About Us

The Irving K Barber Learning Centre

Arts One is one of the oldest, yet most innovative, programs of its kind. Established in 1967, the program was ahead of its time in recognizing the value of small cohort learning and an integrated, inter-disciplinary curriculum. It offers a dynamic team of instructors from various disciplines and organized around a guiding theme and reading list. A typical Arts One reading list contains both a core of works widely regarded as literary classics, and critical or alternative texts from a range of genres, some which challenge the authority of  the so-called “great books” and some that might be regarded as classics in their own right.


   Sample Texts:

  • Homer, The Iliad; The Odyssey
  • Plato, Republic
  • Sophocles, Oedipus; Antigone
  • Hobbes, Leviathan
  • Machiavelli, The Prince
  • Shakespeare,The Tempest; Hamlet

  • Shelley, Frankenstein
  • McCarthy, The Road
  • Kurosawa, Rashomon
  • Fanon, Black Skin; White Masks
  • King, The inconvenient Indian
  • Moore and Gibbons, Watchmen


An Arts One student will be expected to participate in the inter-textual conversation generated by their theme both in seminar discussion and in essays written for, and presented in, peer-centred workshops called tutorials. These tutorials form one of the most distinctive and valuable Arts One experiences, transforming writing from description into argument, and learners into teachers and independently-minded scholars.

Watch the UBC Faculty of Arts First-Year Study Options video on YouTube.