So you want to study ….. history or philosophy or anthropology or sociology or psychology or international politics or religion or archaeology  ….or all of these?


Over our more than 20 years of recruitment we have presented to many hundreds of classrooms to tens of thousands of students explaining the potential value in studying what are often referred to as “the humanities” or “liberal arts”.


We at the CUAC know from our travels worldwide that the strong emphasis in the Canadian academic system on the humanities is relatively less so in most education systems. There is no one reason why Canada developed this way or why we maintain this emphasis. There is also no one reason why you should consider it. But if some well-wishers in your life, or the society values in which you are raised, re signalling to you to avoid majoring in these fields stop and ask yourself why. 


That journey to understand where these signals come from is precisely what a liberal arts education is supposed to strengthen the skills you have in evaluation. Why do you have some prejudices? Why are people teased or even harmed because of their differences? How can we treat the environment better or does it even matter?


In Canada’s most prominent national magazine, Maclean’s, Anusha Kav gives one example of the personal value of a liberal arts degree. Kav adeptly demonstrates how studying liberal arts is not necessarily about issues far removed from one’s own life – rather such studies are commonly highly relevant to learning how to better understand and treat others:

I learned that it matters how women are represented in superhero films; young girls should see themselves as protagonists who are intelligent, independent and strong. We shouldn’t dismiss fan fiction as trivial, when it provides the space for predominantly young women and LGBTQ2S+ people to write stories about their experiences.  

In Canada, no matter what you end up studying, you will take liberal arts courses. Yes, even if you major in engineering or bioscience, from a big menu of options, you will expand your mind and critical thinking skills through courses that you may be so grateful you took as life goes along.


Anusha Kav is working toward a master’s degree in journalism at the University of British Columbia, and she is an alumna of the University of Alberta.

The article is available here:

All comments and questions can be sent to blog@cuac.ca

Dani Zaretsky

CUAC Global – Founder / Director