Themes overview

General education themes are used to provide direction in the development and identification of courses designed to fulfil the general education requirement for programs of instructions.

Each theme offers suggestions related to more specific topic areas that could be explored within each area and provides guidance regarding the nature and scope of content that meets the intent and overall goals of general education. 

Arts in Society

An individual’s capacity to recognize and evaluate artistic and creative achievements is useful in many aspects of life. Since artistic expression is a fundamental human activity, which both reflects and anticipates developments in the larger culture, its study will enhance the student’s cultural self-awareness.

Courses in Arts in Society provide students with an understanding of the importance of visual and creative arts in human affairs, artist and writer’s perceptions, and the means by which these perceptions are translated into the language of literature and artistic expression. These courses also provide an appreciation for the aesthetic values used in examining works of art, and possibly a direct experience expressing perceptions in an artistic medium.

Civic Life

To live responsibly and reach one’s full potential as individuals and as citizens of society, one must understand the patterns of human relationships that underlie the orderly interactions of a society’s various structural units. Courses in Civic Life are designed to educate students about the meaning of civic life in relation to diverse communities at the local, national, and global level, and help them to develop an awareness of international issues and the effects of these on Canada, and Canada’s place in the international community.

Civic Life courses provide students with an understanding of the meaning of freedom, rights, and participation in community and public life in addition to a working knowledge of the structure and function of various levels of government in Canada and/or in an international context. These courses may also provide an historical understanding of major political issues affecting relations between the various levels of government in Canada and their constituents.

Social and Cultural Understanding

Knowledge of past patterns and precedents provides students with an awareness of his or her place in contemporary culture and society. Students will acquire a sense of the main currents of their culture and that of other cultures over an extended period of time in order to link personal history to the broader study of culture.

Social and Cultural Understanding courses deal broadly with major social and cultural themes. These courses may also stress the nature and validity of historical evidence and the variety of historical interpretation of events. Courses will provide students with a view and understanding of the impact of cultural, social, ethnic, or linguistic characteristics.

Personal Understanding

Education helps individuals develop a lifelong understanding of themselves as integrated physiological and psychological entities and gain awareness of what it means to be complete mentally; physically; emotionally; socially; spiritually; and vocationally.

Personal Understanding courses focus on understanding the individual including his or her evolution; situation; relationship with others; place in the environment and universe; achievements and problems; and his or her meaning and purpose. These courses also allow students to study institutionalized human social behaviour in a systematic way. Courses fulfilling this requirement may be oriented to the study of the individual within a variety of contexts.

Science and Technology

Matter and energy are universal concepts in science forming a basis for understanding the interactions that occur in living and non-living systems in our universe. Study in this area offers an understanding of the behaviour of matter that provides the foundation for further scientific study and the creation of a broader understanding of natural phenomenon.

Similarly, the various applications and developments in the area of technology have an increasing impact on all aspects of human behaviour and have numerous social, economic, and philosophical implications, which can dictate how we deal with many complex questions in society.

Science and Technology courses stress scientific inquiry and focus on basic or fundamental questions of science. They may be formulated from traditional basic courses in such areas of study as biology, chemistry, physics, astronomy, geology, or agriculture. As well, courses related to understanding the role and functions of computers (e.g., data management and information processing), and assorted computer-related technologies are offered in a non-applied manner to provide students the opportunity to explore the impact of these concepts and practices in society.