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Department of Humanities

Academic Programs

The Department of Humanities through its diversified course offerings contributes significantly to enhancement of understanding and appreciation of major areas of learning. One of its main goals is to help the University students develop their ability to think freely and critically. Towards that end the Department offers courses that serve as general electives in the following academic disciplines: European Languages (Spanish), Fine Arts (Art, Music, Theater, Cinema), Geography, History, Philosophy, and Political Science.

The Department provides the following Humanities and Fine Arts courses from the list of Bethlehem University Required Courses.


ARTI 101: Art Appreciation

ANTH 301: Anthropology of Religion

CINE 101: Film Appreciation

PHIL 302: Philosophy and Ethics

MUSI 103: Music Appreciation

PHIL 303: Ethics of Life

HIST 120: Modern Palestine

POLS 300: Themes in Political Science

HUMR 300: Democracy, Human Rights and International Law



In conjunction with the Faculty of Education, the Department of Humanities is responsible for the program leading to a Bachelor Degree in Education with a major in Teaching History and Geography. A full description of this program can be found under the Faculty of Education.

Description of Courses

Fine Arts Requirements

ARTI 101: Art Appreciation (Cr. 2)

This course deals with the study of aesthetics and its place in the development of civilizations. It examines aesthetic ideas of various philosophers from Greece and Rome, China and Japan, and the Islamic world.

ARTS 110: Creative Arts (Cr. 2)

Creative activities include collage, mask-making, printing techniques, and individual and group projects using paint and crayons. Activities are analyzed for their physical, cognitive, and emotional properties. Discussion includes adapting and structuring activities to meet the needs of people with physical, developmental, and emotional difficulties.

ARTS 111: Applied Art Work: Drawing (Cr. 3)

This course provides practical supervised training in pencil and charcoal drawing. To help develop an artistic taste and vision, students are introduced to art appreciation and aesthetics, followed by step-by-step theoretical and practical instruction in the fundamentals of drawing and the proper use of pencil and charcoal.

CINE 101: Film Appreciation (Cr. 2)

This introductory course provides students with a basic knowledge of film language as well as an understanding and appreciation of the film as a trained viewer.

MUSI 101, 102: Music Theory I, II (Cr. 3, 3)

These are integrated courses in the melodic, harmonic, rhythmic, and structural elements of music, accenting the aural sense and developing the ability to visualize, sing, and write from dictation. Flute is taught in MUSI 101 and piano in MUSI 102.

MUSI 103: Music Appreciation (Cr. 2)

The course includes a discussion of the materials of music from the listener’s point of view. Emphasis is on styles and composers of various periods from the relatively familiar Romantic music of the 19th century, including various movements such as Nationalism, Impressionism, and schools of Russian, German, and English music to the less familiar music of 18th century Classicism, Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque. One lecture on Gregorian Chant and Arabic Music is also given.

MUSI 104: Advanced Music Appreciation (Cr. 2)

This course continues from MUSI 103 and includes a non-technical study of music, forms, and styles for intelligent appreciation of music from the Post-Romantic and Modern periods.

MUSIC 108, 109, 208, 209, 308, 309: Choral Music (Cr. 1 each)

These are practical courses of choral music that include Arabic vocal music and songs from other countries. Students may take Chorale during any semester.



GEOG 211: Introduction to Physical and Human Geography (Cr. 3)

The topics in this course include Earth, its dimensions, and location in relation to other planets and its surroundings. The study of bio covering, natural relations with man as well as the relationship between man and the environment, and factors influencing the rise and development of human societies are also covered. The study of the relationship between population and natural resources, the review of major indicators for the development of population on the Earth, and the factors influencing this growth and the geographical distribution of its inhabitants are also included in this course.

GEOG 223: Economic Geography (Cr. 2)

This course includes several themes: ways in which human groups use and develop the available major natural resources; constituents of economic production, energy resources and economic resources, e.g. agricultural and industrial, and their relationship with natural environments; and the production, distribution, and consumption of main commodities in world regions and transport systems and networks.

GEOG 311: Historical and Political Geography (Cr. 2)

The course comprises geographical situations of environments in which human civilization existed, and its effect on economic conditions, particularly agriculture, industry, trade, and transport. Also included is the importance of geopolitical factors such as location, area, shape, features, climate, water resources, and populations; economic resources which affect the strength or weakness of countries; geographical strategic theories; and contemporary geographical political problems.

