Jul 13, 2024  
Undergraduate Calendar 2020-2021 
Undergraduate Calendar 2020-2021 [-ARCHIVED CALENDAR-]

Faculty of Social Sciences


Kenneth Taylor Hall, Room 129, ext. 23772


J. Hurley/B.A., M.A., Ph.D.


T. Prowse/B.Sc., M.A., PhD.


J. Gillett/B.A., M.A., Ph.D.


L. Giordano/B.A.


K. Cale/B.A.
T. Horton
T. Marrin/B.A.
W. Spencer/B.A.


M. Bregar/BA


C. Foley/B.A.
K. Long/B.A.
R. Talbot/B.A.


E. Way/B.A.

The Faculty offers a range of degree programs through the following Departments/Programs/Schools:

  • Aging and Society
  • Anthropology
  • Economics
  • Environment and Society
  • Health and Society
  • Indigenous Studies
  • Labour Studies
  • Political Science
  • Psychology, Neuroscience and Behaviour
  • Religious Studies/ Society, Culture & Religion
  • Social Psychology
  • Social Work
  • Sociology

The social sciences are concerned with the study of human activities and relationships and their social, political, economic, cultural and spatial contexts. Through the pre-industrial to the post-industrial eras, social scientists examine social, economic, cultural and political issues experienced by individuals, groups, and societies as well as the interactions between people and their environments, both natural and built.

There are various opportunities for students to link their academic goals with their career interests. These experiential education initiatives include, but are not limited to, inquiry, internships, academic placements, a career planning course, student project grants, and undergraduate summer research awards.

Students are strongly advised to take advantage of the extensive advisory services provided by the Faculty. New students in particular should plan a program of study that will allow them a number of options for Level II.

The Faculty of Social Sciences encourages students to become engaged in a wide variety of learning opportunities. These experiences can enrich learning, open new fields of study, and build transferable skills that prepare you for further academic work and for a range of careers.

Degree Programs

Honours Programs (Honours Bachelor of Arts)

Honours Bachelor of Arts programs consist of a total of 120 units of work normally completed over four years. Honours programs provide a concentration in the particular field, as well as an extended time of study, and are normally a requirement for those who contemplate proceeding to graduate studies.

Combined Honours Bachelor of Arts Programs

Subject to possible timetable restrictions, and provided that the student meets the requirements for entry into each of the relevant Honours programs, a student may combine work in any two departments and be graduated with a Combined Honours degree. These combinations are available within the Faculty, with programs in the Faculty of Humanities, and with the Arts and Science Program. All Combined Honours programs must be approved by both Departments concerned as well as by the Office of the Associate Dean(s) Studies. Students will normally complete approximately 36 units of work beyond Level I in each component of the program (normally 12 units per level in each subject). The Honours B.A. Social Psychology and Honours Bachelor of Social Work programs are not available in combination with another subject.

Honours Bachelor of Social Work (B.S.W.)

The Honours Bachelor of Social Work (Honours B.S.W.) program is a professional Honours program consisting of 120 units of work, typically completed over four years. Students who have already received one or more undergraduate degrees may apply to the Bachelor of Social Work (B.S.W.) program consisting of 60 units of work, typically completed over two years.

Bachelor of Arts Programs:

B.A. programs consist of a total of 90 units of work, normally completed over three years. Three-level Combined Bachelor’s degree programs are available only in Indigenous Studies and Another Subject. The other subject may be from the Faculty of Social Sciences or the Faculty of Humanities.

Options to Combine with a Degree


A Minor is an option available to students enrolled in a four- or five-level program. Normally students must complete a minimum of 24 units in the Minor subject. Students are responsible for ensuring that the courses taken meet the requirements for a Minor. Students who have the necessary requirements may apply for recognition of that Minor when they graduate. If granted, this recognition will be recorded on the student’s transcript.

Within the Faculty of Social Sciences, Minors are available to students registered in an Honours program provided that the subject area of the Minor is not integral to the requirements of their degree program. At least 12 units (above Level 1) toward the Minor must be considered elective to the degree.

