Talk:List of academic disciplines and sub-disciplines

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
          This article is of interest to the following WikiProjects:
WikiProject Education (Rated List-class, High-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Education, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of education and education-related topics on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
 List  This article has been rated as List-Class on the project's quality scale.
 High  This article has been rated as High-importance on the project's importance scale.
WikiProject Lists (Rated List-class)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Lists, an attempt to structure and organize all list pages on Wikipedia. If you wish to help, please visit the project page, where you can join the project and/or contribute to the discussion.
 List  This article has been rated as List-Class on the project's quality scale.
 ???  This article has not yet received a rating on the project's importance scale.
WikiProject Universities (Rated List-class)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Universities, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of universities and colleges on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
 List  This article has been rated as List-Class on the project's quality scale.


Scholar's Discipline[edit]

A scholar's discipline is commonly defined and recognized by the university faculties and learned societies to which he or she belongs and the academic journals in which he or she publishes research

I have a comment with the statement above based on the trends and activities i have been following. The most common,majority and most popular research scientists were never from the popular universities or academic journalists. Its the passion,idea,intrest out of the norm which drives them to pursue there intrests. The universities were collection of information which the subject/scientist could get easy access to. In the future when the information is largely available over the internet. I would even see self publishing idealogists/scientists/authors/academic hobbies gathering more into the online community working towards the amazing project/idea/research development. MOOC/harvard/Mit/Berkley etc's all need to support the passion of the individuals who look ways to understand/collaborate and create advancements in the various fields through this platform. Hence the universities online faculties/part time faculties needs to devote time and guide the community effort into the advancements by encouraging the regular students as well to participate and work with the existing online community. the creation of projects/algorithms/discussions there is a huge missed opportunities. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Vdhananjay (talkcontribs) 18:34, 11 April 2014 (UTC)

Computer science[edit]

The recent move of the entire computer-science portion of the list from "mathematics and computer science" to "professions and applied sciences" seems totally unjustified to me, and the edit comments don't really help me understand why it was done. It is true that software engineering and related practical fields are sometimes taught as subdisciplines of engineering or applied CS, but there is a huge amount of academic research in CS which does not seem to fit very well under "applied sciences" at all, let alone "professions." I want to see a lot more justification (documented with sources, please, not just opinion) for this move before we do it. -- Rbellin|Talk 17:10, 6 July 2007 (UTC)

As an addendum, note that UNESCO's classification places computer science (48) under "science" alongside life sciences, physical sciences, and mathematics. -- Rbellin|Talk 17:49, 6 July 2007 (UTC)


None of the disciplines are labeled with an asterisk (*), suggesting that there is no field whose status is debated. If that's actually the case, the sentence discussing the asterisk should be removed. If that's not the case, someone may want to go around with an asterisk pen. Antelan talk 21:21, 19 August 2007 (UTC)

Concept of disciplines?[edit]

There doesn't seem to be much commentary on the concept of disciplines in this article. I added a couple lines at the beginning. I hope, at some point, to add something from Discipline and Punish. Any suggestions? Fokion 18:46, 23 August 2007 (UTC)

Also, I think that Science Studies should go somewhere. But where? It's interdisciplinary, but also a part of science, history, anthro, critical theory, philosophy... any suggestions? Fokion 18:50, 23 August 2007 (UTC)

"personal service professions"[edit]

User:Catdude added a section of "personal service professions" including things like cosmetology and nannying. It seems to me patently ridiculous to call these "academic disciplines," and I think the section should be removed immediately, but I'd like to solicit other opinions and evidence first. Can Catdude or soemone else give some serious sources for including them? I don't see how it will be possible to provide documentation showing these to be academic disciplines or fields of serious research. Perhaps some vocational colleges instruct students in some of these areas, but I can't imagine what research or study in something like nannying would even mean. -- Rbellin|Talk 17:43, 3 September 2007 (UTC)

Thanks for bringing the aforementioned concern on the Talk page, RBellin. I perfectly understand your concern. For the "personal service professions" area, I was careful to only list fields that, from my observations, do receive attention in four-year college/university programs as opposed to just Associate/Foundation degree (two-year) programs or just certificate programs. Some of these fields (such as nannying) do have some overlap, or outgrowth, from Home Economics (aka Consumer and Family Sciences or Human Ecology). (Many professional nannies have four-year degrees in Home Economics or an allied area; the specific degree is oftentimes in, or closely related to, Early Childhood Development.) Others personal-service fields in question (such as mortuary science; travel, tourism and concierge services; and secretarial science) do not generally have such an overlap, but can be found taught in four-year institutions. (You can Google these terms and find evidence of four-year programs for them.) I was careful to leave out fields that seem to be, at this time, purely fields that would be just taught in two-year or certificate programs. (Such omitted fields would include areas such as carpentry, welding, and plumbing.) I was just trying to make the total list as "holistic" as possible, and again, do see how some people could be (in good faith) surprised or disagreeing with my inclusion of the aforementioned "personal service professions" area. Further comments, if any, are very welcome :) —Respectfully, Catdude 18:54, 3 September 2007 (UTC)
Can you provide some credible evidence that there exist a significant number of university departments, scholarly journals or publications, and/or learned societies in these fields, then? As the article's lead sentence states, these are some reasonable indicators of whether a subject is an academic field -- which (n.b.) implies something more than that a course is occasionally taught about the subject. -- Rbellin|Talk 19:08, 3 September 2007 (UTC)
That's a fair and scholarly question, Rbellin; please allow me just a few days to get back to this question. At that time, I'll provide a substantive answer to your question (URLs, journals, etc.). —Respectfully, Catdude 22:41, 3 September 2007 (UTC)

I'm just a normal reader, but I agree with Rbellin. It's absurd to put biology and life coaching together. When I saw the additions I laughed--they're just silly! Nothing personal Catdude, but I hope it gets cut soon. Good luck. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:43, 6 September 2007 (UTC)

I have taken a small interest in this matter and have found that, while some primarily four-year colleges do offer degrees in cosmetology and mortuary science, none of them are four-year. Also, I found that no four-year schools offer degrees in life coaching, but there is an academic journal dealing with: The International Journal of Coaching in Organizations. I hope this helps. Zrallo (talk) 00:45, 5 December 2007 (UTC)

The discipline "Children's Studies" which was started at Brooklyn College in 1991 and is now taught around the globe (York University, Canada, Eastern Washington University etc...) doesn't really fit in any discipline. This is an interdisciplinary program that studies children from a sociological, psychological, cultural etc... viewpoint. Where does anyone think it should go rather than Cultural Studies? I think that there should be an interdisciplinary section. Where is Global Studies? (Childrensstudies) 21:21, 22 October 2008 (edit) (undo)

It seems like a candidate for deletion to me. The perspective in the Children's Studies article seems too narrow to me:
this new interdisciplinary and interdepartmental field of study was based on the insight that children from birth to age eighteen represent in every society a distinct sociocultural class and generational cohort.
The article on marriageable age suggests that "childhood" ends before age 18 in some cultures. The insight concerning "every society" seems to be erroneous.
York university offers only a bachelor's program:
Is a master's degree available in Children's Studies available from a significant number of major universities?
I don't think that Global Studies has a place in this list. The article on Global Studies says that it is a high school subject and peculiar to the state of New York. It doesn't seem to contain a suggestion that a masters degree is available in Global Studies. - Ac44ck (talk) 22:32, 22 October 2008 (UTC)
The new article Children's Studies seems to be duplicating Childhood studies, where more relevant information can be found. It is unclear whether Childhood studies meets the master's degree criterion.--Palaeoviatalk 23:59, 22 October 2008 (UTC)

Rename to reflect content[edit]

Since my attempt to cull the content of this page to what the title suggests it is about was quickly reverted I propose that this page be moved to List of fields of employment or suchlike. -- Alan Liefting talk 22:37, 6 September 2007 (UTC)

I assume you're referring to this edit -- which was a massive deletion not justified by any prior discussion, with an edit summary that didn't explain why you proposed to delete such a large portion of the current list. Can you please explain what you want to happen, and why, in more detail, and provide some justification for your proposal? -- Rbellin|Talk 23:08, 6 September 2007 (UTC)

There is no need to discuss what are good faith and appropriate edits on a talk page As editors we can be bold. Why I deleted info should be obvious - the links I deleted are way beyond the bounds of acedemia.

I have seen other lists that have a similar slow creep of irrelevant links. For example:

The article is heading towards what is contained in List of occupations and there is no need for the overlap that is happening. A list is only useful if it has a tight focus. -- Alan Liefting talk 23:40, 6 September 2007 (UTC)

As a look through the previous discussions on this Talk page will amply demonstrate, opinions on what is "obviously" academic or non-academic vary widely. I do agree that creeping overexpansion is a danger that Wikipedia lists face in general, but I don't see the links you mass-deleted as necessarily examples of that -- many seem to me like they are rather obviously academic fields. So, again, can you please explain what particular things you think do not belong in the list, and give some justification or cite sources that support your opinion? -- Rbellin|Talk 04:08, 7 September 2007 (UTC)


To all concerned, I've been doing some library research to try to be as fair-minded as possible about what constitutes an applied-art-and-science-type profession; I should have the substantive response I promised posted by Mon., 9/10/2007 (or early Tues., depending on your time zone). I appreciate the recent dialogue on the Talk page to help clarify what should or shouldn't "count" as a profession. I think the debate is healthy, as it will collaboratively help us produce the best possible product. Thanks for your patience. —Respectfully, Catdude 02:24, 8 September 2007 (UTC)

