History of the program

people walking

The program first welcomed students for the degree of M. Phil. in September 1988.

The impetus came from Dr. John Scott, Department of Philosophy, and others interested in a graduate degree which did not concentrate, as the M.A. did, on research leading to a rigorously focused thesis.

The idea was to have a program in humanities based on courses, tutorials, and a journal, all of which lead through a series of explorations rather than towards a finished piece of research.

The students first entering the program in 1988, like those today, were from quite different backgrounds.

For almost 15 years, the program has hosted students from a wide range of undergraduate and graduate academic programs, including classics, English, fine arts, history, mathematics, philosophy, physics, and religious studies, as well as students returning to school after a number of years in the workforce, including teachers, lawyers, businesspeople, art administrators and curators, nurses, an engineer, a physician, a psychiatry resident, a professor of engineering, and a provincial court judge.

The mixture of younger, recent graduates and more mature professionals, Newfoundlanders, Canadians, and international students from countries such as China and Columbia, makes the program rich in points of view and in touch with practice.

The focus of the program throughout its history has been teaching students during their M.Phil. candidacy, yet research and scholarship have also been fostered.

Recently, the program hosted a series of lectures on the idea of the university, with published proceedings.

A new lecture series on issues in science and technology is soon to be launched in memory of the recently deceased Stuart Pierson, a professor of history and long-time teacher and tutor in the humanities.