Departments and Programs

The Faculty of Arts at Saint Mary's is home to 11 academic departments, the widest selection of humanities and social science disciplines in the Maritimes, and a unique range of interdisciplinary programs and certificate options.

Academic Departments

Anthropology Philosophy
Criminology Political Science
English Language & Literature Religious Studies
Geography & Environmental Studies Social Justice & Community Studies
History Sociology
Modern Languages & Classics  

Interdisciplinary Programs

Asian Studies Latin American Studies
Atlantic Canada Studies


International Development Studies Women and Gender Studies
Irish Studies  

Interdisciplinary Minors

British Studies
Film Studies
Global Environmental Politics
Indigenous Studies
Peace and Conflict Studies
New in 2021Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies

Areas of Study

Anthropology is the study of human cultures and societies throughout the world and throughout history. It includes the biological development of humans, their languages, and objects used for living. Students can participate in local and international field trips and archaeological digs.

International Development Studies (IDS)
International Development Studies (IDS) is the study of wealth and poverty at the global level. Analyzing such issues as food security, safe water, and human rights, students examine imbalances between rich and poor societies, and explore strategies for social and economic development that will improve life in many countries around the world.

Asian Studies
Asia is the largest and most diverse continent in the world. Students develop an understanding of the cultural and international affairs of this influential region, and can learn to speak Chinese, Japanese, and Arabic.

Irish Studies
This unique, interdisciplinary program is the only one of its kind in Canada. Students obtain an Irish outlook on history, language, religion, culture, traditions, music, politics, and conflict. They learn about Irish migration to Canada and may also travel to Northern Ireland as part of a volunteer conflict resolution project.

Atlantic Canada Studies
Atlantic Canada Studies is the interdisciplinary study of the history, culture, and literature of this unique region. It provides a broad understanding of Atlantic Canada and its place in the world.


Linguistics focuses on one of the most fascinating human capacities: the ability to communicate using language. Students learn many facets of language, from the physical properties of sound waves to the social contexts of conversation.

The study of Ancient Greek and Roman social history, archaeology, art, mythology, and architecture is fundamental to understanding Western civilization and culture. Students who examine these ancient civilizations develop an understanding of who we are today and where we might go tomorrow.

Solving some of the most pressing problems of our time—including climate change and risk management—will require mathematical analysis. Often working one-on-one with their professors, our students cultivate the theoretical and applied understanding of mathematics that will help them shape the future.

Are you interested in understanding why some people commit crimes and what happens when they do? Criminology is about understanding and evaluating criminal systems of regulation and punishment, restorative justice, human rights, and more. Our criminology program is the only one of its kind in Nova Scotia.

Philosophers strive to think clearly and sharply through a set of facts related to existence, knowledge, value, reason, mind, and language. Students obtain skills in analysis and evaluation, critical thinking, debating, and communication, which are core skills in many careers.

Economics provides a framework for exploring the impact our economic choices have on how humans behave and interact. Students examine the decisions we make as individuals or families and the structures created by government and industry.

Political Science
Political Science is the study of governments, political processes, public policy, and political behaviour. Students learn to examine processes, systems, and political dynamics of countries and regions around the world. They may also have the opportunity to participate in the annual Model United Nations Conference held in New York, New York.

By exploring social, cultural, and personal questions through the lenses of poetry, novels, and plays, students experience the world from different perspectives. The study of English empowers students to think critically about life and to explore how history and culture can shape writing. Students also have the opportunity to practice creative writing.

Psychology focuses on the complexities of human behaviour and the factors that shape individual and group mentalities. Students learn about the interventions and strategies that affect the way people experience life.

Entrepreneurship provides the necessary knowledge and skills to start a business or enhance employability. Through workshops and competitions, this unique program offers students numerous opportunities to develop business skills.

Religious Studies
Religious Studies is the comparative study of religions, traditions, and beliefs from around the world. Understanding the powerful role of religion and spirituality in people's lives provides insight into important aspects of global politics.

French is a major global language and primary language of the United Nations. In addition to developing linguistic skills, students explore French heritage and culture, and may choose to study in France for academic credit.

Social Justice & Community Studies
Social Justice & Community Studies centres teaching and research on complex power relations, and social justice- and community-informed practice. Through a major, honours or minor, students will build skills and insights for engaging with key local and global discussions, debates and social movements. 

Geography and Environmental Studies
Geographers study how nature and culture work to create distinct spaces, places, landscapes, and regions on the Earth’s surface. Saint Mary's is home to the only B.A. in Geography in Nova Scotia.

Sociology is the study of human social relationships and structures, including class, race, gender, sexuality, and social institutions. By understanding how social order is established and maintained, students develop an understanding of how to effect lasting social change.

History is the study of the social, political, and cultural influences that have shaped societies around the world and made them what they are today. Students learn to reconstruct the past and recognize how the present world has evolved from what came before.


International Development Studies (IDS)
International Development Studies (IDS) is the study of wealth and poverty at the global level. Analyzing such issues as food security, safe water, and human rights, students examine imbalances between rich and poor societies, and explore strategies for social and economic development that will improve life in many countries around the world.

Intercultural Studies
Intercultural Studies involves the extensive study of languages and cultural concepts, as well as experiential-learning opportunities locally and abroad. Students will develop practical strategies and theoretical knowledge for successful social interaction and professional careers in a multicultural and multilingual environment.

Spanish and Hispanic Culture
The Spanish and Hispanic Culture program allows students to explore multiple aspects of Spanish language, civilizations, and cultures, while gaining a solid understanding of the contemporary Spanish-speaking world. Students can participate in international opportunities in Spain, Mexico, and various Latin American countries.

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