As a courtesy update, I've fielded questions related to this discussion area to a couple of university research librarians and also to a couple of academic deans in university environments. It appears they do need 2-3 more days to come up with some research results, so please kindly bear with me while I await them. However, I can say that, at this point, in retrospect to my own research, the fields in dispute could probably all be listed as "craft-professions" as well as "emerging professions." There does seem to be plenty of evidence that there are people employed in all the disputed professions who do have a bachelor's degree or perhaps higher, with the bachelor's degree earned in the field of dispute or something closely allied to it. However, there is also that broader philosophical debate on what should/can count as an "academic discipline." I'll post something late Thursday (perhaps early Friday in your time zone) to put some finality to my research on this subject. My inclination (POV?) is that it would still make sense to recognize "personal service professions" in some way as an emerging academic discipline, albeit with a few asterisks as an editor has already provided (and maybe even a footnote as well). Relatedly, the Wikipedia community as a whole will have the ultimate chance to edit things and make changes as desired. Thanks again for your continued patience. —Respectfully, Catdude 23:06, 10 September 2007 (UTC)
Some folks who are aiding my research are still putting just a few finishing touches on helping me; I hope to complete my findings in about a day or so. However, I do have some things to kindly share at this time:
1) In the fields that I listed in "personal service professions," a majority of the fields listed do not appear to have dedicated academic journals, although articles about the subjects can be found about them in other sources. For example, with concierge, the Cornell Hospitality Quarterly contains significant articles pertaining to concierge. However, a notable exception is with mortuary science; many journals in the field exist. (Please see ). In the life-coaching area, there is the journal International Journal of Evidence Based Coaching and Mentoring (please see ).
2) Mortuary science has strong evidence of bachelor's degrees offered in the field. Travel and tourism has relatively strong evidence of this. The other fields I listed in "personal service professions" have strong evidence of many degree holders having closely-allied four-year or higher degrees (e.g., a professional working in nannying/butlery sometimes having a bachelor's degree in home economics; a life-coaching specialist frequently having a bachelor's or higher degree in psychology; a wardrobe-coordination specialist sometimes having a four-year degree in Fashion Merchandising or Textile Design).
3) There does appear to be strong evidence of professional associations for most of the aforementioned personal-service-profession fields. For example, for Concierge, there is the Clef D'Or assocation in several countries (see the Concierge article for links); for nannies, there is the International Nanny Association ( ). For the fields that I intentionally left out of the "personal services professions" list (such as welding, plumbing, and truck/lorry driving), there mostly don't seem to be the same types of professional associations which have an important "education emphasis" as a subcomponent, as found in the fields that I did include in the list.
I'll stop by shortly again to add anything else that is revealed to me which is significant. Thanks again for your patience. —Catdude 18:42, 14 September 2007 (UTC)
I appreciate the effort you're putting into this research, but I have to say that a lot of the things you're citing seem borderline irrelevant to me. Neither the existence of professional associations for various jobs, nor the presence in those jobs of people who studied somehow related topics while they were in college, supports the argument that these jobs are properly described as academic disciplines. The granting of bachelor's degrees is relevant, but seems to me to fall short of justification, as there are certainly some bachelor's degrees best described as vocational. And the absence of academic journals (alongside the fact that you haven't addressed the existence of learned societies, research, or university departments) in these fields, all seem like conclusive evidence on the side of removing these fields to me. -- Rbellin|Talk 20:44, 15 September 2007 (UTC)
Thanks, Rbellin, for the educated feedback in regards to this issue. To cut to the chase in a way I think you'll like, I wouldn't be opposed to taking out the area of dispute, and tasking myself to seeing how it could form the genesis of a new list. (I know that Wikipedia can tend to also suffer from list overexpansion in regards to the number of lists out there, but I think that such a new list can evolve quickly into something appropriate and encyclopedic.) I will mention that mortuary science does seem to have an abundance of professional journals out there, and there is even a department of mortuary science in the University of Minnesota's medical college. Travel and tourism management arguably has some of the accoutrements of an applied academic discipline as well, as measured by professional associations, journal articles, and some other elements. The other fields I listed don't meet such standards as well. I'll likely leave it to other Wikipedians, such as you, to judge whether those two fields have merit as part of the list of academic disciplines. In the meantime, I'll work on the aforementioned new list, and will try to add "meat" to it to illustrate how the fields in the new list perhaps are "emerging professions" based on key elements, but may not meet the standards, among many people, of "academic disciplines" at this time. Thanks again for all the feedback and for trying to make this as relevant of a list as possible. —Regards, Catdude 01:05, 16 September 2007 (UTC)

the correct term is Indology, not dharmic religions[edit]

First of all the term dharmic religions is a very unusual term when compared to the alternative term Indian religions. The number of google scholar results for "Indian religions"+"Indian religion" is (45.600 + 84.200) while it is only (492+475) for "dharmic religions" +"dharmic religion". So if we are to choose between the two then it should be Indian religions. Secondly the correct term of the academic field is Indology, not Indian religions, let alone the obscure neologism dharmic religions. See Wikipedia:Deletion_review/Log/2007_September_8. Andries 19:43, 9 September 2007 (UTC)

I've changed it to Indian religions because it clearly is the better term in the context. I don't know enough about Indology to justify making that change myself. --Mrwojo 01:26, 25 September 2007 (UTC)


Is drawing not an academic disciplines. —Preceding unsigned comment added by The Tramp (talkcontribs) 22:43, 25 October 2007 (UTC)

Computer & Video Games[edit]

I believe that Computer & Video games should be listed as a recognized academic discipline (as, for example, film and radio are included). There are now several dedicated degree-level courses covering various facets of the discipline (e.g. tools & technology, software engineering, 3D art & animation, design, production management) and a growing body of academic literature and journals. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 26 December 2007

Philosophy of Mind[edit]

Shouldn't the philosophy of mind be listed under metaphysics, rather than applied philosophy? Descartes was hardly doing applied philosophy. The closest applied thing I can think of is maybe Cognitive Science or Philosophy of Artificial Intelligence and Cognitive Science, maybe? Llamabr (talk) 19:53, 6 February 2008 (UTC)

Certainly, and absolutely, and with support from the Stanford Enclopedia of Philosophy ( --Palaeoviatalk 08:25, 7 February 2008 (UTC)

Religion/spirituality/divinity; Hum/SocEc[edit]

I made a good-faith restoration of the subsection "Religious and spiritual leadership / Divinity" due to my feeling that this area represents a bona fide "application" of religion/spirituality, but I wasn't sure that it belonged where the "pure arts and sciences" are pretty much listed in the article. Additionally, Divinity/Applied Theology is taught at many prominent universities such as Harvard and Oxford, which is why I respectfully felt it had a place as a sub-list in the article. However, I do notice that some "applied arts/humanities" such as Architecture and Studio Art are listed in the Humanities section, when they are in fact more of an "application thing". Perhaps a new section for "Applied Arts" or some such thing could be used to house Architecture, Studio Art, Divinity, etc. (I know that you then have the challenge of deciding if, say, Art History should be "separated" from Studio Art, etc., but we all can probably find a "good way" to deal with this issue later on :) ).

After I got done making the addition of the new "Human ecology and allied social ecology" subsection (which was good-faith-removed by another editor), I admit that the section did seem to contain, well, "a lot" in it, and admittedly after all the work I did on that subsection, I was too tired to start wikification on it right away :) That Hum/SocEc subsection was honestly the very last field that I could think of which, IMHO, I felt was an "academic field" that would be good to slip into the article list. However, I will not restore the sub-list at this time, and I will "put on my thinking cap" as to how this sub-list, or some sort of "re-processing" of it, could better "mesh" with the article and thus contribute better to it.

Thanks, all, who have made positive suggestions/critiques to me (and others) in the quest to improve this article! —Best regards, Catdude (talk) 01:45, 18 July 2008 (UTC)


I have protected this List for 24 hours, to put a halt to a potential edit war. Bearian (talk) 23:20, 30 September 2008 (UTC)

Military sciences[edit]

I have reverted the removal for several reasons.

Firstly what I have done is to change what was a seemingly random collection of existing and non-existent military articles into a list. This list is organised, and explains what each of the list items represent.

The deletion of my edits based on them being "expository" and therefore not appropriate, is somewhat hard to understand. A list is not supposed to be an accumulation of wikilinks alone! In a reference work it is supposed to also inform.

The particular problem with military sciences is that they are not a part of the more widely known spheres of research, development and study, and do not easily fall into the "ologies" that the other disciplines represent. A different taxonomic grouping was required.

I would really appreciate if editors discussed reverts of what was a substantial bit of time invested on my part as a matter of courtesy if not actual policy--mrg3105 (comms) ♠♣ 23:24, 30 September 2008 (UTC)

Hi. This page is a bit of an exception to normal practices, because it is originally part of the set of Contents pages, and is linked right at the top of Portal:Contents (which is the second link in the site's sidebar).
Also, for sheer length considerations, it would become necessary to split it into subarticles if each section was transformed into exposition.
For those reasons, I would strongly recommend that we leave it in pure list format. Some more sourcing for the lede wouldn't hurt though...
[Tangentially/contextually: There have been many prior discussions about moving it (alone or as part of the whole Content's group) into Wikipedia or Portal namespace.]
I Hope that helps explain the situation here :) See Wikipedia:BOLD, revert, discuss cycle for the preferred method of dispute resolution. Thanks. -- Quiddity (talk) 04:16, 1 October 2008 (UTC)
Ok, fair enough. What I'll do is try to reduce the current instalment I made into something more linkish to look like the rest of the list. I would appreciate if it was left in place for now while I do a bit more figuring out, because Military Science as I explained above is a bit unusual as a subject--mrg3105 (comms) ♠♣ 06:22, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
A few thoughts:
Were you planning on something other than a basic hierarchical-list? The whole page has a fairly consistent structure throughout, except for the block of prose you've added..
Maybe you could work on your proposed replacement in a sandbox? (Not that I want to contribute to your sandbox addictioncollection!)
Maybe you could add the prose component at Military science instead? and then copy a concise list-summary-version to here and Topic outline of military science and technology (formerly "list of basic topics in ...").
Thanks. :) -- Quiddity (talk) 02:06, 3 October 2008 (UTC)
Actually I thought that the current list is a sandbox :) I think lists should not be bare wikilinks, but actually offer at least a rudimentary description of each entry, and a section introduction.
What happened with my sandboxes is that as I begun what was going to be primarily Eastern Front (WW2) period articles, I discovered that many peripheral articles were just not there. If you look at the Military science article introduction I wrote, you will see lots of redlinks, and you will see many in my to do list. The problem is that it is pointless to author and edit article that use terminology the reader will not understand, so I have had to expand the range of foundational articles I have had to write. Military science is one of them since it impacts on how one understands the behaviour of the belligerents.
Yes, I will copy the prose for the most part to the Military science article, but need to work on that article a bit more also. The other thing I need to incorporate is the Military art (Military science) article--mrg3105 (comms) ♠♣ 02:28, 3 October 2008 (UTC)
See also the other pages in Template:Contents pages (footer box), particularly List of Dewey Decimal classes. They've been this way for years, and don't change much (glance through some random diffs from the years of history!). As Palaeovia explains below, they're meant more as a browsing instrument (hence the recurrent namespace-pagemove arguments, that I mentioned earlier (lists of lists are a thorny issue, but there are good reasons for keeping them in mainspace)).
I'm going to revert to the last by Palaeovia, and copy a link for you to easily get your text out (old diff of section #Military sciences).
This is actually a fairly high traffic page, being permanently 2 clicks away from anywhere. Feel free to update the actual sublist that you were editing, but please keep it in the same simple format as the rest of the page. Let us know if we can be of anymore help. Thanks again. -- Quiddity (talk) 07:27, 3 October 2008 (UTC)
In support of Quiddity's suggestion above and the current orientation of this page as a simple list of wikilinks, I give here my view of the purposes of this list:
Firstly, the list presents a coherent and elegant overview of the world of academia, and its coverage by Wikipedia. ("Browse" function)
Secondly, the list directs the user efficiently to a Wikipedia article on an academic discipline, or sub-discipline, for further exposition. ("Index" function)
The proper place for exposition is the relevant articles (where any controversial issues can be critically examined), and not here.--Palaeoviatalk 02:51, 3 October 2008 (UTC)

Maybe eliminate indenting in categorizing engineering disciplines[edit]

Maybe it would be better not to suggest here that one type of engineering in a branch of any other.

