Jul 13, 2024  
Undergraduate Calendar 2018-2019 
Undergraduate Calendar 2018-2019 [-ARCHIVED CALENDAR-]

Faculty of Humanities

Chester New Hall, Room 112


K. Cruikshank/B.A., M.A., Ph.D.


A. Moro/B.A., M.A., Ph.D.

Humanities Academic Advising Office

Chester New Hall, Room 107, ext. 27532


J. Osterman/B.A., B.Admin., M.Ed.


C. Chauvin/B.A., B.Ed.
J. Richardson/B.A.
E. Williams/B.A., B.Ed., M.Ed.

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 by making reasoned, well thought out arguments;

  • 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, the ability to effectively convey complex ideas in clear and inspiring ways;

  • Creativity, 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 skills that build leaders in our communities, in our neighbourhoods, in our classrooms, in our social agencies, in our arts organizations, and in businesses, from corporations to start-ups. Employers in all sectors are finding that these soft skills are hard.  

That’s where Humanities comes in.  In our 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.  Our students go on to successful leadership roles as lawyers, doctors, teachers, professors, policy analysts, journalists, museum curators, artists, musicians, translators, speech language pathologists, and business executives, to name just a few.

How you get there is up to you.  We offer a broad range of programs, many of which can be taken in combination.  They include: Studio Art, Music, Theatre and Film, Art History, Classics, History, Communication Studies, Multimedia, English and Cultural Studies, French, Cognitive Science of Language, Linguistics, Peace Studies, Philosophy, and Justice, Political Philosophy and Law.  You can combine most programs with those in Social Sciences, Mathematics with English, French, History or Philosophy, or Biology and Philosophy.  We offer courses in a variety of languages and in women’s studies, many of which can lead to a Minor.  Students may also take a Specialized Minor in Commerce, an Interdisciplinary Minor in African and African Diaspora Studies, Archaeology, Community Engagement, Social Justice and Inclusive Communities, or Sustainability.  

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.

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.)

B.A. Program

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.

Specialized Minor in Commerce for Students Completing a Single Honours B.A. in Humanities

The Specialized Minor in Commerce for Humanities students is administered by the DeGroote School of Business. A maximum of 30 students will be admitted each year to this Specialized Minor.


  1. For admission, Humanities students (Level 1) must complete an application for admission to the Minor by using the Service Request function in the Student Centre in Mosaic during the Program/Plan Selection process in April.
  2. Students must also be admitted to a Single Honours B.A. in one of the following programs: Art History, Classics, Cognitive Science of Language, Communication Studies, English and Cultural Studies, French, History, Justice, Political Philosophy and Law, Linguistics, Multimedia, Philosophy, or Theatre & Film Studies.
  3. Students seeking the Specialized Minor in Commerce for Humanities must have completed ECON 1B03 with a grade of at least B-, and one of MATH 1M03  or ECON 1BB3 
  4. Students must have a Grade Point Average of at least 6.0 to be considered for entry into the Minor.
  5. Students planning to apply to the accelerated MBA program at McMaster are strongly encouraged to consult with MBA Admissions at the Ron Joyce Centre regarding admission requirements. In addition to meeting all other admission criteria students must complete, with a minimum grade of B-, the following courses:​​


33 units total

6 units

18 units


3 units


6 units

  • Level III or IV Commerce courses



A Minor is an option available to a student enrolled in a four-level honours program. Normally, you must complete a minimum of 24 units in the Minor subject. No more than six of these units can be at Level I, unless otherwise stated in the specific requirements of the minor. At least 18 units must be completed at McMaster. Students are responsible for ensuring that they take courses that meet these requirements (using elective units only.) When enrolling in cross-listed courses to be applied towards a Minor, students must ensure that they enrol 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.

Concurrent Certificates

Concurrent certificates are an option available to any student in an undergraduate degree program, and may be completed as part of a student’s elective credit. Some concurrent certificates will require a student be admitted to this option, while others may involve completion of course credit and declaring certificate completion at the time of graduation. Students should consult the relevant certificate’s guidelines for admission and completion, and/or the department offering the concurrent certificate for additional information. Concurrent certificate programs offered by the Faculty of Humanities include:

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.

