List of academic disciplines and sub-disciplines

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An academic discipline or field of study is a branch of knowledge that is taught and researched as part of higher education.

A scholar's discipline is commonly defined and recognized by the university faculties and learned societies to which he or she belongs and the academic journals in which he or she publishes research. However, there exist no formal criteria for the status of an academic discipline. 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 usually has several sub-disciplines or branches, but the distinguishing lines between these are often both arbitrary and ambiguous.[1]


The University of Paris in 1231 consisted of four faculties: Theology, Medicine, Canon Law and Arts.[2] Most academic disciplines have their roots in the mid-to-late-19th century secularization of universities, when the traditional curricula were supplemented with non-classical languages and literatures, social sciences such as political science, economics, sociology and public administration, and natural science and technology disciplines such as physics, chemistry, biology, and engineering.

In the early 20th century, new disciplines such as education and psychology were added. In the 1970s and 1980s, there was an explosion of new disciplines focusing on specific themes, such as media studies, women's studies, and black studies. Many disciplines designed as preparation for careers and professions, such as nursing, hospitality management, and corrections, also emerged in the universities. Finally, interdisciplinary scientific fields such as biochemistry and geophysics gained prominence as their contribution to knowledge became widely recognized.

There is no consensus on how some academic disciplines should be classified (e.g., whether anthropology and linguistics are social sciences disciplines or humanities disciplines). More generally, the proper criteria for organizing knowledge into disciplines are also open to debate.

An asterisk (*) denotes a field whose academic status has been debated among this article's editors.


Human history[edit]

Main articles: History and Branches of history




Performing arts[edit]

Visual arts[edit]

Applied arts[edit]

Other arts[edit]



Social sciences[edit]



Area studies[edit]

Main article: Area studies

Cultural and ethnic studies[edit]

Main articles: Cultural studies and Ethnic studies


Main articles: Economics and Outline of economics

Gender and sexuality studies[edit]


Main articles: Geography and Outline of geography

Political science[edit]



Main articles: Sociology and Outline of sociology

Natural sciences[edit]


Main article: Life sciences
See also Biology (outline)
See also Branches of life sciences


Main articles: Chemistry and Outline of chemistry
See also Branches of chemistry

Earth sciences[edit]

See also Branches of earth sciences


Main articles: Physics and Outline of physics
See also Branches of physics

Space sciences[edit]

Main article: Space science


See also Branches of engineering

Chemical Engineering[edit]

Main article: Chemical Engineering

Civil Engineering[edit]

Main article: Civil Engineering

Electrical Engineering[edit]

Materials Science and Engineering[edit]

Main article: Materials Science

Also a branch of engineering

Formal sciences[edit]

Main article: Formal sciences

Applied Mathematics[edit]

Main article: Applied mathematics

Computer sciences[edit]

See also ACM Computing Classification System

Also a branch of electrical engineering


Main articles: Logic and Outline of logic

Pure Mathematics[edit]

See also Branches of mathematics and AMS Mathematics Subject Classification


Systems science[edit]

Main article: Systems science



Main article: Profession


Architecture and design[edit]


Main articles: Business and Business education



Main articles: Education and Outline of education

Environmental studies and forestry[edit]

Main articles: Environmental studies and Forestry

Family and consumer science[edit]

Human physical performance and recreation*[edit]

Journalism, media studies and communication[edit]


Main articles: Law and Outline of law

Library and museum studies[edit]

Main articles: Library science and Museology

Military sciences[edit]

Main article: Military science

Public administration[edit]

Main article: Public administration

Social work[edit]


Main article: [[Transportation theory[disambiguation needed]|Transportation theory& § 91;disambiguation needed]]]

See also[edit]

Main article: Branches of science


  1. ^ Abbott, Andrew (2001). Chaos of Disciplines. University of Chicago Press. ISBN 978-0-226-00101-2. 
  2. ^ History of Education, Encyclopædia Britannica (1977, 15th edition), Macropaedia Volume 6, p. 337


External links[edit]