Disciplines and Fields of Study

By developing and nurturing disciplines and fields of study within academia, higher education institutions provide the opportunity for individuals to continue and advance their education. Disciplines are the large constructs that separate different academic areas from each other and provide a general focus as to the subject matter studied, while fields of study represent the division of a singular discipline into multiple, more specialized topics. Whereas mathematics, history, business, and art are disciplines, number theory, African American studies, management, and graphic design are examples of fields of study within the previously mentioned disciplines. This entry provides an overview of disciplines and fields of study, then explores variations based on type of institution and discusses emerging higher education fields and disciplines.


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