University of Guelph, College of Arts (COA)

About The College of Arts

The College of Arts emerged as a separate academic unit at the University in 1970. Its creation followed the University’s decision to disband Wellington College (1964-1970), originally conceived as the umbrella administrative organization for all the University’s arts, science, and social science academic departments.

The new College of Arts was the designated home for the humanities programs and it was also given a mandate to carry out the University’s cultural programs including Music, Fine Art, and Drama.

The College of Arts has played a key role in the University of Guelph by continuously offering a varied and effective liberal education while giving new and innovative academic programs at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. It began the University’s study abroad programs with the London Semester program in 1974 and the Nice exchange program in France starting in 1985. At the graduate level, for some time the doctoral programs in History and Philosophy were the only non-science doctoral programs offered at the University. The doctoral program in Philosophy, begun in 1972, became a joint doctoral program with McMaster University, the first joint doctoral program in Ontario. In 1994, the History Department joined with the History Departments at Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University to form a Tri-University Doctoral Program in History, also the first of its type in the province.


About Guelph

Education on the Guelph campus has a long tradition, beginning over one hundred years ago when the Ontario government purchased a five hundred-acre farm from Frederick William Stone for its new School of Agriculture. In this promising location, the Ontario School of Agriculture opened its doors on May 1, 1874. A long history ensued, which can be found here:

COA Units

Graduate Degrees

English studies, Theatre studies, PhD Program, MFA Creative Writing. Learn more about COA’s Graduate programs here:


Special Projects

TransCanada Institute

TransCanada Institute, founded in 2007, is an interdisciplinary research environment whose primary goal is to initiate, facilitate, and produce collaborative research on the institutional and disciplinary structures, methodologies, pedagogies, and contexts that shape the production and study of Canadian literature and culture in Canada, as well as globally.

Scottish Studies at Guelph

The Centre for Scottish Studies was established to co-ordinate graduate studies in the history, literature and culture of Scotland and Scottish settlements in Canada. Students interested in working in this field register in the department dealing with the discipline in which their particular interest lies, for instance English or History. Special emphasis is at present laid on Scottish history from the 14th to the early 20th century, Scottish migrations and settlement in Canada, and Scottish and Scottish-Canadian literature.

Faculty's research areas and areas of interest include:
  • medieval and early modern history
  • Scottish-Canadian and migrant literature
  • literature of Renaissance Scotland
  • economic and social history of the 18th to the early 20th century
  • women in medieval and modern Scotland
  • patterns of settlement in Canada, particularly Ontario
Academic Information:

The core of the program lies in graduate-level education, normally undertaken as a MA or PhD in the relevant department, i.e. History or English. The MA degree may be taken as four courses with a thesis, six courses and a major paper, or a course degree with eight courses. The PhD and MA are offered in the Department of History, which is part of the Tri-University Graduate Program in History. Students wishing to pursue Scottish Studies should apply to the department in which their major interest lies e.g. History, English.