Collage of images representing different academic disciplines

An academic discipline or field of study is a branch of knowledge, taught and researched as part of higher education. A scholar's discipline is commonly defined by the university faculties and learned societies to which they belong and the academic journals in which they publish research.

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.

The following outline provides an overview of and topical guide to academic disciplines. In each case an entry at the highest level of the hierarchy (e.g., Humanities) is a group of broadly similar disciplines; an entry at the next highest level (e.g., Music) is a discipline having some degree of autonomy and being the basic identity felt by its scholars; and lower levels of the hierarchy are sub-disciplines not normally having any role in the structure of the university's governance.


Main articles: Humanities and Outline of the humanities

Performing arts

Main article: Outline of performing arts

Visual arts

Main article: Outline of the visual arts


Main article: Outline of history

Also regarded as a Social science

Languages and literature

Main article: Outline of literature

Linguistics listed in Social science


Main article: Outline of law

Also regarded as a Social science

Also listed in Applied science


Main article: Outline of philosophy

Also regarded as the separate, an entry at the highest level of the hierarchy

Religious studies

Also regarded as a social science


Main article: Divinity (academic discipline)


Main article: Outline of theology

Social science

Main articles: Social science and Outline of social science


Main article: Outline of anthropology


Main article: Outline of archaeology

Futurology (also known as future studies or prospective studies)

Main articles: Outline of futures studies and Futures studies


Main article: Outline of economics


Main article: Outline of geography


Main article: Outline of linguistics

Also regarded as a formal science

Political science

Main articles: Politics and Outline of political science


Main articles: Outline of psychology and List of psychology disciplines


Main article: Outline of sociology

Natural science

Main articles: Science, Outline of science, Natural science, and Outline of natural science


Main article: Outline of biology

See also: List of life sciences


Main article: Outline of chemistry

See also: Pure chemistry

Earth science

Main article: Outline of earth science

See also: Branches of earth sciences


Main article: Outline of astronomy


Main article: Outline of physics

Formal science

Main articles: Formal science and Outline of formal science

Computer science

Main articles: Computer science and Outline of computer science

See also: ACM Computing Classification System

Also a branch of electrical engineering


Main articles: Mathematics, Outline of mathematics, and Mathematics Subject Classification

Pure mathematics

Applied mathematics

Applied science

Main articles: 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 articles: Education and Outline of education

Engineering and technology

Main articles: Engineering and Outline of engineering

See also: List of engineering branches

See also: Technology and Outline of technology

Chemical engineering[edit]

Civil engineering[edit]

Educational technology[edit]

Electrical engineering[edit]

Materials science[edit]

Mechanical engineering[edit]

Systems science[edit]

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

Also regarded as a social science

Also listed in Humanities

Library and museum studies

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

See also: Outline of management

Medicine and health

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


  1. ^ Khaled Nabil, Al-Momani (25 August 2020). "Characteristics of Design as an Academic and Creative Discipline". Kne Social Sciences. Ural Federal University: 294–298. doi:10.18502/kss.v4i11.7560. S2CID 221710217.
  2. ^ Bravo, Rafael Ángel (4 March 2016). "Vigencia de la Bauhaus en la formación académica de los diseñadores gráficos" [Currency of the Bauhaus in the academic training of graphic designers] (in Spanish). Francisco José de Caldas District University. Archived from the original on 12 March 2022.
  3. ^ "Graphic Design". College of the Sequoias. Archived from the original on 22 September 2021. Retrieved 26 August 2022.

Further reading