The Bachelor of Humanities (B.Hum.) is Canada’s most comprehensive program in the study of the world’s Great Books. It offers students a rigorous and broad education in the liberal arts, with a curriculum of the world’s most influential texts, ideas, works of art, and religious and political movements, from the Ancient world to present-day Europe and America. Humanities students study everything from Plato to Gandhi, from Medieval architecture to the Tao Te Ching, and from Italian Opera to contemporary film.

Humanities students have a love of reading, writing, and discussion. They are passionate about ideas and curious about other times, places, and cultures. They ask fundamental questions about themselves and the world around them. Through the Humanities program, they gain an awareness of the complexity of human experience and the courage to think independently.

What is a Great Books Program?


Core Courses and Complementary Courses

The centerpiece of the BHum curriculum is a four-year sequence of core seminars that offers a chronological and thematic study of the world’s great books. Whereas many Great Books programs begin with Greek philosophy, the B.Hum. first-year seminar examines religious traditions from ancient Israel, India and China. The second-year seminar then looks at the emergence of Greek philosophy and its fertile encounter with the rise of Christendom and Islam up to the Middle Ages. The third-year seminar examines the great artistic and literary works produced during the Renaissance and Enlightenment and the fourth-year seminar explores the character of modernity and the real-world ramifications of the critiques of modernity. Each core seminar is taught by two professors, includes small discussion groups run by the professors, and is restricted to students in the Humanities program.

In addition to the core seminars, each year includes a carefully integrated set of relevant courses in a variety of subjects, including history, philosophy, literature, religion, classics, art history, and the history of music.

For more information, see our Curriculum page.

The Humanities Seminar Room

The Humanities Seminar Room

Degree Streams

The Humanities program is offered in five different streams. There are three variations on the base Bachelor of Humanities degree:

  • Bachelor of Humanities Honours
  • Bachelor of Humanities with a Combined Honours or Minor
  • Bachelor of Humanities with a Study Year Abroad.

The fourth stream is designed for students with an interest in science, or who intend to go on to medical school:

The fifth stream is a degree offered jointly with Carleton’s School of Journalism:

For more information on Degree Streams, see our Curriculum.

Social and Cultural Life

The small size of the Bachelor of Humanities program means that the students form an intimate, dynamic community and form lifelong friendships during their four years. Humanities students are also known personally by their professors, receiving a level of attention and personalized instruction that is hard to find elsewhere. The Humanities program has its own precinct at Carleton, consisting of a beautiful lecture hall and seminar room, and a comfortable common room solely for the use of BHum students.

Humanities students at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York

The program has a cultural director who organises events for students such as evening concerts and plays at the National Arts Centre (NAC), or guided tours of the National Art Gallery. Each year features subsidized trips to Montreal and New York City. Humanities has a wealth of student-run organisations, such as the Humanities Social Society, the Ipso Facto Humanities Journal, and the NORTH Literary Journal.

For more information, see the Social and Cultural Life page.

Jobs in the Humanities

Humanities is not job training, but Humanities graduates get very good jobs. Humanities students devote themselves to four years of intensive study of difficult texts and ideas. They learn how to write clearly and effectively. They learn how to discuss their ideas with others in a respectful manner. They learn to listen and become aware of the real diversity of intellectual perspectives. They learn to make difficult judgments between competing values. All of this makes Humanities graduates highly skilled and leads to success in the workplace.

Most Humanities graduates continue on to graduate or professional school. The range of careers they take up is very wide:

  • Arts and Culture
  • Broadcasting, Media, and Journalism
  • Business
  • Communications
  • Education
  • Education at the University Level
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Environment
  • Health
  • High-Tech
  • International Aid and Development
  • Law
  • Library and Archival Work
  • Medicine
  • Public Policy
  • Publishing
  • Science
  • Security — Intelligence

For a quick overview, see our Jobs in the Humanities page. For in-depth profiles of alumni for each career path, see our Alumni Careers page.

Schedule a Visit

The best way to decide if the Bachelor of Humanities is right for you is to meet our professors and students. You can meet us at the Ontario Universities Fair, held each year in Toronto, or at one of the recruitment events held on the Carleton Campus. The Bachelor of Humanities program also hosts a sequence of ‘Specialty Tour’ open houses during the Winter semester. In addition, you are particularly invited to attend a class in the Humanities program, to see first-hand what you will study and to meet with faculty and students.

For more information, visit our Schedule a Visit page.

How to Apply

Please follow the links for detailed information on Scholarships and Bursaries, and on How to Apply to the Humanities program