Structuring and Writing Humanities Essay – A Guide

Last Updated: 15 May 2024

When studying humanities, research writing becomes second nature. You will most likely have many writing assignments, among them a humanities essay. It involves understanding and exploring the different aspects of human culture, values, society, and history. The key to writing a good humanities paper lies in choosing a good topic, doing proper research, creating a compelling thesis statement, outlining, using good transitions, etc., and developing clear arguments and ideas.

In this guide, we will define a humanities essay and discuss the steps and tips for writing a good one. Our top essay-writing experts will also share some of the best topics for such essays.

What is a Humanities Essay?

A humanities essay is an academic paper that explains human experiences and values. Humanities is a branch of knowledge that deals with human beings, their culture, and their abilities to express themselves. In humanities, we analyze our beliefs and values by comparing them with people of the past to make informed cultural and ethical decisions.

Humanities disciplines or subjects include history, philosophy, geography, religion, modern and ancient language, performing arts, media, communication, fine and performing arts, and cultural studies.

Learning how to write a humanities essay is a good way to reinforce cultural and ethical values. By comparing our own beliefs and values to those of thinkers of the past, we can make informed decisions.

Steps for Writing a Humanities Essay

Now that you understand what humanities subjects are let us deconstruct how to structure and write academic essays in humanities. As you do so, you must understand that navigating the conventions of writing within the humanities discipline can be a daunting task, especially if you are undertaking graduate-level studies.

But thanks to the many of us who took these classes, asked the professors for direction and feedback, and worked hand-in-hand with the writing centers, we understand the frustration that comes with a cool way of being told, “Go figure it out for yourself.”

For that, we now have an exclusive guide that comprehensively looks at the key elements of structuring an academic essay that a humanities professor would read and want to read many subsequent papers written by you.

If you do not know how to write a humanities essay, you need to follow all the steps to ensure you.

Choose the Right Topic

A high-quality humanities essay depends on the chosen topic. The topic determines your thesis statement, the types of sources you will use, and how you will present your arguments. Thus, it would be best if you chose a strong topic for your humanities essay.

However, with so many humanities topics, it is hard to choose the right topic that will make your writing process a fulfilling experience. To make the selection process much easier for you, follow these tips:

Some of the good topics you should consider in your essay include:

Choosing a good humanities topic requires a combination of the above factors. This way, you can ensure that your ideal topic is interesting but also challenging and broaden readers' perspectives.

Develop Your Thesis Statement

A thesis statement is one or two statements that summarize the main argument of your humanity essay. A good thesis statement should be debatable, specific, and rooted in observations about the particular genre.

Consider this statement as the crux of your scholarly contribution and articulate it in a single or two sentences. You should place it at the very beginning of your humanities paper, in the last sections of the introduction paragraph, to provide a roadmap for the readers on what to expect (signposting ideas). Depending on the topic, it should be clear, debatable, relevant, and well-scoped.

To develop a thesis, research the chosen topic and gather as much information as possible from primary and secondary sources in the humanities. Primary sources are first-hand sources, and secondary sources are second-hand sources.

As you research, take short notes about the main ideas and arguments for your essay. Ensure you consider different perspectives or arguments you can use to support your essay.

Next, create a thesis that clearly defines the relationship between the subjects. It should show that the essay is worth the readers' time. Please note that a good thesis provides an answer to a question. So, ensure you have this answer before you begin writing the essay.

As you conduct research, ensure you read and understand what each context is explaining. This way, you will have a good flow of ideas when writing the paper.

Create an Outline

Now that you have a thesis, decide how well you will organize the essay. Ask yourself the following questions:

Creating this outline will help organize your thoughts and ideas, ensuring the essay flows smoothly from the beginning to the end.

Structure Your Essay

So, what essay format is used in humanities? It would be best if you formatted your humanities essay with the following:


Body paragraphs (3-5)


Following a structure ensures your essay is well organized and clearly articulates your main ideas and arguments.