Please see Minors in the General Academic Regulations section of this Calendar for further information. All courses have an enrolment capacity and the Faculty cannot guarantee registration in courses, even when all requisites have been met. Therefore, the completion of a Minor is not guaranteed.

Minors offered by the Faculty of Social Sciences include:

  • Anthropology
  • Asian Studies
  • Economics
  • Diversity and Equity
  • Gender, Sexualities, and Families
  • Health, Aging and Society
  • Health, Well-Being and Religion
  • Immigration, Race Relations, and Indigenous-Settler Relations
  • Indigenous Studies
  • Japanese Studies
  • Justice, Law and Order
  • Labour Studies
  • Mental Health, Addiction and Society
  • Political Science
  • Public Leadership
  • Religion and Diversity
  • Society, Culture, Religion
  • Sociology

Interdisciplinary Studies Minors administered by Departments in the Faculty of Social Sciences include:

  • Archaeology
  • Community Engagement
  • Globalization Studies
  • Jewish Studies
  • Muslim Studies
  • Social Justice and Inclusive Communities

Students may complete Minors offered by other Faculties as well and are encouraged to consider Minors that will complement their degree studies.

Affiliated Certificates

Students enrolled in a three- or four-year undergraduate degree program in the Faculty of Social Sciences have the opportunity to take Social Sciences courses in the complementary fields of Business Studies, Leadership and Management in the Not-for-Profit Sector or Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA). Students enrolled in a three-year degree program may take a maximum of six of these courses and students enrolled in a four-year degree program may take a maximum of eight of these courses. Students who have the necessary requirements (completed a prescribed set of 18 units) may apply to have their courses recognized by Mohawk College for the awarding of the applicable certificate when they graduate with their McMaster degree. If granted, this Certificate will be issued by Mohawk College.

In the final year of your program, when you complete your profile in the online Graduation Information Centre, you must indicate your desire to receive the affiliated certificate. The Faculty Reviewing Committee will verify that the requirements have been met. If you are successful, your transcript will confirm completion. In order to facilitate preparation of the Certificate by Mohawk College in time for Convocation, limited personal information and relevant course completions will be provided to Mohawk College for all eligible students prior to completion of the Graduation Profile. Students who do not want this information shared with Mohawk College should inform the University Registrar by email at convctn@mcmaster.ca. See Sessional Dates  section for deadlines.

Concurrent Certificates

Concurrent Certificates are open to undergraduate students at McMaster. These certificates are designed to fill a critical need for undergraduate students to learn about and develop professional skills that are highly desirable for the pursuit of graduate programs, professional programs, and employment opportunities following undergraduate studies. Normally students must complete a minimum of 15 to 18 units of course requirements. Concurrent certificates may include co-curricular activities to complement the academic requirements. Please see Concurrent Certificates in the Certificates and Diploma Programs section of this Calendar for further information

Internship Options

The Faculty of Social Sciences offers paid internship opportunities during the academic year and summer. Internship placements provide students with intense work experiences and allow students to explore careers, develop employability skills and make important contacts for both now and after graduation.
Internships are recognized as non-credit course codes on the student transcript. Full-time internships are noted as SOCSCI 3IF0 A/B S  and part-time internships are noted as SOCSCI 3IP0 A/B S . Students do not receive academic credit for completing an internship placement. However, upon successful completion, a notation describing the placement is also recorded on the student’s official transcript.
Further details of internship options may be obtained from:

Programming and Outreach Manager
Kenneth Taylor Hall, Room 129
(905) 525-9140, extension 21207
email: exp.ed@mcmaster.ca

Academic Regulations

Student Academic Responsibility

You are responsible for adhering to the statement on student academic responsibility found in the General Academic Regulations of this calendar.

Access to Courses

All undergraduate courses at McMaster have an enrolment capacity. The University is committed to making every effort to accommodate students in required courses so that their program of study is not extended. Unless otherwise specified, registration is on a first-come basis and in some cases priority is given to students from particular programs or Faculties. Students will be informed of their enrolment periods and are encouraged to enroll as soon as online enrolment is available to them in the Student Centre in Mosaic.

