Bader International Study Centre


at Herstmonceux Castle, U.K.



at Herstmonceux Castle, U.K.

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BISC First Year Program

Available Streams

  • First Year Arts

  • First Year Science

  • First Year Con-Ed 

Fall Term dates: 11 September to 14 December 2017

Winter Term dates: 8 January to 11 April 2018

The First Year Program at the BISC is the only program of its kind in Canada where students have the chance to spend a full year studying abroad. Incoming students can choose to enrol in the First Year Arts, First Year Science, or First Year Con-Ed streams. Centred on the themes 'Thinking Locally' and 'Acting Globally', the BISC First Year Program is a package specifically designed to build on the Castle’s strengths—our small class sizes, vibrant community, experiential learning opportunities and international setting.You will receive a strong academic foundation for the rest of your studies and develop the crucial skills you need to become a well-rounded student. Whatever your discipline, you will receive an integrated experience that will not only prepare you to do well in your chosen academic field, but also deliver the necessary critical thinking skills needed to foster career success.

Why Study at the BISC?  

The BISC First Year Program is designed to maximise your learning experience in the opening stages of your studies. The program achieves this by:

  • Improving academic skills such as critical thinking, analysis and effective writing.
  • Offering disciplinary and interdisciplinary course options with close faculty interaction and experiential learning opportunities.
  • Developing the intercultural competencies necessary to be a leader in a globalized world.
  • Encouraging learning outside the classroom through a co-curricular framework.
  • Providing a verified record of co-curricular activities, called the BISC Passport, that you can share with future employers or educational programs.
  • Delivering a range of academic opportunities that will allow students to explore numerous paths for potential future study. 

Program at a Glance

  • Four courses per term in disciplines of your choice, plus two required term-length courses, BISC 100: Thinking Locally and BISC 101: Acting Globally.
  • Course-specific Experiential Learning Opportunities (a minimum of two each term per subject), including visits to a variety of sites of interest such as world-famous museums, unique archives, public debates, festivals, and historic sites.
  • Direct learning experiences at the Castle, including guest speakers and skills seminars.
  • Two mid-term trips to important UK and European cities.
  • An average class size of 14 and close interaction with high-quality faculty.
  • Co-curricular framework to facilitate student involvement and learning outside the classroom.
  • The BISC Passport to record your learning and expertise as these develop through co-curricular activities.
  • Extensive on-campus student services and support. 
  • Interested in the Science stream? Find out more!


  • In second year, students go on to specialize in one or more subject areas. This is often intensive study in one subject, known as a Major, but can include the option of less intense study in a secondary subject, the Minor.
  • You may even choose balanced study in two different subjects, which is known as the Medial.
  • At Queen’s, these different options are known as Plans of Study, and there are over 2000 combinations possible. Choosing to study at the BISC opens up a wide range of available Plans and allows you to tailor your Arts and Science degree to fit your needs.
  • The BISC First Year Arts & Science Program is deliberately interdisciplinary, with close contact with your professors, covering a wide range of expertise, so that you can choose the Plan of Study that works for you!

All students at the Bader International Study Centre are also encouraged to check the Queen’s Arts and Science Academic Calendar and the Arts and Science website for the most up-to-date information about selecting Plans. For additional course information, please email the Undergraduate Admissions Office: 

Courses of Instruction

Choose any combination of four courses of instruction from each term, which when added to the 3.0 units you receive for BISC 100 and BISC 101, give you a total of 15.0 units per term. Follow the hyperlink for each course of instruction for a more detailed look at the overall scope, expected learning outcomes, primary research expectations and evaluation methods.

Core Courses

Course Code Description

BISC 100/3.0


Thinking Locally

This introductory course provides first-year students with a selection of key skills and theories from across a number of disciplines (Film and Media, Geography, History, and Sociology) that will allow them to engage with their further studies and their role in a globalised environment with confidence, intelligence and ambition.

BISC 101/3.0


Acting Globally

This is an introductory course, complementing and extending BISC 100, focused on skills and approaches from a number of disciplines (Film and Media, Geography, History, and Sociology). Academic skills will be honed by centering on centrifugal forces of mobility, exchange and action. Processes such as warring, colonizing, trading, connecting and leading are highlighted.

Art and Music Offerings

Course Code Description

ARTH 116/3.0


Art and Architecture in Britain from the Classical Period to c.1700

A chronological survey of painting, sculpture and architecture in western culture from Greece and Rome through to the early modern period. The art works will be studied at British galleries, museums and architectural monuments.
NOTE: Students must participate in field trips.
Offered only at the Bader International Study Centre, Herstmonceux.
EXCLUSIONS: When both ARTH 116 and ARTH 117 are taken they exclude ARTH 120.

ARTH 117/3.0


Art and Architecture in Britain from c.1700 to the Present

A chronological survey of painting, sculpture and architecture in western culture from c.1700 to the present day. The art works will be studied at British galleries, museums and architectural monuments.
NOTE: Students must participate in field trips.
Offered only at the Bader International Study Centre, Herstmonceux.
EXCLUSIONS: When both ARTH 116 and ARTH 117 are taken they exclude ARTH 120.

