Choosing Your Program

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Choosing Your Program

Wondering which path is right for you? No matter which entry program you begin in, you can complete an Honours BA, a combined Honours BA, or complement your degree with a minor or affiliated certificate. There are over 260 combinations from which you can choose.

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Why you should choose an Honours Degree

A Social Sciences Honours degree will set you apart from other applicants for jobs, professional training, or graduate schools, and will prepare you well for your future, whatever path you choose to take.

  • Opens the option to focus on two areas of study in a Combined Honours program. This option is not available to students in a three-year BA program.
  • Become eligible to complete a minor (24 units) in another subject area. Minors are only open to students enrolled in an Honours program.
  • Participate in the Study Abroad program in your third year of study. Only open to Honours students.
  • Receive advanced training in your area of expertise in small fourth-year seminars. Get to know your professors (critical for graduate school application references) and classmates in the small seminar classes, and develop your skills in communication, teamwork and research.
  • You can conduct your own research through an Honours Thesis, Research Project or Capstone course.
  • You will receive the necessary academic preparation for graduate school. Most graduate schools require at least a BA Honours for entry.
  • Looks good on your résumé. Demonstrate to employers that you have developed strong skills and abilities that can be transferred to the workplace. You will have completed a high quality, highly selective program of study and research.
  • Unlock the ability to transfer to a graduate program with a three-year degree if you are admitted to a professional program.
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Types of Honours Degrees

For many students, the first step to earning a degree is choosing a major or program of study. A major is the broad area of study or discipline in which a student chooses to study, such as Anthropology, Labour Studies or Political Science. Within a BA Honours degree (four years) in your chosen area of study, there may also be an option to select a Specialist Option or a Specialization. 

  • An Honours degree indicates a broad knowledge in your chosen major. You will take approximately half of your upper-level courses (45-48 units) in one main subject area. 
  • An Honours Specialist Option encourages you to deepen your knowledge in your area of study, focusing your undergraduate degree to prepare you to move on to graduate studies.  You will take more units in the main subject area than for the Honours degree (48-54 units), and some of these courses will be taught at a more academically rigorous level.  
    • Faculty of Social Sciences departments that offer Honours Specialist Option programs include Economics and Sociology. 
  • An Honours Specialization provides a specific area of emphasis or focus within your chosen major, requiring you to take 54-66 units of coursework within your area of study. A specialization provides preparation to proceed to a higher degree, but its primary function is to provide a comprehensive education at the undergraduate level. A specialization can help inform potential employers about your specific area of interest and expertise.  
    • Faculty of Social Sciences departments that offer Honours Specialization programs include Health Aging & Society, Political Science, and Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour. 

If you are eager and motivated, you will succeed regardless of whether you select a generalist approach (Honours) or a specific area of focus (Honours Specialist Option or Honours Specialization). 

Would you like more information about Specialist Option programs or Specializations? Speak with the department representatives at the Level 2 Virtual Showcase.

Choose a program option below for further detail and specific academic requirements: 

Honours Economics (Specialist Option) (B.A.) 

Honours Sociology (Specialist Option) (B.A.) 

Honours Aging & Society Specialization in Mental Health and Addiction (B.A.) 

Honours Health & Society Specialization in Mental Health and Addiction (B.A.) 

Honours Political Science Specialization in Global Citizenship (B.A.) 

Honours Political Science Specialization in Public Law and Judicial Studies (B.A.) 

Honours Psychology Neuroscience & Behaviour – Mental Health Specialization (B.A.) 

Honours Psychology Neuroscience & Behaviour – Music Cognition Specialization (B.A.) 

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McMaster/Mohawk Affiliated Certificate Program

Get an Honours degree and a college certificate in four years using your elective credits! No extra time or course fees. 

The McMaster/Mohawk affiliated certificate program allows you to earn a degree and a specialized certificate concurrently. Take advantage of the practical, hands-on skills gained through a Mohawk College certificate without leaving the McMaster campus. 

This program is exclusive to McMaster Social Sciences students and offers an innovative way to balance the theoretical knowledge you expect from a university education with the practical application traditionally offered in college. Students will gain desired practical skills, taught by working professionals in the field. All courses are taught on campus by Mohawk College instructors. 


Learn more about the Mohawk certificates

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Internships, Careers and Experiential Education

Internships, careers and experiential education.