Part-Time Study

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.

Academic Regulations

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. Unless otherwise specified, registration is on a first-come basis and in some cases priority is given to students from particular programs or Faculties. Students will be informed of their enrolment periods and are encouraged to enroll as soon as online enrolment is available to them in the Student Centre in Mosaic.

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/Plans

For students applying for Honours Justice, Political Philosophy, and Law, the mandatory supplementary application is due prior to the end of Program/Plan Selection in April: http://philos.humanities.mcmaster.ca/jppl-program.

Step 1:  Attend the Humanities Majors Fair (in early March)

The Faculty hosts a Majors Fair for Level I students to provide information regarding program and plan options for Level II, the range and nature of subjects studied in particular discipline areas, as well as possible career and postgraduate options.

Step 2:  Selecting a Level II Program (prior to the end of Program/Plan Selection in April)

Student seeking admission to a Level II program/plan for the following Fall and Winter terms must complete an application by using their MacID to log-on to Mosaic.     

  • Click the “Student Center” tab.
  • Click the “My Academics” link.
  • Click “Program/Plan Application” link.

Please note the following IMPORTANT information:

  • Students must rank order their program choices carefully, especially if they want to be considered for admission to a limited enrolment program such as Multimedia or Justice, Political Philosophy & Law.
  • Students who are admitted to their FIRST choice program, will NOT be evaluated for any other program selections.
  • Students who are NOT admitted to their first choice, will be evaluated for their second choice, third choice, and so on.
  • Students may apply to a maximum of four programs.
  • For students applying for Honours Justice, Political Philosophy, and Law, the mandatory supplementary application is due prior to the end of Program/Plan Selection in April: http://philos.humanities.mcmaster.ca/jppl-program

Step 3:  View your Program (Late May)

In late May, students must check the Student Centre in Mosaic to see their program for the Fall and Winter terms.

Minimum Requirements for Entering and Continuing in a Program Beyond Level I

Honours B.A. Programs,   BFA (Honours) Program, and B.Mus. (Honours) Program:

You must have a Grade Point Average (GPA) of at least 5.0 to continue in an Honours program. If your GPA is 4.5 to 4.9, you may 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 GPA is 3.0 to 4.4, you must transfer to another program for which you qualify. If your GPA is less than 3.0, you may not continue at the University.

B.A. Programs

You must have a Grade Point Average (GPA) of at least 3.5 to continue in, or graduate from, a three-level B.A. program. If your GPA 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 GPA is less than 3.0, you may not continue at the University.

Deferred Examinations

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 Grade Point 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 Grade Point 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 Grade Point Average.

If, at any review after reinstatement, the student’s Grade Point 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 enrolled, that prerequisites have been met, and that, where necessary, permission to take courses has been obtained. They should review their personal advisement report each time they cancel or add courses, and contact an Academic Advisor if they have questions, particularly if the advisement report 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 enrol 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:

  1. if a student has a Sessional Average of at least 7.0 in the immediately preceding review period; or
  2. if the student is enrolled in the final Level of his/her program.

Spring/Summer Session: Students wishing to enrol 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.

Summer School

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 enrolling 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 in the Student Centre in Mosaic. 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 Academic Advising Office 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 Academic Advising Office, (b) submit detailed course descriptions for assessment, and (c) obtain a Letter of Permission.
  • Students enrolled in a program in French may take a maximum of six units of credit in this manner as elective work only. Students not enrolled 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 enrol 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 enrol at, but do not pay tuition to McMaster University. Students pay tuition fees to the other institution. See the General Academic Regulationssection of this Calendar and the sections on Eligibility and Application below.

Eligibility for Study Abroad

Students enrolled 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 Grade Point 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 enrolled for Level IV.

Application for Study Abroad

Students interested in applying for this program should consult the Academic Advising Office 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 Advising Office by the published deadline (usually in January, although applications for some exchanges may be due as early as December.)