Mind map of top level disciplines and professions
Mind map of top level disciplines and professions

An academic discipline or field of study is known as a branch of knowledge. It is taught as an accredited part of higher education. A scholar's discipline is commonly defined and recognized by a university faculty. That person will be accredited by learned societies to which they belong along with the academic journals in which they publish. However, no formal criteria exist for defining an academic discipline.

Disciplines vary between universities and even programs. These will have well-defined rosters of journals and conferences supported by a few universities and publications. Most disciplines are broken down into (potentially overlapping) branches 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.

Humanities and social science

Main articles: Social science, Outline of social science, and Humanities


Main articles: Anthropology and Outline of anthropology


Main articles: Archaeology, Outline of archaeology, and Archaeological sub-disciplines


Main articles: History and Branches of history

Linguistics and languages

Main articles: Linguistics and Outline of linguistics

See also: Language


Main articles: Philosophy and Outline of philosophy


Main articles: Religion, Religious studies, and Outline of religion

See also: List of religions and spiritual traditions

The arts

Main articles: The arts and Genre

Culinary arts

Main articles: Food, Culinary arts, Cuisine, and Outline of cuisines


Main articles: Literature and Outline of literature

Performing arts

Main articles: Performing arts and Outline of performing arts

Visual arts


Main articles: Economics and Outline of economics


Main articles: Geography and Outline of geography

Interdisciplinary studies

Main article: Interdisciplinarity

Area studies

Main article: Area studies

Ethnic and cultural studies

Gender and sexuality studies

Main article: Gender studies

Organizational studies

Main article: Organization

Political science

Main articles: Politics, Political science, and Outline of political science


Main articles: Psychology, Outline of psychology, and List of psychology disciplines

See also: Branches of psychology, Cognitive science, Affective science, and Behavioural sciences


Main articles: Sociology and Outline of sociology

Natural sciences

Main articles: Natural science and Outline of natural science


Main article: List of life sciences

See also: Biology and Outline of biology


Main articles: Chemistry and Outline of chemistry

See also Branches of chemistry

Earth sciences

Main articles: Earth science and Outline of earth science

See also Branches of earth sciences


Main articles: Physics, Outline of physics, and Outline of physical science

Space sciences

Main article: Outline of space science


Main article: Outline of astronomy

Formal sciences

Main articles: Formal science and Outline of formal science

Computer sciences

Main articles: Computer science and Outline of computer science

See also: ACM Computing Classification System

Also a branch of electrical engineering


Main articles: Logic and Outline of logic


Pure mathematics

Main articles: Mathematics, Outline of mathematics, Pure mathematics, and Mathematical sciences

See also Branches of mathematics and AMS Mathematics Subject Classification

Applied mathematics

Main article: Applied mathematics


Main articles: Statistics and Outline of statistics

Systems science

Main article: Systems science

Professions and applied sciences

Main articles: Profession, Applied science, and Outline of applied science


Main articles: Agriculture, Outline of agriculture, and Agricultural science

Architecture and design

Main articles: Architecture, Outline of architecture, Design, Outline of design, and Applied arts


Main articles: Business, Outline of business, and Business education


Main article: Divinity (academic discipline)


Main articles: Education and Outline of education

Engineering and technology

Main articles: Engineering, Outline of engineering, Engineering education, Technology, Outline of technology, and Technology education

See also: List of engineering branches

Environmental studies and forestry

Main articles: Environmental studies, Outline of environmental studies, and Forestry

Family and consumer science

Main article: Family and consumer science

Human physical performance and recreation

Main articles: Human reliability and human behavior

Journalism, media studies and communication

Main articles: Journalism, Media studies, Communication, Communication studies, and Outline of communication


Main articles: Law and Outline of law

Library and museum studies

Main articles: Library science, Outline of library science, and Museology


Main articles: Medicine, Healthcare science, Outline of health sciences, and Biomedical sciences

See also: Outline of medicine and Branches of medicine

Military sciences

Main articles: Military science and Outline of military science and technology

Public administration

Main article: Public administration

Public policy

Main article: Public policy

Social work

Main article: Social work


Main articles: Transport and Modes of transport

See also