The Arts & Science Program is designed to provide students with a broad-based, interdisciplinary education. The curriculum has been planned with three major objectives in mind:
- to enable substantial work in both the arts and the sciences
- to develop skills in writing, speaking, and critical reasoning
- to foster the art of scholarly inquiry into issues of public concern
The Arts & Science Program stresses active and cooperative learning, with emphasis on social awareness and on the development of a wide range of transferable skills.
The Program is unique in offering an extensive integrated core curriculum, which bridges the divide between the arts and the sciences and also between academic study and social engagement. The majority of its graduates go on to graduate or professional schools in a wide variety of fields.
This is a limited enrolment, interdisciplinary program that brings students and faculty together in a lively intellectual environment conducive to collaborative learning.
Over its 33 years as one of Canada’s most innovative programs, Arts & Science at McMaster has established an enviable reputation for providing an educational environment that equips its graduates to excel in work and/or further study in a wide range of fields.
The limited size of the program facilitates close relationships between students, both academically and personally, while small class and tutorial sizes promote lively interaction between professors and students.
The individual and collective expertise of Arts & Science faculty members, many of them award-winning teachers, enables the Program to continue to forge new ground in undergraduate education. Our instructors, who have diverse disciplinary backgrounds, work closely with students in the creative process of interdisciplinary inquiry.
For the B.Arts Sc. Honours degree, students take specifically designed ARTSSCI courses as well as electives. Students can use their electives to pursue a Combined Honours Program (Arts & Science may be combined with over thirty different subjects from across the University), to focus on a particular area (a minor), or to satisfy broad interests. The integrated set of required courses, offered exclusively to Arts & Science students, include Inquiry courses, which cover a range of disciplines and focus on the development of problem-based learning and critical thinking skills.
Electives, experiential learning initiatives, and exchange opportunities allow students to tread new paths of discovery, while individual study and fourth-year thesis courses provide an opportunity to work with McMaster researchers from across the University. The Program prepares students for a variety of future endeavours, and has a tradition of producing graduates who shine in a remarkable array of meaningful careers.
OUAC Application Code: MX
ADMISSION AVERAGE & REQUIREMENTS
NOTE: A Supplementary Application, DUE FEBRUARY 1, 2016, is Required FOR ADMISSION
ANNUAL Enrolment (Level I): 60 students
PROGRAM HOME PAGE: artsci.mcmaster.ca
Annual Enrolment: 60-65 students in each level.
- Arts & Science Library in Commons Bldg.
Co-op and internship opportunities are unavailable at this time; however, almost 25% of students spend all or part of their third year studying abroad at a host institution through
the MacAbroad Exchange Program.
Students choose to study abroad for a variety of reasons, including language development, exposure to new cultures and perspectives, and unique course offerings offered only at certain institutions. Currently, students are studying in Australia, England, Denmark, France, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand and the U.S.A.
Note: The value of a particular course is indicated by the last digit of the course code (e.g. 1A03 = 3 units).
Total: 30 units
- Arts & Science 1A06 – Practices of Knowledge
- Arts & Science 1B03 – Writing
- Arts & Science 1BB3 – Argumentation
- Arts & Science 1C06 – Inquiry
- Arts & Science 1D06 – Calculus
- Level I Science courses or Electives (1 each term; see below)
Level I Science Courses:
Students take two of the following Level I Science courses:
- Biology 1A03
- Biology 1M03
- Chemistry 1A03
- Chemistry 1AA3
- Environmental Science 1C03
- Environmental Science 1G03
- Psychology 1XX3
Students may defer taking these courses from Year 1 to Year 2 to allow for first-year electives (one each term).
For descriptions of Level I courses that may be taken as electives in your first year, see the Undergraduate Calendar. You may choose from a great number of courses offered in Departments and Faculties across the University.
Since Arts & Science is a direct entry program, students admitted to this program are considered to be specializing in “Arts & Science” from first year to the end of the program.
Level III and IV
In addition to the regular Arts & Science curriculum, students are also able to specialize in another subject. Approximately one-half of the Arts & Science students register in a Combined Honours Arts & Science & Another Subject Program in their second year. Such students will thus meet the academic requirements for an Honours degree in specific disciplines. There are over 30 Combined Honours Programs (see artsci.mcmaster.ca). It is also possible to complete a minor in a selected area of concentration.
Arts & Science graduates pursue further education in a variety of fields. For example:
Many Arts & Science graduates enter professional or technical programs such as:
- Occupational Therapy
- Social Work
- Speech Pathology
What Our Graduates Say
- Sacha Ghai
“Courses are structured in a way that facilitates dialogue; they promote idea exchange rather than idea absorption. Personally, this ‘obligation to contribute’ taught me a lot. It taught me to take a position and defend it, to engage in thoughtful debate to achieve a higher level of understanding, and to read with a ‘critical eye.’ I used these skills effectively in business school and continue to do so.”
“Being an Artsci can lead to many things: realizing the goals you set for yourself when you were five (or twenty-five), surprising yourself with careers you hadn’t heard of before you arrived at the program, or, at a minimum, discovering that you are surrounded by students, professors and staff who are committed to a discipline of adventurous learning. Caution: you might lose the capacity to sit still, be quiet, and accept what you’re told…a phenomenon that later pushed the boundaries of my law degree into human rights activism and feminist legal research. While I was at McMaster, I knew I was part of an amazing academic community; when I left, I realized that I had been given the foundation to keep on educating myself, critically and energetically, in the world.”
- David Mackenzie
“The education I was able to obtain in the program was rich and lasting; I draw from the ideas and skills I learned at Mac in every dimension of my life. As well, the wonderful friendships and relationships that came out of my time in Arts & Science have been one of the program’s greatest gifts. From my first days at Mac, Artscis have been inspiring, intelligent and entertaining, and I feel fortunate to be a member of the Arts & Science community, a great source of inspiration for my plans and goals after the program. In my professional life as an emergency physician, I wear many different hats, and from hour to hour, find myself thinking back to lessons from nearly all of the program’s core courses. Yesterday morning, I was writing a grant proposal and statistical analysis plan with thoughts of Inquiry, Writing, Stats, and Logic in mind; in the evening I was counseling patients with lessons from Lit coming back to me. I can think of nowhere else but Arts & Science where I could have found such grounding and preparation.”
- Zsuzsi Fodor
“Being in the Arts & Science Program was about learning how to approach the questions to which there are no easy answers; being part of a learning community that challenged and cherished me; and figuring out my passions and the ways in which I would contribute to life on this planet. It is a program that nurtured me as a thinker and global citizen, while incubating a community that continues to have a meaningful presence in my life years after graduation.”
“I was attracted to the opportunity to take a variety of courses from different disciplines throughout the program, with a particular emphasis on writing and critical thinking skills. I was especially attracted to the interdisciplinary (Inquiry) courses focusing on global issues – I wanted to be able to apply what I was learning in my coursework to real and important issues, so that I could continue to do that beyond my university career.”