Outline of academic disciplines

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Collage of images representing different academic disciplines

An academic discipline or field of study is a branch of knowledge that is taught and researched as part of higher education. A scholar's discipline is commonly defined by the university faculties and learned societies to which he or she belongs and the academic journals in which he or she publishes 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.

There is no consensus on how some academic disciplines should be classified, for example whether anthropology and linguistics are disciplines of the social sciences or of the humanities.

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to academic disciplines.



Performing arts

Visual arts


Languages and literature



Social sciences



Human geography


Political science



Natural sciences



Earth sciences

Space sciences


Formal sciences

Computer Science

Also a branch of electrical engineering


See also: Branches of mathematics and Mathematics Subject Classification

Pure mathematics

Applied mathematics


Applied sciences

Engineering and technology

Chemical Engineering

Civil Engineering

Educational Technology

Electrical Engineering

Materials Science and Engineering

Mechanical Engineering

Systems science

Medicine and health

See also


  • Abbott, Andrew (2001). Chaos of Disciplines. University of Chicago Press. ISBN 978-0-226-00101-2. 
  • Oleson, Alexandra; Voss, John (1979). The Organization of knowledge in modern America, 1860-1920. ISBN 0-8018-2108-8. 
  • US Department of Education Institute of Education Sciences. Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP). National Center for Education Statistics.

External links

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