The Bachelor of Humanities is more than a curriculum of study. It is a community of students and professors who discuss ideas and enjoy cultural events together throughout the academic year.

The Small Size of the Program Fosters Community

Prof. Gregory MacIsaac

Prof. Gregory MacIsaac

Classes in the Bachelor of Humanities are small. Lectures have between 40 and 70 students, and each Core Course includes small discussion groups, run by professors, limited to 15 students. Students receive a level of attention and personalized instruction that is hard to find elsewhere. Professors tailor their questions and answers to each student, offer targeted help when needed, and challenge their students to surpass themselves.

Humanities Students Share an Enthusiasm for Ideas

Humanities students enter the program with a shared passion for books and ideas. They are highly accomplished, bright, and enthusiastic. They are writers, poets, voracious readers, activists, musicians, and singers, and have a high level of curiosity and imagination.

They take many of the same classes together, offering each other help, and collaborating in shared study sessions. As friends, they take inspiration from each other’s successes and spend hours enthusiastically debating ideas, at Carleton and after they graduate. This strong sense of community leads to academic success and builds life-long friendships.

The Program is Housed in an Attractive Space

The Humanities program has its own beautiful precinct at Carleton. Classes are held in a Lecture Hall specially built for the program, furnished with theatre seating and equipped with a sound system, video projector, and a Yamaha grand piano for the students’ use.

Discussion groups are held in the College’s Seminar Room, which is also used by Humanities students for quiet study. Humanities students also enjoy their own large Common Room with comfortable chairs for reading and conversation and large tables for study.

Students Lead a Full Cultural and Social Life

Social life and classes are two sides of the same educational coin in the Bachelor of Humanities program, and students enjoy a rich calendar of social and cultural events put on by Humanities faculty and students each year.

  • Subsidized trips to concerts and operas at the National Arts Centre
  • An annual subsidized trip to Montreal for first-year students
  • An annual subsidized trip to New York for third-year students
  • Guided tours of the National Art Gallery
  • Lectures by internationally acclaimed scholars and writers
  • Screenings of famous Opera productions and Symphony recordings in the College Lecture Hall
  • Student music nights
  • Student film screenings in the College Lecture Hall
  • Students vs. Professors Trivia Nights

For a list of recent events, visit our Cultural Activities page.

The highlight of the Humanities social calendar is undoubtedly the annual Humanities Formal, run by the Humanities Social Society. It is always well-attended by students and faculty alike and is traditionally organized around a theme chosen by students.

Travel Opportunities

In May 2023, The Director Shane Hawkins and Professor Shawna Dolansky accompanied thirty students on a three-week course abroad, our new HUMS 3800: Humanities in Context.

It was a trip that took them first to Israel, with stops in Tel Aviv, Jaffa, Caesarea, Megiddo, Beit Alpha, Tel Hatzon, Capernaum, Galilee, Bei She’an, the Jordan River, Masada, the Dead Sea, Qumran, and Jerusalem. Then they were off to Athens and a tour of the Peloponnesus, including the island of Aegina, Cape Sounion, Corinth, Nafplio, Epidaurus, Mycenae, Olympia, and Delphi. Finally they spent our last week in eternal Rome, with a day trip to Pompeii and Naples.

The group travelled by plane, bus, tram, train, boat and ferry, but mostly they walked, to absorb as much as they possibly could. It was exhilarating and exhausting. And for many of our students it was also a life-changing opportunity to experience in a vivid first-hand encounter the art, architecture, archaeology, and cultures that they study in the classroom: temples and ruins, Rembrandts and Raphaels, Palace and Palazzo and Parthenon and Pantheon. And of course, there was a lot of hummus, souvlaki, and never, ever, enough gelato. Professor Hawkins and Dolansky never tired of watching the reaction of a student who came face-to face for the first time with a statue, painting, or artifact that is familiar to them from a textbook. They could only laugh when at one point we entered a corridor flush with ancient statuary and a dumbfounded student quietly stammered, ‘Are these … real?’

The theme of the course was ‘Monument and Memory’, with an emphasis on the connections between monumentality and nationality. Student projects for the course were wide-ranging and included topics such as monuments and national identity, ritual bathing, Egypt and othering, approaches to conservation, and dedications and grave gifts.

Student-Run Academic and Creative Forums

Bachelor of Humanities students contribute to NORTH, the students’ literary publication every year. Founded in 1999, NORTH has been a forum for poetry, short stories, art, photography, and most recently, music.

The Ipso Facto Journal of Interdisciplinary Humanities was founded in 2021. The publication features outstanding undergraduate papers by Humanities students, on a wide variety of subjects.

Students also organize an annual Humanities Colloquium, where they present their work to peers and faculty.

Residence and Student Housing

All students coming directly from high school into the first year who receive an offer of admission by May 13th will receive an offer of guaranteed residence in a traditional double room.

Humanities students who wish to share a room with another Humanities student should answer “yes” to the question on the application form: “do you wish to live with someone in the same faculty.”

Please visit the Housing website for more information.