I rearranged some of the items in the engineering categories. For sure, Automobile Engineering isn't a branch of Naval Engineering, as indicated by this page as I found it. I thought Automotive Engineering was a branch of Mechanical Engineering, but the Automobile Engineering article says that it is a branch of Vehicle Engineering.

I moved the mention of Software Engineering to be a branch of Computer Engineering. The article on Computer Engineering says that software engineering is one of the "core knowledge areas of computer engineering".

Someone within a particular field may take exception to the notion that their profession is a "branch" of any other. I suggest putting the list of disciplines in alphabetical order and eliminating the indentation to avoid disputes over whose discipline is a branch of someone else's. - Ac44ck (talk) 04:22, 4 October 2008 (UTC)

I prefer a hierarchical organization, however tentative, of an academic discipline, to an alphabetical list, since organizing human knowledge helps us to grasp the scope and depth (and gaps) of the current state of human kwowledge. It is a natural intellectual pursuit. And I would like to know how scholars in a field of knowledge view its structure.
There is no single correct way to organize any field, and we should all acknowledge that, and seek reasonable compromise. However, a structured view is always preferable to a surrender to chaos.--Palaeoviatalk 07:22, 4 October 2008 (UTC)

Top level grouping of academic disciplines[edit]

The breaking up of "Professions and Applied sciences" in this version into the current form is messy. I propose two options:

1. Break up "Professions and Applied sciences" into "Professions", consisting of the well-established, credentialed professions (medicine, engineering, law, education(?), religious ministry(?)), and "Vocations" (such as beauty therapy).
2. Revert to this version.

To avoid potential debates concerning the distinction between professions and vocations, I favor reverting. Any dissenting views?--Palaeoviatalk 08:19, 7 October 2008 (UTC)

If there is a place to make a distinction between professions and vocations, I believe it is elsewhere. Using labels is necessary when making a hierarchical list for the purpose of structure. Assigning a caste would not seem to be necessary when compiling a list of "academic disciplines".
The page is too large for me to sort out, in a reasonable time frame, a preferred way to "fix" it from where it is now. Someone has done a lot of editing since the version proposed for reversion. They did it anonymously and without discussion. I am not going to take the time to figure out whether part of what they did is worth keeping. You apparently have.
Your proposed reversion would erase some of the work I did, but I'm not necessarily opposed to that. If you think reverting it is best and the anonymous editor doesn't object here, have at it.
Changing the overall structure of the "Academic disciplines" page is complicated by its size. If it was just a collection of major headings, I would find its structure to be more discernable and manageable.
I favor breaking this page into several others and using this page as a launching point, with "see also" links in those pages, for example:
  • Academic disciplines
  • Applied sciences (academic disciplines)
  • Engineering (academic disciplines)
  • remainder of major headings
  • Applied sciences (academic disciplines)
  • list of applied science disciplines
  • See also: Engineering (academic disciplines)
  • Engineering (academic disciplines)
  • list of engineering disciplines
  • See also: Applied sciences (academic disciplines)

The parenthetical part of the page title is like that found in disambiguation pages. -Ac44ck (talk) 16:53, 7 October 2008 (UTC)

To avoid piling up of new edits, I've reverted to the version given above, and then replaced the subsequently edited sections with the latest versions. Your latest edits are preserved.
I've not found this page slow in loading, so do not favor breaking it up, as it then slows my access to the sections that I want.
Best regards--Palaeoviatalk 17:35, 7 October 2008 (UTC)
I'd oppose breaking the page up, too. It's intended purpose (historically, anyway) is as a browsing mechanism, similar to the other pages in Template:Contents pages (footer box).
As a path for improvements, it would be nice to have everything sourced (confirmed as a course of study at an accredited institution, type thing). Perhaps working on that in a sandbox would be simplest? And more precisely defining our inclusion-criteria would help. -- Quiddity (talk) 18:18, 7 October 2008 (UTC)

Criteria for inclusion of an academic discipline[edit]

[Partial copy of a previous post:] As a path for improvements, it would be nice to have everything sourced (confirmed as a course of study at an accredited institution, type thing). Perhaps working on that in a sandbox would be simplest? And more precisely defining our inclusion-criteria would help. -- Quiddity (talk) 18:18, 7 October 2008 (UTC)

An inclusion criterion is partially defined at the start of the article: "An academic discipline, or field of study, is a branch of knowledge which is taught or researched at the college or university level."
It links to the article on academia, which says of an academic: "He or she is nearly always an advanced degree holder who does research."
The title of this article says that it is a list of "academic disciplines" -- not a list of "available areas of instruction" nor "existing job titles". Nor is the article intended to provide an exhaustive list of _all_ academic disciplines, which the intro of the article suggests is impossible because there may be "no end to the amount of academic disciplines one could have."
I suggest that, for the purposes of this article, an "academic discipline" be restricted to those areas of study in which a masters degree is available from at least five universities, each with a total enrollment in excess of 10,000 students. This should exclude most nontraditional studies from appearing in the list of more generally-recognized academic disciplines.
This criterion would also allow removing the asterisks from the list, which according to the intro denote "a field whose academic status is debated." If one can point to five large universities which offer masters degrees in an academic discipline, then the debate is settled. -Ac44ck (talk) 22:21, 7 October 2008 (UTC)

A preliminary thought worth pondering: "Christian Theology" or "Divinity" (as an intellectual discipline found in medieval European universities) probably qualifies under your proposed criterion. However, "Christian Ministry" (as a vocational training) would probably not, since most religious seminaries and Bible colleges are small. The relation of "Christian Ministry" to "Christian Theology" can be compared with that of "Pharmacy" to "Pharmacology", or "Clinical Psychology" to "Psychology".--Palaeoviatalk 00:26, 8 October 2008 (UTC)
California Institute of Technology is an example of small, world-class universities. Just a thought.--Palaeoviatalk 00:41, 8 October 2008 (UTC)
I would be a victim of my own discrimination on a few fronts. I don't qualify as an "academic" if it requires having an advanced degree. The college where I went has a student body smaller than 10,000 students. My specialty, "thermal engineering", wouldn't qualify as an "academic discipline".
But the weeding which would result from raising the bar on what qualifies here as an "academic discipline" would bring some coherence to this page.
There are more-specialized lists for those who want to dig deeper in a particular discipline, such as List of engineering topics, List of basic philosophy topics, etc.
True: "most religious seminaries and Bible colleges are small". But are there not five large universities worldwide that award masters degrees in the field of interest? Whether the degree program is liberal or conservative is not included in my proposed criterion.
I suspect that the field of "Clinical Psychology" is less stable than that of "Psychology". Technology fields are more subject to the whim du jour. Was learning the intricacies of Windows 98 an "academic discipline"? My current use of Windows 98 is scoffed at by those who use what is lauded — today, but probably not in two years — as the "latest and greatest" version of Windows.
An interesting perspective on knowledge as opposed to temporary technical competence is presented in Asimov's story, _Profession_.
Large universities probably offer the same degrees as "small, world-class universities" if the subject is a generally-recognized "academic discipline". It may a huge accomplishment to obtain a "boutique degree" at a small, world-class university, but the field may not — yet — be a generally-recognized "academic discipline". -Ac44ck (talk) 02:25, 8 October 2008 (UTC)

There are indeed a few universities with enrollment of over 10,000 in the US that offer Master of Divinity, Doctor of Ministry, and similar advanced degrees. I've found Liberty University (enrollment 14438) and the George W. Truett Theological Seminary of Baylor University (enrollment 13,886) so far.

