8 Best Humanities Courses Online to Take You on a Thrilling Adventure

Here are the best humanities courses online that will guide you through fascinating works of culture that have become fundamental expressions of human society. 

8 Best Humanities Courses Online to Take You on a Thrilling Adventure

A study of the humanities is the perfect way to get a feel for the fabric of human society.


It’s a realm of academic exploration that takes us from literature to language, philosophy to psychology, history to human rights, and other fascinating subjects that are not considered a science. 


Through the humanities, we can draw connections between our modern way of life and the lifestyles of the many generations that preceded us, enabling us to discover what’s changed and what’s stayed exactly the same


As such an all-encompassing area of study, you might sometimes wonder just where to start!


With this in mind, I’ve compiled a list of the best humanities courses online


I encourage you to examine each of these courses one by one, so you can see the kind of variety that’s available and identify any topics that might spark your interest. 


If you find yourself going down a rabbit hole while just looking at these online humanities courses, don’t worry, because it means that you’re about to embark on an exciting adventure!


This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for more information.


What are the Best Humanities Courses Online?

Here are the best humanities courses to enroll in online this year:


1. Film, Images & Historical Interpretation in the 20th Century: The Camera Never Lies 


If a picture paints a thousand words, what insights can pictures give us within the field of humanities?


Well, if you have any general interest in history that draws on photojournalism as primary evidence and films based on historical events, then this online course was made for you. 


The course provides a short taster on the topic of the use of Images, Film, and their use in historical interpretation in the 20th century.


Syllabus: 

  • Week 1: Introduction 
  • Week 2: Images and History in the Twentieth Century
  • Week 3: The Air-Brushing of History: Stalin and Falsification
  • Week 4: Photojournalism, Authenticity and Matters of Public Acceptability: The Battle of Mogadishu
  • Week 5: The Power of the Image: Mount Suribachi, 1945
  • Week 6: From Page to Screen: Film as Public History

This course will broaden your understanding of the limitations of films and photographs, and how we can attribute meaning to these individual records of 'one moment in time' while taking into account the circumstances in which they were created.


You will also learn about how individuals and institutions have manipulated images for their own agendas – through alteration and/or censorship – and what this has meant to subsequent historical interpretation and the wider context of public history.


Key course features: 

Flexible deadlines

  • Reset deadlines in accordance with your schedule.

Shareable Certificate

  • Earn a Certificate upon completion.

100% online

  • Start instantly and learn at your own schedule.

Beginner Level

Approx. 21 hours to complete.

English

  • Subtitles: Arabic, French, Portuguese (European), Italian, Vietnamese, German, Russian, English, Spanish.

=> Enroll in the Film, Images & Historical Interpretation course here.


2. Rhetoric: The Art of Persuasive Writing and Public Speaking


We live in a contentious time in history.


Now, more than ever, it is important to learn how to compose an effective argument and analyze the arguments of others.


This course by Harvard University will help you do so. It's an introduction to the theory and practice of rhetoric, the art of persuasive writing and speech.


The course brings to ife selected speeches from prominent twentieth-century Americans  - including Martin Luther King Jr., John F. Kennedy, Margaret Chase Smith, Ronald Reagan, and more - to show you how to analyze rhetorical structure and style. 


You will learn how to: 

  • Employ a variety of rhetorical devices in writing and speaking
  • Differentiate between argument and rhetorical technique
  • Write a persuasive opinion editorial and short speech
  • Evaluate the strength of an argument
  • Identify logical fallacies in arguments


Throughout this course, you will learn to hone your critical thinking skills, so you can construct more compelling messages in various settings and recognize when someone is trying to persuade you


Key course features: 

  • Length: 8 Weeks
  • Effort: 2–3 hours per week
  • Course Type: Self-paced on your time
  • Level: Introductory
  • Certificate available upon completion

=> Enroll in the Art of Persuasive Writing and Public Speaking course


3. Roman Architecture 


This course by Yale University is designed for people who love to travel and want to discover the power that architecture has in shaping politics, society, and culture.


