Pursue your passions. Postpone the commitment.
If you have a wide variety of interests, Honours Arts gives you the freedom to explore them.
In Waterloo's largest and most flexible first-year program, you’ll use your first two terms to test the waters. Sample courses from the humanities, social sciences, fine and performing arts, and languages and cultures. Discover subjects you weren’t exposed to in high school, or delve deeper into your favourite subject at the university level.
Whatever direction you end up taking, Honours Arts will give you the critical thinking skills to analyze issues, make persuasive arguments, write well, and speak with conviction — skills that will serve you well along any career path.
Use paid co-op work terms to explore potential career areas and to earn money to help pay for school. You can also co-register and complete your Waterloo degree through St. Jerome's University or Renison University College, smaller academic communities located on campus.
International exchanges in 25 countries
Combine majors and minors to customize your degree
Ontario students: six Grade 12 U and/or M courses including
- Any Grade 12 U English (minimum final grade of 70% is required)
Grade 12 Calculus and Vectors is recommended if you plan to major in Economics.
Grade 12 Mathematics of Data Management is recommended if you plan to major in Political Science; Psychology; Sexuality, Marriage, and Family Studies; Social Development Studies; or Sociology.
Admission average: Low 80s
We recommend completing the Admission Information Form once you've applied.
Not studying in Ontario? Search our admission requirements.
29 Honours Arts majors to choose from
You'll choose your major at the end of first year.
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Questions? Ask a student!
Contact an Arts student ambassador to learn about their experience.
Ask them questions such as why they chose their program, what the classes are like, and how you can get involved on campus.
What can you do with an Honours Arts degree?
The flexibility of Honours Arts and the choice of 29 majors provides an incredible range of possible careers to pursue. Sample careers of our graduates include
- Manager, Human Relations - Microsoft Canada
- Lawyer - Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP
- Copy Editor and Designer - Booker Publishing
- Account Executive, Higher Education - Apple Canada
- Teacher - Upper Grand District School Board
- Marketing Officer - Statistics Canada
- Recreation Therapist - YMCA
- Protection Support Worker - Children's Aid Society
Co-op = relevant paid work experience
In our co-op program, you'll normally alternate between four-month school terms and four-month paid work terms throughout your degree. With thousands of employers hiring Waterloo co-op students each year, you can explore careers by applying to jobs related to your major. It's a great way to get relevant experience, make connections with potential future employers, and identify careers you might like to pursue.
Co-op is also available with any of our majors!
Common questions about the program
Can I change my major after I apply? Can I do a double major?
When you apply to Waterloo, you'll indicate a major that you'd like to pursue. (A major is the subject you'd like to be the focus of your degree.) You’re not committed to this major – and you don’t need to solidify the major(s) you want to explore in first year until June, which is when you'll select courses for the term starting in September. You’ll begin your major in first year even though you don’t officially choose it until the end of first year. We recommend that you explore two majors in first year to keep your options open.
You can definitely do a double major as an Honours Arts student. You could also do a minor. Not sure what a major or minor are? Check out our guide to university terminology. Advisors in the Faculty of Arts will be able to help you with choosing courses and potential majors.
Can I switch to co-op if I change my mind?
If you’re even slightly interested in including co-op work terms as part of your degree, you should apply to co-op when you apply to Waterloo. You’ll automatically be considered for the regular system of study if you aren’t accepted for co-op, but the admission ranges are often very similar between the two systems of study. If you’re in good academic standing it is possible to switch into co-op later in your studies, but it's not guaranteed as decisions are based on how many spaces are available in co-op and how far through your degree you are.
Starts in first year: apply directly to this program on your application
Offered by the Faculty of Arts
Available through full-time and part-time studies
Ready to learn more?
- Email Samantha Boehmer, our Arts recruitment co-ordinator, who can answer any questions about the program
- Subscribe to our newsletter to get tips and advice from current students
- Related program
Choose from 29 majors
At the end of first year, it’s your choice. Pick one of 29 different Arts majors.
Room for extracurriculars
Honours Arts gives you plenty of time outside the classroom to run for student government, study abroad, volunteer, or explore other interests.