I think that, nevertheless, the existence of the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada, its Commission on accrediting, and its "Degree Program Standards" (pdf document) serve perfectly well as the authority for including "Christian Ministry" as an academic discipline. This should be accepted as an alternative inclusion criterion.--Palaeoviatalk 05:07, 8 October 2008 (UTC)

My proposal was arbitrary, and I didn't intend to limit the scope to universities in the US. But I don't think that it is overly restrictive. I imagine that this page could become quite long if we found and included every discipline for which masters degrees are offered by five major universities worldwide.
At what point does a blend of disciplines qualify as a discipline itself?
Arguably, mechanical engineering is but one branch of applied physics with perhaps some other disciplines blended in. The discipline wasn't recognized as distinct until the 19th century according to the Wikipedia article on mechanical engineering, and then probably for utility in building a market-driven set of competencies rather than uniqueness of the subject matter. The field is so diffuse today that it has fingers in everything from micromachines to interstellar satellites. Were it not for so many universities offering degrees by that name, one might be hard pressed to call it _an_ academic discipline.
Not to put this in the same camp as the organizations that you mentioned, but the presence of an accreditation organization may or may not be sufficient to qualify a pursuit as an academic discipline:
So some criteria for accreditation organizations would seem to be needed if they are to be used in deciding what qualifies as an "academic discipline".
The linked pdf document seems to be about the Master of Divinity degree. I didn't find the phrase "Christian Ministry" in the document. It occurs to me that the term is imprecise in that it doesn't necessarily indicate whether one is talking about teaching, counseling, or music.
Divinity is one of the most established academic disciplines. The article on Yale says that it "was founded to train ministers." It still offers a Master of Divinity degree. According to their website, "Approximately 11,250 students attend Yale." -Ac44ck (talk) 08:25, 8 October 2008 (UTC)
The suggested criteria sounds good as a starting point. It can always be adapted/improved later, as needed. Almost nothing is fixed in stone, around here :) -- Quiddity (talk) 17:26, 8 October 2008 (UTC)
I've used "Christian Ministry" as an all-inclusive stand-in for the vocational training for Christian clergy and workers found in seminaries and Bible colleges. It is indeed not a commonly accepted term. "Divinity" or "Christian Theology" is my term for the non-vocational intellectual study (from a believer's perspective) of Christian doctrine. "Religion" as an academic field includes the study of all aspects of Christianity from a non-believer's perspective.
"Christian Ministry" is vocationally oriented. And there are Doctors of Ministry. Likewise, there are multitudes of Doctors of Education, Doctors of Business Administration. Whether a subject qualifies as an academic discipline, in some marginal cases, depends on extrinsic, social factors, as much as intrinsic characters of the field of study. --Palaeoviatalk 00:45, 9 October 2008 (UTC)
I have applied the following, though they are not listed in the inclusion criteria:
  • The item in the list must link to a relevant Wikipedia article.
  • The linked Wikipedia article must contain some suggestion that the pursuit is an "academic discipline", as defined elsewhere in the inclusion criteria for this list.
That could save the effort to prove that the discipline is not listed in some external database. For me, "success" in checking to see that something _is_ where I am looking is usually more satisfying (and demonstrable) than the reverse. "Whatsit is on page 4" may be more convincing (and less subject to version tag) than "I didn't find it in 400 pages of text. If you look, you won't find it either — unless they 'upgrade' the text in the mean time."
Might we include these two additional criteria in the lead? Or maybe the lead can refer to an "inclusion criteria" section which precedes the list. That section could be a place for the inclusion criteria to grow. -Ac44ck (talk) 18:22, 9 October 2008 (UTC)
I support the inclusion of these additional criteria. Highlighting the inclusion criteria in a seperate section preceding the list also seems an excellent idea. Let's see if the notion of "academic discipline" can be saved from being dumbed down here. Thanks for pruning the list.--Palaeoviatalk 23:13, 9 October 2008 (UTC)

Why does this list contain links to nonexistent articles?[edit]

Links to nonexistent articles appear in my browser as red links. The link for thermal engineering was red until I created an article for it.

If a topic is truly an "academic discipline" and it is generally recognized as such, wouldn't it have an article mentioning something about pursuing or practicing that discipline?

As noted by elsewhere on this talk page (September 2007), the name of this article doesn't seem indicative of its content.

The article on air safety talks about certifying aircraft (machines), not academics (people). The organizations in the "Institutions" section seem to be regulatory bodies, not academic institutions.

"Postal administration" is listed as a "transportation" discipline. It is an important profession to countless people every day, but it is linked to the general Post office article, which does not contain the word "administration".

An effort to "cull" the article in September 2007 was resisted. That effort seemed to end with a demand for proof of a negative: that the topic was _not_ an academic discipline, which may be impossible to prove; and the effort to try is likely to offend those engaged in the discipline.

The current focus on what _is_ an academic discipline places the burden of proof on those who want their field to be listed here.

The following seems preferable to "Your profession is not an academic discipline because of thus and so.":

"I didn't find an abundance of evidence confirming (insert topic here) as an academic discipline, so I removed it from this list."

If the criteria are clear, one may counter with evidence that it is adequately-recognized as such.

Can we:

  1. Come to some consensus on the criteria for an "academic discipline", and
  2. Remove some topics from this list?

-Ac44ck (talk) 17:45, 8 October 2008 (UTC)

Strongly agree. (I'm lacking time this week, and reinstalling my OS, but will try to keep an eye on this, and help out if possible). Thanks for your efforts :) -- Quiddity (talk) 18:02, 8 October 2008 (UTC)
I agree fully with your proposed improvements. We should formulate our definition of an academic discipline in the article lead, and then remove subjects that probably don't qualify.
Let's adopt your criterion and modify as needed. Do we want to explicitly justify every academic discipline in the list? (I don't see the need.) If we do, then we should include sources such as the List of fields of doctoral studies in the United States from the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) at the University of Chicago as an inclusion criterion. This would greatly reduce the effort needed to justify all the traditional disciplines.--Palaeoviatalk 00:03, 9 October 2008 (UTC)
I added text to mention the inclusion criteria and removed most items which aren't linked to articles.
I agree that explicitly justifying every academic discipline is too onerous. Perhaps the List of fields of doctoral studies in the United States can be an inclusion criterion — if it can be safeguarded from questionable expansion, such as:
Doctor of Parapsychology (D.Psy.)
Providing some justification for deleting an item might be useful. -Ac44ck (talk) 04:40, 9 October 2008 (UTC)

The following are databases of online journals found in Academic journal. Perhaps we could evaluate the quality of the journals they include (whether junk journals are found there?). We could then justify the deletion of a subject (to be restored if later shown to meet the inclusion criterion), if it is not within the scope of an academic journal found in any of these databases.

--Palaeoviatalk 05:24, 9 October 2008 (UTC)

A better idea: This list of academic journals from ISI Web of Knowledge should contain only bona fide academic journals, and would serve well as a deletion criterion:

--Palaeoviatalk 06:00, 9 October 2008 (UTC)

Concerning the first list: If a topic is not listed in any of the databases, it would seem to be a likely candidate for deletion — provided the scope of the database includes related disciplines. I don't know that I am qualified, nor have the time, to evaluate the quality of many journals.
Concerning the Journal list, it seems to be for scientific disciplines. It is probably a reliable guide for the scientific disciplines.
My procedure in trimming the engineering section wasn't so sophisticated. It was essentially a "smell test". I did a quick Google search using the words that I expected to see in the name of the masters degree. If the first page contained a couple hits that looked like legitimate masters degrees, I didn't delete the item. If no links stood out on the first page, I looked at a second page of hits. If it still looked unpromising, I deleted the item. Not as thorough as I might have been, but it got the first pass for the section "done" to the point that I am satisfied that it isn't overly bloated at this point.
I am less familiar with items in other sections, so I am not as quick to be deleting things there. -Ac44ck (talk) 07:20, 9 October 2008 (UTC)
The Thomson Scientific (TS) Research Services Group Master Journal List (browse Journal List, search Journal List by title) includes high quality academic journals in Arts and Humanities, Science, and Social Science (and Medicine, Engineering, too). Its journal selection processes is described here. I think it is one of the best sources for finding quality academic journals.
On the other hand, Genamics Journal Search contains "Sports Illustrated" and similar magazines [1]. However it does contain a good collection of academic journals, too.
I would propose the following as a criterion for deletion: If a subject is not within the scope of an academic journal that is listed in either the TS list (15458 titles) or the Genamics database (94215 titles), then it is tentatively deleted. If it is shown to satisfy the inclusion criterion, then it is to be restored.--Palaeoviatalk 09:04, 9 October 2008 (UTC)
It is extremely unlikely that the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) at the University of Chicago will include Creation science, Crystal healing or Astrology in the List of fields of doctoral studies in the United States in the future. I am in favor of including this list as an inclusion criterion, to forestall any frivolous challenge with regard to the traditional academic disciplines. --Palaeoviatalk 15:42, 9 October 2008 (UTC)

Trimmed list of engineering disciplines[edit]

Tried (unquoted) three-word search string in Google of the form "masters __ engineering". Removed items for which an abundance of masters programs were not found:

  • Acoustical engineering
  • Food engineering
  • HVAC engineering
  • Combat engineering
  • Design engineering
  • Thermal engineering
  • Naval engineering

Eliminated items which redirect or are linked elsewhere:

Removed items which do not have 'engineering' not in the of the target article:

  • Artificial intelligence
  • Robotics
  • Ergonomics

Removed items which link to an article which stress is mostly about something other than the engineering aspects of the topic:

  • Quality assurance engineering

-Ac44ck (talk) 05:12, 9 October 2008 (UTC)

Several deletions on 2008-10-09 explained[edit]

The following have been deleted because either the target article or a quick Google search suggested that the item does not meet the inclusion criteria:

  • Office systems management
Target article is office, which doesn't contain the phrase, "office systems management". The link provides no indication that there is a field of study known by the name used.
  • Secretarial studies
Secretarial Science and Office Management subject has been omitted from the higher secondary-level curricula in general
  • Toy and amusement design
Links to the toy article, which doesn't seem to address the academic qualifications of designers.
  • Personal styling
Links to Personal stylist, which says:
Training is offered by a number of Image schools and can take up to an intense month to complete.
The availability of additional instruction is not mentioned.
  • Jewellery design
The article for practitioners is Jewelry designer, which doesn't mention academic study:
Today's jewelry designers are often professionals with knowledge of Gemology, Metalsmithing and Rendering
How did they gain that knowledge?
  • Perfume design
There is no degree in perfumery as far as I know
A profession which prefers to remain a secret art would seem to exclude itself from being considered an academic discipline.
  • Professional portraiture
This is a branch of photography, which is performed by a photographer, the article for which does not mention academic study:
A professional photographer uses photography to make a living.
From the linked article:
at present there are no specific requirements for the position

I would expect the target article to:

  1. Contain the listed name of the discipline
  2. Discuss how one may study the discipline

-Ac44ck (talk) 17:20, 9 October 2008 (UTC)

Setting parameters for inclusiveness into list[edit]

First of all, I appreciate the diligent work of Ac44ck in trying to improve this article; I honestly do. As such, and given that I rarely make strongly substantive reverts (unless something is clearly vandalism), and given that I also respect efforts to make the article better and more relevant, let me explain my reasons for the change at this juncture.