MUSC 102/3.0


An Introduction to the History of Western Art Music

The history of Western art music from 1750 to the present. The course focuses on musical styles, genres, and composers, as well as historical and social contextual considerations. Open to BA MIN MUSC and non-MUSC concentrators only.


MUSC 171/3.0


Social History of Popular Music

A survey of important trends in 20th century Western popular music. Topics include genres, individual artists and groups, record labels and stylistic trends, and sociological issues.

MUTH 232/3.0



An introduction to opera through the study of selected works from the Baroque era to the 20th century. Equal attention will be paid to literary, musical and visual aspects.

Humanities Offerings

Course Code Description

CLST 129/6.0


Introduction to Archaeology

Development of the discipline, methods of discovering and recovering materials through excavation, evaluation of such materials and reconstruction of original environments. Historic and prehistoric sites; contribution of archaeology to the knowledge of the past.

ENGL 100/6.0


Introduction to Literary Study

An introduction to literary study, with an emphasis on the formal analysis of a diverse range of poetry and prose. Specific content and approach vary from section to section, but all sections share the goals of developing sensitivity to genre, cultivating writing skills, and providing students with a set of literary terms and critical techniques as a foundation for further literary study.

NOTE: Enrolment preference is given to first-year students.

EXCLUSION: All other 100-level ENGL courses.

FILM 104/3.0


Film Form & Modern Culture to 1970

Introduction to tools and methods of visual and aural analysis and to historical and social methods, with examples primarily from the history of cinema and other moving-image media to 1970.

FREN 150/6.0


Français Intermédiaire

Practice in reading, writing, grammar review, and literary analysis. For students wishing to complete a major, medial, or minor Plan in French.

NOTE: Placement test recommended prior to registration. For information go to: Http://

EXCLUSION: No more than 6.0 units from FREN 150/6.0; FREN 100/6.0; FREN 101/3.0; FREN 102/3.0; FREN 110/6.0

GNDS 215/3.0


Introduction to Sexual and Gender Diversity

his course is an introduction to studies in sexuality and gender diversity. It will survey the field and include topics such as classical inquiries into sexuality, contemporary theories on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer identities, sexual movements, human rights, sexual morality, pornography, global sex trade, and queer cultural production. This course is open to all students but required for students enrolled in the Certificate in Sexual and Gender Diversity. It is designed to introduce SXGD students to the field and prepare them for selecting future courses.

PREREQUISITE: Second-year standing, or permission of the Department.


HIST 241/3.0


Issues in History: Medieval Europe: Castles, Kingdoms, and Religious Conflict

Students are expected to develop a good general knowledge of the medieval period in relation to the key themes being explored i.e., the development of feudal societies and the transformative role of religion in the period. The students will also explore the historiographical debates over concepts such as feudalism, tolerance, and crusade. The course will be taught through a combination of lectures and seminar classes.

PREREQUISITE: First Years with a B+ average across the board and A- in BISC 100. Places subject to departmental permission.

HIST 289/3.0


Britain since 1851 *NEW*

This chronological survey of British history looks to understand the relationships between Britain, its empire, and Europe. The course will explore broadly thematic elements within different eras of British history. Industrialization, liberal democracy, commerce, and imperial expansion will be examined in the late nineteenth century. The course then focuses on the World Wars, financial collapse, and internationalism in the early twentieth century. Finally, in the mid- and late-twentieth century, the course surveys national policies, cultural exports, decolonization, and the Cold War. Through these themes, the course examines the rise of fall of Britain as a great power.

PREREQUISITE: First Years with a B+ average across the board and A- in BISC 100. Places subject to departmental permission.

PHIL 151/3.0


Great Works of Philosophy

An examination of some major milestones in the development of philosophical thought. The course will involve both the exposition of texts and discussion of the philosophical issues which they raise.

PHIL 259/3.0


Critical Thinking

A discussion of the general principles of reasonable discourse, with a focus on persuasive and cogent writing.

EXCLUSION: No more than 3.0 units from PHIL 158/3.0; PHIL 259/3.0.

SPAN 111/3.0


Beginning Spanish

Offers a basic level of Spanish understanding, speaking, reading and writing for students who have no knowledge of Spanish whatsoever.

SPAN 112/3.0


Beginning Spanish

The continuation of SPAN 111. Also for students entering the University who have some knowledge of Spanish but have not completed 4U Spanish or equivalent. For these students an assessment exam or interview with an academic adviser is required before registration.

PREREQUISITE: SPAN P10 or equivalent.

EXCLUSIONS: 4U Spanish or equivalent, SPAN 101.

Social Science Offerings

Course Code Description

DEVS 100/6.0


Canada and the “Third World”

Introduces basic theoretical concepts of development studies, the history of global inequality, and short histories of alternative development strategies. Case studies of Canada’s ties to the so-called third world will include missionaries, military, business, and aid. Canadian colonialism over First Nations peoples will introduce basic issues in Aboriginal Studies.

