Collage of images representing different academic disciplines
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 is provided as 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 article: Humanities

Performing arts

Main article: Outline of performing arts

Visual arts

Main article: Outline of the visual arts


Main article: Outline of history

Languages and literature

Main article: Outline of literature


Main article: Outline of law


Main article: Outline of philosophy


Main article: Outline of theology

Social science

Main articles: Social science and Outline of social science



Main article: Outline of economics


Main article: Outline of geography

Political science

Main articles: Politics and Outline of political science


Main articles: Outline of psychology and List of psychology disciplines

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


Main article: Outline of sociology

Social work

Natural science

Main articles: 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

Space science

Main article: Outline of space science


Main articles: Physics and 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 and Outline of mathematics

Main article: Mathematics Subject Classification

Pure mathematics

Applied mathematics

Applied science

Main articles: Applied science and Outline of applied science


Engineering and technology

Main articles: Engineering and Outline of engineering

See also: List of engineering branches

Chemical Engineering

Civil Engineering

Educational Technology

Electrical Engineering

Materials Science and Engineering

Mechanical Engineering

Systems science

Medicine and health

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

See also: Outline of medicine and Branches of medicine

See also