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The Department of Sociology at McMaster University


Sociology is the study of individuals, groups, patterned behaviours, and social institutions such as the family, education, health and health care, the criminal justice system, media, paid and unpaid work, and politics.

At the core of sociology is a concern with various types of social inequality and movements for social change. Sociologists study a wide range of issues in a way that helps to explain the relationship between our personal experiences and the wider organization of society.

Sarah Adjekum

BA Sociology, BSW, McMaster University2014

Mental Health Crisis Worker at Hamilton’s Good Shepherd Barrett Centre

“Our primary aim is to empower our guests and give them the tools they need to have control over their lives. They are incredibly resilient; often having a secure safety net can prevent them from falling into crisis again. I am intimately aware of structural barriers that can impede positive life outcomes and passionate about eradicating these barriers and empowering individuals to realize their full potential.”

Focus of Study

You'll Learn About...

  • Aging
    Provides students with a strong sociological foundation of knowledge on aging.
  • Individuals and Society
    A focus on the study of individuals, their perspectives and their interaction with others.
  • Social Inequalities
    Examines inequalities based on race, gender and class.
  • Deviance and Social Problems
    Focuses on social factors contributing to deviant behaviours and social problems in society.
  • Work and Occupations
    Explores the social and health implications of employment, unemployment, domestic labour and labour unions.
  • Sociological Methods
    Provides the methodological tools for analysis.

You'll Also study...

  • Health and Health Care
    Examines the effectiveness of the delivery of health care in Canada and other countries.
  • Race, Ethnicity and Immigration
    Examines social issues surrounding ethnicity and race.
  • Ideology and Culture
    Examines how the culture of a society is expressed and is transformed through outlets such as sports, the mass media and the internet.
  • Sociological Theory
    Provides the conceptual tools for analyzing social life.
  • Gender, Sexualities and Family
    Examines the role of gender in society, and focuses on the relationships among gender, sexuality, family, work, and broader political and economic institutions in society.
  • Education
    Describes the nature of the educational system.

Applying to the Sociology Program


All Social Sciences students start in the Level 1 program. You will apply for the Sociology program at the end of your first year after successful completion of the Social Sciences Level 1 program including Sociology 1Z03.

Note that the Honours Sociology Specialist Option is the most appropriate program for students who are considering graduate studies in Sociology.

  • Honours Sociology B.A.
    Grade Point Average of 5.0 (C) including a grade of at least 5.0 (C) in SOCIOL 1Z03 or SOCIOL 1A06 A/B.
  • Combined Honours B.A. in Sociology & Another Subject
    Grade Point Average of 5.0 (C) including a grade of at least 5.0 (C) in SOCIOL 1Z03 or SOCIOL 1A06 A/B. Satisfaction of admission requirements for the Honours program in the other B.A. subject.

  • Honours Sociology B.A. (Specialist Option)
    Grade Point Average of 5.0 (C) including a grade of at least 5.0 (C) in SOCIOL 1Z03 or SOCIOL 1A06 A/B.

  • Combined Honours B.A. in Sociology (Specialist Option) & Another Subject
    Grade Point Average of 5.0 (C) including a grade of at least 5.0 (C) in SOCIOL 1Z03 or SOCIOL 1A06 A/B. Satisfaction of admission requirements for the Honours program in the other B.A. subject.
  • Minor in Sociology
    SOCIOL 1Z03 or SOCIOL 1A06 A/B (6 units), Levels 2 or 3 Sociology, of which at least 9 units are level 3  Sociology.

    For more information about the sociology program, check out the undergraduate calendar and visit the Sociology website.

Honours Sociology Degree Details

Sociology faculty excel in both teaching and research? Our faculty are currently involved in the following research projects:

Research Projects

  • Environmental consequences of the war on illicit drugs in Colombia
  • How politics shape reputations- the case of George Soros
  • Female employment and escape from poverty among recent immigrants
  • Social factors that shape evaluation processes
  • Health consequences of job insecurity
  • Traditional weddings and the reinforcement of heterosexuality
  • Alliances between settler-Canadians and indigenous people
  • Modern life and Hassidic communities
  • Neighbourhood composition, work-family conflict and distress
  • The global immigration consulting industry
  • Anti-slavery movements in the United States


  • Lawrence Krader, noetics and social theory
  • Applied regression analysis and statistical computing
  • Comparative analysis of polygamy
  • The construction of social problems
  • Media and the promotion of the Canadian music industry
  • Aging and society
  • Sexual behaviour in Canada
  • Workplace health and safety
  • Active learning in the classroom
  • Cultural representations of health

Build Your Skills


The Sociology program at McMaster offers a wide variety of courses in such areas as culture, deviance, education, family, gender, ethnic and race relations, health and health care, media, methods, occupations, organizations, theory, sexualities, social inequality, technologies, and work.

Experiential learning, inquiry-based learning, and problem-based learning is emphasized.

The broad aims of the program are to provide students with a strong skill set that includes:

  • Clear and logical thinking, analytical skills
  • Compiling ideas and facts in a clear, organized and concise manner
  • Writing and presenting reports and essays, expressing ideas clearly and logically
  • Planning and organizing work leading to the solution of a problem
  • Identifying and locating sources of information
  • Managing time in order to meet multiple demands
  • Negotiation and group work
  • Interviewing techniques, statistical analysis using software packages
  • Supporting arguments and decisions with facts and statistics

Our graduates have been successful at finding interesting and rewarding careers in a range of fields in both the public and private sectors

Examples of career paths include:

  • Applied Social Research
  • Counselor
  • Data Analyst
  • Human Resources Specialist
  • Human Rights Worker
  • Journalist
  • Lawyer (after completing law school)
  • Office Manager
  • Policy Analyst
  • Protective Services (e.g., police officer, probation or parole officer) Human and Social
  • Services (e.g., youth services, mental health services)
  • Teaching (after completing teachers college)
  • Volunteer Coordinator

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