The Faculty of Arts was inaugurated in 1969 when it was separated from the Faculty of Arts and Science, and first offered courses under the current name in 1971. At that time it contained the Departments of Computer Science, Economics, English, Foreign Literature, French Literature, Geography, History, Mathematics, Philosophy, Physical Education, Political Science, Psychology, and Sociology and Anthropology. The Faculty also offered instruction through the Divisions of Humanities, Language Studies, Natural Science, and Social Science, where students could combine traditional liberal arts course work with an interdisciplinary approach to study leading to the Bachelor of Arts Ordinary and Honours degrees. In their first year students in the Faculty are required to take courses in the Divisions of Humanities, Social and Natural Sciences and a College Tutorial.
The Faculty expanded its course selection rapidly in the 1970s, with new joint studies programmes in African Studies, Anthropology (which was separated from Sociology), Canadian Studies, Classical Studies, East Asian Studies, Individualized Studies, Latin American and Caribbean Studies, Law and Society, Linguistics, Religious Studies, Social and Political Thought and Urban Studies. Many of these programmes were developed within the Divisions of Humanities and Social Sciences. By 1991 the Faculty had approximately 16,800 enrolled students and had added to its calendar joint degree programmes in Business-Oriented Programmes (with the Faculty of Administrative Studies), Communication Arts (with community college diploma standing), Creative Writing (with the Faculty of Fine Arts), and new degree programmes in Economics and Business, Labour Studies, Mass Communications, Public and Policy Administration, Science, Technology Culture and Society, and Women 's Studies. Many of these areas of study were developed within the Divisions of Humanities and Social Science. The Faculty is headed by a Dean who is assisted by three Associate Deans. There is a Faculty Council made up of all faculty members with representation from the students in the faculty and the university administration. In addition, there is a Student Caucus, which addresses the concerns of students in the faculty.