Write the Paper

Wondering how to start an essay about humanity essay? A humanities essay must start with an engaging introduction that exposes the angle of your paper to the readers. Within this humanities introduction, you must begin by outlining the subject as you narrow it down to the thesis statement. The thesis statements provide the direction your paper will take.

A good introduction should first begin with an engaging hook. One of the most effective hooks for an introduction to a humanities essay is posing a thought-provoking question that will engage the readers.

Other ways to start an introduction for a humanities essay are:

An ideal introduction should incorporate the following:

If you are not sure about how much information to include in your introduction essay, ask the following question:

  1. How much do readers know about this subject?
  2. Which parts of the background information are necessary to include in the introduction?
  3. Should I provide an open or a closed thesis? An open theist states your position on the matter, while a closed thesis states your position, providing a reason why.
  4. Should parts of an outline be included?

Write the Body of the Essay

After writing the introduction, begin writing the body of your humanities essay. The body is where all the discussions and explanations supporting your arguments go.

Note that readers will want to see that you have clearly organized and expressed your information logically and concisely. Therefore, it is important to ensure you have the right information with you.

Your paper could have two to 5 paragraphs, each explaining different ideas depending on the length of the essay,

Each paragraph should begin with a topic sentence introducing the main idea. This introduction should provide context for readers and summarize the paragraph's discussion.

Second, introduce credible evidence supporting the topic sentence, followed by an analysis of the sources.

Third, provide any counterarguments which demonstrate your understanding of the topic and add depth to the discussion. Ensure you acknowledge or refute these arguments with credible evidence.

Finally, provide correct transitions to the next paragraphs to ensure there is a smooth flow of information from one part to the next. You can use the PEEL/PEAL paragraphing strategy to structure the body paragraphs. You should ensure unity, coherence, conciseness, completeness, and connectedness within the essay with good paragraphing skills.

Write Your Conclusion

A big part of learning how to write a humanities essay lies in knowing how to conclude the paper. Since the conclusion is the last paragraph of your essay, it should provide readers with an ending to the discussed ideas and arguments.

The conclusion summarizes the main arguments of your essay. Begin by restating the thesis statement to remind readers of the main theme of your humanities essay. Next, provide a brief overview of the main ideas discussed in the body. Do not introduce any new information or evidence about your arguments.

Then, provide closure by bringing everything together for readers to finally get the essence of what you were discussing throughout the essay. Finally, it provides a recommendation or final thoughts that readers will ponder.

Revise and Edit Your Humanities Essay

Knowing how to write a humanities essay and eventually writing it is not the final part. You must also go through the paper and check for structure, correct use of evidence, flow of ideas, grammar, spelling, etc.

Once you have written, take a moment to relax before revising and editing the work. This will allow you to look at the paper with fresh eyes and mind.

Tips for Writing a Good Humanities Essay

When writing in the humanities, you must ensure that you clearly communicate your information so readers can make sense of the topic. The following are some tips you should keep in mind as you learn how to write a humanities essay.

Start Early

Writing your essay a night or a few hours before the deadline is not a brilliant idea. The chances of failing are high unless you are a fast-writing professional. However, to write an insightful, well-researched, organized, and top-grade humanities essay, you need to undertake the writing process entirely and slowly.

It would be best if you planned time to research, outline, write the first draft, and polish the draft into a final draft, which takes time.

Establish the Focus of Your Essay

The goal of all humanities essays is to provide a new perspective and expand the knowledge about human culture and values. It is not just a paper where you assemble facts or quotes from the readings.  For this reason, you need to establish the focus of your paper early on so that readers know what to expect as they read the essay.

Additionally, keeping your paper focused will ensure your essay stays manageable throughout the paper.

Ensure you engage the readers and challenge them to learn something new by approaching the issue through a variety of sources.

Use Headings and Subheadings

Mastery of the art of constructing effective headings and subheadings is a handy craft that can earn you great grades in academic writing. If you are writing longer essays with more than the classic three body paragraphs, it is best to use headings and subheadings. However, ensure that the headings are concise and clear to guide the readers through the various sections of the paper.

