Sociology and Social Studies

Questions about Sociology and Social Studies programs can be directed to the Sociology and Social Studies Department.

Graduate Co-ordinator: Henry Chow, PhD

Faculty Listing

Department Description

The department has particular strengths in the following general areas: sociology of environment, development and sustainability; social justice; sociology of knowledge, science and technology; social science methodology and quantitative and qualitative social research techniques; gender and women's studies; rural sociology; sociology of food and agriculture; political economy; Marxist and critical theory; political sociology; Canadian studies; and social history. As well, the department maintains a commitment to a strong interdisciplinary social science program which can draw on the resources of other departments and academic areas.

The department offers a graduate program leading to the MA degree in Sociology or in Social Studies. Successful applicants for entrance to the Master's program will be advised and supervised in their work by a committee of faculty. The department offers a PhD degree in Sociology or in Social Studies on a special case basis.

MA Program in Sociology - Thesis Based

Successful candidates for admission may pursue the MA degree in Sociology if they have a BA Honours degree or equivalent in Sociology.

MA Program in Social Studies - Thesis Based

The MA program in Social Studies is an interdisciplinary program that provides the candidate with the opportunity to develop a program bridging two or more social science disciplines. Students with a variety of social science backgrounds may be eligible for this program. Students interested in this program should contact the Graduate Program Coordinator.

Thesis based MA Program Description

In addition to theory and methods courses, the graduate program of Sociology and Social Studies offers students the possibility of taking courses in three areas of concentration: environment and development, social justice, and knowledge, science and technology. Students will be allowed to mix and match, or follow just one stream according to their interests and goals.

All MA candidates in Sociology and Social Studies are required to take 4 three credit hour courses and to take SOC/SOST 800 twice. For MA candidates in Sociology, two of these courses must be SOC 802 and SOC 804. The balance of the program consists of at least 18 credit hours of thesis research.

Degree Requirements

Master of Arts (MA) in Sociology (thesis)

SOC 802 3 credit hours
SOC 804 3 credit hours
2 SOC 8XX or approved 8XX approved social sciences 6 credit hours
SOC/SOST  800 (Seminar) 0 credit hours
SOC/SOST 800 (Seminar) 0 credit hours
SOC 901 (Thesis Research) 18 credit hours
Total 30 credit hours


Master of Arts (MA) in Social Studies (thesis)
Any 4 8XX approved social science 12 credit hours
SOC/SOST 800 (Seminar) 0 credit hours
SOC/SOST 800 (Seminar) 0 credit hours
SOST 901 (Thesis Research) 18 credit hours
Total 30 credit hours


Course based MA Program Description

The program requires the completion of 30 credit hours in courses, including 9 credit hours of required cores courses.  The remaining courses (21 credit hours) are selected from two or more of the social sciences, or approved courses in graduate programs other than the social sciences. A Program Advisor is assigned to assist students in developing a program of courses.  The proposed program will be submitted to the Department's Graduate Program Committee for approval.

Master of Arts (MA) in Social Studies (course)

SOST 801 3 credit hours
One 8xx social science theory course (list below) 3 credit hours
One 8xx social science methods course (list below) 3 credit hours
SOC/SOST 800 (Seminar) 0 credit hours
SOC/SOST 800 (Seminar) 0 credit hours
7 - 8xx social sciences or other approved courses 21 credit hours
Total 30 credit hours

Social Science Theory Courses:
ANTH 808, ECON 802, GEOG 822, GEOG 834, HIST 800, INDG 800, JS 801, PSCI 812, PSCI 813, PSCI 814, PSYC 800, PSYC 820, RLST 802, SOPT 800, SOPT 801, SOC 802, SOC 803, SOC 806, WGST 800

Social Science Methods Courses:
ANTH 853, ECON 830, GEOG 805, HIST 900, PSYC 801, PSYC 802, RLST 810, SOC 804, SOC 805

Courses outside of prescribed list may be approved by the academic unit.

Courses from other faculties, schools and programs:
In addition to courses from the social sciences, courses in other faculties, schools and programs whose subject matter is significantly based on, or closely aligned to, the social sciences may be included in a student’s program. The following faculties, schools and programs contain such courses: Business Administration, Education, Johnson Shoyama School of Public Policy, Journalism, Justice and Police Studies, Kinesiology and Health Studies, and Social Work. The selection and inclusion of such courses must be approved by the student’s advisor, the Department’s Graduate Program Committee, and the Arts Associate Dean (Research and Graduate Studies).

The social sciences include: Anthropology, Economics, Geography and Environmental Studies, History, Justice Studies, Politics and International Studies, Psychology, Religious Studies, Sociology and Social Studies, and Women’s and Gender Studies.

