Chester New Hall, Room 112, ext. 27423
DEAN OF HUMANITIES
K. Cruikshank/B.A., M.A., Ph.D.
ASSOCIATE DEAN OF HUMANITIES
A. Moro/B.A., M.A., Ph.D.
Humanities Academic Advising Office
Chester New Hall, Room 107
ASSISTANT DEAN (STUDIES)
P. A. Kalnins/B.A.
C. Kawerau/B.A., B.Ed.
J. Osterman/B.A., B.Admin., M.Ed.
CAREER SERVICES, LIAISON AND STUDY ABROAD COORDINATOR
R. Muhic-Day/B.A., M.A.
The Faculty of Humanities is dedicated to cultivating a teaching and research community which reflects the highest standards of our disciplines and to undertaking bold ventures in new arenas of interdisciplinary inquiry. We strive for a balance between the best traditions of Humanities education and the new forms of knowledge emerging within and at intersections of disciplines. By learning from past and current issues facing our world today, we promote advances in knowledge that make positive differences in peoples’ lives.
We provide a research-intensive educational environment in which students learn to value independent thinking and critical reflection on the nature of knowledge and how knowledge can be used to better the human condition. Our mission is to ensure that students acquire the analytical skills, historical depth, and appreciation of diverse cultures needed to assume leadership roles as responsible, ethical, and path breaking scholars, cultural workers, creative artists, or policy makers. We prepare our students to be thoughtful and engaged citizens in a global world.
The attainment of precise knowledge and fresh insights through lectures, class discussions, reflection, analysis and writing is the essence of study in the Faculty of Humanities.
Programs are offered in the following subjects: Studio Art, Art History, Classics, Communication Studies, Cultural Studies & Critical Theory, English, French, History, Cognitive Science of Language, Linguistics, Multimedia, Music, Peace Studies, Philosophy, Justice, Political Philosophy and Law, and Theatre & Film Studies. Additionally, Minors are available in German, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Latin, Spanish, and Women’s Studies and a course is available in Mandarin Chinese. Students may also take an Interdisciplinary Minor in African and African Diaspora Studies or Archaeology.
Types of Degree Programs
Upon successful completion of Humanities I, a student may be admitted to a program of study leading toward a Bachelor of Arts degree. Completion of Music I may lead to a Bachelor of Music (Honours) or Bachelor of Arts degree. Completion of Studio Art I leads to a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Honours) degree. Three types of programs lead toward a Bachelor’s degree in the Faculty of Humanities.
Single Honours Program
This involves three years of study, beyond Level I, concentrated in the work of a single discipline (e.g. History). After three years of Music study beyond Music I, students receive a B.Mus. (Honours) degree.
Combined Honours Program
This involves three years of study, beyond Level I, concentrated in the work of two disciplines (e.g. English and Peace Studies). A student can combine study in any two Humanities disciplines, or one Humanities discipline and a subject from another Faculty where appropriate (e.g. History and Political Science).
This involves two years of study, beyond Level I, concentrated in the work of a single discipline.
The content and the requirements of Single Honours, Combined Honours and other B.A. programs are found after the Academic Regulations below.
There are a number of Humanities courses without prerequisites which may be taken as electives. Individual course descriptions are listed by department in the Course Listings section of this Calendar.
Not only are students from other Faculties able to take individual courses which have no prerequisites, but they are also able to transfer into any of the degree programs offered by the Faculty of Humanities. For the majority of programs in the Faculty, admission may be gained after the successful completion of any Level I program at the university, providing this includes the necessary program requisites as outlined in the admission statement for each Humanities program as described under Programs for the B.A., B.A. (Honours) and B.Mus. (Honours) Degrees.
A Minor is an option available to a student enrolled in a four-level honours program. A Minor consists of at least 18 units of Level II, III or IV courses in addition to the designated Level I course(s), that meet the requirements set out in the program description of that Minor. Students are responsible for ensuring that they take courses that meet these requirements (using elective units only). When registering for cross-listed courses to be applied towards a Minor, students must ensure that they register in the appropriate subject for the Minor designation. Those who have the necessary requirements may apply for recognition of a Minor when they graduate. If recognition for a Minor is granted, it will be recorded on the student’s transcript. Minors cannot be revoked once approved. Students may return for a second degree in the subject in which they have obtained a Minor, but only at the Honours level. For further information please refer to Minors in the General Academic Regulations section in this Calendar.