GEOG 322: Geography of the Arab World (Cr. 3)

This course is a comprehensive study of the physical, human, economic, and social geography of the Arab world. Subjects include the study of major problems from which the Arab world is suffering, such as desertification, population explosion and concentration, depletion of natural resources, poverty, famine, unemployment, political conflicts, and water.

GEOG 411: Geography of Palestine (Cr. 3)

This course comprises a geographic study of the location of Palestine, its borders, characteristics, and the origin of names of various places in Palestine. It also includes the geological structure, geomorphology, climate, soil, and natural flora, as well as demography, economic potentials, and various aspects of human activity. This course includes a field trip of no less than three days to various areas of Palestine.



HIST 120: Modern Palestine (Cr. 3)

This is a survey of modern trends in Palestinian history from the late Ottoman period to the present, utilizing primary textual material. Arabic is the medium of instruction.

HIST 200: Historiography & Historical Method (Cr. 3)

This course offers a definition of history, its importance as an independent discipline, and its relationship to other subjects. It includes various theories of the philosophy of history and the development of historical writing throughout the centuries. Students are introduced to historical texts concerning the definition of the problem and the collection of documents and sources.

HIST 201: Pre-History of Middle East (Cr. 3)

This course provides an overview of archaeology, its contribution to the study of human history, and the basic principles and methods of archaeological research. Emphasis is placed on tracing the development of human culture in the Palaeolithic, Mesolithic, Neolithic, and Chalcolithic ages to the rise of civilization.

HIST 211: The Arab World in the Pre-Islamic Period (Cr. 3)

This course provides an historical survey of the Arab World from ancient times to the rise of Islam in the seventh century. Topics covered include the rise of Arab elements, their societies and civilizations, formation of early Arab states and their international relations, and the Arabian Peninsula on the eve of the rise of Islam.

HIST 241: Modern Palestine (Cr. 3)

This is a survey of Palestinian history from the late Ottoman period until the present. The course includes: trends in Palestinian history, the Arab East and World War I (1914-1918), post-war settlements, Palestine under the British (1917/18-1948), the Palestine War, Arabization and internationalization of the Palestine Problem (1947-1966), the 1967 war and its consequences on the Arabs and the Palestinians, rise of the “feda’iyyin,” the PLO and the Intifada, the Gulf War, New World Order, and the Madrid/Oslo peace processes. English is the medium of instruction.

HIST 302: Ancient History of the Middle East (Cr. 3)

The course surveys the history of the Middle East from ancient times to the rise of civilizations in Egypt, Iraq, Syria, and Palestine, including the advent of Greek and Hellenistic periods until the downfall of the Byzantines. Sources dwell on the political, economic, and religious developments in the regions.

HIST 312: History of Islamic Civilization of Arabs and Islam (Cr. 3)

Students are introduced to the Islamic world from the rise of Islam in the seventh century. Topics covered include the following: the Prophet Muhammad and the Islamic faith; the period of “Al-Rashidum” caliphs; the rise and fall of the Umayyads; the rise of the universal Muslim state, the Abbasids; the flowering of Islamic civilization; the disintegration of the Caliphate; and the rise of the Buwayhids, the Fatimids, the Seljuk Turks, and the Mamluks of Egypt and Syria.

HIST 400: The Modern History of the World (Cr. 3)

This course surveys major developments in the modern world from the outbreak of the French Revolution in 1789 until the present. Topics include the rise of nationalism and imperialism, the industrial and technological revolution, World War I and World War II, the Cold War, non-alignment, the Japanese experience, American hegemony in the world, and the era of globalization.

HIST 413: The Arab World under the Ottomans (Cr. 3)

This course involves a study of social and political developments in the Arab regions of the Ottoman Empire from 1514 to the outbreak of the First World War in 1914. Emphasis is on economic and social transformation in the 19th century, the advent of European imperialism, and the beginning of the Arab national awakening.

HIST 414: The Modern History of the Arab World (Cr. 3)

This is a continuation of the Arab World under the Ottomans (HIST 413). It involves a study of the region from 1914 to the present. It includes World War I and post-war developments, partition of the Arab World, the rise of nation-states and their independence in both the Arab East and the Arab West, the Arab-Israeli conflict, and the effects of globalization on the Modern Arab World.

HUMR 300: Democracy, Human Rights and International Law (Cr. 3)

The course deals with concepts and basic issues related to democracy, human rights, and international law. It raises the awareness of students toward these concepts and urges them to participate effectively in the framework of the limits and problems of their rights, and to engage in critical interaction, especially in the issues related to the application of human rights and international law.