Student Communication Responsibility

It is the student’s responsibility to:

  • maintain current contact information with the University, including address, phone numbers, and emergency contact information.
  • use the university provided e-mail address or maintain a valid forwarding e-mail address.
  • regularly check the official University communications channels. Official University communications are considered received if sent by postal mail, by fax, or by e-mail to the student’s designated primary e-mail account via their @mcmaster.ca alias.
  • accept that forwarded e-mails may be lost and that e-mail is considered received if sent via the student’s @mcmaster.ca alias.

Students enrolled in a program in the Faculty of Social Sciences, in addition to meeting the General Academic Regulations of the University, shall be subject to the following regulations of the Faculty of Social Sciences.

Applying for Admission to Level II Programs

Any student seeking admission to a Level II program in the Faculty of Social Sciences for the following Fall/Winter session must submit an Application for Admission to Level II through the Mosaic Student Centre (“My Academics”; Program/Plan Selection application) no later than April 30. Students who have completed a minimum of 24 units in Level I will be eligible to apply for a Level II program (subject to meeting program requirements). The application allows students to rank four program choices, in order of preference. Students are advised to rank program choices carefully, especially when seeking admission to limited enrolment programs. If admitted to the first program choice, admission to other program choices will not be evaluated. If a student is not admitted for the first program, the second program choice will be evaluated, followed by third and then fourth choices. Students ineligible for an Honours-level program of choice will be considered for the corresponding B.A. program. Students must check the Mosaic Student Centre in late May to confirm their program for the following Fall and Winter terms.

Students applying to the Honours B.S.W. program must also apply directly to the School of Social Work February 1, and must refer to department admission notes.

Limited Enrolment Programs

Admission at Level II (and above) is limited for the following programs. Possession of the published minimum requirements does not guarantee admission.

  • All Honours Bachelor of Social Work and Bachelor of Social Work programs 
  • All Honours Aging and Society programs 
  • All Honours Health and Society programs 
  • All Honours Labour Studies programs 
  • All Honours Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour (B.A.) programs
  • Honours Social Psychology
  • Honours Political Science Specialization in Global Citizenship
  • Honours Political Science Specialization in Public Law and Judicial Studies
  • B.A. Health, Aging & Society

Minimum Requirements for Entering and Continuing in a Program Beyond Level I

Honours B.A. Programs:

You must have a Grade Point Average (GPA) of at least 5.0 to continue in an Honours B.A. program. If your GPA is 4.5 to 4.9, you may remain in the Honours program, but will be placed on program probation for one reviewing period. You may be on program probation only once. If your GPA is 3.0 to 4.4, you must transfer to another B.A. program for which you qualify. If your GPA is less than 3.0, you may not continue at the University.

Honours B.S.W., B.A./B.S.W. and B.S.W. Programs:

To continue in an Honours B.S.W., or B.S.W program, you must have a Grade Point Average (GPA) of at least 6.0, and achieve at least the minimum grade in all Social Work courses as listed the program notes for Progression Within Program in the Honours Bachelor of Social Work (B.S.W.), or the Bachelor of Social Work (B.S.W.). If your GPA is 5.5 to 5.9, you may remain in the program, but will be placed on program probation for one reviewing period. You may be on program probation only once. If your GPA is 3.0 to 5.4, you must transfer to another program for which you qualify. If your GPA is less than 3.0, you may not continue at the University.

B.A. Programs:

You must have a Grade Point Average (GPA) of at least 3.5 to continue in, or graduate from, a three-level B.A. program. If your GPA is 3.0 to 3.4, you may remain in the program, but will be placed on academic probation. You may be on academic probation only once. If your GPA is less than 3.0, you may not continue at the University.

Transferring to Honours B.A. Programs Beyond Level II

Students who are not admissible to an Honours program from Level I to Level II, may request admission for the following Fall/Winter academic session. Program entry requirements and academic requirements for continuation at the level for which application is made, must be met. Transfer requests must be submitted through the Mosaic Student Centre (Service Request application) by March 30.


From Honours B.A. and B.A. Programs

To graduate from a program, students must meet all course requirements for their degree program. The requirements for graduation from these programs are described under the heading Graduation in the General Academic Regulations section in this Calendar.

