About Us

Simon Fraser University’s Graduate Liberal Studies program was launched at Harbour Centre in 1992 with the help of the Graduate Liberal Studies' Endowment.  The program was designed to stand as a bastion of Liberal Arts at the then newly launched Harbour Centre Campus in order to provide some balance to the preponderance of business programs being offered within Vancouver’s business-focused downtown core.  We were happy to expand our academic program in 2013 in partnership with the Faculty of Graduate Studies Special Arrangements Program (SAR) with the introduction of an interdisciplinary PhD in Liberal Studies.

Designed for the intellectually curious life-long learner, the Graduate Liberal Studies program offered by Simon Fraser University is a part-time program where mature students can pursue an interdisciplinary Masters of Arts in Liberal Studies degree by participating in a rigorous academic program that is both flexible and diverse.  Our focus is on the breadth of learning, by integrating knowledge from many of the traditional Arts, Science, and Social Science disciplines in order to provide an intellectual grounding in the ideas and values that have shaped our culture.  Thoughtful and comprehensive exchanges provoke new perspectives which are stimulated by both modern and classical texts, as well as independent research and travel studies. 

The interdisciplinary nature of the program allows and encourages our students to explore all aspects of a subject, unlimited by the narrow scope of academic specialisation.  Our intimate, seminar-style courses invite our students to join in in-depth creative discussion with a community of like-minded students from diverse backgrounds in an atmosphere that is cooperative, respectful and challenging.  A significant percentage of our students move on to PhD programs in their chosen fields, and all of our students gain the wisdom and skills needed to approach their careers and their personal lives with a newfound passion and vigour.  The Simon Fraser University GLS Program remains the only one of its kind in Canada.

The objective of SFU’s Graduate Liberal Studies program is to foster progressive discourse and innovative thought while creating a community of engaged citizens. We encourage our students to enrich their daily lives by critically exploring, refining, and challenging their core value systems.  This in turn gives them the confidence and ability to participate, contribute, and effect positive change in the greater community.  

SFU's GLS is proud to be involved the international Association of Graduate Liberal Studies Programs (AGLSP), and has hosted their annual conference in 1996 as well as in 2008. The Program has also been involved in the West Coast GLS Symposium since its inception and hosted the tenth annual West Coast GLS Symposium in 2016. These Symposiums have been a great opportunity for students and alumni to present papers and to enjoy discussions with the wider Liberal Studies community.