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Degree Awarded: Bachelor of Arts (BA)
Program Website: ryerson.ca/arts
Administered by: Department of History and Department of Philosophy
Program Format: Full-time, four-year program.

Bringing together two of the core humanities, the study of history and philosophy affords students a deep understanding of the human enterprise in all of its remarkable complexity and diversity. These two complimentary disciplines tackle fundamental questions concerning who we are, what we have accomplished, and how the future might look for us.

Admission Information

Applicants interested in the double major program in History and Philosophy must apply for admission to one of the ten major programs (Criminology, English, Environment and Urban Sustainability, Geographic Analysis, History, Language and Intercultural Relations, Philosophy, Politics and Governance, Psychology or Sociology), or to Undeclared Arts.  Students are not admitted directly to a double major.

The Faculty of Arts accepts applications for transfer to a double major program in the second semester of studies. Approved transfer students commence studies in the double major program in second year.  Further details on the process will be provided by the Faculty of Arts during first semester.

Program Overview/Curriculum Information

The study of History and Philosophy enriches our awareness by asking questions that probe beyond simple answers and seeks to explain cultures and peoples, political and economic systems, ideas and issues, and conflict and change in order to understand the complexities of the human experience both in the past and the present. How should we act? What is truth? What can we know? Are we free? Spanning much of the period of recorded culture, courses in the History and Philosophy Double Major program offer students a well-rounded understanding of philosophy's central debates and their historical contexts. The program develops students' critical argumentation, research, and analytical skills, and provides students with the chance to examine the practical applications of the theories and methods of History and Philosophy.

Students in a History and Philosophy double major will:

  • be able to discuss and demonstrate a coherent understanding of the intellectual and other foundations of historical and modern societies, including the interconnectedness of people, ideas, things, and places;
  • identify key historical issues from a diverse spectrum of regions, cultures, and time periods, and distinguish and evaluate overlapping, and sometimes competing, narratives;
  • apply historical knowledge, drawn from a broad range of sources to help interpret contemporary events and issues, whether local, national, or global in character;
  • (for those engaging in experiential learning components in heritage management and public history) apply theoretical knowledge and practical skills in the contextualization, interpretation presentation, and preservation of historical artifacts in a professional setting;
  • have the ability to analyze a wide range of philosophical texts and discriminate among issues arising;
  • be able to discriminate premises from conclusions in such justificatory structures, and determine how various sub-arguments relate to one another in a complex chain of reasoning; and
  • be able to develop and apply sophisticated critical abilities to the interpretation of complex, sometimes historically remote, texts which may contain subtle distinctions, new concepts, complex theories, and detailed argumentation.

The strong research, analytical, and communication skills, along with the cultural awareness that the study of History and Philosophy teaches, are valued by employers in sectors that place a premium on critical analysis and problem solving. Graduates pursue a broad range of career paths, including business, the public service, creative industries, non-governmental organizations, and nonprofit sectors. A number of graduates move into careers in museums and the heritage sector. Many individuals continue their education by pursuing either graduate study or professional training in faculties such as law, education, and information studies.

History and Philosophy draw on the theories, methods, and practices of a broad range of humanities and social sciences. Therefore, the History and Philosophy Double Major program builds on a foundational year of interdisciplinary study in the Humanities and Social Sciences, followed by three years of more specialized study in History and Philosophy. Students take a combination of 13 required and elective courses in History and 13 required and elective courses in Philosophy, as well as 6 Liberal Studies courses.

The core goals of the Double Major are to graduate students who:

  • have mastered the ability to critically analyze oral, written, and other forms of texts;
  • will appreciate the complexities in various academic interpretations, and will be able to think critically about the normative assumptions governing interpretive discourses in general;
  • are capable of developing probing research questions, conducting effective research, and persuasively communicating the results of their inquiry in a variety of oral and written modes;
  • possess a superior set of “career-ready” research, analytical, and oral and written skills, and know how to apply them to professional situations as well as to graduate study opportunities; and
  • demonstrate discipline-specific knowledge and skills by acting as responsible academic and community citizens, both locally and globally.

