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Department of Economics

Economics belongs to the branch of knowledge known as the "Social Sciences." The social sciences deal with both intergenerational and intra-generational interactions between human beings in a society.

Human activities can, of course, be studied from many different perspectives. We could look at humans as political, psychological, historical, or economic beings. A political scientist, for example, would analyze the political activities of the people while an economist would examine activities related to their livelihood. Human beings, in order to fulfil their innate desire for food and shelter, engage in activities that lead them to the production of goods such as food, clothing, and housing, as well as services. These acts of production and consumption to satisfy human wants form the very basis of the subject matter of Economics. Perhaps observing people engaged in this pursuit, Alfred Marshall defined economics as "a study of mankind in the ordinary business of life."

Since the ordinary business of life involves the use of limited natural and human-made resources (capital), people have always been interested in making the best possible use of these resources. This efficient use of resources has been the underlying theme in economics. Hence, the most succinct definition of economics would be that economics deals with the efficient utilization of scarce resources to satisfy human wants. Scarcity gives legitimacy to economics. If there is no scarcity, there is no economic problem.

The discipline of Economics is built upon two strands of theory: Microeconomic Theory and Macroeconomic Theory. Microeconomic deals with the study of individual units in an economy, such as consumers, producers, and the interaction of these units in a given market structure. Macroeconomic theory, on the other hand, deals with the economy as a whole. Here we analyze the problems related to unemployment, growth, inflation, and the balance of payments.

Most of the other courses in Economics are applied courses which use the concepts of Microeconomic Theory and/ or Macroeconomic Theory. An understanding of the relationship between these two theory courses and other fields in economics is usually helpful in planning your selection of courses.

For application and admission information and detailed course descriptions, please visit the Economics program page using the link on the right of this page.  

Jim Sentance

Department of Classics

The Greeks and the Romans laid foundations upon which Western Civilization rests. We owe to the Greeks the roots of much of our literature, science, philosophy, and art, while the Romans gave the still living legacy of their language, literature, and law to an empire that stretched from the North Sea to the Persian Gulf. To allow the student to share in this rich heritage, the Department of Classics offers courses in the languages, literature, history, philosophy, and civilization of Greece and Rome.

Our courses in Greek and Roman Civilization are for students who wish to gain a general understanding of classical antiquity and are the usual basis for further work in Classics. The 200- and 300-level courses treat particular subjects and periods, but none of the Classics courses requires a knowledge of Greek or Latin.

There are, however, courses in the Greek and Latin languages for both beginning and advanced students. Those who wish to learn Greek and Latin are urged to begin their studies as early as possible in their university careers.

For information on application, admission, and course descriptions, please visit the Classics program page using the link on the right of this page.

Tracy Manning
(902) 566-0389

Department of Asian Studies

The growing importance of Asia in the world scene means increasing career opportunities in education, business, international development, journalism, government, social work, and art. In particular, it encompasses the geographical and cultural areas of East Asia (China, Korea, Japan, Taiwan), South Asia (India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka) and Southeast Asia (Thailand, Burma, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia), offering various courses in most of the disciplines of the humanities and the social sciences.

Asian Studies also relates to Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies, a significant discipline that examines the western part of Asia, including such countries as Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Turkey. It interacts with Near Eastern Studies that presents another significant region belonging to West Asia, prior to the rise of Islam and with extension to the present in the case of Modern Hebrew. Asian Studies courses, on both undergraduate and graduate levels, are open to all university students with divergent academic and career interests. Many of these courses are credited toward majors in other departmental programs.

In addition to our Asian Studies minor program, our Asian Studies elective courses—which are regularly offered by Religious Studies, Sociology-Anthropology, Modern Languages, and Political Studies—appeal to a growing number of students from not only the Arts Faculty but also other Faculties and Schools. Here are a few relevant perspectives and insights given by the students who took, for example, Religious Studies courses. A junior student who had travelled in several Asian countries decided to take Religious Studies 251 (Japanese Religion and Culture), one of the Asian Studies electives, said, "I want to return to Japan for travel and work." A junior Psychology major had an insightful self-reflection: "I became interested in the course because of the strong interest that the Japanese (tourists) have in PEI. I would like to learn more about their culture!"

Asian Studies
(902) 566-0480

Learning Communities

Learning Communities are part of UPEI’s great “First-Year Experience”!