The Careers & Experiential Education team supports programming related to career development, experiential teaching and learning, and more! Beginning in Level II, you can take Social Sciences 2EL0: Introduction to Career Planning in the Social Sciences, a six-week, tuition-free course focusing on career exploration and job search strategies. Students who earn a ‘pass’ in 2EL0 are eligible to apply for positions in our optional, paid Internship Program, either on a full-time or part-time basis.

Our team also assists instructors with delivering experiential learning, for example, through in-course academic placements and field experiences. In terms of extra-curricular experiences, individual students and teams are eligible for funding and awards to support experiential and community-related initiatives. If you’re interested in career development or getting unique experiences, reach out to our team!


Learn more about Careers & Experiential Education

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Academic Advising

Academic Advising: Providing students with the information and guidance they need to succeed in their academic careers.

The Mission of the Academic Advising Office is to assist students in the Faculty of Social Sciences in realizing their full potential. The academic advising staff interacts with students in a variety of settings, evaluating their needs and teaching them how to navigate the post-secondary education system. We work with students to develop and implement individual plans for the purpose of achieving both academic and personal goals.


Academic Advisors provide support in the following areas:
  • Identifying individual education goals.
  • Programs and course registration.
  • Interpretation of academic regulations.
  • Academic work accommodations.
  • Exploring resources available on campus.


Book an appointment to speak to an Advisor

How to Apply to a Level II Program

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Level II Program Selection

Select a department below to learn more about their program options.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is Anthropology?

Anthropology examines human cultural differences across time and space, helping to broaden our understanding of what it means to be human in an increasingly cosmopolitan and globalized world. 


2. What are the program options for Anthropology and what GPA/courses do I need? 

Program options are:

3. What are some of the career pathways available to an Anthropology graduate?

Some careers you may pursue with an Anthropology degree include: 

  • Archaeology & Cultural Resource Management
  • Human Resources
  • Health & Genomic Research
  • Foreign Aid
  • Refugee Services
  • Marketing and Research Consulting
  • Historical Tourism
  • Education & Teaching
  • Museum Work
  • Public Health
  • Law Enforcement
  • Qualitative & Ethnographic Researcher

We inhabit an increasingly globalized and multicultural world where there is a demand for the skills that anthropology graduates cultivate during their undergraduate degree.  


Anthropology students learn critical thinking, presentation and writing skills, how to engage and negotiate with diverse audiences, how to conduct both qualitative and quantitative research and how to mitigate conflict. Many large corporations, including Google, Facebook and Apple, hire anthropologists to do qualitative and ethnographic research.  


Other anthropologists find work in government (e.g. to develop anti-racist curriculum for the Ontario government), and in non-governmental or foreign aid organizations, like the Red Cross. Many anthropology students find work in Cultural Resource Management, where they are hired to assess or excavate archaeological sites on properties prior to construction and development. Another large and growing field of anthropology is medical anthropology. Many medical anthropologists work alongside doctors and other health care professionals to implement positive changes in health care and delivery of health services, with an emphasis on eliminating social and economic barriers to heath care.


4. What are some experiential opportunities that exist in the program?

Several experiential education opportunities are available for students. Our archaeology program has labs, artifact storage and research facilities both on the main campus and at McMaster Innovation Park, where many students have volunteered or worked closely with graduate students and faculty members on various collections in the Sustainable Archaeology Lab.


Each spring/summer, we also offer at least one of our two field schools: Anthropology 3BF3 is a 3-credit field school in bioarchaeology, held in Italy. During this field school, students learn to excavate and analyze human skeletal remains and associated artifacts. We also offer a local field school in Hamilton, Anthropology 3CC6. This 6-credit course is held on the property of the Royal Botanical Gardens. Students learn how to excavate, analyze and conduct lab-work in a local archaeological context. In addition to these opportunities, many students work or volunteer in our Ancient DNA lab, or in our Sensory Ethnography Lab in social-cultural anthropology.


5. I’m from another program. Can Anthropology courses that I’ve taken to complete my “program” course lists also count towards the Anthropology minor?

Yes, they do. All courses listed as options for Anthropology’s minor will count.


6. What is an Independent Research course?

We offer our Independent Research courses at the third and fourth-year levels. These courses represent a chance for students, in partnership with a professor, to customize a course based upon mutual interests in any of anthropology’s subfields. These courses often involve literature reviews or more experiential opportunities such as lab work or analysis.