Semesters One and Two: In the first year, which is shared with the BA programs in Criminology, English, Environment and Urban Sustainability, Geographic Analysis, History, Language and Intercultural Relations, Philosophy, Politics and Governance, Psychology, and Sociology, students take their first two university-level History and Philosophy courses from a number of options that explore the subjects across a range of themes, time periods, and geographical contexts. Students also acquire skills and knowledge in two foundational courses, Academic Writing and Research, and Critical Thinking. Finally, they choose electives from a broad range of areas.

Semesters Three through Six: In second year, students take their third foundational course in the Common Arts Platform, Research Design and Qualitative Methods. They begin to take required courses in Philosophy, including Introduction to Modern Philosophy, and Ancient and Modern Ethics, as well as the first of the Historian’s Craft (or H-Craft) offerings, Reading, Writing and Using History, and Hearing, Seeing and Speaking History. Students take additional Historian’s Craft courses and required Philosophy courses in their third year. Additionally, students select from a wide variety of History and Philosophy electives, as well as electives from outside of the disciplines.

Semesters Seven and Eight:  In the last year of the program, as students consider the opportunities they will pursue after graduation, they solidify their historical and philosophical expertise and sharpen their professional competence by taking two senior seminars, one in History and one in Philosophy. Students also complete any remaining electives.

Students admitted to the Bachelor of Arts programs in Criminology, English, Environment and Urban Sustainability, Geographic Analysis, History, Language and Intercultural Relations, Philosophy, Politics and Governance, Psychology or Sociology may transfer to any one of the other nine programs or to any one of the three approved double major programs (English and History; English and Philosophy; History and Philosophy) for the fall term of their second year of studies. Applications are available through the Program Office and must be submitted by February 2nd. Transfer applications are considered on a competitive basis subject to capacity, and therefore program choice cannot be guaranteed.

In order to transfer to the History and Philosophy Double Major from any of Criminology, English, Environment and Urban Sustainability, Geographic Analysis, History, Language and Intercultural Relations, Philosophy, Politics and Governance, Psychology, or Sociology, students must:

  1. have a CLEAR Academic Standing at the end of the Winter term of their second semester of studies; and
  2. must have successfully completed one HIS course numbered between HIS 100 and HIS 399 (or one of HIS 461, HIS 462 or HIS 490) as well as one of PHL 101, PHL 201, PHL 333, or PHL 366. It is strongly recommended that students complete, in first year, two HIS courses numbered between HIS 100 and HIS 399 (or HIS 461, HIS 462 and HIS 490) as well as two of PHL 101, PHL 201, PHL 333, and PHL 366.

HST courses may be substituted for HIS courses with departmental approval.

Students must take two lower level liberal studies courses and four upper level liberal studies courses to graduate. Students must not choose courses that are restricted for their program or major.

Please refer to the liberal studies chapter of this calendar for more information on the Liberal Studies Policy. Further information on liberal studies can also be found at the Faculty of Arts' Liberal Studies website.

Table A - Lower Level Restrictions

History and Philosophy courses are not available for credit.

Table B - Upper Level Restrictions

History and Philosophy courses are not available for credit.

Students may pursue any Minor offered by Ryerson (with some exceptions). Please refer to the Minors Policy chapter of this calendar for further information on individual Minor requirements and exclusions.

Undergraduate students wishing to pursue a continuing education certificate program should be aware of possible program exclusions. Please refer to the Certificate Registration section of the Curriculum Advising website for complete details.

Full-Time, Four-Year Program

REQUIRED:

SSH 105      Critical Thinking I
SSH 205 Academic Writing and Research

REQUIRED GROUP 1: Two courses from Table I (Social Sciences Grouping).

REQUIRED GROUP 2: Two courses from the following:

HIS 104 Ten Days That Shook The World
HIS 105 Inventing Popular Culture
HIS 106 Technology, Warfare and Social Change
HIS 107 Colonization, Colonialism and Independence
HIS 238 Canada to 1885: Creating a Nation
HIS 248 American History to 1877
HIS 265 Asia: Foundations and Modern Nations
HIS 275 Ancient Greece and Rome
HIS 277 Mediaeval Europe, 400-1350
HIS 279 Europe, 1715-1870
HIS 338 Canada since 1885: Defining a Nation
HIS 348 American History from 1877
HIS 377 Europe, 1350-1715
HIS 379 Europe, 1870-Present
HIS 461 Cradle of Civilization: Ancient Near East
HIS 462 Introduction to the Islamic World
HIS 490 International Relations from 1945

Any two HST courses numbered between HST 100 and HST 499. In total, a maximum of four liberal studies HST courses may be substituted for HIS courses.

