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Arts & Science Program

2020-21 Courses

Practices of Knowledge

An examination of significant themes in intellectual history through a reading of major works in philosophy and literature that shed light on the conceptual foundations of contemporary life.

Instructor: Dr. Travis Kroeker
Term: 3


This course provides students with some of the conceptual tools needed to recognize, understand, evaluate, formulate, and attack arguments. Students will have the opportunity to develop such skills in their oral and written work.

Instructor: Dr. Daniel Coren
Term: 2

Contemporary Indigenous Studies

This course will explore the relationship between Indigenous peoples and mainstream society in the 20th century with regard to governmental policy, land claims, economic development, and self-determination.

Instructor: TBA
Term: 2

Social and Political Thought

Development of political, moral and religious thought in the writings of such major figures as Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Adam Smith, Burke, Marx, Mill, Weber, von Hayek, Nietzsche, Freud and Arendt.

Instructor: Dr. David L. Clark
Term: 3

Economics: Principles & Policy

An introduction to the core principles of economics with the objective of helping students to apply economic reasoning to issues that are central to modern societies, such as: the role of government in a market-oriented setting; equity and efficiency; growth and the environment; and fiscal and monetary stability.

Instructor: Dr. Mike Veall
Term: 1


Literary works drawn from a variety of genres, cultures and historical periods will be examined with a focus on the treatment of enduring ethical concerns. The course considers how literature is an indispensable means of thinking about human life and society.

Instructor: Dr. Jean Wilson
Term: 3

Technology and Society II

The Social Control of Technology. The dominant mechanisms of the social control of technology will be studied, with attention to the role of ethics.

Instructor: Dr. David Goutor
Term: 2

Alumni Experience Inquiry

Using an inquiry methodology, students will explore the practical applications of an interdisciplinary degree through interaction with, and mentorship from, graduates of the Arts & Science Program. Emphasis will be on problem-based learning, with the professional experiences of alumni informing the exploration of complex and multifaceted issues.

Instructor: Dr. Mat Savelli
Term: 2

Exploring Hamilton

This course encourages students to ask questions and explore topics focused on the City of Hamilton, Ontario. Through the exploration of Hamilton from a number of disciplinary perspectives, including cultural, economic, and geological, students will have an opportunity to gain insight into the city that McMaster University calls home. This course will include excursions during class time and may require small fees for travel.

Instructor: Dr. John Maclachlan
Term: 2

religion and law

The notion of law has deep roots in religious thought and writing. This course will survey the historical development of law in the western world in connection with various religious traditions, with a focus on Judaism and Christianity. It will also address some contemporary issues and tensions between religion and law in pluralistic, secular societies.

Instructor: Dr. Meirav Jones
Term: 1

Individual Study

This course consists of study under the supervision of a McMaster faculty member. See here for more information.

Instructor: Dr. Jean Wilson
Term: 3
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This course consists of original research under the supervision of a McMaster faculty member. Proposal deadline is March 1. See here for more information.

Instructor: Dr. Jean Wilson
Term: 3
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how science speaks to power

A case study approach is used to examine how science is shaped by politics and how science advice is filtered by political processes. Possible case studies include Mad Cow disease, the ozone hole, and genetically modified foods.

Instructor: Dr. Roger Jacobs
Term: 2

medical humanities inquiry

This course exposes students to the rapidly developing international field known as medical humanities. It explores the interconnections between health, medicine, the arts, and the humanities, with a particular focus on issues of medical ethics and narrative in medicine.

Instructor: Dr. P.K. Rangachari
Term: 1

Selected topics in Inquiry

Topics will vary from year to year in accordance with student interests and faculty availability. Students should consult the Arts & Science Program for information on topics to be offered.
In 2020-21, the selected topic will be a research seminar “Interfaces: Our Technology, Ourselves.”
Full course outline will be posted before the course begins.

Instructor: Dr. Anne Savage
Term: 2

Local Explorations

An experiential learning course, which offers students the opportunity to explore issues of local significance and global relevance. Students may pursue independent study options or, when available, participate in assorted modules.

