Core program in Canadian Studies

First-year seminars
In the first year of Canadian Studies, you have the choice of three first-year seminar courses. Class size is restricted to 30. You also have the option of taking an introductory course designed to provide you with an overview of the field while developing research, writing and analysis skills.

How Ottawa Works: Exploring National Institutions – This course is an intensive first-year seminar that investigates the sites of government public-policy making and the arts in Canada’s capital. The course allows you to examine the fundamental political, judicial, and administrative institutions that make Canada a unique nation and consider how government institutions deal with the preservation and maintenance of cultural identities and social values. Field trips to such nationally renowned sites as Parliament Hill, the National Gallery, and Rideau Hall are an integral part of the course.

Social Change in Canada – This course is an interdisciplinary examination of contemporary movements involved in social change. Topics include assessment of opportunities and constraints for political activism in Canada with a focus on movements involving the environment, labour, feminism, gay and lesbian rights, racism, poverty, and peace.

Contemporary Controversies in Canadian Society – This first-year seminar is designed to introduce you to the study of Canadian society. Through readings, films, discussion, and analysis, you examine a number of key social issues that are facing Canadians today. Topics include crime and social control, racism, education, gender and sexuality, poverty and homelessness, aging, death and dying, and the family. For each topic, both the historical and contemporary dimensions are examined. Course material is drawn from a range of disciplines including history, sociology, literature, and political science.

The Program

Introduction to Canadian Studies
This course introduces you to the interdisciplinary study of Canadian society and culture. It explores a variety of important theoretical approaches through the analysis of significant issues from Canada’s past and present.

Second year
In your second year of Canadian Studies, your core courses introduce you debates in Canadian society, critical approaches to nationalism, and the relationship between nationalism and identity.

Third year

In your third year, you will have the opportunity to explore these questions in more depth through courses on cultural traditions, political economy, gender, and Canada’s relationship with the United States.


Fourth year

In your fourth year, you will take seminars on topics such as Canadian popular culture, cultural landscapes, and heritage and sustainability. Fourth-year students also enrol in a Capstone Seminar which focuses on experiential learning and producing original research. A Directed Studies course allows you to explore an area of individual interest under the supervision of one of your professors. The School also offers a practicum course at the fourth year that allows students to gain experience in an institutional setting.

Additional courses

In addition to your program core courses, you’ll be required to take additional credits in Canadian areas of study, choosing from a wide range of courses available at Carleton. A full list is provided in the Carleton University Undergraduate Calendar .

Language requirement
As a Canadian Studies student, you’ll also need to meet a language requirement, either by taking a French or Indigenous language course or by demonstrating proficiency in French or an IndigenousĀ language.

And there’s more…

The School seeks to encourage a community of students and professors working together in an informal atmosphere and sharing research interests from various disciplines. We provide reading and resource rooms, as well as meeting areas for students. Annual visitors to the School include a wide range of distinguished scholars, writers, film-makers, and public figures.