Halifax Humanities 101

Halifax Humanities 101 is the core course offered by The Halifax Humanities Society.

What does it cost? The course is absolutely free of charge. We provide all of the readings (including 10-15 books you will keep after the class ends), as well as bus tickets and/or a childcare subsidy to students who need them. You only need to bring your commitment and your love of learning – we provide the rest.


See a sample of our reading lists here.

What topics does Halifax Humanities 101 cover? The class is a “Great Books” program modelled on the curriculum of the Foundation Year Programme at the University of King’s College. Students will read works of Western literature, philosophy, political theory, and theology, and look at works of art. The course moves chronologically, beginning in Ancient Mesopotamia and ending in the present day. Along the way, we think about big themes like beauty, justice, community, and power.

Who teaches the class? Professors from local universities volunteer their time to teach this course. The professors change regularly – often you will see a professor for only one or two classes before moving onto the next. This means that you get to see a number of teaching styles, and meet professors who teach many different subjects across the Humanities. The Executive Director also attends every class to help offer a sense of continuity throughout.

Where/When do classes take place? Classes typically meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1pm – 3pm at the North Memorial Library on Gottingen Street, from September– May. We will be following the advice of Public Health regarding in-person gatherings. If an in-person class is deemed too risky, the course will move online.

I am interested in this course, but I’m worried about the time commitment. Is there a shorter version of the class? You might want to consider “Perspectives,” a fully online course open to adults living on low incomes anywhere in Nova Scotia. Students study short works of philosophy, literature, and art over the course of 6 weeks. For more information check out our Perspectives page here.

This course sounds great, but I’m not living on a low income, and I don’t face any other barriers to traditional education. Am I still eligible? While Halifax Humanities 101 is only open to adults living on low incomes or facing other educational barriers, we also offer a course called Halifax Thinks which covers similar material and is offered for a suggested donation fee. Funds raised through our Halifax Thinks course go to support free programming. For information on Halifax Thinks, click here.

How can I apply? You can fill out an online application here. Applicants will be contacted to set up a short interview in August or September. These interviews are casual and friendly – just a chance for the program Director to tell you more about what to expect, learn a bit about your background and expectations, and make sure that the course is a good fit. Interviews are usually held in person, but applicants living outside of HRM can opt for a telephone or video call instead.