What Does It Mean to Be Human? An Introduction to the Humanities

Answer some of the big questions about being human, and get an introduction to the skills needed in the humanities.

What Does It Mean to Be Human? An Introduction to the Humanities

  • Duration 3 weeks
  • Weekly study 3 hours
This course is part of the program BA Futures, which is one of the building blocks that leads to a degree in Bachelor of Arts. Find out more.

Explore what it means to be human and how we make sense of the world

What does it mean to be human? How do we acquire knowledge? How do we make sense of the world around us?

Through this course you’ll develop the skills and knowledge to start answering these big questions. You will consider the complexity of today’s world and engage in debates on the big ideas underpinning humanities subjects.

You will also develop the foundational skills required in the study of the humanities, including evidence-based problem solving, and intercultural awareness.

What topics will you cover?

  • Critical and ethical thinking
  • Epistemologies
  • How knowledge is shared through writing

When would you like to start?

  • Date to be announced

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What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you'll be able to...

  • Demonstrate introductory knowledge of the humanities disciplines, including developing understandings of how humans communicate and acquire knowledge.
  • Report local and global problems and ideas, and recognise how different academic disciplines can interact to produce new understandings or findings.
  • Compare foundational scholarly research using digital platforms, and find appropriate resources to answer the problem in its context.
  • Apply core academic reading and writing skills to communicate research outcomes.

Who is the course for?

This course is for anyone interested in the humanities, or answering questions about being human. You don’t need any previous experience.

Who will you learn with?

Erin McCarthy

Erin McCarthy

I'm a Lecturer at the University of Newcastle. A literary historian by training, I'm especially interested in the ways the material forms texts take (print, manuscript, digital) shape their meanings.

Catharine  Coleborne

Catharine Coleborne

My teaching background is in history: I am interested in global histories, histories of the family, histories of health and medicine, and in particular, the history of mental health and 'madness'.

Annika Herb

Annika Herb

Dr Annika Herb is a sessional academic at the University of Newcastle, Australia. Her areas of research include Young Adult and Children’s Literature, creative writing, and popular culture.

Marguerite  Johnson

Marguerite Johnson

Marguerite Johnson is Professor of Classics, researching ancient Mediterranean cultural history.

Who developed the course?

The University of Newcastle Australia

The University of Newcastle is a world-class university distinguished by a commitment to equity and excellence. Ranked in Australia’s Top 10 universities, and #207 in the world (QS rankings, 2020).

  • Established1965
  • LocationNewcastle, Australia
  • World rankingTop 210Source: QS World University Rankings 2020

Advance your career with a degree

What's different about this course?

Since 2017 you have been able to take a degree on FutureLearn. This free course is a bit like a starter course for a degree — it should give you a flavour of the degree subject but can also be your first step towards a degree qualification.

If you enjoy this course you can apply to join the program it’s part of to start working towards a degree on FutureLearn.

Don’t worry, you can still take the course without doing a full degree!

How do degrees work on FutureLearn?

Do the free course
Join and complete the program
Get academic credit for an online degree from The University of Newcastle Australia

Which program and degree is this course part of?

This course is part of the program BA Futures, which is one of the building blocks that leads to a degree in Bachelor of Arts.