Guest Blog: History

4th year History student, Mark Unwin, shares why he thinks Ryerson is the perfect place to study! 

Why Rye History?

Choosing the program and university that are right for you is, let’s face it, a hugely important decision. It can also be heaps of fun. Touring the Campus. Combing through course selections for those gems that leap off the screen (I’m looking at you, HST 540 – The History of Espionage). Scrolling through the list of faculty and their areas of expertise. Locating the campus pub…er…library. These tasks can hold the key to a successful academic future. Heading into the final year of my undergraduate degree, here is why I love the being a history student at Ryerson and would do it all over again.

The study of history is so much more than learning about the past – it is an attempt to better understand the contemporary issues that affect the world today. Sound challenging? It is. Fortunately, the Department of History’s faculty are not only leading historians, but also award winning lecturers. And the department is continuing to grow. In the three years I’ve been enrolled at Ryerson, the breadth and depth of regions, time periods, and themes available to focus your studies on has constantly expanded. In the past two years new professors specializing in ancient Egypt, Asian history, and the Middle East (to name a few) have been added to the growing faculty. Whether you are interested in the history of technology, Classical Greece and Rome, or modern international relations, learning directly from Ryerson’s amazing roster of historians is always engaging and enlightening.

The learning environment in the history department, the faculty of arts, and Ryerson on the whole is also unique. Right from the beginning of my first semester, the history department’s faculty, staff, and students were welcoming and provided support and guidance in negotiating the jump into university life. Outside of the Frosh kickoff, the history department hosted a welcome party where I got to meet my peers and talk with a host of faculty members about the courses they taught. The diverse student body, with many students of different backgrounds and from a variety regions of the world, stimulates amazing discussion, both in and out of class. It is hard to describe the buzz around campus, but I’m sure you will notice it in no time!

The most pleasant of my surprises studying history at Ryerson is the volume of opportunities available to get involved outside of the lecture hall. I have been lucky to have been involved with the International Issues Discussion (IID) series for three years now. For the past two years I have hosted events featuring leading world authorities on contemporary global issues. Diplomats, ambassadors, film makers, and war correspondents (to name only a few) have participated and being able to talk with global leaders is an invaluable experience.


The IID triumvirate – My co-host Muna Osman, myself, and Professor Arne Kislenko

Also, travel. Who doesn’t like seeing the world?! Every year history students seize the opportunity to go on exchange programs to universities all over the world. My IID co-host (pictured) spent the winter term studying in the Netherlands…still waiting on that post-card, Muna. I have also been fortunate to present research that I have done as part of my course work at history conferences both here at Ryerson and south of the border in Michigan. Being able to combine studies and travel has been an amazing experience! The history department has been ceaselessly encouraging and supportive of student led initiatives.

The decision to pursue a degree in history at Ryerson’s amazing downtown campus was without a doubt the right choice. The growth I have made as a student and a world citizen is something I cherish and definitely due in large part to the curriculum here at Ryerson.

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