While, again, I respect efforts to make the article better and more relevant (including, of course, its list-related elements), I unfortunately don't feel that there has been an adequate chance to debate the restrictive parameters lain down by a single editor (e.g., a field needing to have five major universities offering at least a master's degree in it) for a field's inclusion into the list in the article. As this article also serves a reference function via the "Content Listings" box, I feel that such debate is especially needed to come to an adequate community consensus regarding the shape that this article takes.

The various fields that I have listed and inserted in the list have all been found, to some significant extent, to have college/university-related connections; most of them even have a bachelor's degree, at least, offered at an accredited, respected university. Admittedly, I'm more of an inclusionist here, and have taken the position that fields which are "strongly emergent", despite seemingly "totally vocational", can judiciously be included (albeit perhaps with an asterisk attached). One can look at fields such as home economics (aka consumer and family sciences) and think, "Those things don't belong in college!" And still, not everything "field-related" out there is a "college field". However, fields such as professional concierge and fashion-accessories design are commonly seeking out those with at least four-year degrees with expertise in areas such as nutrition and design (much as the home economics field does today). These fields, I also feel, are emergent academic disciplines with their own research tools and body of knowledge. Now, this doesn't shield any field added to the list from debate by any means — but I very respectfully feel that there should be more community consensus and case-by-case dealings with fields to help determine appropriateness for the aforementioned list.

In conclusion, I am really seeking a sense of completeness for the list and its overall usefulness, as well as more community consensus. This, by no means, means that things can't change, however. Thank you for your hopeful understanding, and again, debate is welcome. —Regards, Catdude (talk) 06:40, 10 October 2008 (UTC)

As you have been active here since the current discussion started, I assumed that you had decided not to contribute to the discussion. Clearly "Personal service and related occupations" and "Human physical performance and recreation" (in which you have particular interest) are the sections most vulnerable to pruning. I was aware of your interest here, but assumed that you did not object to the changes. By all means, let's deliberate in a spirit of building consensus. I am in no hurry.--Palaeoviatalk 07:00, 10 October 2008 (UTC)
To help me in the forthcoming discussion, this is the version of this page just before Catdude's edit here on September 3, 2007. Since then, the section "Professions and Applied sciences" has undergone these changes:
  • "Personal service and related occupations", "Human physical performance and recreation", "Religious and spiritual leadership / Divinity" and "Transportation" have been added.
  • "Agriculture and Forestry" has been broken up into two sub-sections.
  • "Social work" has been moved to "Social Sciences".
--Palaeoviatalk 09:10, 10 October 2008 (UTC)

What are the topics to be debated?

>not everything "field-related" out there is a "college field".

True, but the title of this article is not "field-related disciplines".

The opening line of the article as found said: "An academic discipline, or field of study, is a branch of knowledge which is taught or researched at the college or university level." It would seem that everything that is a "academic discipline" is a "college field".

It is not for me to say "Those things don't belong in college!" But I can observe what _is_ in college.

The second word of the opening line is "academic", which is linked to an article that says of an academic: "He or she is nearly always an advanced degree holder".

If most "academics" possess at least a masters degree, then the field pursued by an academic would seem to usually require training at the masters level. Such training is provided by universities which offer masters degrees. Requiring only five significant universities worldwide to award such degrees before calling it an "academic discipline" here doesn't seem like the bar was set too high.

If the deleted inclusion criteria are not acceptable, what specific criteria would be? Why would the alternate criteria be preferable?

On what basis might any profession be excluded from this list?

Not to denigrate the profession, which is essential in its context, but why is wardrobe stylist an "academic discipline" if the article which describes the profession says "there are no specific requirements for the position"?

Ditto personal stylist, which the article says may require only a month of training (in an undefined setting — there is no Wikipedia article with the title "image school") to be a fully-qualified practitioner.

If they are "emergent academic disciplines", I suggest that we wait until they have fully emerged before including them in this list. Palaeovia has identified databases which contain tens of thousands of candidates for inclusion in this list. There is no danger that this list will be sparse if we omit "emergent academic disciplines".

I gave reasons for every one of my deletions. What specific objections are there to those reasons? For what reasons should each of those deletions be reverted? -Ac44ck (talk) 07:47, 10 October 2008 (UTC)

Social work is a vocationally oriented training program that probably qualifies as an academic displine, more for extrinsic, social reasons, than for its intrinsic, academic merit. It is of much more recent origin than the well estabished professions of Engineering, Medicine and Law. It might be helpful to formulate a set of criteria that qualifies Social work, and disqualifies Janitor, as an academic discipline.--Palaeoviatalk 16:28, 11 October 2008 (UTC)
Was this item deleted from the list?
I haven't observed a controversy concerning _whether_ Social work is an academic discipline. There seems to be some question concerning the category to which it "belongs". But that seems to be a manifestation of what is said at the end of the lead: "the distinguishing lines between [fields] are often both arbitrary and ambiguous."
Setting up individual criteria for each discipline seems like way too much work to me. It is a necessary task for some purposes, but I don't see compiling this list as being one of those purposes.
Nor do I want to compile reasons for excluding a particular profession from this list.
If an inclusion criteria can be agreed upon, then an objective standard may exist for applying this:
Ei incumbit probatio qui dicit
the burden of proof rests on who asserts, not on who denies
-Ac44ck (talk) 17:46, 11 October 2008 (UTC)

Social work had not been deleted from this page at any stage, and there was no controversy regarding its status as an academic discipline. My idea is to define a single "set of criteria" ("a criteria" being ungrammatical) that determines whether any subject is an academic discipline, not a case-by-case justification of each discipline. We don't want to be so elitist or exclusive as to exclude Social work. Neither should we be so inclusive that any job training course (such as piano tuning) can be used as evidence for inclusion tn this list.
Potential inclusion criteria are:
*Academic (not trade) journals - peer-reviewed, and most editors must be university faculty members
*Academic (not trade) conferences - most conference papers must be authored by university faculty members, and peer-reviewed.
*Academic (not trade) organizations (e.g. International Association of Schools of Social Work (IASSW))
*Accreditation process for university programs (e.g. [2] Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada)
*Schools or departments in accredited, bona fide universities (e.g. School of social work)
*Instruction programs in accredited, bona fide universities:
*undergraduate majors
*master's programs
*doctorate programs
I like Ei incumbit probatio qui dicit. We don't want the list to expand without bound to satisfy the desire of various occupations to be listed as an academic discipline in the "authoritative" Wikipedia.--Palaeoviatalk 23:27, 11 October 2008 (UTC)

Moving "Social work"[edit]

I propose to move "Social work" from "Social sciences" back to "Professions and Applied sciences". "Social work" is the professional training program for social workers. See the BSSW program at Ohio State University, for example. Any dissents? --Palaeoviatalk 11:01, 10 October 2008 (UTC)

"Social work" has been moved back.--Palaeoviatalk 08:18, 12 October 2008 (UTC)

Candidates for inclusion criteria[edit]

Here is my alternative proposal for inclusion criteria, to serve as a focus for discussion:

An academic discipline must satisfy one of the following:

  • It is organized as an independent unit (department, school) in five major universities (defined as one with total enrollment exceeding 10,000).
In general, the following are potential inclusion criteria:
*Academic (not trade) journals - peer-reviewed, and most editors must be university faculty members
*Academic (not trade) conferences - most conference papers must be authored by university faculty members, and peer-reviewed.
*Academic (not trade) organizations (e.g. International Association of Schools of Social Work (IASSW))
*Accreditation process for university programs (e.g. [3] Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada)
*Schools or departments in accredited, bona fide universities (e.g. School of social work)
*Instruction programs in accredited, bona fide universities:
*undergraduate majors
*master's programs
*doctoral programs
--Palaeoviatalk 00:40, 14 October 2008 (UTC)

The other candidate (deleted from the article, pending consensus) is:

The inclusion criteria for this list are as follows:

  1. An item in the list must link to a relevant Wikipedia article.
  2. The linked Wikipedia article must:
    1. Contain the name of the discipline as it appears in this list.
    2. Contain some description of the academic preparation which has been completed by those in the field.
    3. Give a valid impression that the pursuit may be an "academic discipline", as defined elsewhere in this section.

If the academic status of an item is challenged, evidence that the field is an "academic discipline", as defined elsewhere in this section, may be required for retention of an item in this list.

Definitions (for the purposes of this section):

  • An "academic discipline" is an area of study in which a masters degree is offered by at least five major universities somewhere in the world.
  • A "major university" has a total enrollment of at least 10,000 students.
  • Links to current degree programs in major universities qualify as "evidence".--Palaeoviatalk 01:31, 12 October 2008 (UTC)
Having no response to my post so far, I propose that, if no further opinion is posted on this talk page by 00:01, 22 October, 2008 (UTC), implicit consensus that the original inclusion criterion is acceptable is achieved.
Good faith deletions should then not be reverted without evidence of a subject meeting the inclusion criteria.--Palaeoviatalk 00:30, 14 October 2008 (UTC)

I wholeheartedly agree with this (talk) 22:58, 19 October 2008 (UTC)

