Arts (Humanities and Social Sciences)


Why study the arts?

The study of the humanities and social sciences will enrich your life and open the way to a rewarding career. The Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences is where students can study what fascinates them while pursuing a program that suits their aspirations both for learning and meaningful work. It is a Faculty where students can immerse themselves in human knowledge and understand how we got to where we are now – and where we might be going. An arts degree will give students a strong foundation of knowledge, along with critical thinking, research, analytical and communication skills needed to succeed and adapt in a dynamic and rapidly evolving economy. The study of the humanities and social sciences develops all these qualities that will never become obsolete; clear thinking and powers of communication have no expiry date.


What can students study?

The Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences offers courses in the humanities and social sciences. The humanities are branches of knowledge that investigate human beings, their culture and their self-expression. They encompass disciplines of memory and imagination. The social sciences are a branch of science that deals with the institutions and functioning of human society. They explore empirical disciplines of behavioural, interpersonal, and organizational processes. Many of the Faculty’s departments offer courses that deal with both the humanities and the social sciences.

This webpage is the best way to anticipate future course offerings,


Major and minor subject areas

The Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences offers the Bachelor of Arts (BA) with majors and minors in:

* Students completing a major in an interdisciplinary program must complete a minor or second major, in a single subject.

Some majors from the Faculty of Science are also available as an arts degree. See the Faculty of Science section of the guide for details.


Minors are also available in:

  • business administration 
  • Faculty of Science subject areas
  • international business 
  • music and culture 
  • music history 


Note: All BA students must complete at least one of the major or minor programs in a subject that is considered humanities or social sciences.


Honours programs

An honours degree requires, over and above the requirements of the general degree, a concentration at an advanced level in an approved field, consisting of a subject or subjects of specialization and/or related subjects, and a high quality of work throughout the program. An honours degree is of distinct advantage if you plan on doing advanced work in your chosen field and also if you have a clear commitment to some special field of study. It may be of particular advantage for students considering graduate studies.

The BA (honours) is offered in the following subject areas:

  • anthropology
  • archaeology
  • classics (honours in Greek and Roman studies also available)
  • economics (also available as a B.Sc.)
  • English
  • folklore
  • French
  • geography (also available as a B.Sc.)
  • German
  • history
  • linguistics
  • philosophy
  • political science
  • psychology 
  • religious studies
  • sociology

How do students apply to the BA degree program?

Students can indicate their intention to complete a BA program when completing the General Application for Admission to Memorial University. Most major and minor programs applicable to the BA program do not have any additional admission requirements beyond those for admission to the university. Application may also be made by contacting the Office of the Registrar at


BA degree requirements

The general degree of Bachelor of Arts requires the completion of 120 credit hours which include:

  • core requirements
  • major program
  • minor program
  • electives

Core requirements: The core curriculum is a set of courses required of all arts undergraduates that encourages a breath of foundational knowledge. These courses are in addition to what is required by each department to fulfill the requirements for a major, minor or other area of academic interest.


The BA core requirements comprise:

Breadth of Knowledge: ensures that students have exposure to courses in a variety of disciplines and interdisciplinary areas of study within the humanities and social sciences. Students must complete one course from a minimum of six of the following areas of study: anthropology, archaeology, classics, communications studies, economics, English, folklore, French, gender studies, geography, German, history, law and society, linguistics, medieval studies, philosophy, police studies, political science, religious studies, Russian, sociology, Spanish, University courses.

Critical Reading and Writing (CRW): designated courses designed to ensure that students develop university-level foundational knowledge and skills in critical reading and writing in the humanities and/or social sciences as described in the CRW course guidelines available at Students must complete a minimum of six credit hours in foundational CRW courses, one of which must be English. The second CRW course should be chosen from the following eligible courses: Archaeology 1001, English 1090, 1191, 1192, 1193, Folklore 1005, Gender Studies 2005, German 1010, History 1009, 1010, 1011, 1012, 1013, 1014, 1015, Philosophy 1001, 1230, Political Science 1001, Religious Studies 1001, University 1020, 1500.

Language Study (LS): designated courses designed to ensure that students develop university-level foundational knowledge of the structure of a language other than English, and to foster awareness of the inherent link between language and cultural literacy, as described in the LS course guidelines available at Students must complete a minimum of six credit hours in LS courses.

Quantitative Reasoning (QR): designated courses designed to ensure that students develop university-level foundational knowledge and skills in numeracy, quantitative analysis, logical reasoning involving numbers, and/or the graphical representation of data. Students must complete a minimum of six credit hours in QR courses. More information is available at Students must complete a minimum of six credit hours in QR courses.

Note: Eligible CRW, LS and QR courses are clearly labelled.

Sample program for first year

Students pursuing a Bachelor of Arts will normally take the following courses in their first year:

Sample program

Fall SemesterWinter Semester
English 1090critical reading & writing course (CRW) chosen from major subject area
language study (LS) course language study (LS) course 
quantitative reasoning (QR) course quantitative reasoning (QR) course 
major program coursemajor program course
elective course (breadth encouraged)elective course (breadth encouraged)












* Both LS courses must be in the same language. Students whose first language is not English and who do not meet the standards for entry into regular first-year English courses may use English 1020 and 1021 to fulfill this requirement. Such students are permitted to complete up to an additional six credit hours in Department of English CRW courses at the 1000 level in order to fulfill the Critical Reading and Writing Requirement.



Contact information

For additional information please contact:




Guide to First Year

230 Elizabeth Ave

St. John's, NL A1B 3X9 CANADA

Tel: (709) 864-2530

Fax: (709) 864-2552