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Education, family, culture, social class and gender impact so much of our social experience and world view. Sociology explains how these personal experiences interact with the organizational context of society.

Sociologists conduct research on:

  • relationships between individuals (e.g. friendships or intimate relationships)
  • relations between groups (e.g. tensions between workers and owners)
  • processes such as socialization (e.g. how children learn within their cultural setting or institution)
  • the role of institutions in society (e.g. education, families, the mass media and government)

Sociology offers a breadth of courses including: the sociological aspects of crime and deviance, the environment, immigration, sexualities and work.

Employers value sociology graduates. The critical thinking, communication and problem-solving skills learned apply to a wide range of employment opportunities.

photo of Tianna Follwell

Tianna Follwell

Honours Sociology (Specialist Option) BA, McMaster University2019

“I love my program because the professors are so kind and knowledgeable. Their support, advice and willingness to connect me with other scholars outside of McMaster have been a phenomenal resource for my future career.”

Focus of Study

You'll learn about...

  • Aging
    Provides students with a strong sociological foundation of knowledge on aging.
  • Individuals & 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 & Social Problems
    Focuses on social factors contributing to deviant behaviours and social problems in society.
  • Work & 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 & Health Care
    Examines the effectiveness of the delivery of health care in Canada and other countries.
  • Race, Ethnicity & Immigration
    Examines social issues surrounding ethnicity and race.
  • Ideology & Culture
    Examines how the culture of a society is expressed and is transformed through outlets such as sports, mass media and internet.
  • Sociological Theory
    Provides the conceptual tools for analyzing social life.
  • Gender, Sexualities & 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.

Sociology Degree Options

All Social Sciences students start off in Level I. At the end of first-year, students who meet the requirements outlined below can pursue one of the following degree options in Sociology:

  • Honours B.A.
    Grade Point Average of 5.0 (C) including an average of at least 5.0 (C) in SOCIOL 1Z03.
  • Honours B.A. Specialist
    Grade Point Average of 5.0 (C) including an average of at least 5.0 (C) in SOCIOL 1Z03.

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

  • Combined Honours B.A. in Sociology (Specialist) & Another Subject
    Grade Point Average of 5.0 (C), including an average of 5.0 (C) in SOCIOL 1Z03. Satisfaction of admission requirements for the Honours program in the other B.A. subject.
  • B.A.
    Level I Grade Point Average of 3.5 including a grade of at least 4.0 (C-) in SOCIOL 1Z03.

Please note that the Specialist option is targeted to those interested in pursuing graduate studies.


The Department of Sociology also offers the following minor, which can be taken alongside another degree program:

  • Minor in Sociology

Sociology Program Details

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

More research

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

Build Your Skills

Skill development

  • Solving problems using critical, reasoned thought
  • Communication skills gained through verbal presentations, discussions and debates
  • Knowledge of social research, quantitative methods, research ethics and fieldwork
  • Experience writing descriptive reports and analytical papers
  • Ability to analyze root causes of social problems, and work towards solutions with diverse groups of people
  • Compiling ideas and facts in a clear, organized and concise manner
  • 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
  • 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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