Your headings and subheadings should be descriptive enough to reflect the section's content. They should also have a hierarchy in terms of capitalization (start with the headings, then subheadings, and format them correctly).

The headings and subheadings should also be consistent in terms of formatting.

You should keep your headings parallel and avoid overloading your essay with information in one subsection when you can break it into two or more.

Consider the Structure

Follow the classic three-part essay structure: introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion. This classic structure has a way of working magic. It has done it for years because it helps you organize the flow of information.

Have a thesis-driven paper by clearly stating the thesis in the early stages of the introduction. Also, the thesis should be developed in the body paragraphs by providing evidence and analyses relating to the main point. Finally, conclude your essay with a succinct summary of the paper.

Use Transitions

The flow within your essay should be automatic and not forced. Graceful transitions can help you maintain order in the paper.

Use various transition words to show the flow of ideas and caution readers on what to expect next.

You should start a new paragraph for each new idea and make the topic sentence of each paragraph relate to the point you made in the preceding paragraph.

Even if you have an above-average paper, the moment you revise it and include transitions, it becomes great. Try that out!

Related: Power words to use in an essay and make it great.

Use Simple Language

Learning how to write a humanities essay involves the use of simple language. Even when you are discussing a complex topic, you need to use language that your readers will understand and make sense of the goal of your paper.

If you can say something in a few words, avoid using many words, phrases, or sentences. Avoid complex words and jargon and stick to simple and grammatically correct words and phrases. 

Related: Ways to present arguments in an essay.

Use Conceptual Framework

To explain your ideas, claims, and arguments, use conceptual frameworks to help readers better understand your perspective. This way, you can show readers how different elements have come together to form the problem you are discussing.

Observe the Page Limit

As you write, sticking to the word count shows your research writing prowess. It also shows that you can express yourself succinctly.

Therefore, if you have gone over the word count, revise the overly long paper to trim it within the defined limit. Work on your first draft to a refined page limit by cutting out the clutter.

You can use a mix of short and long sentences. Try to avoid ambiguous sentences or paragraphs. If it does not contribute to your essay, axe it out because it might affect your grades.

Use Credible Evidence

Every argument or idea you share in the paper should be supported with correct, relevant, and credible evidence. Cite your sources and use quotes, examples, paraphrasing, summarizing, etc, within your essay to provide a comprehensive discussion and analysis.

Ask for Help if you need it!

Although instructors look forward to helping you when you are stuck, sometimes their response comes later when the deadline is almost. The bad thing is that even when they are late, the chances of extending a deadline for you are very slim.

You are better off asking for help from your peers to understand a topic or readings. However, the best bet is to hire an online essay writer to help you develop a customized paper that meets all the instructions, which you can use as a model paper when writing yours.

Yes, you can actually understand the entire paper because such papers are written from scratch and free from AI clutter and plagiarism.

Humanities Essay Topics

Although we cannot exhaustively cover all the topics for humanities essays, we can only give you a few to get you started as you brainstorm for the best one to select. The following are topics you can use to write your humanities essay.

