How should we understand the past? What is the place of religion in human society? How does literature contribute to human culture? How can we build a fair society in which everyone can thrive?

Studying the Humanities at Queen's University will help you reflect upon different scholars' and writers' answers to these big questions. You will be encouraged to wrestle with them yourself, extending your insights into philosophies of the individual and the workings of human societies from antiquity to the present. Our programs in Art History, Black StudiesClassics, English Language and Literature, History, Jewish Studies, and Philosophy will develop your capacity to think clearly and critically, and will provide plenty of opportunity to use your imagination and creativity.

Our Art History programme is grouped according to six themes: art, science & technology; gender, class & society; material culture & object-based analysis; word and image; museums, collecting & cultural policy; and post-colonial analysis.  The programme maintains close ties with the Agnes Etherington Art Centre on campus. Students may also choose to expand their experience of works of art and architecture through study in our international programs, including the Venice Summer School, University of Vienna graduate exchange, and courses at Herstmonceux Castle in England.

The Philosophy program at Queen’s seeks to provide students with critical thinking skills, enabling them to uncover hidden assumptions, identify core premises, and evaluate arguments.  As well, students will gain an understanding of the important ideas and thinkers in the discipline. Courses range from historical to contemporary, from broad topical investigations to problem-based inquiries.

The undergraduate Black Studies Minor Program is housed and administered in the Department of Gender Studies. With an interdisciplinary reach that is open to departments, programs, and faculties across the university, the undergraduate program in Black Studies serves to educate the Queen’s community about the histories and contemporary struggles of African and Black diasporic communities.

Classics refers to the study of the Greek and Roman worlds.  Multi-disciplinary in approach, it involves the studies of history, literature, archaeology, religion, mythology, drama and philosophy, in addition to the ancient languages of Greek and Latin.  Today our understanding of Greek and Roman culture is further enhanced by the latest digital techniques that increasingly pervade studies in archaeology, epigraphy, papyrology, and ancient science and medicine.  At Queen’s, students have the opportunity to get hands-on experience in the latest techniques by participating in one of two archaeological excavations supervised by our own faculty, or through a variety of projects and assignments. 

On stage, behind the stage, or directing the stage - the Dan School of Drama and Music  at Queen's teaches elements of the theatre from both theoretical and practical perspectives. With a focus on transferrable skills development such as strong communication, leadership and critical thinking, our drama program is a strong foundation for many careers. Auditions are not required for entrance to the program.

The Department of English offers a comprehensive undergraduate program that exposes students to English literatures from a large range of communities, historical periods, and geographical regions. All three English Plans (Major, Joint Honours, Minor) attempt to balance the study of canonical writers, literary forms, and traditions with the study of previously marginalized or unknown writing. The program as a whole is designed to develop cross-cultural and historical literacies by encouraging students to engage with literatures from diverse histories and traditions through a range of disciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches.

Without its visual media, the modern world would be unimaginable. In undergraduate Film Studies, we approach many varied types of visual medias as means for understanding and participating fully in that world. The concentration includes historical inquires into the forces that have shaped the cinema and media; critical analysis of films and television and video productions; theories that explore the principles and functions of film; and the methods of making film and video. In most Film Studies courses, a film or video is used like a textbook in any other course, or like a specimen in a biology lab.

The History Department at Queen’s will provide you with a sophisticated introduction to a variety of approaches to the past, and will hone your analysis, discussion, research, and writing skills.  You can explore such diverse areas as the Crusades, slavery and race relations, Native history in the Americas, the Russian Revolution, the problems of 20th century Canadian unity, the economic development of Africa, and the perception and treatment of women in North America.

Jewish civilization has a recorded history of 4,000 years. With texts spanning from the Hebrew Scriptures to post-modern writing, Jewish literature can be found in many languages. While located in many civilizations, Jews have been most intimately involved with those of the West and the Middle East. Studying Jews and Judaism in these contexts provides students with insight into the complexities of culture and identity. A minor in Jewish studies well complements many majors in the humanities and enhances concentrations in the sciences.

The Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures is a multidisciplinary unit that offers students the opportunity to learn languages, develop an understanding of literary and cultural traditions, and pursue studies in the field of Linguistics.  The Department offers language courses in Anishinaabemowin, Arabic, Chinese, German, Hebrew, Inuktitut, Italian, Japanese, Mohawk, Portuguese, and Spanish, and Degree Plans in German Studies; Indigenous Studies; Italian; Languages, Literatures and Cultures; Linguistics; Hispanic Studies; Spanish and Latin American Studies; and World Language Studies.

Why go into Religious Studies at Queen's? Because we care about how much religion is in the news. We think about the ways that misunderstandings of religion play a role in conflict around the world. We see evidence that creating better understanding of religious diversity contributes to a more cohesive and peaceful society. Gaining a critical understanding of religion helps interpret it as an essential dimension of human life.