Transferring to Graduate with a Three-level B.A. Degree from an Honours B.A. Program

Students who successfully complete at least 90 units including all expected course requirements up to the end of Level III of any Honours B.A. degree, with a minimum Grade Point Average of 3.5 may request permission from the Office of the Associate Dean of Social Sciences (Studies) to transfer to graduate with the corresponding three-level B.A. degree. Students enrolled in Honours Social Psychology may be given the option of either transferring to graduate with a B.A. in Psychology or a B.A. in Sociology based on the degree that is most relevant to the subject concentration and for which they meet all the degree requirements.

Students who do not qualify for a specific three-level B.A. degree may petition to the Office of the Associate Dean to be considered to graduate with a Social Sciences B.A. (General) exit degree.

All requests to transfer to graduate must be submitted to the Office of the Associate Dean of Social Sciences by April 15th for the Spring Convocation and by September 1st for the Fall Convocation.

Letter of Permission Courses to Graduate

Students taking the final courses for completion of their degree program on a Letter of Permission at another university must ensure that the official transcripts are sent to the Office of the Associate Dean of Social Sciences at McMaster University. For students expecting to graduate at the Spring Convocation, transcripts must be received by May 15 and for Fall convocation, by September 30.

Transfers to the Faculty of Social Sciences

Students from other Faculties are able to transfer to degree programs offered by the Faculty of Social Sciences provided they have obtained a Grade Point Average of at least 3.5 and have completed the necessary program admission requirements. Students approved to transfer to the Faculty of Social Sciences may be required to fulfill additional requirements at the time of admission. Failure to comply with these conditions may result in an academic standing of May Not Continue in Faculty at the following reviewing period.


A student who may not continue at the University may apply for reinstatement. Application for reinstatement must be made to the Office of the Registrar using the Reinstatement Request Form by the application deadline for the session. See the Application Procedures  section of this Calendar. Reinstatement forms will be carefully reviewed and the evidence considered will include the student’s academic performance before and after admission to McMaster, a letter of explanation and documentation of any extenuating circumstances.

Reinstatement is not automatic or guaranteed. Decisions are normally made after June 30 for September entry. The Grade Point Average for students who are reinstated is reset to 0.0 on zero units. Credit is retained for courses in which passing grades have been achieved. NOTE: If at a review after reinstatement the Grade Point Average falls below 3.5, the student will be required to withdraw from the University for a period of at least 12 months.

Failure to comply with the conditions outlined at the time of reinstatement may result in withdrawal from the university at the following reviewing period.


The Faculty of Social Sciences will not consider applications for admission, admission to a second degree or continuing studies, reinstatement, registration, or dropping and adding of courses after the deadlines stated in this Calendar under Sessional Dates and Application Procedures, unless written documentation is provided showing good cause, as determined by the Faculty.

Academic Breadth Requirement

The Faculty of Social Sciences encourages all of its students to embrace academic breadth in both knowledge and skills. Therefore, every Social Sciences student is required to successfully complete at least 6 units of course work outside of their department/discipline(s) of study to satisfy degree requirements. These course units must be over and above the 30 units required for Level I Social Sciences.

Academic Advising

The aim of academic advising is to help students tailor a program of studies to fit their interests. Advising also involves reviewing these interests from time to time to accommodate changing plans, needs and academic performance.

Advising is available throughout the year from the Office of the Associate Dean of Social Sciences and the departments or academic units in the Faculty of Social Sciences. It is strongly recommended that students consult with a Departmental Undergraduate Advisor during March in conjunction with the Level II program application.


For conditions and terms of awards for full-time and part-time students, please refer to the Undergraduate Academic Awards section of this Calendar.