What you will learn:


  • Week 1: Introduction to Roman Architecture, The Founding of Rome and the Beginnings of Urbanism in Italy, Technology and Revolution in Roman Architecture

  • Week 2: Civic Life interrupted in Pompeii, Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, Habitats at Herculaneum and Early Roman Interior Decoration

  • Week 3: Painting Palaces and Villas in the First Century A.D., Exploring Special Subjects on Pompeian Walls

  • Week 4: Augustus Assembles Rome, Tombs of Roman Aristocrats, Freedmen, and Slaves, Notorious Nero and His Amazing Architectural Legacy

  • Week 5: The Colosseum and Contemporary Architecture in Rome, The Prince and the Palace: Human Made Divine on the Palatine Hill

  • Week 6: Civic Architecture in Rome under Trajan, Hadrian's Pantheon and Tivoli Retreat, The Roman Way of Life and Death at Ostia

  • Week 7: The Baths of Caracalla and Other Second-and Third-Century Buildings in Rome, Roman North Africa, Rock Tombs, Fountains, and Sanctuaries in Jordan, Lebanon, and Libya

  • Week 8: Roman Wine in Greek Bottles: The Rebirth of Athens, Making Mini Romes on the Western Frontier

  • Week 9: Rome Redux: The Tetrarchic Renaissance, Rome of Constantine and a New Rome


If you've been to Rome before, this course will provide you with exciting new insights on locations and buildings that you may have previously visited but not known much about.


And if you haven't been to Rome, this course will likely motivate you to book a trip there :)


Key course features: 

Flexible deadlines

  • Reset deadlines in accordance with your schedule.

Shareable Certificate

  • Earn a Certificate upon completion

100% online

  • Start instantly and learn at your own schedule.

Beginner Level

  • Approx. 40 hours to complete.

English

  • Subtitles: Arabic, French, Portuguese (European), Chinese (Simplified), Italian, Vietnamese, German, Russian, English, Spanish

=> Enroll in the Roman Architecture online humanities course here.


4. The Ancient Greek Hero


What exactly did it mean to be a hero in ancient Greece?


In this humanities course, you will answer that question, by exploring some of the most beautiful works of ancient Greek literature and song-making from the 8th century BCE through the 3rd century CE. 


You'll also gain access to a supportive virtual community where you'll learn to apply useful techniques for "reading out" ancient texts, even if you have no previous knowledge of Greek history, literature, or language.


You will uncover:

  • The definition of a "hero" in the Classical Greek sense, contrasted with modern concepts of heroism
  • The relationship between epic and lyric in the ancient Greek tradition
  • The interaction of text and image in the ancient Greek tradition
  • The role of heroes as objects of worship in ancient Greece
  • The connection between myth and ritual in ancient Greece
  • The concept of the hero as conveyed in dramatic performance and as activated through Socratic dialogue

Key course features: 

  • Length: 18 Weeks
  • Effort: 8–12 hours per week
  • Course Type: Instructor-led on a course schedule
  • Certificate available upon completion

=> Enroll in "The Ancient Greek Hero" online course here.


5. Introduction to Digital Humanities


As major institutions have digitized their collections and artifacts, new tools have emerged that can help us connect the dots between past events and peoples.


Introduction to Digital Humanities is an online course that will develop your skills in digital research and visualization techniques across subjects and fields within the humanities.


You will learn: 

  • What the term “digital humanities” means in different disciplines.
  • How common digital tools work and examples of projects using them.
  • How various file types can be used to create, gather, and organize data.
  • How to use command-line functions to analyze text.
  • How to use free tools to create visual text analysis.

By the end of the course, you will be able to describe the research workflow, evaluate existing digital platforms based on features that can be used for data analysis, and implement different methods of downloading and creating data.


Key course features: 

  • Length: 7 Weeks
  • Effort: 2–4 hours per week
  • Level: Introductory 
  • Course Type: Self-pace on your time
  • Certificate available upon completion

=> Enroll in the Introduction to Digital Humanities online course here.


6. Introduction to Classical Music


The pull of music - especially classical music - has always been difficult to explain.


The aim of this course is to do just that:


To analyze the mysteries and beauties of some of the world's most iconic classical music compositions, from Bach fugues to Mozart symphonies to Puccini operas - in a simple and enjoyable style.


