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Wilfrid Laurier University Leaf
October 21, 2014
Canadian Excellence


Sociology at Laurier 

How do we live together and build a social life? What are the dynamics and processes of social inequality, and how are they produced or changed? Sociologists are interested in 

  • health and medicine
  • education
  • crime
  • families
  • religion
  • gender and sexuality
  • race and ethnicity
  • political and economic structures

The faculty in the Sociology Department at Laurier stand out. Not only are they invested in providing students with a strong foundation in sociological theory, and qualitative and quantitative research, they  are also strongly committed to social justice.

“A lot of us are activists involved in local politics, the community and various service organizations,” Professor Dr. Juanne Clarke says. “Our research areas are very wide and varied, taking in areas such as the environment, medicine, mothering, gender and poverty. And we are critical. That makes us unique.”

Program highlights 

  • Critical Engagement and Analysis

Our department aims to prepare students for informed and critical engagement with issues pertaining to Equity and Social Justice. As Canada and the world in the 21st century face the challenges of globalization and privatization, studies in equity and social justice will focus on the effects of these trends on social institutions, populations, social policy, education, health, and family formation. 

  • Study Issues Facing Our Society
Courses on poverty, social movements, human rights, inequality in Canada, race and ethnic relations, disability, gender, health, mental illness, sexuality and family are designed to help students gain a better understanding of the causes and consequences of social inequality and injustice, and of the struggles to overcome them.

  • Learn from Engaged Professors 
Many of the courses we offer are delivered by award winning teachers or by those who have been nominated by students for the Faculty of Arts Teaching Scholar Award. One prime example is Dr. Dana Sawchuk who is highly appreciated by her students. She was recognized with this award for the enthusiasm, energy, thought and care that she brings to her first year classes. Our faculty are actively engaged in scholarship and many have authored textbooks and other scholarly books that are used in our classrooms.

Courses offered 

First Year Courses

  • Intro to Sociology
  • Critical Analysis of Social Issues
  • Sociocultural Anthropology

Popular courses

  • Sociology of Crime
  • Sociology of Medicine
  • Human Rights
  • Bodies, Bioethics and Boundaries

Admission requirements 

Honours BA Sociology

4U Requirements IB Requirements  Admission Range 
English at 60%  HL or SL English at 4 

Mid 70s

IB Minimum score: 28  

Student experience 

0000LKnox.jpg“My decision to attend Laurier was twofold,” recalls Liz Knox, a fourth-year sociology student. Initially, Knox was drawn to Laurier because of its smaller campus and supportive environment, but it was Laurier’s high performance atmosphere that spoke to her both academically and athletically. “As a hockey prospect, I recognized what a privilege it would be to play for Laurier’s nationally ranked women’s hockey team.”

Knox is the goaltender for Laurier’s women’s hockey team and has been since her first year at Laurier. She was recently named the 2010 Outstanding Woman of Laurier for her exceptional contributions to the women’s hockey team and to Laurier as a student and volunteer.

Off the ice, Knox’s area of study wasn’t as a clear cut as her role as goaltender. She started her undergraduate degree with no declared major but was quickly drawn to the sociology program.“It is a field of study that challenged my perception and allowed me to diversify my understanding of the world in which we live.”

Upon graduation, Knox plans to continue her pursuit of a spot on the National Women’s Hockey team while simultaneously focusing her studies in law.

Faculty experience 

0000Zine.jpgDr. Jasmin Zine is passionate about teaching. As an associate professor of sociology, she is committed to teaching issues of social injustice and equity, and encourages her students to create strong learning communities. “I see the classroom as an important place to not only gain knowledge, but also as a site of transformation geared toward affecting change and social justice.”

Zine’s research focuses on several areas of sociology, including the sociology of education, critical race and ethnic studies, Muslim studies and postcolonial theory. Her most recent publication, Canadian Islamic Schools: Unraveling the Politics of Faith, Gender, Knowledge and Identity, is a groundbreaking study that examines independent religious schools in Toronto.

Zine believes conducting research internationally and participating in academic forums strengthens the quality of research. “The networks that develop through these forums are an important means to disseminate research and have dialogues that further our understanding of the work we do and its implication on a global scale.”

Alumni experience 

0000Richardson.jpgYears ago, when Craig Richardson was in his first year at Laurier, he didn’t know where he would focus his studies. At the time, he wanted to be a lawyer, and Laurier was the kind of university that would jump-start his career. “I chose Laurier for a combination of reasons: size, reputation and location,” says Richardson. “It was well-regarded as a great university with solid academics, spirit, sports and faculty.”

Initially, Richardson took a variety of different arts courses but soon found his calling in sociology. “It chose me,” he says. “I appreciated the awareness sociology afforded me in terms of societal behaviour, which I found intriguing.”

Aside from the more theoretical aspects of the program, Richardson found sociology to embody many different traits that helped him in establishing himself as a business leader. Today, Richardson is the president and CEO of Grand River Foods and serves as the current president of the Alliance of Ontario Food Processors (AOFP).