PHIL 104: Medical Ethics (Cr. 2)

This course examines the principles of medical ethics pertinent to professional relationships and responsibilities. It teaches how to apply these principles in practical situations.
Required for Nursing, Physiotherapy, and Occupational Therapy students.

PHIL 201: Logic (Cr. 3)

This course is an introduction to formal logic, which includes both a survey of the history of logic and also exercises in problem solving.

PHIL 202: General Ethics (Cr. 3)

The course focuses on the nature of human values and personal choice, and establishes general principles underlying proper human conduct.

PHIL 301: Special Ethics (Cr. 3)

The course analyzes specific problems involving human values and decisions. In both the General Ethics and the Special Ethics courses, emphasis is given to mutual respect in human relationships with an analysis of the rights and obligations inherent in those relationships. Because the approach is philosophical, the investigation is restricted to what can be deduced by the use of reason alone.

PHIL 302: Issues in Philosophy and Ethics (Cr. 3)

The course introduces students to various issues in philosophy and ethics, including a variety of philosophical and ethical approaches to these issues. Texts are used to present the thought of various philosophical schools and periods.

PHIL 303: Ethics of Life (Cr. 3)

This course focuses on the nature of human values and personal choices; it establishes the general principles underlying proper human conduct in different social realms. The course addresses current ethical debates regarding the world of communication and media as well as the dynamics of gender relations. The course also examines the different aspects of technological and scientific development, and analyzes the ethical problems and dilemmas that can emerge in this context.

ANTH 301: Anthropology of Religions (Cr. 3)

This course examines the range of anthropological approaches to the study of religion that have been developed and refined over the past hundred years. Students explore a variety of issues that anthropologists have addressed in the study of religion, such as ritual, myth, magic, witchcraft, healing, superstition, and taboo. The purpose of this course is to deepen understanding of similarities and differences among religions and the importance of religion in understanding human life. The course employs a variety of materials including visual aids and lectures.


Political Science

POLS 300: Themes in Political Science (Cr. 3)

This course is an introduction to major themes in political science, which involves political philosophy, sovereignty, democracy, civil society, human rights, and interrelationships between political science and social sciences.

POLS 310: Contemporary Political Arab Thought (Cr. 3)

This course covers the impact of several contemporary occurrences on political Arab thought, such as European enlightenment, contact with Western civilization, the advent of modern religious reform, political and social reform, scientific and nationalist events, and current Palestinian Arab affairs. Basic readings and texts are chosen to represent and illustrate these aspects.


Spanish Language

SPAN 101: Elementary Spanish I (Cr. 3)

This basic course in Spanish for beginners introduces the fundamental structures of the language and emphasizes vocabulary building through conversational techniques. Comprehension and oral ability are developed through audio-visual aids.

SPAN 102: Elementary Spanish II (Cr. 3)

This course provides students with a working knowledge of the basic grammatical structures of the Spanish language. Continued emphasis is placed on vocabulary building and correct use of grammar through written exercises and drills. Aural comprehension and oral ability are developed through audio-visual aids.
Prerequisite: SPAN 101

SPAN 103: Intermediate Spanish I (Cr. 3)

This course incorporates more advanced studies in the Spanish language. Emphasis is placed on a continuation of exercises to perfect the grasp of grammatical structures. Readings for this course are texts selected from Spanish literature.
Prerequisite: SPAN 102

SPAN 104: Intermediate Spanish II (Cr. 3)

This course continues the advanced work begun in SPAN 103. Students are expected to be conversant with all tenses and structures in Spanish. More advanced work is undertaken in the areas of writing, speaking, and reading.
Prerequisite: SPAN 103

SPAN 201: Advanced Spanish I (Cr.3)

In the advanced course, students are expected to improve self-capability of learning the language, using the skills provided in the previous courses. Readings of literary texts, compositions according to level, and oral expositions in class are used in this course.
Prerequisite: SPAN 104

SPAN 202: Advanced Spanish II (Cr.3)

The course continues the advanced work of SPAN 201 on a higher level. Readings, compositions and oral expositions are integral to this course. Cultural activities are integrated into the course during the semester.
Prerequisite: SPAN 201

Bethlehem University Foundation
Phone: +1-240-241-4381
Fax: +1-240-553-7691
Beltsville, MD USA
Bethlehem University in the Holy Land
Phone: +972-2-274-1241
Fax: +972-2-274-4440
Bethlehem, Palestine