7. Do Anthropologists only study faraway cultures and ancient civilizations?

No. For anthropologists, almost any topic in any society, past or present, is fair game. You are just as likely to see an anthropologist studying gender in Vanuatu, or social status on an ancient Roman archaeological site, as you are to see an anthropologist explore issues of food security in Hamilton.  


Anthropology Program Brochure

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is Economics?

Economics is the science of choice. Economists study human behaviour as it relates to the allocation of scarce resources, and how resource allocation affects people’s well-being.


2. What are the program options for Economics? What GPA/courses do I need?

Program options are:

3. What is the Economics Specialist Option Degree and how is it different from the other Honours Economics Degrees?

The Honours BA Specialist Option stream provides the same solid grounding in Economics as the Honours BA stream, with a minimal but highly specific differentiation. The Specialist Option requires an additional econometrics course that is a necessary preparation for econometrics courses to be taken in MA in Economics programs.


4. I am a Direct Entry Economics Student. Do I still have to declare a major?

Students will have the opportunity to declare a major at the end of first year based on the Level 1 course requirements.


5. What are popular double majors?

There are many options for double majors with an Economics degree. Popular programs include Political Science, Labour Studies and Sociology.


6. Are there certain topics I can focus on within the Economics program?

Yes! Students can choose upper year courses that focus on health, econometrics, labour, sports, society and many more!


7. How can I become involved as an Economics student?

Join the McMaster Economics Society (MES)! The MES is a student-run organization dedicated to enhancing the experience of all students with a passion for Economics. We aim to provide a platform for Economics students to engage in academic and social settings outside of the classroom.For more information email econ@themsss.com or visit @mcmasterecon.


Economics Program Brochure

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is Environment & Society?

Environment and Society is concerned with the social and spatial organization of human activity. It studies people’s relationships with their natural, built and social environments. Students of this program also study these environment-society relationships using knowledge from multiple disciplines including geography, environmental studies, urban studies, and Geographic Information Science or GIS.


2. What are the program options for Environment & Society? What are the academic requirements to be considered for the program?

There is a single or combined Honours program in Environment & Society and a three-year BA degree.


Admission to the Honours programs requires completion of any Level I program with a GPA of at least 5.0 including a grade of at least C in ENVSOCTY 1HA3 or ENVSOCTY 1HB3.


Admission to the BA program requires completion of any Level I program with a GPA of at least 3.5 including a grade of C- in ENVSOCTY 1HA3 or ENVSOCTY 1HB3.


McMaster also offers certificates in Geographic Information Science and Urban Studies & Planning that students can complete alongside their degree programs. These certificates provide separate credentials which signal your expertise in a particular field of study.


Concurrent Certificate in Geographic Information Science (GIS)
Concurrent Certificate in Urban Studies & Planning


Students can also elect to complete an Interdisciplinary Minor in Sustainability

3. What can I do with this degree? 

Environment & Society, like all social science degrees, focuses on equipping students with a range of transferable skills that are useful in a variety of careers. These include things like critical thinking, written and oral communication skills, and data analysis and interpretation.


Students in Environment & Society programs are well positioned for graduate training and careers in some specific fields including urban and regional planning, environmental assessment, sustainability management and GIS.


4. What are some experiential opportunities in the program?

From Level II onwards, there are many opportunities for students to take part in fieldwork and applied assignments. Students also collaborate to collect data and analyze real-world problems.


At the beginning of the third year, students have a choice of field courses where they can develop research skills related to environmental monitoring and assessment, or human geography and urban planning. These week-long intensive courses are a great way to learn skills and build relationships with other members of our undergraduate community.


There are also have opportunities for internships in private, public and non-profit settings. Students interested in GIS have interned at the Weather Network and at Lowe’s Canada. Some students have also been interested in urban issues and worked with the City of Hamilton’s planning department, while others have worked with the Bay Area Restoration Council on issues related to environmental education, and the cleanup and restoration of Hamilton’s waterfront. For those students who prefer to remain on campus, we also have internship and independent study opportunities.


5. What are some of the topics covered by courses in the Environment and Society programs?

Courses cover topics including urban environments, economy and transportation, environmental policy, health and population change and Geographic Information Science (GIS). There are also a series of core courses on fieldwork, data analysis & research methods.


