Students discussing Sociology in class

What is Sociology?

"Sociology is the study of social life, social change, and the social causes and consequences of human behaviour. Sociologists investigate the structure of groups, organizations, and societies and how people interact within these contexts.  Since all human behaviour is social, the subject matter of sociology ranges from the intimate family to the hostile mob; from organized crime to religious traditions; from the divisions of race, gender and social class, to the shared beliefs of a common culture" (American Sociological Association 2009, p. 5).

What is Criminology?

Criminology is the study of the nature, extent, causes, and consequences of crime and criminal behaviour in society.  The nature of the criminal justice system, and the experiences of those involved in it – including offenders, victims, police officers and others – are also of interest.


What am I required to take in 1st year, and what grade do I need for admission into a Sociology or Criminology module at Western?

How do I know which Sociology or Criminology module is right for me?

  1. Discover the modules available on the Choosing Your Degree page
  2. Consider which of the following describes you best:
    Honors Specialization in Sociology or Criminology Honours Double Major, including Sociology, Criminology, or Sociology of Population, Aging, and Health Major in Sociology, Criminology, or Sociology of Population, Aging, and Health,
    or Minor in Sociology, or Criminology

    You want to specialize in one area, and study it in-depth

    You think you might want to continue your studies by pursuing a graduate degree (MA, PhD), or a Law degree

    You like smaller classes, and the opportunity to engage with and talk about ideas

    You are comfortable writing essays, and may even prefer them to multiple-choice exams

    Your average is 70% or higher in 3 principle courses

    If you want to specialize in Sociology, but have only a 60% average, then you may want to consider the Specialization in Sociology

    You want to study two or more areas, and get a general understanding of these fields

    You enjoy larger classes that provide general overviews of subject areas

    Your average is 70% or higher in 3 principle courses

    You are considering teacher’s college, or other future programs where having a broad academic background would be valuable

    You would like to leave the door open for graduate school, and so would like to take some 3000-level courses in core areas to increase your eligibility

    You want to learn more about sociology and/or criminology, and get a general understanding of these fields

    You also want to take a variety of other courses to round out your university degree

    Your mark in Introductory Sociology was at least 60%

I am considering switching into sociology for this upcoming year. How do I switch programs?

To change into a Sociology module: email your name, student number, and new module choice, to the Sociology Undergraduate Program Advisor.



I'm taking Sociology 1020/1021E this summer. Can I declare a module and register for courses?

You cannot declare a module until you've successfully completed the prerequisite. Once your final grade is available, contact your home faculty's academic counselling office to change your program. As of mid July, you will be able to register for most sociology and criminology courses because the registration system will see that you're currently taking the prerequisite. For required courses (ex. Soc 2205A/B, 2206A/B, etc.), you will have to wait until your program change has been updated.

I've tried registering, but it won't work. Why?

The Registrar's office assigns registration appointment times for all students based on Intent to Register. These appointments are the first time that you are allowed access to on-line registration. Since courses can fill quickly, it is recommended that you register as soon as you are able.

Registration appointment dates begin mid-June. The earliest registration dates are assigned first to 4th year students, 3rd year, and then 2nd year. Please consult the Academic Calendar for beginning and end dates for web registration.

Login to Student Center and select "Open Enrollment Dates" to find your enrollment date.

If you did not complete Intent to Register, you won't be assigned an appointment date and will be unable to register. Please contact your home faculty's Academic Counselling office for a late Intent to Register (for Social Science: download Request for Degree Change).

How do I register for an extra course?

You need special permission from your home faculty’s Dean for a course overload. In Social Sciences, contact the Academic Counselling office in SSC 2105 or visit their Special Permission page.

Can I get special permission to take a course?

If you do not have the prerequisites for a course (e.g., you want to register for a 2200-level or above course but have not taken Sociology 1020 or 1021E; or, you want to take Sociology 1020 or 1021E at the same time as a 2200-level or above course) you cannot register without the approval of the Department. These special permissions will not be considered until Extended Web Registration opens in August. Contact the Undergraduate Program Advisor for more information.

Can I ask the instructor for special permission to take a course?

In order to maintain a consistent and fair practice with regards to special permissions, Faculty and Instructors will not be responsible for reviewing these requests. The Department of Sociology will maintain a consistent approach to these requests. Please refer to the following guidelines.

No permissions will be given to waive pre-requisites.