  • Thanks much, Palaeovia, for your insightful ideas and all your work on this. I've been quietly plugging away on some ideas that try to synthesize your ideas and others' ideas, as well make an acceptable nod to some of my contrarian, inclusionist philosophy <smile>, but which overarchingly try to make people happy and help the encyclopedia. Please allow me three days from when I write this to get back to you and everyone, and I'll kindly give some input here. Thanks for your understanding and patience. —Regards, Catdude (talk) 22:18, 21 October 2008 (UTC)
I oppose an additional delay. The call for debate was nearly two weeks ago. That is an eternity in "internet time". There has been no contribution to the debate by the one who called for it since then. There have been no statements to support the reversions that were performed while calling for debate. There has been no answer to Palaeovia's challenge of the entire "Personal service and related occupations" section on 12 October 2008. In the mean time, the editor who called for the debate has been busy elsewhere. It seems to me that "there has been an adequate chance to debate" at this point. I support enforcing Palaeovia's deadline, at which point all items unique to the "Personal service and related occupations" section may be deleted without danger of reversion unless each item is shown to meet an agreed-upon set of inclusion criteria. - Ac44ck (talk) 23:04, 21 October 2008 (UTC)
It would seem that the current majority opinion, which I share, is to tighten the definition of "academic discipline", to such an extent that items in "Personal service and related occupations" (except possibly "Interior design") are excluded. If that is indeed the case, might I suggest to Catdude that further debate would only lead to a foregone conclusion, and be unnecessary.
The challenged items belong properly to a more inclusive list, such as "List of postsecondary qualifications", or "List of undergraduate majors", which might be started by Catdude to preserve his contributions to this list.--Palaeoviatalk 23:50, 21 October 2008 (UTC)
As a reason for the time I was needing/spending on this, I was doing a lot of online and physical-library research, to better get a grip on how the debate could be resolved; it entailed me going through a *lot* of fields (including "debatable fields") from A to Z, so to speak. And, I appreciate the just-mentioned idea in regards to starting a list of undergrad majors or something allied to this idea; I think that I will step up to the plate to tackle this. My concern at this juncture was not so much the deletion of debatable fields (which was performed already) so much as coming up with a "community consensus" of what an academic field is. Due to the high profile that this article and its associated list gets, I think that solicitation of a bit more community consensus may not be a bad idea in defining an academic field. That's not a slight, btw; I just feel that having more than two or three people deciding what an academic field is, and seeing if, say, 10–12 people at least could help decide what it is, would be a bit more consonant with WP decision-making. But again, that's just an opinion being offered in a spirit of respect and good faith. Again, thanks to all who have helped clarify issues so far in regards to this article. —Regards, Catdude (talk) 02:49, 23 October 2008 (UTC)

Is Military Science an academic discipline?[edit]

I suppose in the US, the academic rigor of certain instructional programs unique to a military academy is no weaker than those in a school of education, or a school of journalism. If so, Military science deserves to be in the list. Will it meet the inclusion criteria set for the other academic disciplines? --Palaeoviatalk 09:15, 12 October 2008 (UTC)

Inclusiveness (in a more acknowledged sense) of proposed academic-discipline fields[edit]

Again, I appreciate the prior efforts of others to more rigorously define what an academic discipline is for the purpose of this article and its associated list. A lingering concern that I do have, however, is that the criteria created for what an academic field is may be too ambiguous and/or restrictive, and I'm *not* talking about Life Coaching or similar personal-service fields! :-) If you look at the list at the time I post this, there are scads and scads of fields that by "reasonable definition among many people" would constitute an academic field, yet don't have the posted prerequisites of, say, at least five major universities offering a graduate-level degree program in the fields of concern. For example, quality-assurance engineering is apt to be looked at, by quite a few engineers and others, as being a bona fide academic discipline, but I'm not aware of graduate degrees being offered in this field. Many of the "niche" or "interdisciplinary" fields listed have the same characteristics/concerns. Let me offer the following respectful suggestion: In parallel with the suggestion offered to me (i.e., creating a list of undergrad credentials/degrees), a list of graduate credentials/degrees could likewise be created. I'm just concerned that we're apt to get too restrictive with what can go in this list in a way that has little to do with whether Life Coaching or some such "controversial vocational" field can go into the list. This is offered up, again, in good faith with article improvement the main goal of mine. Debate/comments, of course, welcome. —Regards, Catdude (talk) 11:00, 1 November 2008 (UTC)

It might help to propose something definite as a starting point for debate/comment. What do you propose as a set of objective criteria?
I hesitated to delete quality-assurance engineering from this list; but I did it anyway. If a main characteristic of a pursuit is that it is "interdisciplinary", then how much of a unique discipline is it? I previously asked the question, "At what point does a blend of disciplines qualify as a discipline itself?" We won't decide that to everyone's satisfaction here.
Major universities (academic institutions, where "academic disciplines" are their business) have decided what they consider to be enough of a discipline (in today's market) to warrant its own masters program. Why do we want to be more inclusive than what can be gleaned from decisions by experts who run the leading institutions?-Ac44ck (talk) 15:59, 1 November 2008 (UTC)
I am sensing deja vu here.
There was a vague call for discussion at 06:40, 10 October 2008.
The next contribution by the one who called for discussion was at 22:18, 21 October 2008 (nearly two weeks later, and less than two hours before the discussion period was to expire) — for the purpose of proposing a three-day extension to the discussion period. The editor expected to be able (after three more days) to "get back to ... everyone, and ... give some input here" based on having "been quietly plugging away on some ideas" for nearly two weeks.
Where are the ideas which resulted from that quiet effort last month?
Now there is another vague call for discussion which may be followed by another period of silence. Whether an ambiguous call for "change" is enough to win the US presidency will be seen in two days. I don't know that it is an effective way to improve a Wikipedia article.
It is one thing to say: "I don't like what is; I want someone else to figure out how to fix it; and I'll throw rocks at their idea if I don't like it." It is another to say: "I don't like what is; I think it should be this way instead; and here is why." That opens the door for others to throw rocks at the ideas of the one who wants change; but it can make for a much shorter process than waiting for someone else to stumble on an idea that the change-seeker would endorse.
I admit that I am partial to the set of criteria now listed in the article. They resulted from someone saying that a set of inclusion criteria for this article may be helpful. I don't know why, but I took it upon myself to propose such a set. Oddly, it excluded my own specialty from the list. No one objected to the criteria until after they were put in place. There was nothing to displace when the original criteria were put in place. Now there is. It seems to me that if one cared enough about the subject at hand to be "plugging away on some ideas" for weeks, then something more than what I read as "I don't like the current set of criteria" would be put forward. - Ac44ck (talk) 20:48, 2 November 2008 (UTC)
Hi, Ac44ck, thanks for the reply. At this time, you may have a little more time to devote to Wikipedia than I apparently do, which I respect — it's been my goal to try to come up with cogent answers that help the project. I didn't need two-and-a-half weeks (this time) to respond to you cogently, but did need a day or so — what we have is a "developing-categorization-constructs" challenge that has taken some serious time for me to research and try to come up with decent ideas for. Also, being that this list is part of the "Content Listings" realm, that fact was an additional reason as to why I was putting a lot of time into researching all this. However, to begin with, I'm really not trying to "pop your bubble" or anything like that — at a minimum, I think we have the makings of a good list of "degree-granting disciplines" via your thoughts and work. I really appreciate that.
To answer your original question, I did find evidence of at least bachelor's degrees offered, or "strongly-allied degrees", for most of the fields I listed in the now-removed "Personal service and related professions" field, but didn't want to get into further debate on that, as I felt that there would be too many antagonistic feelings from the WP community if I argued the issue further at this time. I also spent a lot of time looking at the interdisciplinary and niche fields, and came to the conclusion that most of the fields in the list were recognized as bona fide academic disciplines by the academic community and probably by a majority of laypeople. Again, this doesn't mean that individual fields (or even a bunch of them at one time) can't be challenged and deleted (or maybe moved to another list) if it is prudent to do so. idea I have at this point is this: some sort of demarcation (such as an asterisk or dagger) could be used to indicate those fields in the list that have "strong recognition via graduate degrees in prominent universities" — or perhaps we could use the demarcation for those fields which don't have such a distinction. Perhaps others have permutations of this idea that are valuable. It did take a lot of homework to plough through dozens and dozens of fields to try to come up with an idea of whether such fields were really perceived as "academic disciplines" or not by professionals and laypeople. Again, my kind inclination is that most of them are. However, you have another cogent issue in that it is best to have the fields listed also be hyperlinks to at least, we'd say, a good stub about the field/discipline in question. I'm going to see what I can do, in the coming weeks and months, to try to create at least a good stub for many fields/disciplines to help with this idea.
So there I go...I acknowledge that we do need to be respectful of "things moving in Internet time", and sorry if you felt I was taking too long. But, as the article states, there is practically no end to the amount of academic disciplines that one can have, and to look up/research tons of them just took a lot of time and effort, unfortunately. However, I'm not the last word with anything here, and of course, further ideas, if any exist, are most welcome. —Regards, Catdude (talk) 06:00, 3 November 2008 (UTC)
This gets to the root of the matter:
I also spent a lot of time looking at the interdisciplinary and niche fields, and came to the conclusion that most of the fields in the list were recognized as bona fide academic disciplines by the academic community and probably by a majority of laypeople.
How did you reach that conclusion? I haven't spent so much time looking at so many fields. With the level of exposure you have had, it would seem that common threads would start to become apparent. I don't know how much weight to give to the opinion of lay people (who may or may not call psychic hotlines). What indicated to you that a field was "recognized as bona fide academic disciplines by the academic community"?
This is a formatting issue: idea I have at this point is this: some sort of demarcation (such as an asterisk or dagger) could be used to indicate those fields in the list that have "strong recognition via graduate degrees in prominent universities" — or perhaps we could use the demarcation for those fields which don't have such a distinction.
Asterisks were used for debatable entries before. To reverse that and use an asterisk for a field that some might say "really really belongs here" brings to mind the notion that "some animals are more equal than others." I favor some kind of pass-fail criteria: the item belongs in _this_ list or it doesn't. This isn't the only list in Wikipedia. This list contains links to other, more-inclusive lists. I don't understand the drive to expand _this_ list.
It occurs to me that "it takes one to make one." That doesn't work well for the question "Which came first, the chicken or the egg?" but the notion seems useful in this context. The title of this article is about "academic" disciplines. Indications are that most (not necessarily all) "academics" have an advanced degree, which they earned somewhere.
That a masters program exists somewhere seems to be a reasonable threshold for inclusion in most cases. A requirement that the degree be offered by an institution that is not a schlock school also seems reasonable. If the degree is available at only one school, then it might better be called a boutique degree than an academic discipline. So some minimum number of quality degree programs would seem to exist for most "academic disciplines". School size isn't necessarily an indicator of quality, but it is easily determined and I assume (perhaps naively) that large schools are less likely to give place to schlock programs. Judging the quality of programs in small colleges seems beyond the scope of what might be expected of a Wikipedia editor.
The more I think about it, the more it seems to me that the existing set of inclusion criteria is pretty good. It is concise and objective without requiring an editor to do exhaustive research. Yet it provides an easy way for a proponent to "prove" that their field is an academic discipline: provide links to current masters degree programs at five major universities (anywhere in the world) and the issue is settled.
There may be exceptional cases where a masters program is not offered in some field which "belongs" in this list. How might we identify such a field? What distinguishes it from other fields without masters programs that are not "academic disciplines"?-Ac44ck (talk) 17:54, 3 November 2008 (UTC)
Thanks yet again for your input into the aforementioned issues. You are indeed correct that imposing some sort of credible parameters for what goes into the article's list serves a valuable purpose. And, of course, we don't want to make it such a complicated formula that it becomes painful or baffling for editors to adhere to it. An example of my own, resulting in my being on the losing end of a deletion debate, was in attempting to have a category for kitsch. At the time, I felt that kitsch could be reasonably defined, but my formula for defining it was likely too complex and wordy for editors to adhere to easily. It was proposed to me to create a "kitsch list" instead. (Haven't gotten to that quite yet, but still have a mind to do it :) ).
More successful, however, were two other categorization-definition attempts I created (here and here). These categories, arguably much less nebulous in their reasonable definitions than just what kitsch should/might be, seem to have reasonably stood the test of time. Not that they can't be improved upon/changed, of course, but the category definitions seem to successfully invoke rigor, not get too wordy, yet provide "reasonable elasticity" to allow editors to insert articles into these categories which seem to "fit" but don't quite fit the "orthodox" definitions indicated by their respective WP categories.
So, just what the heck is a bona fide academic discipline, according to some "higher-truth" definition? While I can't be onmiscient on this, I have tried to give hints in regards to what academicians would think they are, as well as what laypeople would think they are. It is absolutely true that I could not invoke "psychic connections" to find out the layperson's definition of academic disciplines, and it would take rigorous, time-consuming scientific polling to try to find out "truly scientifically" what that definition is. What I used instead, in trying to figure out what that layperson's definition is, is this guide: whatever it is that an ordinary, reasonably intelligent person would think an academic discipline is.
As such, I think that this creates a category/list which is not as nebulous as a category definition for kitsch, but which does demand both some reasonably rigorous restrains plus some reasonable flexibility to it. From looking at many, many academic fields recently, I feel that what a reasonable person (and academician) would label an academic field worthy of the article list is based upon these variables: properly-accredited degree programs (as opposed to, yes, "schlock" accreditation or no accreditation), very especially the existence of such programs which, yes, award higher degrees; amount and quality of research literature in the discipline in question; and whether or not academicians (and, in many cases, laypeople) view the discipline in question as a bona fide academic discipline. Now, that does cover a lot of ground, and your attempts to narrow down the definition (e.g., five master's-degree-awarding institutions of 10,000+ campus size) is a good attempt at such narrowing down. Even here, however, we might get into some fine-line debates from other editors (e.g., do "online-only" students count as part of those 10,000+ students; how about less-than-half-time-enrolled students; etc.).
So, what's best? Again, not being omniscient, I cannot say for sure what's best, but can offer up further suggestions here. Hearkening back to what I just stated, we can create a guideline that looks at 1) master's-or-higher degrees being awarded at "sizable", respected, properly-accredited campuses (fairly in tune with a key definition of yours); 2) quality research of reasonably sufficient quantity in the discipline in question; 3) the existence of evidence that a field is commonly viewed as an academic discipline. We could also add that "academic-discipline status" can also be warranted (for the purpose of this list) if a field is commonly viewed as a specialization to an area of study in which higher degrees are commonly awarded (e.g., Southern Slavic/Slavonic Literature as a specialization for those who which to study/research the Slavic/Slavonic literature of the Balkans area). However, the definition would have "reasonable elasticity" to give "special weight" to #3 and/or other parameters in a manner which "seems to make sense and do reasonable justice to the article and its associated list".
What I'd like to do at this point — yes, one more time — is to throw the baton back to you and others as to how you might better encompass those disciplines which, by the definition of an ordinary, reasonably intelligent person, are academic disciplines but may be "a little broader" than what the current, just-created definition allows for. I promise to respond soon to what anybody has to say, giving my best valuable input. And thanks again for your own worthwhile input, of course. —Regards, Catdude (talk) 06:05, 4 November 2008 (UTC)

