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Academic Goals

The HDDP’s programs are designed to enable graduates to succeed in the global forum of skills and ideas. Offered in French and English, HDDP degrees will ensure and certify that students are prepared for highly skilled private or public sector jobs, for postgraduate programs in liberal professions, or for further academic study at the world's best universities.

Degree Structure

The Project will offer three-year Bachelor and four year Honours Bachelor degrees composed of 30 and 40 one-semester courses respectively. All courses will be offered in each of four 12-week terms each year. Students will be able to take any number of courses in any term, a system which will allow for great flexibility. For example, students taking five courses each and every term would finish a four-year honours degree in two years; students taking five courses every other term would graduate in four years; and students taking two courses each semester would complete an honours degree in five years.

Maximal Flexibility, Coherence and Accreditation

The Project’s degrees will focus on structuring all courses taken by students into meaningful areas of emphasis and on providing recognition for these emphases. Project degrees and diplomas will include four levels of emphasis: specialization (20 courses), major (15 courses), concentration (10 courses), and minor (5 courses).

A four-year degree will require either a specialization or a double major, and a three-year degree, a single major. Courses taken outside the degree specialization or major(s) will in turn form concentrations or minors which will be recorded on the degree and diploma. A great many combinations will be possible, but a student might, for example, graduate from a four-year degree program with a double major in Philosophy and English Literature, and with minors in French and History. In this way, all courses taken will generate a maximum return for students in terms of the credentials obtained..

Focus on Primary Works

HDDP programs will cater exclusively to highly literate students and will make the most important books within each of the disciplines studied the clear focus of all courses. All other elements (lectures, tutorials, discussions, quizzes, and papers) will serve to deepen students’ understanding of primary works, which will be read in their entirety wherever possible.

This approach will afford students a strongly differentiated choice as compared to most public university programs, which have moved away from humanities methods towards “topics”-based courses and “studies”-style programs focusing more on contemporary secondary texts and less on historically significant primary texts..


A methodological cornerstone of study in the humanities, the historical approach is the foundation on which understanding of a given discipline is progressively edified. Whereas the relation between historical chronology and the succession of courses is haphazard in today’s public universities, Project programs will begin with a study of pre-modern and Renaissance texts in first year. With some flexibility and overlap, second-year courses will then cover 17th century and early 18th century texts, third-year courses late 18th and 19th century texts, and 20th and 21st century texts will be covered in the fourth year (for the sake of breadth of coverage, students wishing to take only a three-year degree will take a mix of third-year and fourth-year courses in their final year). This single, structural measure will help students develop a far better understanding of their chosen discipline than they would by taking courses in random order.

Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation

HDDP programs will provide continuous and comprehensive evaluation through digital technology and concentrated, individual feedback. Since digital technology allows the comprehensive function of the traditional final exam to take the form of continuous interactive quizzes, the term paper will retake pride of place as the main vehicle of evaluation. Students’ understanding of each week’s primary readings will be guided and assessed by quizzes, while their global ability to understand and apply the material of each course will be demonstrated and evaluated by means of their final paper. Given that term papers are indispensable for high-quality learning in the humanities, they will be extensively and intensively marked, and students will receive detailed, personalized advice on how to improve every aspect of their work.