Humanities OverviewWhy Humanities at McMasterHumanities Admission DetailsHumanities First Year CoursesHumanities Options Beyond First YearTypical Humanities TimetableHumanities Internships and Co-OpsCareers Beyond the Humanities ProgramProfiles and Alumni of Humanities Humanities Program Statistics Humanities Facilities Humanities Web Links

  • Overview

    At McMaster, Humanities means leadership. 

    Look at any list of the attributes of effective leadership, and what do you find?

    • Strong personal and ethical values
    • The ability to influence others through reasoned argument
    • Emotional intelligence, achieved both by knowing oneself, and by being able to see the world from the perspective of others
    • Social intelligence, the ability to collaborate, to engage others in conversation, to be sensitive to social situations and to work with those culturally different from ourselves
    • Communication, conveying complex ideas in clear and inspiring ways
    • Creativity, particularly an openness to new ideas and a willingness to question everything, not for the sake of asking questions, but to make this a better world.

    These are the so-called “soft skills”. The “soft skills” build careers.  The “soft skills” build leaders. They are the skills that build leaders in our communities, neighbourhoods, classrooms, social agencies, arts organizations, and in businesses, from corporations to start-ups.

    In the Humanities, you’ll encounter productive, award-winning professors who bring their real-life experience as researchers and writers to the classroom, and who believe that the best university education is student-centred research-focused. You’ll join a community of scholars who are not afraid to cross the boundaries between subjects, who have dynamic and diverse individual interests, experiences and talents, but who share an enthusiasm and curiosity about the past, present and future.

    We look forward to having you in our classrooms, our workshops, our performance spaces and our laboratories.  We will work with you and help you work with others to build the skills you need to be the agents of change that our world so desperately needs.

  • Admission Details

    OUAC Application Code: MH

    Annual Enrolment: 480


  • Web Links

    DEPT. Homepage:

    `Faculty of Humanities on FacebookFaculty of Humanities on TwitterFaculty of Humanities on YouTube

    Join the Conversation on Twitter:

Why Humanities at McMaster?

Students entering the Faculty of Humanities take a general first-year program – Humanities I. The Humanities I program offers students an enormous amount of flexibility and a real chance to explore various options in their first year of university.

Students in Humanities I can pursue subjects in which they have already developed an interest, as well as trying some they may never have taken before. This provides an excellent base from which to specialize in upper levels.

  • Applied Humanities Courses:
    Upper-level students in the Faculty of Humanities have the opportunity to gain valuable experience by applying academic skills to practical areas outside the classroom. With the approval of the Associate Dean, students work with a supervising professor to define learning goals and objectives, then participate in research projects, pedagogy and work placements in fields which interest them and are related to a Humanities discipline.
  • Undergraduate Student Research Awards:
    McMaster Undergraduate Student Research Awards provide qualified students in the Faculty of Humanities with $6000 to cover 15 weeks of full-time research-based activity in the summer. Recent winners have explored many diverse topics, including language and memory, water sustainability, and body, self esteem and the media.
  • Studying Abroad:
    One of the goals of a Humanities education is to increase global awareness. For many students, participating in an exchange program is one of the most exciting ways to do this. The exchange program allows students to spend all or part of their third year studying at universities in the UK, Ireland, the Netherlands, Germany, France, Austria, Denmark, Australia, New Zealand and Japan.

First Year Courses

Total: 30 Units
6 units:
HUMAN 1QU3 – Insight and Inquiry: Questions to Change the World
HUMAN 1VV3 – Voice and Vision: Words to Change the World

9 units from Humanities Course List 1, from Humanities electives (marked in the list below with an * ), or from courses offered by another Faculty.

Note: The value of a particular course is indicated by the last digit of the course code (e.g. 1A03 = 3 units).

Beyond First Year

Careers or Options Beyond This Program

In our Humanities disciplines, we focus on values, on developing persuasive and rational arguments, on communicating complex and challenging ideas, on collaboration, on creativity, and on critical and constructive thinking. We give you the skills to prepare you for a career, not a job, to prepare you for life as an active community citizen, not as a passive voter. Our graduates have gone on to pursue successful careers in a wide range of fields, including:

    • advertising
    • art council administrators
    • arts and business management
    • business
    • broadcast media
    • conservators
    • communications
    • computer interface design
    • curators and gallery directors
    • civil and foreign service
    • computer industry
    • corporate, governmental and multicultural researchers
    • drama therapy
    • digital animation
    • diplomacy
    • electronic publication
    • foreign service
    • human resources
    • government
    • hospital ethics
    • international trade and tourism
    • intelligence
    • instructional technology
    • journalism
    • law
    • language processing/computing
    • marketing
    • medicine
    • museums (as curators and conservators)
    • multimedia design
    • publishing
    • public relations
    • performance
    • psychological sciences
    • software development
    • sales
    • social work
    • speech language pathology
    • speech pathology
    • teaching (in schools and universities)
    • travel industry
    • technical writing
    • speech therapy
    • translating and interpreting
    • web development
    • visual arts and graphic design

Typical Timetable

.Typical Timetable

  • Internships / Experiential Education

    Humanities students build skills that are adaptable and applicable inside and outside the classroom. Applied Humanities, independent study and internship courses allow students to gain real-world experience through the practical application of classroom  learning. A few examples include:

    • Communication Studies – Practical Aspects of Media Production
    • Cognitive Science – Speech Language Pathology Practicum
    • Classics – Field Practicum in Classical Archaeology
    • History – History Practicum
    • Linguistics – TESL Practicum
    • Peace Studies – Practical Peace Building
    • Theatre & Film – Performance and Community Outreach

    Two unique upper year courses, HUMAN 3CL3 – Community Leadership at McMaster and HUMAN 3LM3 – The Art of Leadership: Mentorship, allow students to further develop leadership skills, gaining experience mentoring McMaster students in a variety of positions; for example, peer-to-peer mentoring of first year undergraduate students, either in Humanities or in the McMaster English Language Development (MELD) program for international students whose first language is not English. Students receive training during the Teaching & Learning Forum in early September and position-specific training from position supervisors.

  • Program Statistics

Profiles & Alumni

  • Scott Bynoe
    Communication Studies & Multimedia
  • Mary Clements
    French & Music
  • Deana Saumanac
    Comparative Literature & History
  • Pamela Carson
    Fine Art & French
  • Luke O’Reilly
    Communication Studies
  • Decon Curran
    Linguistics & Psychology
  • For addition profiles, please go to the HTLC alumni interviews website.
  • Facilities

    • McMaster Museum of Art
    • Language Memory and Brain Lab
    • Classics Library
    • Mills Memorial Library
    • Bertrand Russell Archive
    • McArthur Multimedia Wing
    • N.L. Wilson Library
    • McMaster Performance Lab
    • Robinson Memorial Theatre