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Program Overview

Ideas that Shaped the World

In a set of common courses in the first two years of the program, you study the great ideas that have shaped the world from ancient times to the present day. These courses are interconnected in a manner that stimulates and challenges your sense of what it means to live as an individual, a citizen and a member of a complex, multifaceted and volatile global society.

You learn about the challenges and perspectives offered in the works of such divergent thinkers as Northrop Frye, Albert Einstein, Margaret Atwood, Aristotle, Leonardo da Vinci, Dionne Brand, Karl Marx, Jacques Derrida and Tomson Highway. You draw connections between such topics as literary theory, philosophy, history, religion, science and global affairs.

Skills Development

In other core courses in the first two years of the program, you develop skills that are essential in today’s workplace. You will hone your ability to read precisely and critically with a comprehensive view of language and its roots; to communicate effectively in speech and in writing; to design, implement, and evaluate research projects; to create strategies for lifelong learning; to think critically; to mediate conflict; and to work in teams.


In the last three years of the program, you may direct your studies by selecting courses from one of eight options. Four of these options are subject-based, and four are interdisciplinary.  

Subject-Based Options

  • The English Option focuses on how to read a wide range of literary and cultural texts critically. Through an engagement with narratives of the past and present, you will develop an understanding of contemporary cultural production.
  • The French Option gives you the opportunity to concentrate in this important linguistic and cultural field, while acquiring critical insights into the role that French and Francophone culture play at a national level and in the broader international context.
  • The History Option offers not only a study of the past as a way to understand the present, but also a range of skills applicable to many jobs – those which require an understanding of research techniques, analysis and logic.
  • The Philosophy Option provides you with a broad understanding of the main historical trends and contemporary developments within the discipline, while encouraging you to read and think about philosophical issues in an active and critical manner.

Interdisciplinary Options

  • The Culture Studies Option examines the forms of culture and entertainment which reflect who we are and who we dream of becoming. You will examine cultural identity as it is expressed in both high culture and popular entertainment.
  • The Diversity and Equity Studies Option focuses on diverse and politically charged social issues and explores the encounters of language, perspective and value that shape contemporary politics, culture and society.
  • The Global Studies Option explores how people are interconnected environmentally, politically, culturally and economically on a global scale.
  • The Inquiry and Invention Option explores institutions, systems and ideas as they relate to scientific discovery and technological innovation.
  • The Anthropology Studies Option examines the human experience, past and present, using holistic, comparative, and field based evolutionary perspectives and practices.