This article is from the archives of the UB Reporter.

Questions & Answers

Published: November 8, 2007

D. Munroe Eagles, professor of political science and associate dean for graduate studies and social sciences in the College of Arts and Sciences, is program director for the Advanced Certificate in Canadian Studies.

What is the Advanced Certificate in Canadian Studies?

The Advanced Certificate in Canadian Studies is a 15-credit-hour graduate program of approved study centered on our neighbor to the north, Canada. There are two required courses in the program, one of which provides a general overview of Canada and Canadian Studies. The second required course focuses more on the topic of Canadian-American relations, both in general and as they are manifested here on the Niagara Frontier border. The remaining credits for the certificate can be fulfilled from a list of approved courses that have substantial Canadian content, or with prior approval by courses that may not have Canadian content per se, but in which the student could focus her/his research on Canadian materials. There also are opportunities to earn course credit for internship and directed research. The certificate can be earned on its own or it may be earned in conjunction with other graduate or professional degrees.

Why is it important for UB to have a focus in Canadian studies?

Canada is enormously important for the United States. The two countries share the largest bilateral trade relationship in the world—with about $1 billion in trade crossing the border on a daily basis—and the longest undefended border in the world. Our proximity, history, culture and common interests create a single binational community of fate. Our geographic location at one of the busiest and most important border-crossing points gives us a special opportunity to appreciate and understand this relationship. UB is the only major public research institution that is located virtually on the Canadian border. Not surprisingly, UB has been one of the most active universities in the country in conducting research and teaching on Canada. Until now, however, we have not taken advantage of the breadth and depth of our Canada-related activities to create an academic program on Canadian studies.

This is a graduate program. What options are there for undergraduates who would like to specialize in Canadian studies?

At present, we have not developed an undergraduate program in Canadian studies, but we hope to do so in the near future. Until this is done, however, undergraduates can pursue Canada-related studies in a large number of departments and programs within the College of Arts and Sciences and the School of Architecture and Planning. A glance at the list of faculty participating by offering courses with Canadian content in our graduate certificate program will give some partial indication of the most likely places for students to look for these opportunities, but this list is far from exhaustive. Beyond what we do here at UB, however, interested students should consider taking advantage of some of our collaborative agreements for student exchange with Canadian universities. At present, the College of Arts and Sciences has such an agreement with the University of Toronto, and UB recently signed a broad cooperative agreement that provides for student and faculty exchanges with Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario.

Is this the first step toward UB offering a degree program in Canadian studies, similar to the bachelor's degree program in Asian studies?

If the student interest is strong, as it surely has been in the area of Asian studies, I would very much like to see us move to offer a degree program in Canadian studies.

I understand the Canadian studies program is organizing a conference in the spring. Tell me about it.

As part of the agreement I mentioned earlier with Brock University, UB has agreed to alternate with that Canadian university in hosting an annual student conference called "Crossing Borders." The conference was at Brock last year and it will be held April 3-4 in the Center for Tomorrow on the North Campus. This highly successful conference has been operating for more than a dozen years and has been hosted at a number of institutions around New York State and Southern Ontario. The conference has benefited greatly from the support of the Canadian Consulate in Buffalo and the American Consulate in Toronto. Last year, approximately 80 graduate and undergraduate students took part and we hope to have even more students participate this spring. The call for paper proposals has just gone out, and any student interested in presenting research on Canada or Canadian-American relations should contact me at for further details.

How can interested persons get more information about the Advanced Certificate in Canadian Studies?

Interested students can find out general information on the certificate program at our Web site, or by contacting me at or our program administrator, Donna Banach, at, or at 645-2299, ext. 42.

What question do you wish I had asked, and how would you have answered it?

You might have asked how Canadian studies fits within the UB 2020 planning process, and I would have answered that it was identified as an area of strategic strength within the "Civic Engagement and Public Policy" area. This recognition reflects the tremendous growth in interest and activity in recent years around Canadian studies campus-wide. We hope that the introduction of an academic program at the graduate level will catalyze and stimulate further interest at faculty and student levels at UB, and help prepare our graduates for productive lives and careers in an increasingly interdependent binational environment.