Some students choose to direct their studies toward specific disciplines or themes.

Dawson offers the following choices for Certificates and Learning Communities:


In addition to choosing a program of study, you can also enroll in a certificate. A certificate provides a thematic area of concentration to complement your program choice, and can add greater coherence to your General Education and program learning.

Certificates at Dawson include the following elements:

  • Course work and opportunities for linked activities rooted in an interdisciplinary field of study;
  • Accessible pathways to meet certificate requirements;
  • Students and teachers engaged in a learning community that addresses contemporary issues;
  • A focus on three learning outcomes: knowledge, application and agency.

Enrolling in a certificate adds value to a student’s academic and life experiences at the college in several ways. Certificates engage students in a learning community of fellow students and teachers who share a passion for thinking about and finding solutions to specific contemporary issues. They foster deep learning by creating opportunities for integrative learning across General Education requirements, program courses, and activities – and also suggest new options for university degrees and future careers. Finally, certificates foster a sense of social responsibility and community engagement as students find ways to respond individually and collectively to complex social issues.

For more information, speak directly to an academic advisor.

Decolonization and Indigenization Studies

The Certificate of Decolonization and Indigenization Studies offers students the possibility of exploring Canada’s settler-colonial relationship to the diverse Indigenous peoples who have been here for millennia. They will also learn about the many ways that Indigenous peoples have continued to strengthen their cultures amidst the challenges of settlercolonialism.

The certificate provides students with the opportunity to participate in activities and events that aim to build relationships with local Indigenous communities. Indigenous resurgence, cultural and language reclamation, land rights and stewardship, and Indigenous science, are a few of the potential areas of exploration.

Upon completion of the certificate, students will be able to better understand the diversity and contributions of Indigenous peoples, across Turtle Island and globally. They will be able to critically connect the history of Indigenous communities to contemporary issues that frame the lived experiences of Indigenous peoples today, and to be a part of a dynamic, innovative and growing community of practice.

For more information, visit the Decolonization and Indigenization Studies website.

Hellenic Studies

This is an interdisciplinary grouping of courses designed to help students develop an understanding of Greek language, traditions and history, which are at the root of Western civilization. Students take specially selected courses and participate in the varied activities of the Hellenic Studies Centre. Those who complete the prescribed number of these courses are awarded the Hellenic Studies Certificate upon graduation.

For more information, visit the Hellenic Studies website.

Peace Studies

Peace Studies is an interdisciplinary, engaged, values-based field of study that integrates theory and practice. The Peace Studies Certificate invites students to reflect critically and creatively on the complex roots of violence, nonviolence, and peace, their consequences, and their roles in our world. The Peace Studies Certificate aims to prepare students to work for justice and to build peace in any context, whether in their personal or professional lives, their communities, in society, or on a global scale.

For more information, visit the Peace Studies website.

Women's / Gender Studies

This interdisciplinary field of study explores the history of the women’s rights movement around the world, gender roles and how they shape our culture. Students discuss topical issues such as abortion rights, queer identities, sexual violence and equity. Courses offered may address women’s experiences throughout history and in many cultures, constructions and representations of gender in the media, sexual identities, community and cultural perspectives of gender, women’s history and the politics of feminism. Students in any program of study can take courses in Women’s/Gender Studies. The Women’s/Gender Studies certificate comprises courses offered in disciplines as diverse as English, Humanities, History, Cinema/ Communications, Religion, Sociology, Psychology and French, among others

For more information, visit the Women’s / Gender Studies website.

SPACE: Arts and Sciences Certificate

The SPACE: Arts and Sciences Certificate will guide students in making connections across the arts and sciences, in particular in understanding issues, concepts and experiences contextually and in applying their knowledge and skills through the development of interdisciplinary creative and/or technical projects, activities and presentations. Students will complete the certificate through individualized pathways and be given the opportunity to participate in workshops, research collaborations, excursions, hackathons and other learning activities. Participants in the certificate will also have the opportunity to share their work through articles, podcasts and other media formats on the SPACE website as well as through talks, conferences, exhibitions and annual public programming. To support their explorations, students will have access to mentorship in specialized learning environments such as makerspaces, through virtual platforms and at regular SPACE meetings.

Through a broad holistic learning experience that integrates the sciences with the arts, humanities and social sciences, the SPACE certificate will prepare students with the intellectual flexibility and adaptability to navigate our rapidly evolving world.

For more information, visit the SPACE: Arts and Sciences Certificate website.

Learning Communities

Learning Communities offer Dawson students opportunities to create supportive relationships with peers and teachers as they work on challenging interdisciplinary problems. Course themes and topics are designed to stimulate student interest and engagement and encourage students to draw connections between concepts and practices in different disciplines. Learning is also enhanced by the intentional development of strong student peer and student-faculty relationships. By emphasizing the integration of knowledge and the creation of strong interpersonal collaboration, learning communities help students develop essential skills to address future challenge.

New School

New School is an alternative way of completing English and Humanities course requirements.Our courses are open to anyone in any program. We meet once a week, usually in the early evenings.

New School takes a critical humanistic approach to learning. We believe that people learn best when they have a say in what and how they learn. In smaller learning groups, we give students a greater role in shaping the content of their courses and designing how they will study their subjects.

In facilitating larger group discussions, we encourage students to relate their studies to their personal and social lives and constantly link the personal to the political.

For more information, visit the New School website or speak directly with an academic advisor.


This grouping of courses provides a small-group approach to concentrated study of the great works of Western Civilization. It offers challenging seminars in English, French, Humanities, and History. The courses are designed to provide students with general knowledge and skills appropriate to most university arts and social science programs.

For more information, visit the Reflections website or speak directly with an academic advisor.

Course pairings

Students can take paired courses – two related courses taught by two teachers that are taken with the same group of students – in the Enriched Science profile, in the Social Science General Studies profile and in Certificates. Learning Communities are also available in General Education, where students can choose paired courses that combine classroom learning with unique co-curricular projects.

Last Modified: September 24, 2021