Why Study Sociology?

Masked volunteers unloading food boxes from a truck
Photo by Joel Muniz on Unsplash

From understanding health and disability, global inequality, to crime, deviance and more — the study of Sociology equips you with the tools to address our world's most pressing issues.

As a Sociology student at UTM, you'll join a community of hands-on, dedicated and compassionate educators, researchers and students who are continually redefining our understanding of our social world. 


On this page:


What makes Sociology at UTM distinctive?

Sociology at University of Toronto is one of the highest-ranked sociology departments in the world

Programs and research with a timely, real world relevance

  • From studying the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on single mothers to social justice movements and more — our courses, programs and research deal with the world's most pressing issues and hot topics.
  • As a Sociology graduate, you'll develop the skills and intellectual tools to become an engaged and informed citizen.

A lush campus and strong sense of community

  • In addition to the program and department, as a Sociology student at UTM, you'll be immersed in a truly extraordinary campus experience, participating in learning opportunities led by the world-class educators, scientists and researchers that you'd expect from Canada's largest and most acclaimed university.
  • At the same time, you'll also enjoy the down-to-earth sense of community that a campus – situated on 225 acres of lush, protected greenbelt – can provide.

A friendly, supportive and welcoming learning environment

  • The Sociology department at UTM is also comprised of hands-on, warm, compassionate and open-minded staff and faculty. Our faculty members are wholeheartedly dedicated to their research interests and to helping their students along each step of their academic journey.

Programs

Undergraduate

The Department of Sociology offers Specialist, Major and Minor programs in Sociology, and Specialist and Major undergraduate programs in Criminology, Law & Society:

  • Sociology
    • Sociology is the systematic study of the social world. These programs provide in-depth knowledge of facts, concepts and theories specific to topics within sociology, such as health and disability, global inequality, social class, sexuality and gender, race and ethnicity, culture, crime and deviance, immigration, and power and politics. 
  • Criminology, Law & Society
    • The Criminology, Law & Society programs take an interdisciplinary approach to understanding and explaining law, crime and criminal justice. You'll have the chance to select courses in Anthropology, Forensic Science, Philosophy, Political Science, Sociology, Psychology, and Women and Gender Studies to satisfy program requirements. 

To learn more, see the Programs & Courses page.

Graduate

We are tightly integrated with the Graduate Program, where we engage in intellectual exchange with a large and vibrant group of colleagues across the three campuses and offer a high-class graduate program housed at St. George, staffed and run by faculty from the three U of T campuses.


Skills you'll develop

  • Communication: develop and write research papers; articulate concepts and ideas; present data using graphs, tables and diagrams; summarize findings; public speaking; actively listen and engage in discussions.
  • Research and technical: plan and conduct research using appropriate methodologies; collect data ethically; analyze quantitative and qualitative data; use statistical software packages.
  • Critical thinking and problem-solving: analyze social phenomena and structures; evaluate major sociological concepts, theories and debates; reflect on historical and contemporary social issues; synthesize information; identify problems and develop solutions, including policy, recommendations and change orientation.
  • Organizational: identify goals; manage time; multitask; work independently and collaboratively with others.

Career opportunities

Studying Sociology provides you with the interdisciplinary training to address some of the world's most pressing social issues. Graduates embark on a range of fulfilling career paths, working in research and policy institutions, non-profit organizations, substance abuse treatment centres, mediation firms, unions/workers’ compensation boards, consulting firms and more.

While not exhaustive, here's a list of career options that are available to you as a Sociology graduate (some require further education and experience):

Government

  • Economic Development Officer
  • Activist
  • Border Services Officer
  • Census Field Officer
  • Citizenship and Immigration Officer
  • Foreign Service Officer
  • Human Rights Officer

 Business/Communications

  • Advertising Account Executive
  • Communications Specialist
  • Diversity Coordinator
  • Fundraiser
  • Human Resources Specialist
  • Journalist
  • Labour Relations Officer

Corrections/Law/Courts

  • Aboriginal Liaison Officer
  • Bailiff
  • Bylaw Enforcement Officer
  • Case Management Officer
  • Correctional Officer
  • Court Administrator / Clerk
  • Court Reporter

Community Affairs

  • Addictions Counsellor
  • Adoption Counsellor
  • Child and Youth Worker
  • Developmental Service Worker
  • Employment / Career Counsellor
  • Family Justice Counsellor
  • Health Care Administrator

For a full list of career opportunities, visit the Careers by Major - Sociology and Criminology, Law & Society pages.


Courses you'll take

The following are just a few of the courses available to you:

Dark and dingy alley in Liverpool
Photo by Robin Wersich on Unsplash

SOC450H5 - Walls to Bridges: Carceral Seminar

Based on the Walls to Bridges Program model, this seminar course matches a group of University of Toronto Mississauga students ("outside" students) with an approximately equal number of incarcerated students ("inside" students) who study together as peers at an off-campus setting. Topics vary from term to term. All class sessions are held inside the institution (e.g., penitentiary, detention centre, halfway house, etc.). Inside and outside students work together on small teams to develop and present a final project.

SOC423H5 - Identity Crime

This interactive course concentrates on identity theft and fraud, while also examining the broader context of privacy, national security and organized crime.

SOC206H5 - Introduction to the Sociology of Genocide

This lecture course will lead you through an in-depth consideration of why genocides occur.

SOC328H5 -  Drugs in the City

This course will explore illegal urban drug markets in Canada and the United States. Specifically, it will focus on how urban drug markets and drug use are influenced by drug cycles, moral panics, the economy, and criminal justice policy. 

For a full list of courses, see UTM's Academic Calendar.


Additional resources