Topic drift[edit]

This list seems to suffer greatly from topic drift; it includes many items that I don't think belong here.

How is "History of computer hardware" an "academic discipline"? It may be the subject of many books. It may require a lot of research and effort to write those books. It is the topic of a lecture in a freshman level class:

It may be an interesting and important topic. But is the history of computer hardware an "academic discipline"? I don't think so.

This list also includes "Calculus" as an "academic discipline". It may be very important as a tool, but I don't see it as an "academic discipline".

A hammer may be very important as a tool, but I am not aware that "hammering" is recognized as an occupation. One might use a hammer in the work of a recognized trade, but hammering is not a trade in and of itself. Likewise, one might use calculus in their academic work, but calculus is not an academic discipline in and of itself.

I think the current state of this list (with its current title) does damage to the credibility of Wikipedia. Can/should anything be done about weeding this list? Renaming the article was proposed before. Would that be a better option?

What use of this list in its current form is consistent with its current title? - Ac44ck (talk) 01:02, 18 November 2008 (UTC)

Good catches with the examples you pointed out, Ac44ck. I realize that folks could disagree with my and your perspective on this, but "Calculus" and "History of computer hardware" are arguably a little too "fine-lined" for inclusions as "academic disciplines" in the article's list. They strike me more as simply "academic topics" as opposed to "academic disciplines". "History of computing" would arguably be, however, a valid academic discipline; maybe even "Discrete mathematics" would be a valid academic discipline, analogous to how "Polymer engineering" is arguably a valid academic discipline as well as a valid sub-field of Chemical Engineering. A lot of it just gets into gut feeling as to what seems logical and correct, augmented with what the colleges/universities are teaching/researching and how they organize it.
The best solution to your question may simply be the careful, somewhat slow process of making a new list entailing academic topics, if the pre-existing WP lists are not deemed to "fill the bill" with this sort of thing adequately. But, getting back to your original points, I don't think that too many people would have issue with your careful and thoughtful pruning/transferring of various list elements such as "Calculus". And, if others have ideas to add on this, they are of course welcome. —Regards, Catdude (talk) 08:13, 18 November 2008 (UTC)

Civil Law in Universities[edit]

My reasons for undoing the edit by Deang619 (talk) are given here:

1. Civil Law had long been taught in Oxford and Cambridge Universities by the eighteenth century (see Page 435, "The Path of Legal Education from Edward I to Langdell" by Ralph Michael Stein of Pace University Law School ( It was not introduced into the universities in the early twentieth century.

2. The philosophy of medicine is probably not a well established branch of philosophy, and has no Wikipedia article. We need supporting evidence of its status as an academic discipline. (See previous discussion here in October 2008.)--Palaeoviatalk 22:47, 15 March 2009 (UTC)


As the result of being accused of being (gasp) "tendentious", which itself apparantly warrants a complete revert of edits, I am posing the following question: Where does an academic field that is interdiciplinary or applies already listed disciplines go on this list? I presumed tat would put them squarely in the "applied science" and/or "professions", but apparantly not everyone agrees. Perhaps a list heading for "interdiciplinary" would be required then?

By the way, how is it possible that "Diplomacy" as an academic field is not among "Public Affairs"?

This article is a mess, and I see from the discussion page there was some good and sincere attempts to reign it in. Good luck with that. Shoreranger (talk) 19:53, 12 May 2009 (UTC)

First: you moved a bunch of fields that are clearly part of the humanities and social sciences -- including women's and gender studies and area studies -- to the applied sciences and professions. This makes no sense at all as none of these fields are professions or applied sciences; it's not just a contentious edit but a destructive one. Second, where to list interdisciplinary fields has been discussed on this Talk page before; the general idea is to find the most appropriate place for them if possible, or list them under more than one heading if necessary. Which of the fields you moved do you think poses a problem in this regard, and why? It seems to me that gender studies and area studies are quite appropriately listed at the moment. -- Rbellin|Talk 21:01, 12 May 2009 (UTC)
I concur with Rbellin's views and edit-reversals. Having an "Interdisciplinary" section is not a good idea: it would inevitably degenerate into a hodge-podge of disparate fields, from sociolinguistics, ethnomusicology, biophysics, Slavic studies, to cognitive science.
Diplomacy probably overlaps substantially with International Relations (or International Affairs) (listed under Political Science, and Public Affairs). I have no objection to including "Diplomacy" (as a profession) under Publis Affairs. --Palaeoviatalk 22:56, 12 May 2009 (UTC)

The format of the list.....[edit]

Can we design the article more concisely like the one of List of newspapers???-- (talk) 12:07, 18 May 2009 (UTC)

Logic and Statistics separate from Mathematics?[edit]

I am soliciting views on the appropriateness of listing Logic and Statistics as seperate disciplines from Mathematics. I am against it.

"Promoting" Statistics might lead to a proliferation of Formal Sciences, as the status of Statistics is identical to that of numerous Applied Mathematics fields.

This article is not meant to list comprehensively every subfield of Statistics, or of Graph Theory.--Palaeoviatalk 23:17, 26 May 2009 (UTC)

I presume these edits are the subject under discussion? If so, I do not think it's appropriate to list statistics and logic as separate disciplines -- though there should be overlapping listings for subdisciplines like biostatistics (under biology), and logic should also be listed under philosophy. An argument to list them as separate top-level disciplines (rather than fields of study which are of interest to, or components of subdisciplines of, several established disciplines) would need to rest on strong evidence that there existed numerous university departments, professional organizations, journals, etc., devoted solely to these subjects and apart from mathematics/applied math/philosophy. I don't think such evidence can be provided. -- Rbellin|Talk 23:28, 26 May 2009 (UTC)
Your linked edits are indeed the relevant ones. User:Kiefer.Wolfowitz's recent addition of this section (edit diff) suggests that his/her agenda (controversial?) is to "liberate" (quoting his/her edit summary for this article) Statistics from Mathematics. --Palaeoviatalk 00:41, 27 May 2009 (UTC)
I don't know much about logic, but there are many university departments, professional organisations, journals, etc devoted solely to statistics. JASA and JRSS cover two of the most prominent journals and organisations; see Category:Statistics journals and Category:Statistical organizations for more. For university departments, Harvard, Oxford, and Berkeley are just a few examples. It would be hard to find a large world class university without one these days. Ten or twenty years ago, the subject was still in the process of "liberation", if you want call it that, but that's old hat now. -- Avenue (talk) 01:54, 27 May 2009 (UTC)

Explanations of my editing, which provoked this discussion[edit]

(I thank the previous discussants for valuable comments and thought-provoking statements.)