Courses at the Affiliates: to take sociology classes at the affiliates, the following items must apply:

  1. It must be a class that main campus does not offer.
  2. It will count as an elective only. It will not count towards your Sociology or Criminology Module.
  3. The affiliate would also need to give you permission to take any of their classes.


Class is full: In order to maintain a quality educational program, no permissions will be given to enter a class above registration limits.

Please see the Sociology Undergraduate Program Advisor to request special permission within these guidelines.

Why can't I register for criminology courses?

Students enrolled in criminology modules have first priority for our criminology courses (e.g., Sociology 2259, 2260B, etc.) since these are required for their degree. These courses (pending space) will be available to all other students who have the prerequisite mid July.

Can I register for 3000 level sociology courses?

Most of our 3000-level courses are available first for sociology students who require these for their program - i.e., 3rd or 4th year students in an Honors Specialization or 4-year BA Specialization in Sociology. In mid July, most of our 3000-level courses will open to students in 3rd or 4th year of any other sociology program or other programs as listed in the timetable. There will be no special permissions to access courses before mid July.

Can I register for 4000 level sociology courses?

Our 4000-level courses are restricted to 4th year students registered in an Honors Specialization in Sociology or Criminology from the Department of Sociology, main campus. Pending space during Extended Web Registration, 4th year sociology/criminology students registered in an Honors Double Major may register for these courses with assistance from the Undergraduate Program Advisor.

Tips for Success

I am having difficulty in my Introduction to Sociology course. What are some helpful tips and resources that are available?

  • Attend all lectures and tutorials.
  • Download the PDF version of the lecture notes from the class site before class and read through them to become familiar with key issues.
  • Read the assigned chapter before class.
  • In class, put your cell phone away and focus on the key concepts presented and main discussions in class.
  • Take notes in class; a few key words to explain a definition or concept may stay with you longer than complete sentences. Key words can act as ‘triggers’ improving recall during an exam.
  • Participate in peer-to-peer class discussions. Apply the concepts to your life and the experiences of those around you.
  • Make an appointment to review your last exam, to see where you went wrong. This will help you avoid similar mistakes in the next exam.
  • During studying, write out concepts and explanations (a few words) to help you internalize the material.
  • Your Teaching Assistant is a great resource for you. See him/her for assistance.

I am having trouble with an essay that I have to write for one of my sociology courses. What can I do?

Here are some things you can do if you are struggling with a paper:

  • Speak with your professor or TA about the assignment.
  • If you are having difficulty finding source material on your topic, contact the sociology librarian at Weldon: Marg Sloan (sloan@uwo.ca). Marg also has office hours in the sociology department during the Fall and Winter terms. You can drop by and talk to her.
  • For information on how to cite or reference using ASA (American Sociological Association) format, see the following: ASA Quick Style Guide
  • For information on grammar and style, check out library reference material at Weldon, or try the following: The Elements of Style
  • Contact Western’s Writing Support Centre
  • Review the statement on plagiarism, from the Department of History
  • Don’t hand in your first draft. Edit your work, before you hand it in!

I think that a grade I received on my sociology essay/assignment/exam is unfair. Can I appeal it?

Yes, the University has an appeals process. Appeals MUST be initiated WITHIN 3 WEEKS of the date on which the grade was assigned to you. If you feel the grade you received is unfair you should do the following:

    1. Read and follow the instructions in the Academic Calendar.
    2. Jacqui Saunders (sociology@uwo.ca) is the Undergraduate Program Advisor and she is available to assist you with this process.
    3. For the 2016-17 academic year, the Appeals Officer is Professor Abada. If you decide to proceed with your appeal you may submit your request in writing (need not be lengthy) indicating clearly the detailed reasons for the appeal and any supporting documentation through e-mail (tabada@uwo.ca).
    4. A clean copy of your paper, or a copy of the exam, with identifying information removed will be submitted. Your assignment / exam / essay will be graded (anonymously) by two professors. The average of the grade they give to you will be your new grade.
    5. The outcome of the appeal will supersede your previous grade; that is, YOUR GRADE COULD GO UP, GO DOWN, OR STAY THE SAME.

    Outside the Classroom

    How can I get involved with my department outside of the classroom?

    There are a number of opportunities for you to get involved.

