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Multidisciplinary Programs in Communication and Culture

Faculty of Arts

Are you interested in an area of study not currently offered as a major degree program at the University of Calgary? Do you want to be able to develop your degree in a wide variety of ways? The Multidisciplinary Programs in Communication and Culture have some requirements but do not require a major, so they offer maximum flexibility to follow your interests. These programs are an opportunity to discover and explore new knowledge and integrate it with your own wide array of interests. You will graduate with the broad mix of general political, social and cultural knowledge that many employers value over a specialization. They provide an opportunity for you to follow your passion and direct your own success.

Your studies will draw from a variety of fields. You will learn the structure and traditions of many cultures and the origins of ideas you may have long taken for granted. Your degree is built around your interests while maintaining a core of basic competencies in literature, communication skills and cultural heritages around the world. In addition, you will gain knowledge about critical thinking.

While the programs do not require a major program of study, you must include a minor program within your degree (a package of courses focused on one specific area), but will still be able to create a unique “suite” of studies. Multidisciplinary Programs in Communication and Culture are particularly attractive to students interested in minor programs such as Film Studies, African Studies, and Museum and Heritage Studies, although the minor program may be in almost any discipline.

Mature students often choose a multidisciplinary degree, and students transferring from other institutions may find the program recognizes more of their previously earned credits.

The many rewards of Multidisciplinary Programs in Communication and Culture include a sense of personal enrichment and an appreciation and excitement for learning. A satisfaction survey found 86 per cent of respondents (students and graduates of an interdisciplinary degree program) were satisfied or very satisfied with their degree program overall.

Why take this program?

Design your own degree
Since these degrees do not require you to declare a major, it means you have a wide range of choice in your course selection and can allow you to design your own unique degree program.  They also allow you maximum flexibility to assemble various transfer credits that you might already have on your transcript into a new degree.

Three year degree
The multidisciplinary degrees are available both as a four-year (20 course) BA or BSc, and as a three-year (15 course) Bachelor of Communications Studies.  The fifteen course multidisciplinary degree is designed to accommodate students who want to design their own degree program with a particular focus or see this as a shorter route to further studies in areas such as Primary Education or other after-degree or professional programs.

Interdisciplinary education
Like all programs in Communication and Culture, the Multidisciplinary programs are founded on the belief that narrow specialization is a recipe for obsolescence.  As part of your degree you will become familiar with the deep roots of Western culture, with one or more non-Western cultures, and with the intersections of thought that knit together politics, science, religion, art and philosophy.  This broad education can form the basis for a rich and varied range of careers.

What will I study in my first year?

You will have the opportunity to take General Studies 201, a First-Year Seminar which will allows you to step beyond the typical first year introductory courses and engage in real, personal research on a special topic. You will learn how to think like a University student rather than a high school student, in a small class where everyone knows your name.

You should also explore other introductory courses offered by Communication and Culture.  These include courses in Canadian Studies, Communications Studies, Development Studies, Film Studies, Latin American Studies, Law and Society, Museum and Heritage Studies, Women’s Studies, as well as Science, Technology and Society.  The relatively open nature of the Communications Studies first year makes it an ideal time to explore a wide variety of courses in other areas that might interest you: Sociology, Art History, Languages, Philosophy, Literature -- try them all!

What will I study in later years?

Beyond your first year, your studies will depend on the minor program you choose and the way in which you decide to build your degree program. It is a good idea to consult with the Associate Dean, Student Affairs, to ensure you are completing the appropriate required and pre-requisite courses.

In addition, you will take a General Studies 300, a course that many students describe as a life-changing experiences.  The course integrates a breathtaking sweep of knowledge and culture from the Greeks and Romans to present-day thinkers and artists into a personal search for meaning and place in an uncertain world. It exposes you to the evolution of modern ideas through some of the most influential thinkers of the past.

In later years you may choose to enrich your educational experience through a number of other opportunities such as courses that integrate learning with a community-based service project (GNST 407) or deepen your learning by acting as a peer mentor for junior students while you learn the theoretical background of knowledge building (GNST 507 and 509). 

What can I do with this degree?

Employers report that they look to hire people with a broad general knowledge of people, places, cultures; knowledge of world events; good writing and speaking skills; interpersonal communication skills; reasoning and critical thinking skills and the ability to find, evaluate and use information. The multidisciplinary degrees help students gain these skills in the following ways:

  • Through General Studies 300 students become familiar with the major ideas, concepts, and assumptions that underlie the politics, philosophy, religion, art, and science.
  • The intercultural requirement exposes students to different cultures and different modes of thinking, which encourages flexibility and tolerance of diversity.
  • Students build writing and speaking skills through courses in Communications Studies.
  • Faculty of Communication and Culture courses often involve group projects, interpersonal communication and project management.
  • Courses requiring research projects will develop students’ ability to find, evaluate and use information.

Graduates of the multidisciplinary programs work or continue studies in a surprisingly wide variety of fields including:

  • Aboriginal Liaison Counsellor
  • Advertising and Brand Marketing Coordinator
  • Assistant Producer
  • Child Development Facilitator
  • Client Relations Liaison
  • Communications Analyst
  • Cross-Cultural Advisor
  • Community Support Worker
  • Data Services Associate
  • Director of Information Technologies
  • Elementary Generalist Teacher
  • English as a Second Language Instructor
  • Entrepreneur
  • Event Planner
  • Financial Advisor
  • Grief Counsellor
  • Editor
  • Library Assistant
  • Marketing Communications Coordinator
  • Personal Banking Manager
  • Pharmaceutical Sales Representative
  • Privacy Program Administrator
  • Program Coordinator
  • Records Coordinator
  • Senior Joint Venture Representative
  • Youth Advocate Worker

To see a full list of potential skills, careers and industries available to you, take a look at the Career Services website.

Additional information

Department of Communication and Culture