Second Language Proficiency
Students embarking on Humanities programs should be aware that most graduate schools require, for admission, proficiency in at least one, and frequently two, languages other than English. In this Faculty, proficiency in at least one language other than English is regarded as an essential tool for students interested in Linguistics. Generally, proficiency in more than one language is a hallmark of most highly-qualified Humanities’ graduates seeking the widest range of post-graduation academic and employment opportunities.
For students wishing to acquire a reading knowledge of French, a summer course, FRENCH 4R06 is offered in May-June in alternate years. This course is intended to prepare current and incoming graduate students for the French proficiency test administered by some departments. Certain graduate programs recognize a passing mark in this course as fulfillment of the second language requirement. For students wishing to acquire a reading knowledge of German, GERMAN 4RC6 is offered in May-June in alternate years.
Students wishing to enter any program offered by the Faculty of Humanities and pursue a program on a part-time basis should consult the appropriate Departmental Counsellor(s) before making their plans.
Student Academic Responsibility
You are responsible for adhering to the statement on student academic responsibility found in the General Academic Regulations of this calendar.
Access to Courses
All undergraduate courses at McMaster have an enrolment capacity. The University is committed to making every effort to accommodate students in required courses so that their program of study is not extended. Unless otherwise specified, registration is on a first-come basis and in some cases priority is given to students from particular programs or Faculties. All students are encouraged to register as soon as MUGSI/SOLAR is available to them.
Student Communication Responsibility
It is the student’s responsibility to:
- maintain current contact information with the University, including address, phone numbers, and emergency contact information.
- use the university provided e-mail address or maintain a valid forwarding e-mail address.
- regularly check the official University communications channels. Official University communications are considered received if sent by postal mail, by fax, or by e-mail to the student’s designated primary e-mail account via their @mcmaster.ca alias.
- accept that forwarded e-mails may be lost and that e-mail is considered received if sent via the student’s @mcmaster.ca alias.
Students enrolled in Humanities programs, in addition to meeting the General Academic Regulations of the University, shall be subject to the following Faculty Regulations and Policies.
Application for Level II Programs
The dates for application may vary somewhat from year to year; however, the specific dates and information will be posted on campus and outlined in the campus newspaper. It is the student’s responsibility to take the necessary steps to apply for a Level II program.
- In February/March, a Majors Fair is held in the Faculty of Humanities to provide information on undergraduate programs, course offerings, career opportunities, etc.;
- Mid-March to Mid-April, students seeking admission to a Level II program for the following Fall/Winter session must complete an application for admission to Level II through MUGSI. The application allows students to rank four program choices, and students will be notified of their eligibility for these choices on their grade reports in June.
Minimum Requirements for Entering and Continuing in a Program Beyond Level I
Honours B.A. Programs (Excluding Combinations with Honours Psychology B.A.*), BFA (Honours) Program, and B.Mus. (Honours) Program:
Levels II and III:
You must have a Cumulative Average (CA) of at least 5.0 to be admitted into Level II of an Honours program.
At the end of Level II, if your CA is 5.5 or more, you will continue in or be admitted into Level III of the program. If your CA is 5.0 to 5.4, you will remain in the Honours program, but will be placed on program probation for one reviewing period. You may be on program probation only once. If your CA is 3.0 to 4.9, you must transfer into another program for which you qualify. If your CA is less than 3.0, you may not continue at the University.
You must have a Cumulative Average (CA) of at least 6.0 to be admitted into Level IV of an Honours program. At the end of Level III of an Honours program, if your CA is 5.5 to 5.9, you will remain in the Honours program, but will be placed on program probation for one reviewing period. You may be on program probation only once. If your CA is 3.5 to 5.4, you will not be permitted to enter Level IV of the program. You may either transfer into a B.A. program for which you qualify or transfer to graduate with a B.A. degree. If your CA is less than 3.0, you may not continue at the University.
