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Outline of academic disciplines

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Title: Outline of academic disciplines  
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Subject: Acta Crystallographica, ACM Transactions on Computational Logic, Age and Ageing, Agricultural History, AJS Review
Collection: Academic Disciplines, Education-Related Lists, Higher Education-Related Lists, Science-Related Lists
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Outline of academic disciplines

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to academic disciplines:

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, no formal criteria exists for defining 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 may have branches, and these are often called sub-disciplines.

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


  • Historical background 1
  • Humanities 2
    • Human history 2.1
    • Linguistics 2.2
    • Literature 2.3
    • Arts 2.4
    • Philosophy 2.5
    • Religion 2.6
  • Social sciences 3
    • Anthropology 3.1
    • Archaeology 3.2
    • Area studies 3.3
    • Cultural and ethnic studies 3.4
    • Economics 3.5
    • Gender and sexuality studies 3.6
    • Geography 3.7
    • Political science 3.8
    • Psychology 3.9
    • Sociology 3.10
  • Natural sciences 4
    • Biology 4.1
    • Chemistry 4.2
    • Physics 4.3
    • Earth sciences 4.4
    • Space sciences 4.5
  • Formal sciences 5
    • Mathematics 5.1
      • Applied Mathematics 5.1.1
      • Pure Mathematics 5.1.2
    • Computer sciences 5.2
    • Logic 5.3
    • Statistics 5.4
    • Systems science 5.5
  • Professions 6
    • Agriculture 6.1
    • Architecture and design 6.2
    • Business 6.3
    • Divinity 6.4
    • Education 6.5
    • Engineering and technology 6.6
    • Environmental studies and forestry 6.7
    • Family and consumer science 6.8
    • Human physical performance and recreation 6.9
    • Journalism, media studies and communication 6.10
    • Law 6.11
    • Library and museum studies 6.12
    • Medicine 6.13
    • Military sciences 6.14
    • Intelligence 6.15
    • Public administration 6.16
      • Public policy 6.16.1
    • Social work 6.17
    • Transportation 6.18
  • See also 7
  • Notes 8
  • References 9
  • External links 10

Historical background

History of academic disciplines – academic disciplines arose from learning institutions as those grew to include specialized faculties or departments


Human history




Performing arts



Social sciences



Area studies

Cultural and ethnic studies


Gender and sexuality studies


Political science



Natural sciences


See also Biology (outline), Branches of life sciences


See also Branches of chemistry


See also Branches of physics

Earth sciences

See also Branches of earth sciences

Space sciences

Formal sciences


Applied Mathematics

Pure Mathematics

See also Branches of mathematics and AMS Mathematics Subject Classification

Computer sciences

See also ACM Computing Classification System
Also a branch of electrical engineering



Systems science



Architecture and design




Engineering and technology

Environmental studies and forestry

Family and consumer science

Human physical performance and recreation

Journalism, media studies and communication


Library and museum studies


Military sciences


Public administration

Public policy

Social work


See also



  • US Department of Education Institute of Education Sciences. (CIP)Classification of Instructional Programs. National Center for Education Statistics.

External links

  • Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP 2000): Developed by the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics to provide a taxonomic scheme that will support the accurate tracking, assessment, and reporting of fields of study and program completions activity.
  • Complete JACS (Joint Academic Classification of Subjects) from Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) in the United Kingdom
  • Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification (ANZSRC 2008) (web-page) Chapter 3 and Appendix 1: Fields of research classification.
  • Fields of Knowledge, a zoomable map allowing the academic disciplines and sub-disciplines in this article be visualised.
  • Online reference materials for any kind of specific academic disciplines.
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