Discipline Awareness Essay

I attached the instruction, my resume and template for the essay. Here is the information to read before writing:

My major is Finance, general.

Courses I took: firm valuation (introduction and advance), financial management (intro and advanced), principle of investment, financial institution, contemporary topics in finance.

What is a Discipline?

While ENGH 302 is a required advanced composition course, it is also a course about something important to you: the academic discipline you chose.

Hence, all of the work you do in this course from now on asks you to learn about that discipline. But first you must understand what an academic discipline is.

Put simply, an academic discipline is a field of study that can be characterized by three elements:

  • Each discipline has an object of study, the thing the field devotes time and attention to, usually through research.
  • Each discipline has foundational questions that drive the research.
  • Each discipline has research methods (quantitative, qualitative, etc.) appropriate investigating the object of study and answering the foundational questions.

For example, these three elements would look like this for the discipline of philosophy:

  • Object of Study: philosophy systematically studies the fundamental truths of human existence, such as the nature of reality, the creation of knowledge, ethics, and logic.
  • Foundational Questions: What is the relationship between the mind and the body? What is knowledge and how do we know what it is? How do we distinguish right from wrong? What constitutes good reasoning?
  • Research Methods: Primarily qualitative because the object of study does not lend itself to empirical investigations.

How disciplines get classified is useful clue that can help you identify the three elements for your own field of study. Biglan’s Classification of Disciplines, included in this lesson, illustrates how fields of study are organized according to type.


In academia, the major is a program of study, but the discipline is a field of study. Neither are the profession, and yet these terms are often used interchangeably. For example, “management” is an academic major, a discipline, and a profession. Your goal in writing Essay 2 is to define the discipline, not the major or profession.

Differentiating among the major, the discipline, and the profession will be challenging for those of you in disciplines closely aligned with a profession, such as applied information technology or tourism. Understand, however, that there is a body of scholarly research for disciplines such as these, and your task is to explore the discipline, not the profession. You came to college for a degree rather than a professional certificate, so you will need to focus on the discipline that is the foundation of that degree.

Additionally, some majors consist of subdisciplines that relate to specific professions, and others have only indirect relationships to professions that rely upon the specialized skills acquired in the major. Psychology consists of a vast number of subdisciplines (clinical psychology, abnormal psychology, etc.), as well as those that often intersect with other disciplines, such as an industrial psychologist who has one foot in the world of business and the other in psychology. Students majoring in global affairs, however, will find that there is no profession that goes by that name, and that colleges and universities refer to this major in other terms, such as international relations. The CIP (Classification of Instructional Programs) web resource will show many of you just how many subdisciplines exist in your field, and/or suggest alternate names for your discipline that you can use for your research.

Learning about the nature of your discipline, its origins, the kinds of questions that drive the research in the field, as well as the ways in which all the knowledge in the discipline gets shared is the focus of Essay 2.

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