    Sociology Students Association - an undergraduate scholastic society designed to organize activities of an academic, developmental, and social nature. Events organized by the SSA include the following: How to Write a Sociology Paper, The Annual SSA Wine and Cheese, and the Grad School Info and Criminology Info Nights (involving both professors and students) Some links to get more info about your SSA and contact info can be found here: SSA WebsiteSSA Twitter

    Social Science Students' Council - The SSSC is composed of over 60 students from within the Faculty of Social Science, including elected executives and representatives, appointed commissioners and members-at-large. To find out more about your Social Science Students' Council and how to become involved, visit their website or their Twitter

    Volunteering opportunities – information on volunteering on campus and around the city of London can be found at  Volunteering and Western Serves. The Student Success Centre also lists other types of community involvement learning experiences on its Experiences page.

    Who are my Sociology Department reps (peers) on the Social Science Students’ Council and how can I contact them with questions?

    A list of all department reps can be found here: http://ssscwestern.ca/department-representatives/

    For the 2014-2015 school year the Sociology reps are Kyle Militello (who is also this year's President of the Sociology Students' Association) and Elisa Mastrorillo. Both can be contacted via this email address: sociology@ssscwestern.ca


    What can I do with a Sociology degree?

    Graduates in Sociology work in many different fields.  In general a sociology degree gives you critical thinking, analysis, and communication skills that relate to a wide variety of jobs.

    Surveys indicate that in the two years after graduation, most sociology graduates find work in social service fields, administrative support and management positions, research positions, or other fields including sales and marketing or teaching. Many others continue on to graduate study.

    Other work fields include the following: correctional services, government, human resources, labour relations, market research, media, non-profit, policy, social work, law, and other fields.

    See career services at Western for more information.

    What can I do with a Criminology degree?

    Graduates with a degree in Criminology work in many different fields.  In general a criminology/sociology degree gives you critical thinking, analysis, and communication skills that relate to a wide variety of jobs.

    Many criminology graduates pursue additional education in criminology, sociology, or law.  Others find employment in a variety of fields, including corrections, policing, community services, social services, government, research and policy.

    See career services at Western for more information.

    Additional Education

    I am almost done my degree, but I think I would like to stay in school longer. What kinds of program options are there for me?

    There are a wide variety of programs and opportunities you could pursue. Many of our students elect to pursue graduate studies in sociology or a related discipline, or pursue a law degree or training in Social work.

    Graduate Studies in Sociology / Criminology: Graduate programs enable you to further your studies in your area of choice, while also improving your employment prospects. And, it’s not that expensive. See below for more information about graduate studies in Sociology or Criminology at Western.

    Law School: Students admitted to law school typically have a 4-year honours degree, with an average over 80% in their last two years of study, as well as an LSAT score in the 80th percentile or above (About LSAT, Practice LSAT). Law schools also take community involvement, work, athletic and arts activities and other factors into account when making admission decisions. Applicants also typically have to submit a personal statement. See the following for more information on admission to Law at Western. You can make contact with fellow undergraduate students who are interested in Law school in the Western Pre-Law Society.

    Social Work: Social workers help families and individuals to improve their well-being by helping them develop skills and find resources to address problems they may be experiencing (see http://www.casw-acts.ca/en/what-social-work for more information). Training in social work occurs at both an undergraduate and graduate level. King’s University College at Western offers training at both levels. Many students consider social work after obtaining an undergraduate degree in sociology or another discipline. While some schools (like Kings) prefer students entering their MSW (Master of Social Work) program to have a bachelor’s degree in social work, many others (for example, the University of Windsor and Laurier University), offer admission to students with an honours undergraduate degree in sociology and other related fields. Admission requirements vary, but often consist of a B (75%) average, relevant volunteer and work experience, letters of reference, and undergraduate courses in statistics and methodology (which all Sociology and Criminology majors at Western will have).

    What is a graduate program? What can I do with a graduate degree?

    A graduate program enables you to further your education in a specific discipline. Students who have completed a Bachelor’s degree typically pursue a Masters’ degree which can be completed in 1 or 2 years. The Department of Sociology at Western offers a Master of Arts Program, as well as a PhD program (for those who want further study beyond their Masters).

    There are many concrete benefits to having a Master of Arts (MA) degree in Sociology. People with graduate degrees have better job prospects, lower unemployment rates, and higher earnings than those with just an undergraduate degree. Our program enhances writing, critical thinking, and research skills – all valuable job skills that enhance graduates’ job opportunities. Many of our graduates obtain good jobs in a variety of research fields, government services, and the private sector.

    See our graduate page for more information.