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Humanities Stream – Nature, Scope and Why to Study


Sir Peter Medawar, although a scientist himself, said about humanities – “The scientist values research by the size of its contribution to that huge, logically articulated structure of ideas which is already, though not yet half built, the most glorious accomplishment of mankind. The humanist must value his research by different but equally honorable standards, particularly by the contribution it makes, directly or indirectly, to our understanding of human nature and conduct, and human sensibility.”

What he said about Humanities is true. Humanities is one of the most underrated streams of all. It is a common myth, well circulated among the Indian psyche, that the Arts/Humanities streams is for students who are “not smart enough” for studying either Science or Commerce.

The plethora of career options that are open for a student who has chosen the Humanities stream is ginormous. Far from being the last resort when no other stream can be chosen, the Humanities are a wide field of study, with extremely interesting and mind-stimulating career options galore.

Meaning of Humanities

Defining humanities is a difficult task. However, it can be said in a few words that it is an academic discipline which deals with the study of the ‘Human Condition’, utilizing methodologies that are usually analytical, critical or speculative.

The wide range of subjects that come under the umbrella term of Humanities range from history, languages, literature, law, philosophy, religion, performing arts, anthropology, communication, sociology, psychology and many more.

Choosing the Humanities stream after Class 10 would enable a student to choose a career from a range spanning a wide area. Subjects that are available for study in the CBSE class 11 syllabus are History, Geography, Political Science, Psychology, Sociology, English, Hindi and Sanskrit.

Below is a generic description of the Humanities stream, and the subjects it covers, that would enable you to gauge whether this stream is for you:


  • Social Science is a field of academics that deals with a scientific study of the human society. It is a broad category encompassing several disciplines that cannot be studies under the natural sciences such as archaeology, anthropology, geography, economics, history, psychology, political science, linguistics, etc.
    Although a vast field of its own, Social Science comes under the stream of Humanities. The three main subjects that are taught under Social Science are History, Geography and Political Science.


Some interesting reasons to take up history as a subject after Class 10:

  • History is a chronological study of the human past. It deals with research that is directed towards examining and analyzing a particular sequence of events.
  • Studying history enables humans to gain better knowledge of their cultural origins. One can study the history of anything in the world, for the simple reason that everything has a history, and its history has influenced its current condition in several ways.
  • Studying history not only enables us to analyze and study the discipline as an end in itself but also to use the subject as a means to providing perspective and a better understanding on the problems of the present.
  • History helps us not only to understand change and how the society we live in came to be. History can also be studied as an art and serves the purpose of entertainment on aesthetic grounds but also on the level of human understanding.


Importance of Geography and reasons of why one should study Geography after Class 10 are elaborated below:

  • Geography is the study of the Earth and its lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena.
  • The study of this subject involves the spatial analysis of natural as well as human phenomena, the study of places and regions, study of the relationship between man and land as well as research of the earth sciences.
  • Geography, as we know it today, encompasses a wide area of research and study. It seeks to understand the planet Earth and everything on it, whether it is natural or human.
  • The current time is the best to study geography as there is a growing awareness on issues such as migration, social cohesion, climate change and environmental degradation. Therefore, studying geography opens up several career options for a student.


Political Science is an important subject in the Humanities Stream and it throws up many challenging careers. Some of the reasons for studying Political Science are given below:

  • Political science is a social science that deals with the study of the theory and practice of politics as well as the description and analysis of political systems and political behavior.
  • Knowledge of Political science enables us to study issues concerning the allocation and transfer of power in decision making, roles and systems of governance including governments and international organizations as well as political behavior and public policies.
  • Experts in the field are able to measure the success of governance and specific policies by examining many factors, including stability, justice, material wealth, and peace.
  • Studying this subject helps us in learning how groups of people govern themselves, how policies are made, and how we can improve our government policies at the local, state, national, and international levels.

According to noted American industrialist J Irwin Miller, “The calling of the humanities is to make us truly human in the best sense of the word.”

Students may have heard several times regarding Humanities that it is a stream that is fit only for those who are weak in academics. On the contrary, Humanities is a wide discipline that can open up endless career options for students who wish to pursue a career in this field. It is inaccurate to say that pursuing the Humanities/Arts stream after Class 10 will not help a student to pursue a career that brings them satisfaction in terms of success and monetary gains.

Humanities is a stream for students who have a genuine interest to know more about the human society, ideologies, beliefs and how the humanity expresses itself in terms of art, architecture, religions, etc.

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