* For Combined Honours programs involving Honours Psychology (B.A.):
For the admission requirements for this program, please see the programs section of the Faculty of Social Sciences. For continuation in this program, you must have a Cumulative Average (CA) of at least 6.0 to continue in an Honours Psychology (B.A.) program. If your CA is 5.5 to 5.9, you may remain in the Honours B.A. program, but will be placed on program probation. You may be on program probation only one reviewing period. If your CA is 3.0 to 5.4, you must transfer into another program for which you qualify. If your CA falls below 3.0 you may not continue at the University.
B.A. /B.S.W. Programs
To continue in a B.A./B.S.W. or B.S.W program, you must have a Cumulative Average (CA) of at least 6.0, and achieve at least the minimum grade in all Social Work courses as listed the program notes for Progression Within Program in the Combined Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Social Work (B.A./B.S.W.) or the Bachelor of Social Work (B.S.W.). If your CA is 5.5 to 5.9, you may remain in the program, but will be placed on program probation for one reviewing period. You may be on program probation only once. If your CA is 3.0 to 5.4, you must transfer to another program for which you qualify. If your CA is less than 3.0, you may not continue at the University.
You must have a Cumulative Average (CA) of at least 3.5 to continue in, or graduate from, a three-level B.A. program. If your CA is 3.0 to 3.4, you may remain in the program, but will be placed on academic probation. You may be on academic probation only once. If your CA is less than 3.0, you may not continue at the University.
Students who have been granted more than one deferred examination may be required by their Faculty/Program office to reduce their course load during the term in which the deferred examinations are being written. The decision on a reduced load will be made and communicated with the decision on the application for deferred examinations.
Transfer to the Faculty of Humanities
Students from other Faculties are able to transfer to degree programs offered by the Faculty of Humanities provided that they have obtained a Cumulative Average of at least 3.5 and have completed the necessary requirements for admission to a program.
Reinstatement to the Faculty of Humanities
A student who may not continue at the University may apply for reinstatement; however, reinstatement is not automatic or guaranteed. Application for reinstatement must be made to the Office of the Registrar using the Reinstatement Request Form by the deadline for the session. See the Sessional Dates section of this Calendar.
The form should explain the reasons for the student’s inadequate performance, and should include relevant documentary evidence, for example a letter from a physician outlining any medical condition that might have affected the student’s academic performance or final grades. Reinstatement cases will be carefully screened and the evidence considered will include the student’s academic performance before and after admission to McMaster, as well as the nature of the reasons cited in the application letter and the accompanying documentation.
If students are reinstated at the University, their Cumulative Average will be re-set to 0.0 on zero units, although students may (at Faculty discretion) retain credit for prior work. Following reinstatement, students will be on academic probation and must complete a minimum of 60 units of work after reinstatement to be eligible for Graduation with Distinction or other recognition based on the Cumulative Average.
If, at any review after reinstatement, the student’s Cumulative Average falls below 3.5, the student will be required to withdraw from the University for a period of at least 12 months.
Course Selection and Course Changes
Students are responsible for ensuring that their course selection meets the requirements of the degree program in which they are registered, that prerequisites have been met, and that, where necessary, permission to take courses has been obtained. They should review their personal degree audit each time they cancel or add courses, and contact an Academic Advisor if they have questions, particularly if the degree audit shows unused courses. Students should also be aware that changes to their course load may affect their fees and their eligibility for scholarships and financial aid such as OSAP.
Fall/Winter Session: Normally students may not register in more than 30 units during the Fall/Winter Session (33 units for students in Music I). A student with outstanding deferred examinations or incomplete term-work will not be permitted to overload in the following term. Students may take an overload up to six units under the following circumstances:
- if a student has a Sessional Average of at least 7.0 in the immediately preceding review period; or
- if the student is registered in the final Level of his/her program.
Spring/Summer Session: Students wishing to register in more than 12 units during the Spring/Summer Session or more than six units in either term of that Session, may do so only with the permission of the Assistant Dean of Humanities.
