Frontiers of Thought

Humanities & Social Sciences
Course Code
HUMS 1101
Semester Length
Max Class Size
Method(s) Of Instruction
Typically Offered
To be determined


Course Description
Humanities 1101 introduces new students to many of the major fields of study found within the academic world. Each week, the course invites a speaker from a different discipline to provide an introduction to the major concepts and explanatory models or paradigms found within their subject, as well as a discussion of the frontiers of thought within that field. Disciplines are chosen from across all three of the main branches of academic life: the sciences, the social sciences and the humanities. Lecturers from fields such as psychology, anthropology, geography, political science, physics, biology, environmental science, history, philosophy and literary criticism will provide an overview of their discipline and then discuss some contemporary research emerging in their field. Besides gaining an exposure to the various areas of study, students will also acquire analytical tools useful for critical reflection on the different ways in which we know and explain the world. This course is ideal for those seeking a general survey of a liberal arts education and is designed in part for students whose programs normally may not include some of the subjects covered. Classes do not assume that students have any prior acquaintance with the material presented.
Course Content

This course involves an exploration of the frontiers of thought in the areas of people and their world (sciences), people and their society (social sciences), and people and their sense of self (humanities).  Normally, the course will be organized around particular themes, such as paradigm shifts or global transitions.


  1. Current contributions made by specialized disciplines (e.g. Biology, Physics, Geology, Geography, History, Political Science, Sociology, Anthropology, Psychology, Philosophy, Music, and Literature) to the understanding of these general areas and to specific themes pertaining to them will be examined. 
  2. The course will comprise a series of specific presentations by selected instructors that explore the above areas and themes.
  3. At the end of the course, one or two sessions will be devoted to a summation by the course co-ordinator, and this may involve instructors coming back to interact with one another and with the students.

A sample schedule of the presentations is attached.

Learning Activities

There will be a combination of lecture and discussion.  Some instructor’s presentations may take up the entire class time, but then they allow for student questions during the presentations.  After the class, students will do reading assigned by the instructor or course co-ordinator during their presentations and students will be prepared to discuss the material at the next or future class sessions or to use it as a foundation for researching and developing their essay.  They will be tested over the lectures and relevant readings as well.


At the end of the course one or two sessions may be devoted to a summation by the course coordinator.  A number of instructors may be invited to return and interact with each other and with the students relating the various areas to each other.


The course coordinator will be present at all presentations and will create continuity from presentation to presentation, in addition to the summary at the end.

Means of Assessment

Evaluation will be based on course objectives and will be carried out in accordance with Douglas College policy. The instructor will provide a written course outline with specific evaluation criteria at the beginning of the semester.


Any combination of the following totalling 100%:


Exams, Tests, Quizzes  20% - 50%
Essays (three)  20% - 60%
Instructor's general evaluation
(Involves attendance and other possible factors,       
e.g., participation, homework, improvement,
extra-credit, group work)
 10% - 20%
Learning Outcomes

At the end of the course the successful student should be able to:


  1. Demonstrate an understanding of some of the various approaches in the academic world to the major concerns of our times covered in the course.
  2. Demonstrate an understanding of the interdisciplinary approach of the general approaches of the various disciplines that present perspectives on the issues covered in the course.
  3. Demonstrate an understanding of the interdisciplinary approach of the different subject areas covered in the course, (this will involve showing the ways in which areas of knowledge fit together, the various levels of analysis, the different perspectives and emphasis given, and how these contribute to each other).
  4. Demonstrate the development of a reflective critical approach to the issues and questions covered in the course (an approach that recognizes that a broader perspective will assist the student in recognizing dilemmas and choices, and that recognizes that experts and professionals do not always have the “right” or “only” answer).
  5. Compare and contrast major assumptions underlying the approaches taken by different disciplines to the problems discussed.
  6. Analyze and explain some of the basic differences between the various major solutions proposed to “problems” that people face in the contemporary world.
  7. Demonstrate the development of a reflective critical capacity by relating diverse points of view to common themes presented in the course.
Textbook Materials

Textbooks and Materials to be Purchased by Students




No prerequisite courses.


No corequisite courses.


No equivalent courses.

Course Guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester / year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

Course Transfers

These are for current course guidelines only. For a full list of archived courses please see

Institution Transfer Details for HUMS 1101
Capilano University (CAPU) CAPU HUEL 1XX (3)
Coast Mountain College (CMTN) CMTN HUMN 1XX (3)
Emily Carr University of Art & Design (EC) EC HUMN 100 lev (3)
Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) KPU ART 1XXX (3)
Langara College (LANG) LANG ARTS 1XXX (3)
Okanagan College (OC) OC ARTS 1XX (3)
Simon Fraser University (SFU) SFU HUM 1XX (3)
Thompson Rivers University (TRU) TRU HUEL 1XXX (3)
Trinity Western University (TWU) TWU HUMA 1XX (3)
University of British Columbia - Okanagan (UBCO) UBCO ARTS 1st (3)
University of British Columbia - Vancouver (UBCV) UBCV ARTS 1st (3)
University of Northern BC (UNBC) UNBC HUMN 1XX (3)
University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) UFV ARTS 2XX (3)
University of Victoria (UVIC) UVIC HUMA 1XX (1.5)
Vancouver Island University (VIU) VIU HUMA 1st (3)

Course Offerings

Winter 2023

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New Westminster - North Bldg.
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