Course Selection and Course Changes

Students are responsible for ensuring that their course selection meets the requirements of the degree program in which they are enrolled, that prerequisites have been met, and that, where necessary, permission to take courses has been obtained. They should review their personal academic advisement report on Mosaic each time they drop, cancel or add courses, and contact an Academic Advisor if they have questions, particularly if the advisement report shows unused courses. Students should also be aware that changes to their course load may affect their fees and their eligibility for scholarships or sources of financial aid such as OSAP


Normally students may not register in more than 30 units during the Fall/Winter Term. In the following circumstances an overload of up to six units may be taken:

  1. if a student has a Fall-Winter Average of at least 7.0 in the immediately preceding review period.
  2. if the student is registered in the final level of his/her program.

Students wishing to register in more than 12 units during the Spring/Summer term, or more than six units in either term of that term may do so only with permission. Requests to enroll in an overload of units should be directed to the Office the Associate Dean, Social Sciences.


Students who wish to withdraw from the University may cancel courses on Mosaic and must surrender their McMaster Identification Card validation sticker to the Financial Services Office to ensure the processing of any fee refunds. Students who fail to withdraw formally from any course(s) by the stated deadlines will remain registered whether or not they attend classes and will be assigned a grade.

Letter of Permission

Students in good academic standing who wish to attend another university to take courses for credit toward a McMaster degree must first request a Letter of Permission from the Office of the Associate Dean. The request should be initiated through the Student Centre in Mosaic. Students should take note of any conditions on the Letter of Permission that might apply, including the requirement of a grade of at least C- for transfer credit. Courses taken at another university cannot be used to satisfy the university’s minimum residence requirements, will not be included in the calculation of the Grade Point Average at McMaster average, and therefore cannot be used to raise standing. The transcript designations will read T, indicating Transfer, when a grade of C- or better is attained or NC indicating not complete if less than a C- grade is obtained.

Students must ensure that the official transcripts for completed courses are sent to the Office of the Associate Dean. Students expecting to graduate upon completion of a course on Letter of Permission should refer to the heading Letter of Permission Courses to Graduate.

Students who choose not to use the Letter of Permission or cancel the course(s), must supply the Associate Dean’s Office with a transcript showing the cancelled course, or a certified letter from the host university, confirming that the student was not registered for the courses and session.

Non-Academic Requirements

Some courses, and many important extra-curricular opportunities for students in the Faculty of Social Sciences, require students to have cleared police criminal checks which can be obtained through Hamilton-Wentworth Police Services. Additionally, students may be required to pass TB tests and have immunization for some contagious diseases. Costs related to these requirements are the responsibility of the student.

Social Sciences Study Abroad

Formal Student Exchange Programs are those where McMaster University has an agreement with another institution involving a temporary exchange of students. Exchange students register at and pay tuition fees and supplementary fees to McMaster. No tuition is paid to the other institution. McMaster University has an array of international partnerships with institutions in other countries including Australia, France and the United Kingdom to provide students the opportunity to participate in an exchange program for one year or a term. Exchanges allow students to gain a varied perspective on their course of study and enhance their professional and personal goals.

Eligibility for Study Abroad

Students registered in any Honours or Combined Honours program in the Faculty of Social Sciences may apply to replace all or part of the work of their third year with an acceptable program of study taken at an approved university. To be eligible to take part in this program, students must have completed at least 60 units of work with a Grade Point Average of at least 7.0. All requirements must be satisfied by the end of the Fall/Winter session (September-April) preceding the commencement of study elsewhere. Students may receive up to 30 units of credit for a full year of study at another institution. The awarding of transfer credit for work completed elsewhere may be confirmed only after the Office of the Associate Dean (Studies) has received transcripts and reviewed students’ academic achievements following their return.

Application for Study Abroad

Students interested in applying for this program should consult the International Student Services Office and the Faculty of Social Sciences Exchange Advisor, approximately one year before they anticipate studying abroad. Application deadlines are usually in January, although applications for some exchanges may be due as early as December. Acceptance to the Ontario and University-wide Exchange Programs is by application and recommendation.

For further information please see International Study in the General Academic Regulations  section in this Calendar. Information concerning student exchanges can also be found in the Academic Facilities, Student Services and Organizations section of this Calendar under the heading International Student Services.

International Student Services (ISS)
Gilmour Hall, Room 110
Telephone: (905) 525-9140, extension 24748
Web Address: https://iss.mcmaster.ca/