REQUIRED GROUP 3: Two courses from the following:

PHL 101 Plato and the Roots of Western Philosophy
PHL 201 Problems in Philosophy
PHL 333 Philosophy of Human Nature
PHL 366 Existentialism and Art and Culture

PROFESSIONALLY RELATED: One course from Table I or Table III. Course selection must not include HIS or PHL courses.

PROFESSIONALLY RELATED: One course from Table III.

Revised 2017-2018.

REQUIRED:

HIS 401 Hearing, Seeing and Speaking History
PHL 503 Ancient and Modern Ethics
PHL 708 Introduction to Modern Philosophy
SSH 301 Research Design and Qualitative Methods

REQUIRED GROUP 2: Two courses from the following:

HIS 104 Ten Days That Shook The World
HIS 105 Inventing Popular Culture
HIS 106 Technology, Warfare and Social Change
HIS 107 Colonization, Colonialism and Independence
HIS 238 Canada to 1885: Creating a Nation
HIS 248 American History to 1877
HIS 265 Asia: Foundations and Modern Nations
HIS 275 Ancient Greece and Rome
HIS 277 Mediaeval Europe, 400-1350
HIS 279 Europe, 1715-1870
HIS 338 Canada since 1885: Defining a Nation
HIS 348 American History from 1877
HIS 377 Europe, 1350-1715
HIS 379 Europe, 1870-Present
HIS 461 Cradle of Civilization: Ancient Near East
HIS 462 Introduction to the Islamic World
HIS 490 International Relations from 1945

Any two HST courses numbered between HST 100 and HST 499. In total, a maximum of four liberal studies HST courses may be substituted for HIS courses.

PROFESSIONAL: One Philosophy course from Table II (History and Philosophy Double Major).

PROFESSIONALLY-RELATED: One course from Table I, Table III, History Table IV or Philosophy Table IV. Course selection must not include courses with an HIS or PHL prefix.

LIBERAL STUDIES: Two courses from Table A - Lower Level Liberal Studies.

REQUIRED:

HIS 505 Locating the Past: Archival Research
PHL 600 Seminar in Analytic Philosophy
PHL 601 Seminar in Continental Philosophy

REQUIRED GROUP 1: One course from the following:  

HIS 500 History and New Media
HIS 501 Archaeology and Material Culture
HIS 502 Life Stories: Oral History

PROFESSIONAL: Two History courses from Table II (History and Philosophy Double Major).

PROFESSIONAL: Two Philosophy courses from Table II (History and Philosophy Double Major).

LIBERAL STUDIES: Two courses from Table B - Upper Level Liberal Studies.

Begins 2018-2019.

REQUIRED GROUP 1: One course from the following:

HIS 902 Thesis Course
HIS 903 Senior Seminar I: Cross-Field Study
HIS 916 Senior Seminar II: Science, Technology and Medicine
HIS 931 Senior Seminar III: Americas
HIS 956 Senior Seminar IV: Africa
HIS 957 Senior Seminar V: Middle East
HIS 958 Senior Seminar VI: Asia
HIS 976 Senior Seminar VII: Europe
HIS 990 Senior Seminar VIII: International Relations

PROFESSIONAL: Three History courses from Table II (History and Philosophy Double Major).

PROFESSIONAL: Four Philosophy courses from Table II (History and Philosophy Double Major).

LIBERAL STUDIES: Two courses from Table B - Upper Level Liberal Studies.

Program Advisory Council

A Program Advisory Council (PAC) is a group of volunteers that provides expert advice to a school or department on program related matters such as curriculum, program review, technology and trends in the industry, discipline or profession. For more information, see Senate Policy #158 (Program Advisory Councils).

TBA. Please visit the Department of History website for updates.

Gwen Burrows
Director of Strategic Projects

Hospital for Sick Children Research Institute  

Doug Carr
Assistant Deputy Minister of Negotiations and Reconciliation

Ontario Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs  

Joseph Longo
Secondary School Teacher, Toronto  

Joseph Manion
Director of Strategic Program Development

Toronto Employment and Social Services  

Trevor Norris
Assistant Professor of Philosophy of Education
Ontario Institute for Studies in Education  

Lois Pineau
Criminal Defense Lawyer