ECON 111/3.0


Introductory Microeconomics 

An introduction to microeconomic analysis of a modern mixed economy. The course analyzes the behaviour of individual consumers and producers, the determination of market prices for commodities and resources, and the role of government policy in the functioning of the market system. ECON 111 and ECON 112 are together equivalent to ECON 110.


ECON 112/3.0


Introductory Macroeconomics

An introduction to macroeconomic analysis of the economy as a whole, including the determination of national income, the price level, interest rates, the money supply, and the balance of payments. The principles of monetary and fiscal policy are also examined. ECON 111 and ECON 112 are together equivalent to ECON 110.


GPHY 102/3.0


Earth System Science

This course introduces the major concepts studied in Earth System Science. The fundamental processes and interrelationships between the atmosphere, oceans, biosphere and the lithosphere are investigated to serve as a basis for understanding natural systems, particularly at or near the Earth’s surface.

HLTH 101/3.0


The Social Determinants of Health  *NEW*

This course introduces students to basic concepts in public, population and global health, and introduces social determinants of health, such as poverty, income inequality, and racism, in Canadian and global contexts.

HLTH 102/3.0


Personal Health and Wellness *NEW*

This course provides an introduction to the variety of factors which could affect a person’s health and wellness. Through a combination of theoretical and experiential learning opportunities, this course offers an introduction to the concepts of health and wellness from a personal perspective.

POLS 110/6.0


Introduction to Politics & Government

An introduction to political science that provides both a framework for thinking about politics and the institutions of governance, and some of the vocabulary necessary for political analysis.

PSYC 100/6.0


Principles of Psychology

An introductory survey of basic areas of psychology including perception, cognition, learning and motivation and their biological substrata. Also reviewed are child development, individual differences, social psychology and behaviour disorders. Research participation experience is provided for students on an individual voluntary basis. Students are encouraged to participate in up to five hours of research experimentation.

Science and Mathematics Offerings

Course Code Description

ASTR 101/3.0


Astronomy I: The Solar System

A non-mathematical introduction to the science of astronomy for non-specialist students. Topics to be covered include the fundamentals of astronomy; and introduction to the tools and techniques of modern observational astronomy; the historical development of our understanding of the Earth, Moon, and Solar System; space exploration of Mars, Jupiter, and other planets; the nature of the Sun; and the origin and uniqueness of our Solar System.

GEOL 104/3.0


The Dynamic Earth

An introduction to the internal structure of the earth and to the dynamic processes which have shaped the earth's surface. An integrated study of global tectonics and continental movement, rock genesis, mountain building, glaciation and geological time. Laboratories give an overview of the earth scientist's toolbox including rock and mineral identification, geochronology, geomorphology and structural geology. Field trip to local exposures may be offered.


GEOL 106/3.0


Environmental Geology and Natural Hazards

The relationship between human-kind and our ever-changing planet, with a focus on natural geologic hazards (volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, landslides, tsunamis, mass movement, floods, extraterrestrial impacts, etc.), and environmental impacts which result from population and land-use expansion and our increased use of water, energy and mineral resources. A study of the sources and impact of pollution and global climate change. Public perception of and response to geological risk.

MATH 121/6.0


Differential & Integral Calculus

Differentiation and integration of the elementary functions, with applications to physical and social sciences; Taylor polynomials; multivariable differential calculus. Intended for students planning to concentrate in subjects other than Biochemistry, Biology, Life Sciences, Mathematics or Statistics.
Also offered at the International Study Centre, Herstmonceux.

PREREQUISITE: MHF4U and MCV4U or equivalent, or 4U AFIC, or MATH 006, or permission of the Department.

EXCLUSIONS: MATH 120, MATH 122, MATH 123, MATH 124, MATH 126.

Science Program-only Offerings

Course Code Description

BIOL 102/3.0


Introductory Biology of Cells

An introduction to the basic themes and concepts of modern biology spanning organizational levels from molecules to cells in an evolutionary context.  

RECOMMENDATION: 4U Biology and Chemistry, or equivalent high school background, are highly recommended. 

BIOL 103/3.0


Introductory Biology of Organisms

An introduction to the basic themes and concepts of modern biology spanning organizational levels from organisms to ecosystems in an evolutionary context.

CHEM 112/6.0


General Chemistry

A survey of modern chemistry: molecular structure, bonding, phases of matter, thermodynamics, electrochemistry, equilibrium, kinetics, polymers, organic and biochemistry. Using information technology, laboratories and formulation of problem-solving strategies, students will develop an appreciation for the relevance of chemistry to the solution of modern-day societal challenges.

RECOMMENDATION: 4U Chemistry or equivalent. EXCLUSION: No more than 6.0 units from CHEM 112/6.0 or (CHEM 113/3.0 and CHEM 114/3.0).

NOTE: Course offerings are subject to be changed or cancelled for reasons including, but not limited to, enrolment numbers. Students will have access to academic advising services if any changes impact their Plans of Study.