For students in the Foundation Year Programme, the journey begins in the ancient near East, in Egypt and
Mesopotamia, and it winds its way through Plato's Republic, into the garden with St. Augustine and through Dante's circles of Hell. Entering the modern world, students bear witness to the temptations of Faustus, experience the effects of Descartes’s earth-shaking doubt, and confront the contemporary epoch with Nietzsche, Darwin, Freud, and many others.
Foundation Year is widely recognized for its serious engagement with important texts, high academic standards, committed teaching staff, and the calibre of its graduates. It provides a thoughtful exposure to many great works of philosophy, literature, and art, and is best suited to students who love to read, strive to write clearly, and enjoy intellectual dialogue.
For students enrolled in the BA, BJH, BSc or BMus degree programmes, Foundation Year is equivalent to four full-year courses; an abridged three-credit version is available for Science students. It meets the introductory requirements for many departments at Dalhousie University as well as the programmes at King’s, allowing for a smooth transition into upper-year studies. Taught as a single intensive course, FYP provides both a solid foundation for future studies and pursuits and a unique opportunity for reflection before later specialization.
The curriculum is highly coordinated, moving through six historical periods, and taught through a combination of lectures and small discussion groups. Rather than having to juggle a number of different course schedules and assignment lists at one time, FYP students participate in a cohesive and multi-faceted learning experience. This coordination and pacing means students can put their focus where it belongs: on the great books at the heart of the programme. FYP students grapple with these works, think, write, question and are questioned—but they are not embarking on this intellectual journey alone. They are part of a large and supportive community, surrounded by students and faculty who know each other as individuals and recognize the value of education for its own sake.
With an enrolment limited to about 300, and with many of its students housed in residential dorms a mere stretch of grass away from lecture hall, the Foundation Year Programme fosters a collegial feeling that expands the King's experience beyond the classroom. The College's diverse traditions—from Classics in the Quad theatre productions, to academic-gown-clad Formal Meal—set the stage for this integrated experience, and evening lectures and the dozens of student-driven societies and initiatives further it. At King's, there is no sharp division between social life and the life of the mind; on the contrary, they are two harmonious moments in the life of a King’s student.
Director; Associate Professor of Humanities
FYP's challenging encounter with the Western tradition provides a solid foundation for future studies and pursuits. More >>
The FYP curriculum moves through six historical periods, or sections, beginning with the ancient world and ending with the contemporary. More >>