The Humanities and Social Sciences

What are the humanities and social sciences?

Although definitions can vary across scholarly institutions and groups, generally the humanities are those disciplines that investigate the human condition, using primarily analytical, critical, or speculative methods. The humanities include (but are not limited to) ancient and modern languages, literature, history, philosophy, religion, and visual and performing arts such as music and theatre.

Closely related to the humanities, the social sciences are fields of study that may involve more empirical methods to consider society and human behaviour, including (but not limited to) anthropology, archaeology, criminology, economics, education, linguistics, political science and international relations, sociology, geography, law, and psychology.

How do our fields of study influence society?

More than ever, Canada and the world need agile and well-rounded thinkers who can assess and adapt to change, analyze trends, communicate effectively, and consider the past to better prepare for the future.

To those ends, education and research in humanities and social sciences prepares Canadians for the rapid transitions that mark the knowledge economy with a deeper understanding of the complex and pressing issues of the day.

Thriving humanities and social science sectors help ensure that Canada produces both the human resources and the innovative ideas needed to spur new companies, jobs, investments and insights for an ever-changing world. Our ability to broadly educate and empower talented individuals and use university research effectively is a key driver for today’s Canada, spurring innovation and giving a competitive edge to our industries.