Interesting fields of study at Canadian universities
Canada’s universities offer a wide range of fascinating and unusual programs, from creating the next blockbuster video game to learning a threatened Indigenous language.

Squamish Nation Language and Culture

Í7xwixw ta néwyap wa uutm mi ap ta7lt! If you’d like to be able to read that, you might be a perfect candidate for the Squamish language and culture certificate program at one western Canadian university. The Squamish people are indigenous to Southwestern British Columbia, with around 4,000 registered band members and their language, which is related to the region’s Coast Salish languages, was considered nearly extinct as of 2010, with only a handful of fluent speakers remaining. For this reason university courses like this one are vital to ensuring the survival of the language, as well as the preservation of Squamish culture.

Remote Sensing

Are you ready for the geospatial information revolution? If not (and if that sounds interesting to you at all), a University in southern Alberta has a Bachelor of Science program that’s right up your alley. Remote sensing uses sophisticated technology to examine the earth from a distance, and can involve satellite imaging, RADAR, LIDAR and radiometry, among other techniques. With applications in geology, oceanography, climatology and many more fields of study, remote sensing professionals can go on to work in a wide range of fields, from geospatial mapping companies like Google Earth to aerospace engineering, mining, and space travel.

Parasitology

Just the word “parasite” might be enough to give some people the shivers, but for others it’s a fascinating field of study with potentially world-changing applications. Anyone in the latter camp will surely be interested in the parasitology PhD program offered by a university in Montreal. In simple terms, parasitology is the study of parasites, their hosts and the relationship between the two. This can involve humans, animals, insects (and pretty much any other living thing) and touches on evolution and conservation, with many applications in medical and veterinary fields. Whether examining the relationship between salmon and sea lice on fish farms, or the spread of infectious diseases by mosquitos, parasitologists are among science’s many unsung heroes.

Biomedical Ethics

Just because we can, does that mean we should? This is one of the big and far-reaching questions at the heart of biomedical ethics, the study of ethics as it relates to human life and medicine. While bioethics goes back to the dawn of medical study, recent advances in science, from stem cell treatments to genetic engineering have pushed this field to the forefront of many important debates. From fertility treatment to end-of-life care, biomedical ethicists are shaping the way we are born, how we live and how we die in vital and surprising ways.

Game Development

Video games are more popular than ever before, and keeping all of those hands busy on controllers and keyboards requires an army of talented game developers. One maritimes university prepares students for this growing field with their Bachelor of Applied Computer Sciences degree with a specialization in Game Development. While the field of game development is evolving rapidly, this course offers a solid foundation in computer graphics, human-computer interaction, programming and artificial intelligence, all key areas in video game creation. Whether students choose to pursue the growing field of mobile gaming, or focus on creating the next blockbuster console title, this is definitely an area of study with massive potential in the real world.

Indigenous Storytelling

Humans have always understand the world best through stories. As such, storytelling and oral histories are essential to Indigenous cultures in Canada and around the world. The Study of Indigenous Storytelling certificate program offered by a university in Saskatchewan focuses on the details and practices of this widespread tradition, with a special focus on Indigenous storytelling in the Canadian prairies. Students will learn about Indigenous performance methods, playwriting and literature throughout North America, examining the vital role these texts and performances play in culture and identity.

Commercial Beekeeping

Aside from being an essential part of our ecosystem and producing delicious honey, bees are the tiny superheroes of our agricultural system, performing a vital role in the food chain by pollinating crops. The graduate certificate in Commercial Beekeeping offered by one Ontario college trains the beekeepers of tomorrow in these and all things apian. During a three-semester program (which coincides with the life cycle of a honey bee) students will learn the basics of commercial beekeeping, pollination and honey production, with hands-on experience at the school’s 30 active hives. One might say it’s a pretty sweet deal.

Jeremy Freed is a freelance writer and editor based in Toronto. His writing about fashion, travel, food and design appears in Sharp, Harry and re:Porter magazines, among many others.

Jeremy Freed is a paid Sonnet spokesperson.

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