Course Syllabus: 

  • Week 1: What is Music?
  • Week 2: How Music Works
  • Week 3: The Sound of Music
  • Week 4: Music Back in the Day 
  • Week 5: The Baroque Era
  • Week 6: The Classical Era 
  • Week 7: The Bridge from Classical to Romantic 
  • Week 8: The Romantic Era
  • Week 9: Music to the Present 

In this course, you'll travel to different parts of the world, comparing and contrasting both traditional and popular Western music with sounds from various regions and cultures.


In doing so, you'll observe how the elements of musical composition have evolved over time and how they have been translated to a universal language enjoyed and understood by millions. 


Key course features: 

Flexible deadlines

  • Reset deadlines in accordance with your schedule.

Shareable Certificate

  • Earn a Certificate upon completion.

100% online

  • Start instantly and learn at your own schedule.

Approx. 66 hours to complete

English

  • Subtitles: Croatian, Arabic, French, Portuguese (European), Chinese (Simplified), Italian, Vietnamese, German, Russian, English, Spanish. 

=> Enroll in the Introduction to Classical Music online course here.


7. Hollywood: History, Industry, Art


In this online course by The University of Pennsylvania, you'll learn all about Hollywood and how it came to be the global powerhouse of today.


You will discover: 

  • The history of the studio system
  • How to analyze a film
  • How Hollywood has responded to new technologies in the industry
  • The impact of global audiences on Hollywood
  • The relationship between Hollywood and independent media
  • How Hollywood has reacted to major political events
  • What the future holds for Hollywood

Overall, this course features a lot of interesting historical information that has been buried by the industry's progress and solidified reputation over time.


You'll get to explore themes such as Hollywood during wartime, censorship and privacy, and Hollywood’s response to crises and countercultural movements through an in-depth analysis of classic movies such as “Meet Me in St. Louis,” “Casablanca” and “King Kong.”


Key course features: 

  • Length: 4 Weeks
  • Effort: 3–4 hours per week
  • Level: Introductory 
  • Course Type: Self-paced on your time
  • Certificate available upon completion

=> Enroll in the Hollywood: History, Industry and Art course here.


8. Introduction to Social Psychology


Learning why people think and behave the way they do in social settings is an integral part of studying the humanities.


This popular course on Coursera offers a brief introduction to classic and contemporary social psychology. 


It covers topics such as decision making, persuasion, group behavior, personal attraction, and factors that promote health and well-being.


Course Syllabus: 

  • Week 1: Social Perceptions and Misperceptions
  • Week 2: The Psychology of Self-Presentation and Persuasion
  • Week 3: Obedience, Conformity and Deindividuation 
  • Week 4: Group Behaviour: The Good, Bad, and Ugly 
  • Week 5: Mid-Course Break 
  • Week 6: Helping, Hurting, and Peacemaking 
  • Week 7: A Happy Ending 

The lessons focus on surprising, entertaining, and intriguing research findings that are easy to apply in daily life. 


You will learn about the ways that we influence and are influenced by others, and dig deeper into some problematic aspects of human behaviour, such as prejudice and aggression.


Students who enroll in the full course and certificate will also receive free membership in the Social Psychology Network (SocialPsychology.org).


Key course features: 

Flexible deadlines

  • Reset deadlines in accordance with your schedule.

Shareable Certificate

  • Earn a Certificate upon completion.

100% online

  • Start instantly and learn at your own schedule.

Beginner Level

Approx. 38 hours to complete

English

  • Subtitles: Chinese (Traditional), Arabic, French, Portuguese (European), Chinese (Simplified), Italian, Vietnamese, German, Russian, English, Spanish, Hindi.

=> Enroll in the Social Psychology online course here.


Final Thoughts


Thanks for checking out this post on the best humanities courses online. As you can see, there is such a variety of subjects to explore within the field of humanities.


You can either enroll in these courses for fun or verify your achievements by earning a shareable certificate from one of the world's top educational institutions. Whatever you choose, the sky's the limit! 


Happy learning!


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