Reading Courses:  A maximum of five reading courses are permitted.  Each of these must be approved by the student's Program Advisor and the instructor of the course.  Reading courses will only be approved when a course can be made that such courses are of key importance to the student's program.

Integrated Courses: Students are reminded that if they received credit for a integrated course (a combined senior undergraduate and graduate course) during their undergraduate programs, they may not take the course again for credit at the graduate level. An exception is seminar format courses (SOC 404/804), which may be repeated, but the method of grading at the graduate level will be as Pass/Fail or Credit/No Credit.


SOC 800 (400/401) Graduate Seminar (0)
A weekly seminar devoted to discussion of special issues in Sociology, reports of research projects, and the presentation of papers by students and faculty. Students are expected to register in the graduate seminar in two semesters.

SOC 802 (480) Advanced Sociological Theory I (3)
An advanced theory course with special consideration given to contemporary sociological theory.

SOC 803 Advanced Sociological Theory II (3)
An advanced theory course with special consideration given to classical sociological theory.

SOC 804 (404) Advanced Research Methods I (3)
An advanced research methods course with special focus on controversies in social science methodology.

SOC 805 Advanced Research Methods II (3)
Research design and the application of statistical techniques in social science research.

SOC 806 Advanced Studies in Canadian Social Theory (3)
An examination of Canadian contributions to the development of sociological theory.

SOC 808 Seminar on Class and Political Economy (3)
Development of and changes in the class structure of Canadian society and relations between class, class conflict and socio-economic growth, development and depression.

SOC 830 Seminar on Development and the Environment (3)
This seminar investigates relationships between environmental issues and development processes. Drawing upon theories such as political ecology, discourse analysis and eco-feminism, it provides a foundation for discussions of social, political and economic factors in environmental change and conflict. Issues explored may include water, agriculture, common property, and climate change.

SOC 831 Seminar on Development and Underdevelopment (3)
This seminar provides a critical examination of theory and case studies of development and underdevelopment throughout the world. A comparative, historical perspective will be emphasized. Topics may include modernization/neo-liberalism, dependent development, world-systems theory, the developmental state, global commodity chains, globalization, development discourses, gender and development, culture, and new social movements.

SOC 840 Seminar on Knowledge, Science, and Technology (3)
This seminar discusses works of major figures in the sociology of knowledge, science, and technology. Issues covered will include the nature of scientific work, the organization of science, drawing boundaries between science and non-science, gender and science, social relations of technology, and the epistemological and political authority of science.

SOC 841 Sociological Issues in Knowledge Production (3)
This course examines issues in the production, transmission, and use of knowledge. Topics may include debates in the sociology of knowledge, the evolution of knowledge institutions and/or knowledge work, case studies of knowledge production, and the implications of various regimes governing knowledge production and dissemination and their alternatives.

SOC 850 Gender, Race and Ethnicity (3)
This course analyses social justice issues in gender, race and ethnicity. It provides an advanced perspective on such topics as construction of difference, discrimination, racialization, assimilation and the interplay of gender, ethnicity, race, and other social factors.

SOC 851 Social Justice Issues in Crime, Deviance, and Normalization (3)
This course examines explanation, theory construction, measurement procedures, and techniques for data collection and analysis within the sociology of crime and deviance.

SOC 880AA-ZZ Selected Topics in Sociology (3)
Selected topics in sociology to be offered as required.

SOC 890AA-ZZ Directed Readings (3)
Directed readings in selected topics.

SOC 901 Research (3-15)
Thesis research.

SOST 800 (400) Graduate Seminar (0)
A weekly seminar devoted to a discussion of special issues in interdisciplinary social sciences, reports of research projects, and presentations by students and faculty. Students are expected to register in the graduate seminar in two semesters

SOST 801 Interdisciplinary Issues in the Social Sciences (3)
A framework for interdisciplinary studies in the social sciences, examining the roles of complexity, uncertainty, and change in areas of social reality not normally covered by established disciplines. An emphasis on conceptual and methodological integration, developing alternative forms of conceptualization, constructing interdisciplinary research questions, and devising unique research strategies.

SOST 811 Social Research Projects (3)
A research project to be supervised by faculty. The project could involve research within the University or be done in cooperation with government agencies or other groups outside the University.

SOST 880AA-ZZ Selected Topics in Social Studies (3)
Selected topics in social studies to be offered as required.

SOST 890AA-ZZ Directed Readings (3)
Directed readings in selected topics with an interdisciplinary focus.

SOST 901 Research (3-15)
Thesis research