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Student Testimonials

Here is what a few students have had to say about Arts and Contemporary Studies (ACS):


Coming out of high school, my interests were scattered all over the place and I had no idea what I wanted to pursue as a career. I was determined to enrol in a university program, but was not ready to commit to a single area of study. I needed to find a program that allowed me to craft my own academic path, and find my passion along the way. ACS did exactly that. This program offered me the freedom to mix and match courses until I found what I really loved.

Throughout my years in ACS, my course selections ranged from philosophy to politics, and everything in between. I am now in my final semester at Ryerson, completing a major in the ACS Global Studies option. My interdisciplinary education has helped me grow into a well-rounded individual, with diverse skills, capable of adapting to any situation.

In winter of 2015 I set out on a 6-month exchange program to Nanyang University, in Singapore. The ACS staff helped ensure a smooth transition to the partnering school, and before I knew it, I was living in Southeast Asia. My semester abroad was an experience of a lifetime, which not only exposed me to an entirely different culture and allowed me to gain new lifelong friendships; it helped me clarify what was next for my future.

Upon my return from Singapore, I got involved with a non-profit organization specializing in International Development called CESO (Canadian Executive Services Organization). I have secured a summer internship with CESO and continue to pursue my other professional interests including social innovation and food securities. I owe it to ACS and it’s wonderful director, Stephanie Walsh Matthews, for giving me confidence, and providing me with the necessary tools to pursue my passions, no matter how broad my interests.

-Tea Forenbacher, Class of 2016


The ACS program was a wonderful stepping stone between high school and my graduate degree. The first two years were spent taking core courses that enhanced my understanding of all that academia has to offer. The flexibility in the last two years allowed me to take courses in all fields of study including sociology, psychology, marketing and communications. With all years combined, the ACS program led me to my preferred field of study in communications. Having explored multiple academic areas, I have no doubt in my mind that I am in the right field. I would recommend the ACS program to anyone who is still exploring what it is that they want to specialize in, you will surely find out what it is here!

-Larissa Fitzsimons, Class of 2015


The ACS program not only provided me with a wide range of educational opportunities, it provided me with the confidence to speak knowledgeably on a variety of subjects. This is the benefit of an interdisciplinary program, you leave the program with a well-rounded knowledge that allows you to participate in discussions, make informed opinions, back up claims with facts, and write clear and concise arguments. I am now able to consider situations with a variety of different lenses and think critically on a range of issues. 

During my time in ACS I was given the opportunity to become involved in a range of activities. I sat on the Arts and Contemporary Studies Course Union, was a Senate Appeal Committee Member, interned at the Modern Literature and Culture Centre, conducted research within the History department, and wrote a Directed Research paper that I presented at Arteries and a National conference (which I was able to attend thanks to the ACS Conference Participation Grant). These opportunities that were afforded to me by the program enriched my time at Ryerson University and prepared me with the tools that ensured my success during my English MA in Literatures of Modernity, which I also took at Ryerson.

-Tatum Dooley, Class of 2015


I chose to enroll in the Arts and Contemporary Studies program primarily for its freedom and flexibility. The freedom afforded to ACS students introduces them to a variety of streams of study and to distinguished professors from the wide array of Ryerson’s faculties. This ensures that students have a diverse network of mentors that will help guide them throughout their undergraduate career and beyond.

The ability to craft your own academic road map made for a very fulfilling four years. After taking a variety of courses from different subjects during first year, I ultimately chose to pursue the English Option and a Minor in Public Administration. Following graduation, I was able to apply my background in Public Administration to a position with the federal government. I was employed as a Support Services Agent with Citizenship and Immigration Canada at the Case Processing Centre for Family Class Sponsorships in Mississauga, Ontario. Currently, I am a research assistant under the supervision of Dr. Irene Gammel at the Modern Literature Culture and Research Centre at Ryerson University.

My time with the Arts and Contemporary Studies program was a truly enriching experience, one that provided me with many different learning perspectives and fields of study. In the two years since graduating, I have to come realize the immense value of an interdisciplinary education, as it has successfully prepared me for the workforce and I am confident that it will also be a great benefit for my future academic endeavours.

-Henry Gomes, Class of 2014


Trying to determine what to pursue in post-secondary education can be a daunting task, especially after completing high school and finding yourself face to face with an extensively dynamic world. With intrigue and curiosity, you are open to many interests, topics and subjects, eager to learn and yet not willing to confine yourself to only one or even two. Ryerson’s Arts and Contemporary Studies program provided me with the perfect solution to exercise my intellect while exploring a multitude of subjects, not only helping refine my interests, but helping build me into an overall more comprehensive and understanding individual. The most valuable skills I’ve gained through my course of study in ACS have been the ability to think critically, assess a variety of different perspectives and sharpen my ability to thoroughly and effectively communicate. These skills have been beneficial to me in all aspects of my life throughout my time in ACS and especially after graduation.

Ryerson’s location along with ACS’s small class sizes and incredible professors created such a vibrant learning experience. The approachability and involvement of the professors allowed for an education beyond the classroom. I was able to create personal relationships with professors which allowed me to further question course content and receive constructive and insightful feedback. With small class sizes, students are encouraged to develop strong bonds and are able to easily access professors if they need assistance with course material. A significant aspect of ACS is the level of commitment professors have towards their students’ academic, intellectual and personal success.

This program allows for many different types of extracurricular learning such as off campus trips to art galleries as well as meetings and discussions with classmates and professors in new and interesting settings. The flexibility in deciding which courses to take was extremely helpful in determining my path and concentration. With the opportunity to continue developing my language skills in French while advancing my understanding of world issues in Global Studies and Ideas That Shape the World, and finally seeking deeper questioning through philosophy I was able to create for myself a broad and comprehensive education.

These courses and opportunities allowed me a chance to teach English in France after graduating, living and working in a small French town for seven months. Through that experience I was able to further reach and understand the skills I gained through my ACS degree and build and enrich myself coming to new goals and aspirations. Through my inspiring time at Ryerson in the Arts and Contemporary Studies program I am now able to access the world in new and powerful ways. I am currently pursuing further education in environmental progress and movements such as permaculture which is an observation based design system that focuses to facilitate efficient ecosystems. In this new pursuit I feel lucky to be able to carry over my observation and analytical skills to aiding and producing positive impacts to the planet. I feel very grateful and empowered to have chosen a program that provided me with the tools and skills to practice life long learning and understanding, with this background I feel hopeful and inspired for my future.

- Elyse Hanec, Class of 2013