Logic and mathematics are the most abstract disciplines.

1. Statistics is the practical logic of science (methodology of scientific inquiry, rather than philsophy of science). Statistics is concerned with the practical interface between theories and phenomena (while the theory of this interface belongs to philosophy). 2. Statistics is highly abstract---which allows it to be taught within concrete Disciplines as a course in "statistics"---not as a course in "mathematics" which includes statistics.

(In Peircean terms, statistics is the logic of induction and has special but not exclusive concern with abduction. Traditional logic studies deduction. Mathematics seems to be the substance of abstract reasoning.)


Logic is the (normative) study of reasoning and maintains separate journals and associations.

Inferential statistics and its foundations overlap logic, particularly philosophical logic, but few logicians appear at statistics journals or professional associations, etc.

My "agenda": Statistics "liberation"?![edit]

Statistics is a different discipline from mathematics.

Just look at the paucity of statisticians and statistics in mathematics journals (or in coverage by Mathematical Reviews---statisticians are represented as frequently as other mathematical sciences (e.g., physics, computer science) that are rarely confused with mathematics.

My choice of "liberation" was intended to be humorous (in a summary of editing), and an notice that statistics and mathematics and logic have a history of cooperation and conflict---but that should be obvious to anybody interested in professional disciplines:

  • A. Abbott. The System of Professions: An Essay on the Division of Expert Labor, University of Chicago Press, 1988. ISBN: 978-0-226-00069-5

Statistics subdisciplines and redundancy[edit]

Within statistics, "mathematical statistics" is a subdiscipline which includes the study of "probability" for statistics. Within mathematics, "mathematical statistics" is quite different, and (within mathematics) "probability" is an autonomous subdiscipline of mathematical analysis (more just statistics's faithful servant).

Within statistics, the fields of "structural equation models" (SEM) and "time series" analysis include applications in econometrics (and control). However, within economics, econometrical statistics is more concerned with the economic phenomena than the abstract theory: Moreover, in econometric statistics (within economics), SEM and time-series are subdisciplines associated with distinct applications. These subdisciplines are not redundant, because of these distinctions.

Proliferation of Specialties[edit]

The above subheading on topic drift contains pertinent discussions. Kiefer.Wolfowitz (talk) 11:59, 27 May 2009 (UTC)

I limited myself to subdisciplines of statistics with autonomous journals, curricula and professional meetings, etc. (Biostatistics may well be the largest subdiscipline of statistics, but belongs as an abstract subdiscipline because of its special abstract concerns (survival analysis, missing data, etc.) rather than its biological specialization.

Perhaps one could examine the subdisciplines of other disciplines at the same time, particularly "systems analysis", which often lists concrete subdisciplines, e.g., "world-systems analysis").

I agree that too many specialities in mathematics exist. I tried to improve the previous organization (for example, of numerical analysis without scientific computing) and a couple entries related to combinatorics.

Computer science also has too many concrete concerns, some of which would be better dealt with under "information systems" in social-science or business specialties. I remain fallibly yours, Kiefer.Wolfowitz (talk) 11:53, 27 May 2009 (UTC)

Merge List Disciplines and Fields[edit]

This should not be merged.

If there is a problem, {{split}} the scientific fields off; as per wikipedia:summary style.

Regardless, keep the fields of science notation prominent. This article is of the more general academia (academic disciplines) and the other is of more specific science (scientific fields). J. D. Redding 20:28, 20 July 2009 (UTC)

  • Oppose said merge. It is possible to be a scientist and not an academic. --Ancheta Wis (talk) 12:26, 12 September 2009 (UTC)
  • Oppose merge. The sciences are arranged differently than they would be academically. The Transhumanist 21:18, 4 December 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose merge, which has not been clearly specified. Merging this list with what exactly? --Palaeoviatalk 13:34, 26 September 2012 (UTC)

merge with Outline of knowledge[edit]

Oppose merge with Outline of knowledge. See talk on Outline of knowledge for more details. (talk) 10:02, 26 September 2012 (UTC)

I also oppose the merge. Clearly different scopes of article.
(Note, the merge-proposer hasn't edited at all, since adding the template in mid August, so may not comment in this thread). —Quiddity (talk) 18:10, 26 September 2012 (UTC)

"Space science" used for "Astronomy"[edit]

Using the term "Space science" for the field that is usually known as "Astronomy" seems a bit non-standard... and a bit silly. (talk) 23:43, 10 December 2012 (UTC)

(In List of academic disciplines#Space science) The term Space science is not being used for a particular field, but as a collective term for all the related fields (as with "Life sciences"). Sources seem to differ, as to whether it should be pluralized, but I'll leave it matching the current article title, for now. HTH. –Quiddity (talk) 21:39, 13 December 2012 (UTC)

Can we cull the ones that are certainly not disciplines, but rather topics?[edit]

I tend to be an inclusionist, but my impression on encountering this article for the first time is that there are many entries that surely are not academic disciplines, but rather are important topics within listed disciplines. I think that if you can't get an undergraduate or graduate degree in something anywhere, it's not an academic discipline.

Let me mention some examples from just a few of the sections that I suspect may be very hard to justify as academic disciplines:

From the Linguistics section: Business English, Discourse analysis, Etymology, Morphology, Phonetics, Phonology, Pragmatics, Semantics, Semiotics, Syntax

From the Economics section: Bioeconomics, Complexity economics, Computational economics, Ecological economics,Economic sociology, Economic systems, Entrepreneurial economics, Evolutionary economics, Experimental economics, Game theory, Green economics, Growth economics, Human development theory, Industrial organization, Information economics, International economics, Labor economics, Macroeconomics, Managerial economics, Microeconomics, Monetary economics, Neuroeconomics, Public finance, Public economics, Social choice theory, Transport economics, Welfare economics

From the Space sciences section: Radio astronomy, Microwave astronomy, Infrared astronomy, Optical astronomy, UV astronomy, X-ray astronomy, Gamma ray astronomy, Gravitational astronomy, Black holes, Interstellar medium, Numerical simulations in each of 6 different topics, Astrophysical plasma, Galaxy formation and evolution, Magnetohydrodynamics, Star formation, Helioseismology, Stellar evolution, Stellar nucleosynthesis.

As far as I know, every single one of the above is an important topic in its own right, but I doubt that any of them is considered even by its practitioners to be an academic discipline. Sometimes some of them are called sub-disciplines, but that's very different. For example, before I retired I was a macroeconomist, but my discipline was economics, not macroeconomics.

My intention is not to start a debate about each of the above, which might get a tad lengthy, but rather to get people thinking about the notion that this page should list just what it says in its title and not all the topics within disciplines.

As an alternative to fitting the content to the existing title, maybe we could change the title to fit it to the current content: maybe a better title for the content that is currently on the page would be List of academic disciplines and research areas or List of academic disciplines and sub-disciplines or just List of academic research areas. Duoduoduo (talk) 15:46, 4 August 2013 (UTC)

The latter option, changing the title to fit the contents, would seem preferable, because the short list of main topic areas is (or should be) better contained at Portal:Contents/Overviews.
The current lede section gives a slightly more nuanced description of the intended scope of the list, and mentions "fields of study" and "sub-disciplines"; it also mentions suggested criteria for whether a topic might belong, including the existence of journals, societies, and departments, that are dedicated to the topic.
The title, and the lead, could perhaps be adjusted and clarified to match the current contents. The page is definitely one of those tricky edge-cases, like the Lists of lists, where it's somewhat of a navigational aid, as well as being a List topic in its own right.
Of the 3 titles that you suggest, I would agree to any of them. –Quiddity (talk) 18:55, 4 August 2013 (UTC)
Previous attempts (see earlier discussions on this Talk page) at tightening the inclusion criteria have not significantly altered the list. I think the concept of an academic discipline is inherently fuzzy and evolving. It is hard to arrive at a consensus on whether certain borderline subjects are academic disciplines.
Including academic subjects/research areas within an academic discipline is actually informative. The current list, with the level of subjects it includes, is valuable in providing a conspectus of academia, in my view.
I therefore oppose removing lower level subjects from the list and support a title change. I propose List of academic subjects as a possible title.--Palaeoviatalk 00:42, 6 August 2013 (UTC)

Proposed name change[edit]

Based on the above, it seems there's something of a concensus to change the name of this article. The alternative names that have been proposed are:

  • List of academic disciplines and research areas
  • List of academic disciplines and sub-disciplines
  • List of academic research areas
  • List of academic subjects

I vote for List of academic disciplines and sub-disciplines, because I think it best fits the discussion in the lead (in particualr the last sentence of the lead). What do others think? Duoduoduo (talk) 20:05, 7 August 2013 (UTC)

I'm about to move the page to List of academic disciplines and sub-disciplines. Last chance to object! Duoduoduo (talk) 12:30, 15 August 2013 (UTC)

field of study? Should it be "field of practice"?[edit]

It is immediately clear to me that when "practice" is used as a noun, it means weakly "discipline". On the other hand, "field of study" is ambiguous because a study does not have to have different discipline. For example, both geometry and algebra belongs to mathematical discipline, physics, chemistry and the like belongs to scientific discipline. One may ask, "geometry", "algebra" and "mathematics" are three different things, how about we add all of them here? It is not wrong that geometry and algebra are two different topics, they may have different techniques, philosophy and (hence) discipline. It is not wrong to say that geometry and algebra has (inevitably) two different disciplines, but the question is, when reader visits this page, can they tell the difference? Can they know roughly which discipline(s) do geometry and algebra differ? i.e Are these "geometrical discipline" and "algebraic discipline" clearly classified? Are they notable?

A rough test is that Do "geometrical discipline" and "algebraic discipline" have their own classification on Wikipedia?

As the page has already shown, most of the subfield is a field of study, which is a subfield of more clearly classified and notable discipline, so I conclude that most of them is here thanks to the ambiguity of the word "study" in "field of study", which is, more precisely, a field of practice.


0. "field of study" is plain wrong and it should be removed. Consider these alternatives:

1. field of practice

2. field of academic practice

3. field of academic discipline!

4. no alternative


Thanks -- (talk) 07:44, 7 January 2014 (UTC)