Students who have been granted deferred examination or term-work privileges for courses taken in the preceding Winter session must secure the advance permission of the Assistant Dean of Humanities before registering in Spring/Summer courses. A decision will be made based upon the academic record of the student and the amount of work outstanding.
Letter of Permission
Students in good academic standing, who wish to attend another university to take courses for credit toward a McMaster degree, must first request a Letter of Permission from the Academic Advising Office. A Letter of Permission is automatically cancelled if a student is placed on academic probation, program probation, or required to withdraw from the University. Students should take note of any conditions on the Letter of Permission that might apply, including the requirement of a grade of at least C- for transfer credit. Courses taken at another university cannot be used to satisfy the University’s minimum residence requirement, will not be included in the calculation of the averages at McMaster, and therefore cannot be used to raise standing. The transcript designation will read COM, indicating Complete, when a C- or better is attained. It is the student’s responsibility to ensure that an official transcript from the host university is sent to the Academic Advising Office to receive credit for work taken.
Summer Immersion Programs in French
- Students must obtain approval from the Career Services, Liaison and Student Abroad Coordinator prior to participating in any language immersion program.
- The government-sponsored Explore summer language program offers university students the opportunity to take French courses at a large number of accredited institutions. Students wishing to attend another university in order to participate in a language immersion program must: (a) petition the Career Services, Liaison and Student Abroad Coordinator, (b) submit detailed course descriptions for assessment, and (c) obtain a Letter of Permission.
- Students registered in a program in French may take a maximum of six units of credit in this manner as elective work only. Students not registered in a program in French may take up to 12 units of credit.
Humanities Study Abroad
Humanities Study Abroad During Level III of Honours Programs
There are two ways to undertake international studies during Level III of an Honours program: (i) a Formal Exchange Program or (ii) a Third Year Study Elsewhere Program.
(I) Formal Exchange Program During Level III of Honours Programs
Formal Exchange Programs are those where McMaster University has an agreement with another institution involving a temporary exchange of students. Exchange students register at and pay tuition fees and supplementary fees to McMaster. No tuition is paid to the other institution. See the General Academic Regulations section of this Calendar and the sections on Eligibility and Application below.
(II) Third Year Study Elsewhere Honours Program
Qualified Level III students may undertake studies at a university abroad for one or two terms in the Third Year Study Elsewhere Program. This program is not available at universities with which McMaster University has a Formal Exchange Agreement. Students register at, but do not pay tuition to McMaster University. Students pay tuition fees to the other institution. See the General Academic Regulations section of this Calendar and the sections on Eligibility and Application below.
Eligibility for Study Abroad
Students registered in any Honours or Combined Honours program in the Faculty of Humanities may apply to replace all or part of the work of their third year with an acceptable program of study taken at a university or equivalent institution approved by the Faculty of Humanities.
To be eligible to take part in this program, students must have completed at least 60 units of work with a Cumulative Average of at least 7.0. Individual programs may have additional requirements. All requirements must be satisfied by the end of the Fall/Winter session (September-April) preceding the commencement of study elsewhere. Students taking part in this program do not have the option of graduating with a three-year B.A. degree on the basis of work completed in this program, but must return to McMaster University to complete their final 30 units of work.
Students may receive up to 30 units of credit for a full year of study at another institution. The awarding of transfer credit for work completed elsewhere may be confirmed only after the Academic Advising Office has received transcripts and reviewed students’ academic achievements following their return and after they have officially registered for Level IV. In certain cases, students may be recommended for the Deans’ Honour List on the basis of work completed elsewhere.
Application for Study Abroad
Students interested in applying for this program should consult Rowena Muhic-Day, the Career Services, Liaison and Study Abroad Coordinator, (Gilmour Hall, Room 106) approximately one year before they anticipate studying abroad (i.e. during the Fall term of the year in which they enter Level II). A plan for the completion of the academic program, approved by the program counsellor(s), must be submitted to the Coordinator by the published deadline (usually in January, although applications for some exchanges may be due as early as December).