Instructor: Various
Term: 3
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This course aims to develop students’ ability to use language in written communication, with a focus on academic writing in particular. Students will develop their writing skills through assignments and activities that ask them to produce, analyze, and reflect on written work in a range of genres.

Instructor: Dr. Wendy D’Angelo
Term: 1

Inquiry: Global Challenges

This inquiry course, designed to develop skills basic to the systematic, evidence-based investigation of public issues, focuses on issues relevant to global development, with attention to theoretical frameworks and empirical actualities.

Instructors: Dr. Beth Marquis and Dr. Mat Savelli
Term: 1


This course aims to provide a thorough understanding of the principles and major applications of differential and integral calculus of functions of one variable, as well as an introduction to multivariate calculus and differential equations.

Instructor: Dr. Megumi Harada
Term: 3


Exploring many of the great concepts of physics in a quantitative way. Beginning with Newtonian mechanics, it moves into Einstein’s relativity, wave phenomena, atomic physics, quantum mechanics and cosmology. Selected laboratory projects will be carried out.

Instructor: Dr. Alan Chen
Term: 3

Applied Statistical Inference

Inferential statistics, with an emphasis on applications. Topics include data description, graphical methods, probability, confidence intervals, hypothesis testing, one-way ANOVA, analysis of categorical data, regression and correlation. Use of a statistics software package.

Instructor: Dr. David Lozinski
Term: 2

Technology and Society I

The Culture of Technology. Technological practices and approaches are studied as cultural activities in the contexts of beliefs, philosophies, values and social structures both past and present.

Instructor: Dr. Beth Marquis
Term: 1

Theatre, Self, and Social Development

Theatre skills are life skills. Throughout this course, class exercises, creative work, and online discussions will allow students to explore the practice and ethics of Applied Drama and to learn how theatre can be used as a tool for social development and change.

Instructor: Prof. Hartley Jafine
Term: 1

Deep Skills Development

This course will explore the integration and synthesis of a wide range of deep skills to enable students to lead richer and more balanced lives, while at university and as future working professionals. Deep skills include mindfulness and contemplative practices, empathy building, emotional intelligence, creativity, and developing employment readiness and personal resilience. A portfolio to be developed by each student over the term will be the basis upon which this course is evaluated.

Instructor: Dr. Brian Baetz
Term: 1

Experiential ProjECT in Teaching
AND Learning

This course allows students to explore in depth an issue related to teaching and learning in higher education under the supervision of faculty/staff affiliated with the MacPherson Institute. Students may propose research questions of their own or contribute to the development of existing initiatives within the Institute.

Instructor: Dr. Beth Marquis
Term: 3
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artssci 3s03
the east Asian religious tradition

Readings of East Asian texts in translation will centre around themes such as culture vs. nature, virtue vs. power, social responsibility vs. personal cultivation, bookish learning vs. meditation.

Instructor: Dr. James Benn
Term: 2

artssci 4A06/9
Individual study

This course consists of study under the supervision of a McMaster faculty member. Proposal deadline is March 1. See here for more information.

Instructor: Dr. Jean Wilson
Term: 3
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research and creative writing

This course exposes students to creative writing that is grounded in research. It also invites students to explore ways in which research findings might be disseminated through creative expression.

Instructor: Prof. Anton Piatigorsky
Term: 1

Diversity and human rights inquiry

This course explores issues of diversity and the role of human rights protection regimes in both Canadian and international contexts.

Instructor: Dr. Arig al Shaibah
Term: 1

History of Science Inquiry

An exploration of theoretical questions and case studies from the history and sociology of science. Students will undertake inquiry projects on selected topics and present their work to the class.

Instructor: Prof. Matthew Jordan
Term: 1

Visual Culture Inquiry

This course allows students to explore the ways in which images and other visual texts intersect with issues of social concern. Drawing from a range of disciplinary perspectives, it considers histories, theories, and practices of the visual, and provides students with an opportunity to conduct selfdirected, creative inquiry into visual culture.

Instructor: Dr. Kristin Patterson
Term: 2