History, Classics, and Religion

Casbah walls
Casbah walls

Welcome to the Department of History, Classics, and Religion!

The Department of History, Classics, and Religion offers a full range of undergraduate and graduate degrees in Classics (including Classical Archaeology), Religious Studies, and History. Classics is the interdisciplinary study of the ancient cultures and civilizations of the Mediterranean world, particularly those of Greece and Rome. History is the study of change over time within and across human societies, from any period and any part of the world. Religious Studies is the critical study of religious beliefs, practices, texts, institutions, and communities. Our courses and degrees help students develop their abilities in critical analysis, creative thinking, and effective oral and written communication. Our award-winning instructors and researchers teach nearly 9000 students in about 200 classes per year – and we welcome you to join us!


Undergraduate Programs

BA in History

The BA in History will give you an understanding of our society by studying the conflicts, ideas, and relationships that shaped global societies over time. Our History professors are passionate and creative teachers, eager to help you explore and understand the past and to develop your skills as researchers, thinkers, and communicators.

BA in Ancient and Medieval Studies

This interdisciplinary program allows students to explore past societies in the pre-modern period. Take courses from Anthropology, Classics, East Asian Studies, English, History, Philosophy, Scandinavian Studies, and Women’s and Gender Studies to explore the peoples, places, and cultures of the Islamic world in the Golden Age, Greco-Roman antiquity and an emerging Europe, as well as ancient and medieval Africa, India and Asia.

BA in Classics

The BA in Classics will give you a broad perspective on the cultures of the ancient Mediterranean, particularly those of Greece and Rome. Read some of the most influential texts from the Greco-Roman world (in English or in the original languages), and study the material culture of ancient civilizations whose influence remains profound in the modern era. Classics courses help students develop their abilities in critical analysis, creative thinking, and effective oral and written communication.

BA in Religious Studies

The BA in Religious Studies program provides you with the skills to critically study religious beliefs, practices, texts, institutions, and communities. We ask: What is religion? How has it functioned in societies past and present? How do religious groups answer the enduring questions of human existence? An undergraduate degree in Religious Studies will prepare you to do research, think, ask questions, and communicate your ideas.

Graduate Programs

MA and PhD in History

We offer graduate studies at both the PhD and MA level (course-based or thesis-based MA programs). Our faculty supervise on fields in Canadian and global history related to their geographic or thematic areas of study. Our coursework exposes students to diverse areas of historical inquiry and emphasizes training in the theory and methods of History as a discipline, as well as writing and research skills with a wide application beyond academia.

MA and PhD Programs in Classics

We offer PhD and MA programs in both Classical Archaeology and Classical Languages, as well as an MA program in Ancient Societies and Cultures. Our faculty supervise projects on a full range of topics relating to Ancient Greece and Rome. The training our students receive ranges from learning ancient languages to participating in archaeological fieldwork and provides a thorough foundation in the discipline of Classics, along with valuable research and writing skills.

MA and PhD in Religious Studies

Our MA and PhD programs offer advanced graduate training in the interdisciplinary study of Religion from an academic, non-affiliated perspective, and are suitable for students of any or no personal faith background. Our faculty, as well as affiliated colleagues in other programs, supervise projects on a range of world religious traditions, particularly Islam and the religions of South and East Asia. Students gain experience in the diverse methodologies applied in Religious Studies, in addition to transferable writing and research skills.

winter Term 2024
TR 2:00 - 3:20 p.M.

HIST 121: topics in global history: migration in the modern world

This lecture course will take students on a broad journey through different global migration systems from the 18th to the 21st century with a special focus on Europe. The aim of the course is to locate various forms of migration within the complex and long-term processes by which both rural and urban societies were transformed during the era of modernization until present times. The readings will be examined to identify the main historical themes, methodology and approaches taken in the reconstruction of various regional mobility patterns and identity constructions. As an outcome of the course, it is expected that students will have a broad overview of the literature on global and European migration, and comment and criticize it within historical research.

No prerequisites

Dr. Annemarie Steidl

Winter Term 2024
TR 2:00-3:20 P.M.

HIST 384 - History of chinese philosophy

Confucius said:  “The young are to be respected.  How do we know that the next generation will not measure up to the present one?”  (Lunyu).  Kang Youwei wrote:  “All the former philosophers have sorrowfully, anxiously thought if there be a way to deliver them, to ferry them all across [the sea of suffering]” (Datongshu).

In History 384 we study Confucius, Kang Youwei and the other individual thinkers of the Confucian, Daoist and Buddhist schools who developed their ideals and concepts of the self, society, and government that shaped and sustained the history and culture of China.  The lectures apply a chronological framework to examine the three major schools of thought as we track their historical and political developments from traditional times to early modernity. The debates and discussion work, along with the essay, probe deeper into the ideas articulated in the philosophical texts.

No prerequisites

Dr. Jennifer Jay

  • the WG Hardy Classics Museum

    Founded in 1975, the WG Hardy Classics Museum includes artifacts from ancient Greece, Roman Europe, Egypt, Persia, and South and Central Asia. Free to visit, it has around 200 objects on display and is the only museum of its kind in the province.

  • Educational Diversity

    Our department is an incubator for educational diversity in Alberta. Ukrainian Studies, Islamic Studies, Chinese language and history, and the study of Canada’s First Nations and Indigenous/ settler relations in the Fur Trade era are only a few of the areas of study pioneered here.

  • Distinguished Alumni

    Our alumni have distinguished themselves all over the world and in many different professional spheres. They include lawyers and judges, educators, politicians, business and industry executives, public servants, and leaders in the non-profit sector.

EDI Statement

The Department of History, Classics, and Religious Studies is committed to a climate of safety and acceptance for all its members and guests. We see great strength in diversity of ability, class, ethnicity, gender identity and expression, nationality, religion, and sexual orientation, but those strengths can only be realized in the absence of structural oppressions. We are committed to revealing and dismantling these barriers.

News + Events


L.H. Thomas Lecture presented by Dr. Beverly Lemire

Join the Department of History, Classics, and Religion for the annual L.H. Thomas Lecture on Thursday, March 21 at 4:30 PM in Henderson Hall (1-17 Rutherford Library South, University of Alberta).

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