You’re coming to university. Why not get the best start possible by joining one of two first-year Learning Communities? The first-year Learning Communities are designed to give you an advantage by providing easy ways to get engaged. Small classes, integrated curricula, plenty of interactive and collaborative learning, and excellent advising all offer students an opportunity to foster great relationships.

Our goals for your participation in a Learning Community include:

  • To develop an identity as a “scholar”, one who is interested and engaged in both the process and outcomes of learning.
  • To be aware of the necessary skills and practices that you need to develop/possess in order to achieve success in this environment.
  • To be actively engaged in the learning process through academically stimulating and challenging class discussions, assignments, collaborative learning experiences and meaningful instructor feedback and evaluation.
  • To be “connected” to your learning, student colleagues, faculty members and the UPEI community.

Make your first year really count and let us assist you in experiencing the best possible “first-year.”

Learning Community #1: An Introduction to Writing, Identity, and Academia

Learning Community #2: An Introduction to the Bachelor of Education

Vickie Johnston
University 100
(902) 628-4363


Master of Arts in Island Studies

New course- and work-study Master of Arts in Island Studies 

In September 2019, we will be starting a second cohort of the new Island Tourism specialization and a brand new cohort specializing in Sustainable Island Communities.

UPEI is recognized as the world leader in delivering a quality Island Studies education, successfully offering a thesis-based Master of Arts in Island Studies program for more than 15 years.

Last year we started a course- and work-study Master of Arts in Island Studies program, specializing in Island Tourism. Course-based stream students will participate in hybrid model delivery courses, with all courses delivered through a combination of online, video and face-to-face instruction. You can choose to undertake your degree at home or you can come to Prince Edward Island to complete your degree on the beautiful UPEI campus.

Find out more on our Master of Arts in Island Studies program page.

The Master of Arts in Island Studies (MAIS) at the University of Prince Edward Island is a unique, interdisciplinary, and policy-driven graduate program that critiques islands on their own terms.

The program welcomes students from around the world. They come out of undergraduate programs from diverse disciplinary backgrounds and diverse degrees, or with professional workplace experience in the public, private, or resource sectors.

The program offers a challenging opportunity for students

  • with a special interest in researching islands: their societies, economies, histories, cultures, governments, geographies, and environments
  • an interest in public policy and administration
  • career aspirations within local, regional, national, and international governmental and non-governmental organizations
  • career aspirations in the private and resource sectors
  • a desire for the challenge of graduate education

Students may adopt a comparative approach to study islands or explore a topic or issue that is crucial to one island. Either way, the program will prepare students with the practical research skills and knowledge they need to succeed in a world increasingly defined by interconnections and interactions among peoples and regions. Read about what our graduates say about the program.

Students will:

  • study in small classes at the world’s top island studies university, hosting an Institute of Island Studies, a Canada Research Chair in Island Studies, and the internationally peer-reviewed Island Studies Journal — all located in one of North America’s most picturesque island jurisdictions
  • benefit from grants and research assistantships made available to students by faculty
  • be considered for many scholarships and awards, including entrance scholarships and donor-based awards (
  • participate in a challenging scholarly and interdisciplinary environment, with expert professors based at UPEI or visiting from other parts of the world The program involves six taught courses (three hours per week for twelve weeks) and a thesis under supervision (spread over three academic terms).

Tuition, fees, and other costs for both Canadian and international students can be found at

"We are headed toward understanding the whole planet as a world of islands..."

— David Quammen, Song of the Dodo

Master of Arts in Island Studies Program Brochure

Jim Randall
Program Coordinator
Faculty of Arts
(902) 620-5013

Undergraduate Programs

Pursuing an Arts degree at UPEI allows a student to embrace and engage in a multiplicity of academic disciplines, encompassing modern languages, the humanities, and social sciences. An Arts degree at UPEI lays the intellectual foundation for a graduate to excel in all walks of life.

The University of Prince Edward Island has long had a tradition of providing a solid education in the liberal arts. It is committed to rigorous study and inquiry, belief in the value of knowledge, lifelong capacity building, and the development of the whole person. 

UPEI’s Faculty of Arts offers wide-ranging and comprehensive programs that include the many genres that make up the “Arts.” And UPEI’s advisors and professors in the Faculty of Arts are committed to helping you discover the field that most interests you, and to ensuring your time here is exciting and productive.

Use the links on the left-hand side of this page to find out more about our undergraduate programs.

Office of the Dean
Faculty of Arts
(902) 566-0307


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