Christ radically affects every aspect of human life and history: the created world, the Church, the sacraments, and the depths of the human person. The Catholic community hands down its experience of Christ in each generation, penetrating all life. “Catholic,” indeed, means universal. The major in Catholic Studies offers the opportunity to explore the Catholic faith, its community, and its tradition in an interdisciplinary manner, focused in the humanities.     

Catholic Studies


Through the study of theology, history, the arts, literature, spirituality, and society interacting in all their revelatory and humanistic dimensions, the student encounters faith and humanity more deeply. The Catholic Studies Major prepares students for graduate study or a profession or a clerical, religious, or lay calling in a pastorally related field. These include a vocation in the diaconate, priesthood, religious order, youth ministry, religious education, religious education management, parish leadership, diocesan administration, publishing, religious communications, retreat direction, humanitarian and community services. 


 In addition to a meaningful education in Catholic Studies with a pastoral emphasis, students will have the opportunity to focus their interest with additional coursework, research, and internships in specific areas of career preparation .

School of Humanities Minors

Students of any major can pursue the following disciplines in the School of Humanities as minors: 

  • Catholic Studies
  • English
  • History
  • Latin American/Latino Studies
  • Media    
  • Medieval Studies
  • Modern Foreign Languages
  • Philosophy 
  • Women's Studies
Humanities Graduate Program in Pastoral Ministry
"At the crossroads of mind and spirit"

With a foundation in the theological and spiritual traditions of the Catholic Church, the graduate program prepares men and women for roles in service, ministry, and leadership in a variety of pastoral settings.

Students will develop the knowledge and skills essential to support a vocation in the diaconate, priesthood, religious order, youth ministry, religious education, religious education management, parish leadership, diocesan administration, publishing, religious communications, retreat direction, humanitarian and community service provider.

Suggested preparation: While some students come to graduate studies in Pastoral Ministry with formal undergraduate studies, this discipline is uniquely open to individuals with an earned bachelor’s degree who have not had formal religious training but exhibit an intellectual and spiritual inquisitiveness, the ability to perform scholarly research, and the capacity to effectively express ideas in writing as well as other mediums.

Join a community of scholars where faith, reason, and pastoral concern will inform your studies.



Associate Dean of the School of Humanities
James Bidwell
(508) 849-3267