  1. The history of Western art movements.
  2. The evolution of different music genres.
  3. The impact of globalization on Western culture.
  4. The significance of language in the modern society.
  5. Religious beliefs and practices around the world.
  6. Major religious practices in the world
  7. Basic beliefs and practices of Buddhism.
  8. The influence of philosophy on modern thought.
  9. Comparative study of world religions.
  10. The relationship between religion and violence.
  11. The role of religion in shaping social and political movements.
  12. The impact of religious beliefs on health and well-being.
  13. The concept of the divine is present in various religious traditions.
  14. Gender inequality as a global issue
  15. Gender issues: education and feminisms
  16. Masculinity and femininity.
  17. Japanese geisha and gender identity issues.
  18. Gender and sexuality in literature
  19. The role of storytelling in human culture.
  20. Cultural appropriation in the fashion industry.
  21. The history of human rights movements.
  22. Iconic architecture from different times.
  23. The portrayal of war in literature and film.
  24. The impact of technology on art creation.
  25. The history of indigenous cultures.
  26. Cultural practices surrounding death and mourning.
  27. The representation of race in the media.
  28. The history of culinary traditions.
  29. The philosophy of education.
  30. The relationship between music and emotion.
  31. The influence of literature on social change.
  32. The evolution of dance and performance art.
  33. The impact of colonialism on cultural identity.
  34. The role of museums in preserving cultural heritage.
  35. The portrayal of mental illness in art.
  36. The history of protest movements.
  37. The intersection of fashion and politics.
  38. The debate over cultural appropriation vs. appreciation.
  39. The relationship between art and spirituality.
  40. The role of humor in society.
  41. The history of censorship in literature and the arts.
  42. The portrayal of love and relationships in media.
  43. The evolution of fashion trends.
  44. The impact of climate change on cultural heritage.
  45. The history of cultural exchange and trade.
  46. The representation of disability in the arts.
  47. The portrayal of gender roles in popular culture
  48. The history of stand-up comedy.
  49. The relationship between literature and social justice movements.
  50. The influence of social media on cultural norms.
  51. The portrayal of mental health in film and television.
  52. The significance of rituals in different cultures.
  53. The evolution of artistic movements in the digital age.
  54. The impact of gentrification on cultural communities.
  55. The portrayal of aging in literature and media.
  56. The role of fashion in identity formation.
  57. The history of street art and graffiti.
  58. The impact of social media activism on social change.
  59. The representation of LGBTQ+ identities in literature and film.
  60. The relationship between music and memory.
  61. The portrayal of cultural stereotypes in popular media.
  62. Stereotyping in media.
  63. Role of media in the civil rights movement.
  64. How the media shapes our view of people of color.
  65. Racism and cultural diversity.

What Are Trending Topics in Humanities?

Trending topics are crucial in the humanities because they help keep the field relevant and engaging. Students, researchers, and scholars can explore current events, cultural phenomena, etc, through a humanistic lens.

Race and Ethnicity

For example:

Politics and Propaganda

Gender and Sexuality 

For example,

Climate Crisis

For example,

Topics on Digital Humanities

  1. Digital humanities is concerned with intersecting computing and humanities. A relatively new subject offers many topics for exploration. Some of the topics include:
  2. Impact of social media on third world countries.
  3. What impact has social media had on international relations
  4. Forensic study in the search for hidden meaning in texts.
  5. Encoding U.S. documents to improve the legal process.
  6. Metadata and scholarship processing in the 21st century.
  7. Language processing with the use of digital tools.
  8. Linked open data and the challenges it faces in gathering data.
  9. Digital archiving has helped people embrace ancestral cultures.
  10. Researching art using digital technologies.

Medical Humanities Topics

The goal of medical humanities is to learn how to care for patients and deal with illnesses. It is referred to as the humanities approach to medicine. Some of the topics in this subject include:

  1. The role of humanities in doctor-assisted suicide cases.
  2. The role of humanities in the medical curriculum.
  3. The history of abortion throughout the 20th century.
  4. Colonial and Global Medicine.
  5. Shaping the future of AI in healthcare through ethics and governance.
  6. Cultural influences and prenatal genetic testing in developed countries.
  7. The evolution of medical costs in the United States.
  8. Understanding the experience of family caregivers of patients with leukemia.
  9. Culture, Health and Wellbeing: Building a Manifesto.
  10. The ways that medical theories have been represented in art.

Final Word

A humanities essay plays an important role in explaining and interpreting human experiences and values that readers may find confusing or difficult.

Different topics in the humanities, such as art, history, literature, etc., offer an opportunity to appreciate the past and make the right decisions for the future.

By following all the above steps and tips, you can learn how to write a humanities essay the right way.

Here are a few guides to help you write specific humanity subject essays or papers:

If you are stuck with your essay and could use some help, do not hesitate to place your order on our website.

We are a leading custom essay website with writers who specialize in different fields. All the papers are handcrafted by reading your instructions, researching from scholarly databases and libraries, actually reading the sources, planning, and writing fine papers that meet requirements. These papers are more refined than what AI churns out; they are plagiarism-free. Fill out the order form, and get the dice rolling.