Understanding the Disciplines


Be aware of specific expectations of your school or major.

The University is divided into a number of schools, colleges, divisions and departments, each with its own research methods, formal conventions, and ideas about how best to use sources. Three areas are traditionally recognized: sciences (chemistry, biology, physics), social sciences (anthropology, sociology, economics), and humanities (philosophy, history, English).  There are also professional schools (social work, nursing, business) that use many of the methodologies of the social sciences but have as their aim professional development and training.

These divisions are important to understand because you will find yourself writing very different kinds of papers as you take classes in the various areas. Expectations for uses of evidence will vary, as will conventions for incorporating and citing sources. In the sections that follow, pay close attention to remarks made in reference to one or the other of the divisions.


For further information, please contact:

Faculty Center for Professional Excellence (FCPE)
Alumnae Hall, Room 123
p – 516.877.4221
e –

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