Arts and Social Sciences


The College of Arts and Science, established in 1988, consists of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences and the Faculty of Science. The College of Arts and Science meets to discuss matters of concern common to its units, in particular those relating to academic programs and regulations. The Dean of Arts and Social Sciences and the Dean of Science alternate, year by year, as Provost of the College. The Provost chairs College meetings and prepares the agenda for those meetings. Administrative responsibility for what is decided in College meetings remains in the two Faculties. Undergraduate degrees are offered through one School, eleven Departments and several programs in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, and ten Departments and three programs in the Faculty of Science. There are several interdisciplinary programs of instruction in the College, the responsibility for which is shared among members from different Departments.

The College of Arts and Science is responsible for the curriculum of Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, and Bachelor of Music degree programs, and for diploma programs in Meteorology and Costume Studies. The College is also responsible for the establishment of academic regulations governing students registered in its programs.

The College of Arts and Science consists of several groups: some 6,100 undergraduate students who typically spend three or four years in the College, nearly 450 full-time teaching and research faculty and staff as well as a number of part-time teachers and teaching assistants, and a support staff of administrative assistants and technicians. The student’s academic role is to learn from teachers, from laboratory experience, from books, from other students, and from solitary contemplation. Students learn not only facts but concepts, and what is most important, they learn how to learn.

Through intellectual interaction with other members of the academic community, undergraduate students should gain the background knowledge, the ability and the appetite for independent discovery. Their acquisition of these components of liberal education is marked formally by the award of a Bachelor’s degree. The academic faculty has two equally important roles: to teach the facts, concepts, and methods that the student must learn; and to contribute to the advancement of human knowledge through research and through scholarly or artistic activity.

The goal of the Bachelor’s degree is to produce educated persons with competence in one or more subjects. Such competence includes not only factual knowledge but, more importantly, the ability to think critically, to interpret evidence, to raise significant questions, and to solve problems. A BA or a BSc degree often plays a second role as a prerequisite to a professional program of study.

BA and BSc degree programs in the College are of three types: the four year or 120 credit hour degree with Honours; the four year or 120 credit hour degree with a Major; and the three year or 90 credit hour degree with a minor.

The College is particularly proud of the Honours programs that it offers in most subjects to able and ambitious students. The BA or BSc with Honours is distinguished from the BA or BSc Major (120 credit hours) or the BA or BSc (90 credit hours) in that a higher standard of performance is expected, a greater degree of concentration of credit hours in one or two subjects is required, and at the conclusion of the program each student must receive a grade which is additional to those for the required 120 credit hours. Frequently, Honours students obtain this grade by successfully completing an original research project under the supervision of a faculty member. Completion of a BA or BSc with Honours is an excellent preparation for graduate study at major universities throughout the world. Dalhousie is distinguished among Canadian universities in offering BA programs with Honours in most subjects in which it also provides BSc Honours programs and in providing BA and BSc degree programs with Combined Honours in an Arts and a Science subject.

Provost of the College

Harvey, F., BA, MA, PhD (McGill)
Macdonald, C.L.B, PhD (Dalhousie)