6. I’m interested in working in GIS. Will this program give me the skills I need?

These courses allow students to master the use of tools to gather, manage and analyze spatial data. Advanced courses in coding and web-based GIS are also available, so students can develop their own software tools. There is also a dedicated GIS lab within the school where students gain hands-on experience that can help meet the requirements for professional certification offered by the GIS Certification Institute.


7. I’m interested in urban planning. Is this the right program for me? 

Courses dealing with how cities are planned and organized and how cities can respond effectively to major challenges such as transportation gridlock, housing affordability and climate change are available. These courses provide an excellent starting point for graduate planning programs and careers in planning.


8. What’s the difference between Environment & Society and Environmental Science?

The Environment & Society BA program focuses on the relationships between people and the environment, while the Environmental Sciences BSc program focuses on the processes and features of natural environments.


9. Do I have to be an environmentalist to enter this program?

Students in this program have a variety of beliefs and perspectives about the environment and humans’ place in it. This program includes students interested in natural resource development, planning policy, environmental law, and environmental conservation. Our program prioritizes critical thinking and problem solving over teaching any one perspective about the environment.

Environment & Society Program Brochure

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is Health, Aging & Society?

Health, Aging & Society examines the relationship between health and aging on a socio-cultural, economic, and political level. Students and researchers investigate people’s complex health needs, expectations, and experiences across the life course.


2. What are the program options for Health, Aging & Society and what GPA/courses do I need?

Please note that there is limited enrolment in our programs and possession of the published minimum requirements does not guarantee admission. Minimum requirements are:

3. I am a direct entry Health, Aging & Society student. Do I still have to declare a major?

Yes, direct entry Health, Aging & Society students should still select and declare a major.


4. What can I do with this degree (career pathways)?

Many of our students go to graduate school and pursue programs in Occupational Health, Public Health, Business, Social Work, and Global Health, among others.

Graduates have been successful at finding careers in a range of fields, including:

– Health Policy/Social Policy Research

– Project Coordinators

– Care Coordinators

– Volunteer Coordinators

– Education Coordinators (i.e. Alzheimer’s Society)

– Marketing

– Human Resources Management

– Administration Education

– Recreation/Activation staff in Long-term care

– Law

– Public Health

– Occupational Therapy

– Physiotherapy

– Medicine Chiropractic School

– Social Work


5. What are some experiential opportunities in the program?

We offer field experience opportunities where students work closely with professionals in an area of interest during their third year. Examples of these include placements at the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care, nursing homes, the Hamilton Health Department and many others.


6. Why complete a degree with the Department of Health, Aging and Society?

– Our team has designed our programs to appeal to a wide range of undergraduate students.

– Our degrees have limited enrolment and as a result, our classes are smaller.

– We employ faculty members from a wide variety of disciplines including Sociology, Human Geography, Social Work, Political Science, Labour Studies, Social Psychology, Economics, History, Gerontology, and Public Health.

– We emphasize experiential learning in our teaching.

– This program provides students with diverse content and skills which open up various opportunities for graduate studies and/or careers.


7. What are the benefits of completing a degree in Health and Aging?

Students completing a degree with our Department can expect to gain general skills in critical analysis, writing, oral presentation, critical analysis and understanding of health and aging from a social science perspective. This includes but is not limited to theories explaining health inequalities, the organization of health systems, as well as how they may impact public health, the social systems and how they affect our aging populations, and the social aspects of aging.


Health, Aging & Society Program Brochure

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is Indigenous Studies?

Indigenous Studies focuses on the intellectual, cultural, and socio-political traditions of Indigenous peoples. It offers a unique approach to education by leading with Indigenous ways of knowing in academic scholarship.


2. What are the program options for Indigenous Studies and what GPA/courses do I need?

The program options are:

3. What can I do after graduation with an Indigenous Studies degree?

In the Indigenous Studies Program, students learn about Indigenous cultures, spirituality, social systems, history, language, and contemporary issues. Students also develop a broad interdisciplinary knowledge base, which can lead to careers in the fields of:

– Education

– Advocacy & Social Services

– Business

– Law

– Policy & Governance

– Medicine & Health Care

– Graduate Studies


4. What are some experiential opportunities in the program?

The Indigenous Studies Program believes that in order to deliver the most knowledge-rich courses possible, we must incorporate knowledge keepers and elders from local indigenous communities into both academic programming and service delivery for students. For example, the Elder in Residence Program, who pays weekly visits and does crafts with students, advises and shares cultural knowledge with the community.


5. Who will I learn from?

A mix of community experts, and elders, and world-class research academics teach Indigenous Studies courses.


6. What sorts of Learning Models are used?

The Indigenous Studies Program employs a variety of diverse and holistic learning models in order to offer a dynamic and student-focused education, with a focus on experiential education, alternative assessments, and community-engaged scholarship.


7. I want to take Indigenous Studies as a minor. Which Programs would this compliment?

An Indigenous Studies minor adds context and value to students in many fields within the Social Sciences, including Political Science, Sociology and Anthropology.


Indigenous Studies Program Brochure

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is Labour Studies?

Labour Studies examines the workplace, employment, labour relations, and the economy from a critical social justice perspective, and empowers students to ask how it can become more equal and meaningful for all.


2. What are the program options for Labour Studies? What GPA/courses do I need?

Program options are:

3. What can I do with this degree (career pathways)?

Labour Studies has always been a flexible degree which can launch many careers. Labour Studies combines academic and practical approaches to understanding workplaces, labour markets and other aspects of the field.


A significant proportion of students find careers in Human Resources or Labour Relations. Many pursue a second degree in law — as one of Canada’s leading experts in Labour Law is in the faculty. Health and Safety is a growing field within Labour Studies, and some students become Health and Safety Inspectors. An increasing number of our students also find careers in government, as Policy Analysts or Advisors.


4. What are some experiential opportunities in the program?

Labour Studies offers an experiential education course in every year of your major.


In the second-year, there is a Unions in Action course which allows students to form groups, choose a union to represent, craft a policy resolution to deal with a pressing issue facing that union, and then bring forward that resolution to a mock convention.


In the third-year, there is a Community Engaged Research course, which equips students to do not only academic research but also work in the field and the community.


In the fourth-year practicum, the program places students in the field, with unions, community groups, or progressive HR firms to do directed research and gain experience outside the classroom.


5. What is unique about Labour Studies?

Labour Studies is a small program, which means most classes are also small, and students form a significant and strong community in Labour Studies. The cooperative work in some of our classes such as Unions in Action help students to get to know each other and learn to work together.


We are also an interdisciplinary program. Our faculty includes Political Scientists, Legal Scholars, Sociologists, Historians, Geographers, and specialists in Health and Aging. Students in our program learn about work using different approaches and analytical tools. This also makes it very easy for students to pursue double majors, combining Labour Studies with any of the programs in Social Science, and some in Humanities, for example Communications.


Work & Labour Studies Program Brochure

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is Political Science?

Political Science is the study of power, law, and government. It explores the debates, decision-making processes and struggles that determine who gets what, how and why, and how people’s rights, obligations, and freedoms are organized at various levels of society.


2. What are the program options for Political Science and what GPA/courses do I need?

Program options are:

3. What can I do with this degree? What are the career pathways?

Some popular career paths for political science graduates include:

– Law
– Public Policy
– Diplomacy
– Education
– Public Relations
– International Governance
– Marketing
– Media
– Non-Profit Sector
– Law Enforcement
– Journalism
– Political Party Organization
– Statistical or Data Analysis
– Municipal Public Service – among many others.


4. What are some experiential opportunities in the program?

The Department of Political Science offers many opportunities for students to interact with political institutions, including:

– Political Science 3PR3 students have been placed with political parties, MPs, MPPs, city councillors, and non-governmental organizations

– Political Science 3WP3 offers credit for internships

– Political Science 3FG3 offers students paid summer internship opportunities with the Federal public service

– McMaster Public Leadership for Change Distinguished Visiting Professor

– McMaster Queen’s Park Day


5. How many students are admitted to the Specialization in Public Law & Judicial Studies, and what is the GPA cut-off?

The program admits 60 students. GPA cut-off changes every year, depending on how many students request the program. In 2020-2021, it was approximately 8.2.


6. How many students are admitted to the Specialization in Global Citizenship, and what is the GPA cut-off?

The program admits 25 students. GPA cut-off changes every year, depending on how many students request the program. In 2020-2021, it was between 6 and 7.


Political Science Program Brochure

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour?

Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour is the scientific study of brain and behaviour. It covers topics from perception to cognition to emotion and from social behaviour to psychopathology (how and why behaviours sometimes go wrong). It explores evolution and brain development and the impact of experience and environment.


2. What are the program options for Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour? What GPA/courses do I need?

Program options are:

3. What is the difference between PNB, Human Behaviour, and Social Psychology?

PNB focuses on experiment aspects of Psychology. Human Behaviour focuses on applying aspects of Psychology. Social Psychology focuses on an individual’s place in society.


4. What can I do with this degree? What are the career pathways?

With an Honours B.A. PNB degree, you can go to graduate school in experimental psychology, then become a research assistant or complete a postdoctoral fellowship and become a professor. You can also go to graduate school in experimental psychology, then become a Clinical Psychologist. You might also go to Medical School and eventually specialize to become a Psychiatrist.


If you develop a strong background in computer science (such as machine learning or AI) during your degree, you might want to become a data analyst after graduation.


With an Honours B.A.Sc. in Human Behaviour, you go on to postgraduate degrees where you study to become a Psychotherapist. People with Human Behaviour degrees can also help non-profits, and companies understand how concepts from Psychology can apply to real-life situations.


5. What are some experiential opportunities in the program?

In the PNB programs, students can work in researchers’ labs on projects in Level 2, 3 and 4. There is also a fourth-year thesis opportunity which can be a great jumping off point for graduate school.


In the Human Behaviour program, students work on experiential projects in third year under faculty supervisors and on fourth-year capstone projects. These projects focus on science communication and policy.


6. Is there a math requirement for the programs?

Yes. For PNB, a student must have MATH 1LS2 or MATH 1A03 or MATH 1M03. MATH 1K03 or Grade 12 is required for Human Behaviour. Students who don’t have the math prerequisite but are otherwise admissible will get a conditional offer, and they can take the missing course in the Spring/Summer session.


7. Is there a biology requirement for the programs?

Yes, the PNB and Human Behaviour programs require Grade 12 Biology or BIO 1P03.


Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour Program Brochure

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is Society, Culture & Religion?

Society, Culture & Religion (SCaR) uses interdisciplinary approaches to study how ancient and contemporary human cultures ask and answer the ‘big questions’: “Where did we come from?”, “Where are we going?”, “What does it all mean?”


2. What are the program options for Society, Culture & Religion?

Program options are:


3. What can I do with this degree (career pathways)?

Recent graduates are now pursuing degrees in:

– Teaching
– Law
– Counselling
– Social Work
– Not-for-Profit Agencies
– Public Policy
– Library Science
– Civil Service
– Law Enforcement
– Human Resources Management
– Social or Human Services
– Journalism
– Social Activism
– Conflict Resolution


4. What are some experiential opportunities in the program?

– Many courses include field-trips to local sites.
– Several of our students have been successful in winning an USRA from Social Science’s Office of Experiential Education to conduct paid research for a particular project.
– We have many opportunities each year to hear and interact with leading scholars at sponsored lectures and workshops.
– Some of our faculty have developed opportunities for students to live and study abroad, including a course on maternal health in Morocco and extended trips to Japan.


5. Do you have to be religious?

A SCAR degree is an academic degree in the same way Anthropology and Political Science degrees are academic degrees.


The course does not train you to be religious. Indeed, many of our students and faculty have no personal religious affiliation. Although some of our graduates pursue a theological education in order to become clergy and other religious professionals, this is not the primary purpose of our program. The program welcomes all students who are interested in understanding how religious behaviours and beliefs have affected human societies historically and cross-culturally.


6. What are the required courses? 

Once you complete the Level I requirements for Social Sciences, you are invited to design your own program in consultation with departmental advisors and based on your interests and goals. The only required course is “Approaches to the Study of Religion” (SCAR 3F03).


7. What should I expect re: the structure of SCAR courses?

Most SCAR courses have modest enrolments and are often staffed by a faculty member with the addition of a graduate teaching assistant. SCAR courses focus on cultivating good writing and critical thinking. Few SCAR courses have formal final examinations.


8. What types of courses are offered?

Our courses cover topics that include:

– Health & Healing
– Death & Dying
– The Paranormal
– Conspiracy Theories
– Popular Culture
– Sport
– Film
– Gender
– Humour
– Violence
– Politics
– Ancient Texts & Scriptures
– Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity & Islam
– We also offer optional language training in Arabic, Hebrew and/or Sanskrit.


9. What about student/social opportunities? 

We have an active student club, SCARS (Society, Culture & Religion Scholars), that develops several student-led initiatives each year. We also have a strong social media presence. You will have many opportunities to know your instructors and your fellow students in and outside of the classroom!


10. Can I talk to students who have completed or are still completing the program?

Absolutely. There are two Zoom sessions available hosted by current students. You can also visit our website to read testimonials from other students, including some who graduated recently.


Society, Culture & Religion Program Brochure

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is Social Psychology?

Social Psychology seeks to understand how individuals are influenced by their relationships and social groups. We take an interdisciplinary approach to the study of self and identity, relationships, norms, attitudes, emotions, culture, intergroup relations, mental health and well-being, crime and deviance, child behaviour, and social networking.


2. What are the program options for Social Psychology? What GPA/courses do I need?

Program options are:

3. What is the difference between PNB and Social Psychology?

PNB is focused on the link between brain and behaviour, whereas Social Psychology is focused on social groups and relationships. The admission criteria is also different. in contrast to PNB, Social Psychology does not require courses in math or biology.


4. What can I do with this degree? What are the career pathways?

– Counselling/Psychotherapy
– Education & teaching
– Law
– Research/academic roles
– Occupational Therapy
– Advocacy & community organizing
– Special needs support
– Human Resources
– Public Relations
– Marketing
– Journalism
– Business
– Public Health


Many of our students who take courses in the Mental Health stream are interested in pursuing careers in counselling, psychotherapy, or occupational therapy. Several students have pursued careers in education, teaching, or other work with children.


Others have pursued research-based graduate degrees in social psychology or related social science disciplines. Law school is an option for our students who take the Law, Justice, Crime, and Deviance stream. Many of our other students have gone on to a variety of careers in social services, community organizations, non-profits, and business.


5. What are some experiential opportunities in the program?

Students complete a final-year research project that provides hands-on experience with research design, data collection, and data analysis. Students will learn valuable transferable skills such as qualitative coding and how to use statistical software. Students can also take part in paid internships, tuition-free career planning courses, academic placements, and job shadowing through the office of Experiential Education.


6. What research opportunities are available in Social Psychology?

Besides the final-year research project, students can take an independent research course that allows them to work closely with a social psychology professor. This work may include literature reviews, interviews, surveys, experiments, or data analysis.


7. What graduate programs can I apply for with this degree?

Many social psychology students apply for Master’s programs in counselling psychology, psychotherapy, or occupational therapy. Master’s programs in education or teacher’s college are also very popular with our students as well. Some of our students apply for research-based MA and PhD programs in psychology or sociology, while others apply to law school or to an MBA program.


Social Psychology Program Brochure

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is Social Work?

Social Work is a practice-based profession and an academic discipline that promotes social change and development, social cohesion, and the empowerment and liberation of people. Principles of social justice, human rights, collective responsibility and respect for diversities are central to Social Work. […] Social Work engages people and structures to address life challenges and enhance wellbeing.” International Federation of Social Workers (2014).


2. What are the program options for Social Work? What GPA/courses do I need?

Program options are:
Honours Bachelor of Social Work (B.S.W.)

Bachelor of Social Work (BSW)

Combined Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Social Work (BA/BSW)


Supplementary Application
The School of Social Work online Supplementary Application for Admission is open for September 2021. This application must be completed and submitted to the School of Social Work no later than February 1, 2021 for the September 2021 admissions applications.


S.W.A.T. (Social Work Admissions Test)
Once you have completed the Supplementary Application and submitted, you will receive a confirmation screen and your next step would be to activate your Mac ID. The S.W.A.T. will be written online through Avenue to Learn in February 2021. The available S.W.A.T. dates will be given in the Supplementary Application Form, applicants select the date preferred.


The School of Social Work will obtain a copy of your official transcripts directly from the Office of the Registrar at McMaster. You need not need to initiate this process.


3. What is the S.W.A.T and when is it written?

The S.W.A.T. or Social Work Admissions Test is one thing that is considered when deciding who to admit to the program. We give 50% consideration to your marks and 50% consideration to your score on the S.W.A.T. The S.W.A.T. is usually written in early February, but applicants must submit the Supplementary Application Form in order to be eligible to write this exam.


4. What can we expect to see on the S.W.A.T.?

Some questions assess your interest in and preparation for becoming a social worker. Other questions relate to social issues. They can take the form of case scenarios, in which you are asked how a social worker might handle a particular situation, or they can describe a social problem and you are asked to describe the major issues and your analysis of them. We are more interested in who you are and how you see the world rather than how much information you know.


5. Do I need the two first year Social Work courses to apply into the Honours BSW program? If I don’t have one of them do I have to take a summer course and apply the following year?

You need six units of intro Sociology and/or Social Work combined, as well as six additional units from the Social Sciences course list. So, you can take one Intro to Sociology and one Intro to Social Work course plus 6 additional units from the course list and be eligible.


6. What can I do with this degree? What are the career pathways?

Social Work can take you almost anywhere. It is a professional degree and here are just some of the areas you can find work:

– Child Welfare
– Hospital Social Work
– Shelter Support
– Community Development
– Early Childhood Education
– Mental Health
– Housing
– School Social Work
– Child and Family Therapy
– Policy Development


7. What are some experiential opportunities in the program?

Students have two significant placements in community agencies, one in the third-year and another in the fourth-year.  There are many experiential opportunities built into courses as well, including interviewing, advocacy work and case studies.


8. I’ve heard it’s hard to get into the program and I’m nervous! What is your suggestion for those who do not get admitted to the program but still desire to become a social worker?.

We encourage you to apply if you are passionate about Social Work! There are various pathways into the program. The program does not admit students who are currently in their first year and apply to the Honours BSW, but these students can continue to take courses and apply the following year. The Honours BSW is a 4-year program, including your first year. If applying in the second year, and admitted, you would meet with the academic advisor to ensure that you complete the program in the same time frame.


Social Work Program Brochure

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is Sociology?

Sociology is the study of how social forces such as class, race, gender and sexuality shape people and society. It studies relationships, processes, institutions, human behaviour, attitudes, and other social issues. It examines the organization of the social world, focusing particularly on inequalities between groups.


2. What are the program options for Sociology? What GPA/courses do I need?

Program options are:


3. What can I do with this degree? What are the career pathways?

A degree in Sociology provides a foundation for many careers:

– Human Resources Management
– Teaching
– Journalism
– Law and Criminal Justice
– Not-for-Profit Sector
– Policy Analysis
– Social Services
– Market Research
– Data Analysis
– Counseling or Social Work
– Business
– Protection Services
– Non-Governmental Organization Work


4. What are some experiential opportunities in the program?

Some of our courses provide experiential opportunities, most notably Sociology 4KK3 (Sociology through Community Engagement and Service). In this course, you will acquire knowledge and develop skills while helping the community.


5. How is Sociology different from Psychology?

Sociology is broader than psychology. Sociology examines the individual, as psychology does, but it also examines issues that go beyond the individual, such as the role of social institutions.


6. Is Sociology a good program if I am interested in a law-related career?

Definitely! We offer several courses on the social aspects of law (including a course titled Law and Society and another course titled Power, Conflict, and the Law). Many of our other courses address aspects of society that are connected to the law, for example deviance, immigration, media, families, environment, and imprisonment.


7.What job-related skills can be acquired through a Sociology program?

Completing a Sociology degree will give you background in various research methods, and these skills are highly marketable. You will also develop strong communication skills, analytical skills, and other skills valued by employers.


Sociology Program Brochure

Interdisciplinary Community Engagement Minor

The Interdisciplinary Minor in Community Engagement allows students to deepen and expand their understanding of communities and develop skills for principled and effective engagement. The interdisciplinary nature of the minor allows for a broad knowledge base from which to establish relationships with a range of communities both locally and globally. 


What is community engagement? 

Community-engaged education at McMaster aims to provide students with the opportunity to integrate their academic knowledge with experiences in the community to address social, economic, environmental and health concerns. It is a type of experiential education that enables students to learn from and give to communities. Community-engaged education can occur both within a course and through a co-curricular experience. 


It requires that students take CMTYENGA 2A03 and 21 additional units from three course lists that include theory, experiential and capstone courses.

Interdisciplinary Minor in Globalization Studies

The minor in Globalization Studies provides students with the opportunity to explore the complex idea of globalization from a multi-disciplinary perspective. Students will have the opportunity to complete courses from the Social Sciences, Humanities, Health Sciences and Science faculties that cover a wide variety of themes related to globalization, and will be able to tailor their course selection according to their interests.


The GLOBALZN 3A03 course is strongly recommended to all students interested in pursuing a Minor in Globalization Studies.


Learn more about the minor in Globalization