Two brown haired students, one red haired students speaking to one another in 40 Willcocks.

New College’s interdisciplinary academic programs look beyond the traditional areas of study by turning a critical eye to the relationships between the boundaries of knowledge, with an emphasis on equity, diversity and social justice. They share a commitment to broaden students’ experiences through close collaborations with community groups in Toronto and abroad.

African Studies

The African studies program examines the dynamics, challenges and processes of socio-economic, environmental and political transformations in Africa, the varied histories, societies, ideas, institutions of Africa and its diasporas through interdisciplinary lenses. The interdisciplinary courses, through innovative and critical pedagogies, deal with cutting-edge subjects such as political economy, African inventions, development, aid, humanitarianism, NGOs, conflict and peacemaking, activism and political struggles, politics, African cultures, migration and displacement, gender and development, environment, health, black freedom, urbanization, African systems of thought, the slave trade, colonialism, the postcolonial state, Africa and its diaspora, Pan-Africanism, and globalization. Innovative pedagogies nurturing students’ intellectual curiosity; cultivating engaged, creative and critical thinking; and teaching cutting-edge courses that recognize Africa as a living place rather than merely as a site for intellectual speculation and study inform our teaching. The program also offers practical courses in African languages. Additional cross-listed courses, drawn from disciplines in humanities, social sciences and sciences, complement our program offerings.

Buddhism, Psychology & Mental Health (BPMH)

An interdisciplinary Minor program, BPMH focuses on the growing convergence between Western psychology and the psychological aspects of Buddhism as expressed in the recent interest in mindfulness meditation as a means of enhancing health and wellness. The program allows students to investigate the diverse ways that Buddhist and Western psychology and science intersect, bringing together academic, clinical and contemplative traditions. Students choose from a wide range of courses on mind, consciousness, mindfulness meditation, social implications and applications of Buddhism, cognitive science, psychotherapy and the psychology of religion. The program encourages a critical examination of the ways that Buddhist psychology can contribute to the modern understanding of consciousness, wisdom, mental health and physical health.

Caribbean Studies

Caribbean Studies is an interdisciplinary program (Specialist, Major, Minor) consisting of courses on Caribbean history and society, politics and economic development, literature and thought. Courses deal with a wide range of issues, including gender, religion, culture, ethnicity, race, development, language, colonialism, the environment and regional common markets. Caribbean Studies equips students to think about broad, theoretical and challenging intellectual issues and to ground that expansive thinking in deep understanding of the particular historical, political, economic, geographical, cultural and linguistic realities of the Caribbean and its diasporas. Graduates pursue careers in journalism and media; development, human rights and NGO-work; human resources management; community-based fundraising and organization; artistic and cultural production; social entrepreneurship; teaching; academia and research; public policy; and law. Check out the new video about the Caribbean Studies Program on our website.

Equity Studies

How do we think about social justice in an increasingly globalized world? Equity Studies is an interdisciplinary program (Major, Minor) that focuses on social justice theories and practices in a variety of local and global contexts. Cutting across a spectrum of academic disciplines, the program brings together scholarship, community work and activism in a unique approach to undergraduate education that values student experiential learning. Through engagement with theoretical and historical texts in equity, students engage with postcolonial studies, transnational feminism, critical race theory, queer studies and other bodies of knowledge that have much to say about social justice. Areas of emphasis include disability studies, global food equity and social advocacy. A background in Equity Studies is good preparation for many academic endeavours and careers in such areas as community services, education, international development, law, human rights advocacy and social work.

Community Engaged Learning

Thinking ahead to your senior years? New College offers several community-engaged courses, including our fourth-year CEL seminars. These courses provide students the opportunity to integrate academic, experiential and practice-based learning as they participate in meaningful work in community or campus organizations. Upper-level students, with various academic backgrounds, are placed with a social-purpose community or campus-based organization for several hours per week, contributing to the mission of that organization through program support work or research. As preparation, consider taking NEW270H1 Foundations for Community Engagement.

Photo: Connie Tsang