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About This Project

The sound of 200-plus students chatting with each other fills the tiered lecture hall at the University of King’s College in Halifax as the first day of Foundation Year Program (FYP) begins. Most of these students moved into residence only a few days ago, but friendships are already forming. Laptops, refillable water bottles and copies of The Epic of Gilgamesh cover the tabletops. The book-length poem, written in Mesopotamia circa 1800 BCE, is considered one of the earliest great works of literature.

Started in 1972, the FYP (sounds like “flip”) is regarded as one of Canada’s top Great Books courses, and has a national reputation for excellence as an alternative first-year of undergraduate studies. Throughout their first year, students at King’s make a temporal journey through the rise of civilization via its great works of philosophy, literature, art and science.

“All of the texts we look at have what I call infinite interpretive possibilities,” says Neil Robertson, FYP’s director and an associate professor of humanities at King’s. “You never grow tired and there are always new interpretations. The students bring these texts to life in new ways. Each year brings its own questions, issues and concerns.”

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