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Canadian Society

What Does Canadian Studies Offer?

A Canadian Studies program allows students to explore topics and issues relating to Canada from a variety of perspectives. A people of immense diversity, whether cultural or topographical, climatic or economic, Canadians know far too little about themselves. Canadian Studies is a form of self-study, where students learn to examine all aspects of the land and the people.

John Wadland, Professor of Canadian Studies at Trent University, has written that Canadian Studies, 'begins from the premise that understanding is rooted in a thorough knowledge of the ideas, people, places and things which surround one in daily life.' From there this self examination moves outward, contrasting and comparing Canadian culture and society with the cultures and societies of the international community, many of whom are closely connected with Canada through immigration, war and trade.

Dr. Tom Symons concluded his evaluation of the state of Canadian content in Canadian universities in the 1970s by stressing that Canadian voters desperately needed to know themselves, their physical features, institutions, peoples and cultures. Canadian Studies seeks to provide that kind of knowledge as well as introducing students to a variety of disciplinary approaches for evaluating and examining Canadian life - past, present and future, internal and external. Canadian Studies, for example, challenges the student to explore how climate affects everything from how we build out houses to how we market clothing; from what we eat to what we do for entertainment. Similarly, students can look at how topography has shaped things like transportation policy and settlement patterns. Cultural diversity has resulted in distinctive laws and political values.

Not only does Canadian Studies allow you, as a student to learn about yourself, but because it is an interdisciplinary program it allows a considerable degree of freedom and flexibility in selecting courses. Unlike traditional single discipline programs  in Canadian Studies you can select from a wide variety of disciplines. If you're not sure you want to focus on only one or two disciplines, Canadian Studies provides an opportunity to explore a number of disciplines while maintaining a Canadian focus in topic orientation.

Why Take Canadian Studies at MSVU?

•    The oldest and best established undergraduate Canadian Studies programme in Nova Scotia
•    Small classes allow for class discussion, particularly in CANA 3301 and CANA 4401, which have      enrolment limits of 25 and 15, respectively
•    Small classes allow for the development of lasting friendships among classmates and the linking of students with common interests and concerns
•    Extremely active Canadian Studies Student Society that brings present and former students together
•    Close contact with professors, ensuring students feel comfortable asking for help and guidance
•    Unique Canadian Studies Award - Andrea and Charles R. Bronfman Award allowing the recipient to spend a week in Ottawa on Parliament Hill
•    Year long exchange program with Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario
•    Opportunity to attend conferences sponsored by organizations such as the Association for Canadian Studies.


Because of the variety of disciplines and areas of knowledge covered in Canadian Studies, a single course, or a degree majoring or minoring in Canadian Studies, will not only make a student a better informed citizen, but will facilitate further study and employment in a wide variety of career areas:

     Education                                       Cultural Studies
     Law                                                 Social Work
     Journalism                                      Archival Studies
     Library Science                              Intelligence
     Government                                   Statistical Analysis/Polling
     Museum Studies                             Theology
     Politics                                            Foreign Affairs
     Business                                         Aboriginal Governance
     Town Planning                                Military

MSVU students who have graduated with a Major or Minor in Canadian Studies have gone on to careers as teachers, social workers, youth counsellors, lawyers, RCMP officers, CSIS agents, computer programmers, museum and art gallery curators, child protection officers, military personnel, librarians and media personalities.

Some additional courses may be required if you want to pursue graduate studies in Canadian Studies. Graduate studies can be undertaken at a number of Canadian Universities including, Trent University, Carleton University, University of Calgary, University of Ottawa and at McGill University. A number of universities around the world also offer extended Canadian Studies programs. A Master’s Degree in Atlantic Studies is available at Saint Mary’s University, and has been a popular choice in recent years with Canadian Studies Majors.

Undergraduates in Canadian Studies can also choose to concentrate on a single discipline and pursue graduate studies in History, Political Science, English and Sociology as long as they have the required course requirements.

Skills Developed By Canadian Studies
•    oral communication
•    written communication

Critical thinking
•    problem solving
•    ability to collect, question, synthesize and apply research data and information
•    ability to make comparisons
•    self reliance
•    creativity
•    ability to view a topic/problem from a variety of perspectives