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Why study the arts?

The study of the humanities and social sciences will enrich your life and open the way to a rewarding career. Over and over, graduates of the Faculty of Arts will tell you that their time at university gave them not only marketable skills but also intangible tools they use and appreciate every day. These tools are crucial in today’s job market. Beyond easily obtained technical skills, employers often need and look for more qualitative assets in their employees. Flexibility, creativity, analytical skills and effective communication are among the traits they value most highly. The study of the arts develops all these qualities that will not become obsolete; clear thinking and powers of communication have no expiry date.

What can I study?

The Faculty of Arts consists of 16 departments, offering courses in the humanities and social sciences.

The humanities are branches of knowledge that investigate human beings, their culture and their self-expression. The humanities are disciplines of memory and imagination.

The social sciences are a branch of science that deals with the institutions and functioning of human society. The social sciences are empirical disciplines of behavioural, interpersonal, and organizational processes.

Major subject areas

The Faculty of Arts at the St. John's Campus offers the bachelor of arts (BA) with majors in:

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.

Minor subject areas

A minor program is available in all the major subject areas listed above, except communication studies and police studies, as well as in:

  • Aboriginal studies*
  • film studies*
  • German studies*
  • Newfoundland and Labrador studies*

Minors are also available in:

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

Information on these minor programs may be found in the respective sections of this guide.

* If you are completing a major in an interdisciplinary program, you must complete a minor or second major, in a single subject. Similarly, if you are completing a minor in one of these programs, you must choose a major in a single subject.

Honours Degree

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.

The BA (honours) is offered in all of the major subject areas listed except communication studies, gender studies, law and society, medieval studies, police studies, Russian language and literature, and Spanish. These subjects may be included in some joint honours programs.

Co-operative Education

Co-operative education provides an excellent mutual opportunity for students and employers. Students will learn valuable practical skills in an employment situation during their course of study. Furthermore, paid employment will help to defray the cost of education. Students will obtain rewarding employment experience for several months of continuous duration. The Faculty of Arts has co-operative education opportunities in both economics and political science.

Joint Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Commerce (Co-operative)

The joint bachelor of arts and bachelor of commerce (co-op.) can be completed in five years, provided appropriate planning is undertaken. For more information can be found here.

Diploma Programs in the Faculty of Arts

The following diploma programs are currently available:

  • applied ethics
  • creative writing
  • geographic information sciences
  • performance and communications media
  • police studies

Admission requirements to diploma programs vary considerably. Please consult the university Calendar and/or contact the office of the Dean of Arts, for additional information.

Certificate Program in the Faculty of Arts

The following certificate program is currently available in the Faculty of Arts:

  • criminology

How do I apply to the bachelor of arts (BA) degree program?

You can indicate your 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

Bachelor of Arts degree requirements

The general degree of bachelor of arts (BA) consists of the following components:

  • courses from a set of core requirements, some of which may also satisfy requirements of the major and minor programs
  • an approved concentration of courses known as the major program
  • an approved concentration of courses known as the minor program
  • elective courses

Core requirements: No more than nine credit hours in courses from any one discipline may be used to satisfy the minimum core requirements listed below:

English requirement: six credit hours at the 1000 level

Second language requirement: six credit hours in a single second language other than English (satisfied by French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Innu-aimun, Inuktitut, Irish Gaelic, Italian, Japanese, Latin, Mandarin Chinese, Russian, Sanskrit, Spanish and other languages that may be offered from time to time).

A list of courses being offered that will fulfil the second language requirement is provided each semester by the Faculty of Arts. 

Numeracy/science requirement: six credit hours (satisfied by biochemistry, biology, chemistry, computer science, earth sciences, Economics 2010, Economics 2020, engineering, environmental science, geography laboratory courses, mathematics and statistics, physics, psychology, Science 1000, 1150, 1151, 3000, 3001).

Please note that certain majors and minors within the Faculty of Arts do require mathematics:

  • Economics majors and minors are required to complete Mathematics 1000 (or 1090 and 1000).
  • Geography majors or minors can complete a BA degree without courses in mathematics. However, the completion of Mathematics 1000 will allow for greater choice in the selection of geography courses.

See Faculty of Science section of the guide beginning on page 50 for details on math requirements for computer science, mathematics, psychology and statistics.

Humanities requirement: 12 credit hours in at least two humanities subjects (satisfied by classics, communications studies, English, French, gender studies, German, history, Italian, Linguistics 2025, 2026, 2030, 2031, 2700, 2701, 2702, 2703, 2704, 2705 or 2706, medieval studies, philosophy, religious studies, Russian or Spanish). Some of the humanities courses may be used to satisfy major and minor program requirements.

Social sciences requirement: 12 credit hours in at least two social science subjects (satisfied by anthropology, archaeology, economics, Environmental Studies 1000 and 2000, folklore, geography (non-laboratory courses only), history, law and society, linguistics, police studies, political science or sociology). Some of the social sciences courses may be used to satisfy major and minor program requirements.

Research/writing requirement: Six credit hours in research/writing. These may be counted towards the major and minor programs and may also satisfy six credit hours from humanities and social sciences requirements. It is recommended that these courses be completed within the first 60 credit hours of your program.

A list of courses being offered that will fulfil the research and writing requirement is provided each semester by the Faculty of Arts. The list can also be obtained each semester through Memorial Self-Service. Look up Course Offerings in the Registration menu and highlight Research/Writing in the attribute type search box. Priority registration for research/writing courses will be given to students who have indicated Arts as their intended faculty on the General Application to Memorial University of Newfoundland or to students admitted to any bachelor of music program.

Students pursuing a BA will normally take the following courses in their first year:

Sample program

    Fall semester    Winter semester    
course in major subject or core requirement course in major subject or core requirement
second language course second language course
research/writing course research/writing course
English 1080
(or 1020)
English 1101, 1102, 1103 or 1110
(or 1080, 1021)*

* Notes: ESL students who wish to take English literature in the second semester could take one of English 1021, 1080, 1101, 1102 or 1103.

The general and honours bachelor of arts (BA) degrees require the completion of 120 credit hours.


Study Abroad

Harlow Campus

Memorial University is one of the only two universities in Canada to have a campus in England. Harlow ( is a group of 19th-century buildings 40 minutes (by train) from London. Faculty of Arts programs are run out of Harlow every year so students are bound to find something intriguing.

Other study abroad opportunities:

  • Summer language field school in Heidelberg, Germany
  • Summer language program in St. Petersburg, Russia
  • Frecker program in St. Pierre and Miquelon, France
  • Third year in Nice, France
  • Summer school in La Coruna, Spain
  • Summer field school in Italy

Contact information

For additional information please contact: