Social Sciences I
First year in Social Sciences I is the gateway to your degree program. Level I courses are designed to provide an overview of each discipline and to help you choose a program best suited to your interests.
Choose your own path
Our programs offer you an educational experience of the highest quality. Students have the opportunity to take courses in a variety of different programs and fields. Our graduates go on to enjoy considerable success, whether they enter the job market, become entrepreneurs, apply to professional schools or pursue graduate studies.
First year in Social Sciences I is your gateway to a degree program.
First year Social Sciences courses are designed to provide an overview of each discipline and to help you choose a program best suited to your interests.
The flexibility of the Level I program allows you to explore courses from a variety of disciplines. In your first year, you must take at least 18 units of required Social Sciences courses from across 12 different departments in Social Sciences. The remaining 6-12 units of courses can be chosen from Social Sciences or other Faculties like Humanities or Science. Students need a minimum of 24 units to move to Level II. If you have less than 30 units, you can make up the remaining units any time before they graduate.
At the end of your first year, you will decide upon the discipline in which you would like to specialize for your degree. Most programs in the Faculty of Social Sciences require completion of six units of course work (two half-year courses) in the discipline of choice and completion of a Level I program.
General admission requirements for Social Sciences I:
- English 4U
- 5 additional U or M courses
- 78% to 82% or higher
- ML OUAC application code
- Target enrolment = 885 students
Structure of Social Sciences I
In your first year you must take at least 18 units (six courses) of required Social Sciences courses (see below for a list). The remaining 6-12 units can be any course at McMaster. You can choose courses from the 12 different departments in Social Sciences and other Faculties like Humanities and Sciences as long as you are able to enroll in it, regardless of the area of study.
At the end of your first year, you’ll decide which discipline/program you will specialize in during Level II selection. Most disciplines/programs in the Faculty of Social Sciences require completion of 3 units of course work (one half-year course) and completion of a Level I program. This gives you the opportunity to try many different discipline areas in first year so you can select the best fit for your program of study in upper years.
Most programs have the option to be taken on their own, combined with another program, or as a Minor.
Course List 1 (introductory courses that provide entry into a degree program).
- Anthropology 1AA3 – Introduction to Anthropology: Sex, Food & Death
- Anthropology 1AB3 – Introduction to Anthropology: Race, Religion & Conflict
- Economics 1B03 – Introductory Microeconomics
- Economics 1BB3 – Introductory Macroeconomics
- Environment & Society 1HA3 – Society, Culture & Environment
- Environment & Society 1HB3 – Population, Cities & Development
- Health, Aging & Society 1AA3 – Introduction to Health & Society
- Health, Aging & Society 1BB3 – Introduction to Aging & Society
- Health, Aging & Society 1CC3 – Introduction to Mental Health & Illness
- Indigenous Studies 1A03 – Introduction to Indigenous Studies
- Indigenous Studies 1AA3 – Introduction to Contemporary Indigenous Studies
- Indigenous Studies 1B03 – Reconciling What? Indigenous Relations in Canada
- Work and Labour Studies 1D03 – Will Robots Take All of Our Jobs
- Work and Labour Studies 1E03 – Navigating the World of Work
- Political Science 1AA3 – Government, Politics & Power
- Political Science 1AB3 – Politics and Power in a Globalizing World
- Psychology 1F03 – Survey of Psychology
- Psychology 1X03 – Introduction to Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour
- Psychology 1XX3 – Foundations of Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour
- Society, Culture & Religion 1B03 – What On Earth Is Religion?
- Society, Culture & Religion 1SC3 – The Big Questions: Introduction to Society, Culture, and Religion
- Sociology 1Z03 – An Introduction to Sociology
- Social Psychology 1Z03 – An Introduction to Social Psychology
- Social Work 1AA3 – So You Think You Can Help? Introduction to Social Work I
- Social Work 1BB3 – Re-Imagining Help: Introduction to Social Work II
Course List 2 (courses available to Level I students but are not required for entry into a degree program).
- Cayuga 1Z03 – Introduction to Cayuga Language & Culture
- Globalization 1A03 – Global Citizenship
- Mohawk 1Z03 – Introduction to Mohawk Language & Culture
- Ojibwe 1Z03 – Introduction to Ojibwe Language & Culture
- Social Sciences 1RM3 – How Do We Know? Doing Social Sciences Research
- Social Sciences 1SS3 – Inquiry in the Social Sciences
- Social Sciences 1T03 – Life, the University & a Bit of Everything
To search for courses in other faculties, please visit the Academic Calendar.
Programs of Study
From Social Sciences I you may be eligible to apply to:
- Environment & Society
- Health, Aging & Society
- Indigenous Studies
- Labour Studies
- Political Science
- Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour (PNB)
- Religious Studies
- Social Psychology
- Social Work
View a full list of Level I elective courses open to all students. Course offerings vary each year; please check Mosaic for current offerings.
Social Sciences I FAQs
When and how do I choose my major?
All Level I students apply to their degree program of choice near the end of first year – including students in Economics I and Health and Society I. You will use an application in Mosaic to rank preferences and apply to your top four program choices. You can specialize in one subject or focus on two subjects equally in a combined Honours degree, such as two Social Sciences subjects or one from Social Sciences and one from another Humanities.
Where can I find a list of all the courses available at McMaster?
The Undergraduate Academic Calendar is the university’s official repository for degree information, program requirements, academic rules and regulations. It lists every course available at the university. When searching for courses, it is important to choose the most recent year of the calendar. This is a useful tool for planning out courses of interest from now until your final year. Note that this is subject to adjustment based on course availability and scheduling times as the class schedule is released for each academic year.
Here’s how: Go to the Academic Calendar > Most recent year > Course Listings > Search (Filter) by Subject (Prefix) > click on a class to see the prerequisites, then click on the prerequisite classes to see what they require. This will help you to decide which classes are most important to take each year.
Note that prerequisites can be specific classes, levels, a faculty, or a program within a faculty, specific grades in a class, or your cumulative GPA
Antirequisites are specific classes, levels, a faculty, or a program within a faculty that will prevent you from taking a class
Co-requisites are a class that you need to at least be enrolled in at the same time, if you don’t already have a final passing grade.
When can I enroll in my courses?
Enrollment for Level I students will dates will be posted here for 2023. Your specific enrollment appointment date will be posted to your Mosaic account in Student Centre on the right-hand side of the page under “Enrollment Date”. Your appointment date will be posted here for 2023.
How many courses should I take each term?
Your course load should be balanced between the Fall and Winter Terms. A full course load is typically five courses (15 units) per term but since students can move to Level II with a minimum of 24 units, and can make up the remaining units before graduation, you may consider taking a reduced course load of four courses per term (12 units). If you’re unsure if a reduced course load is right for you, contact an Academic Advisor. To maintain full-time student status, you must take at least three courses per term (9 units).
What are pre-requisites, co-requisites and anti-requisites?
A pre-requisite is a specific course or subject that you must complete before you can take another course. Anti-requisites are courses that cannot be taken before, after, or at the same time as the desired course. This is because the course content is very similar. You can check pre-requisites and anti-requisites by visiting the Undergraduate Academic Calendar, under the course description in the Course Listings section for the most recent year.
Note that prerequisites can be specific classes, levels, a faculty, or a program within a faculty, specific grades in a class, or your cumulative GPA.
Antirequisites are specific classes, levels, a faculty, or a program within a faculty that will prevent you from taking a class.
Co-requisites are a class that you need to at least be enrolled in at the same time, if you don’t already have a final passing grade in the class beforehand.
What are electives?
Electives are any course that is not used as a core required course in a students Advisement Report once they are in Level II or beyond. These may come from the Social Sciences course lists, and/or from other Faculties as long as you meet the pre-requisites. There are often limits on the number of courses in your degree subject that can be used as electives. These will be listed at the top of your “Electives” section in your Advisement Report.
For Level I the advisement report does not recognize that students can move to Level II with 24 units. There have also been no degree requirements set since that happens once a student moves into a Level II program.
Error Message: “Available seats are reserved and you do not meet the reserve capacity criteria.” What does this mean?
This message means that although seats are available, they are currently only open to certain groups of students (i.e. students majoring in that subject, students in a particular Faculty, or students in a particular Level).
This is typically done to ensure students requiring the course for their program are able to obtain a seat. You may directly contact the department and ask when they will be releasing additional seats or keep checking regularly for open seats.
Do I need to take math?
If you are interested in Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour or Economics you will need to take some math courses. Be sure to use the Enrollment Planning Worksheet to plan which courses you need to take in Level I to qualify for your desired programs in Level II.
Is there a co-op option?
McMaster’s Faculty of Social Sciences offers an education that combines academic study with hands-on experience – we call it Careers & Experiential Education (CEE). Through CEE, you can participate in paid internships, a tuition-free career planning course, academic placements in courses, and career placement job shadowing opportunities.
Are there any additional certificates or diplomas that I can earn alongside my degree?
Social Sciences students have the exclusive option of earning an additional affiliated certificate from Mohawk College while working on their degree.
The three certificate options are:
Learn more about McMaster’s certificates and diplomas on the Academic Calendar website.
I have a disability or require some form of academic accommodations. How do I receive support?
Student Accessibility Services (SAS) provides academic assistance and related supports to students with documented needs at McMaster. Please reach out to them directly at any time.
Can I study on an exchange?
Social Sciences allows eligible students to spend part or all of their third year studying abroad at an approved university. To participate you must be registered in an Honours program and have completed at least two years of study with at least a B- cumulative average.
When are my tuition fees due?
Please see the McMaster Important Dates and Deadlines website.
Not Coming Straight From an Ontario High School?
Enrolment tips for out of province/out of country high school students, graduates of colleges of applied arts & technology, McMaster Centre for Continuing Education, university transfers and mature students.
Out of Province / Out of Country High School Students
High school students from outside of Ontario and from outside Canada may require course permission to enrol in a course which requires a high school prerequisite. While the majority of courses you will select as a Social Science I student do not have high school prerequisites, others such as Math, Science and Language courses may require prior preparation.
For example, the following Level I courses require a Grade 12 or equivalent prerequisite:
Psychology 1XX3 Foundations of Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour
- Prerequisite: Grade 12 Biology U or credit or registration in one of Biology 1A03, 1M03, 1P03.
Mathematics 1M0M3 Calculus for Business, Humanities and the Social Sciences
- Prerequisite: One of Grade 12 Calculus and Vectors U, MATH 1F03 or a grade of at least B- in MATH 1K03.
Please contact Student Advising if you have questions related to your high school prerequisites. If the Faculty determines that a prerequisite has been met, permission will be coded for individual courses, allowing students to include them in their enrolment. This may take several days to complete. We strongly advise that you contact the Faculty as early as possible, as courses fill up quickly.
University Transfer Students
University transfer students are advised to consult the Undergraduate Calendar to confirm what courses are required to complete your McMaster degree. If you are considering a course with a high school prerequisite, you must contact the Office of the Associate Dean, so we may determine if you have the academic background to take the course and add the necessary course permissions.
If you have not attended secondary school or college on a full-time basis for at least two years and you have never attended university, you may be admitted as a Mature Student. When selecting your first courses, always make sure you meet the prerequisites and consider your interests.
Choose courses based on what you think you would enjoy while meeting the requirements of your Level I program. You may want to think ahead to your Level II degree program and select your courses with those in mind.
Social Sciences Level I Enrollment Guide
A guide to help with the enrolment process.
Login to Mosaic, McMaster’s student information system, to build your timetable.
This example worksheet can be helpful when organizing your class schedule.
Looking For Career Advice?
Connect with the Social Sciences Careers team.