Canada has become a sought-after place for completing your undergraduate degree thanks to its high-ranking institutions, warm atmosphere and reputation as a safe and welcoming country. The country operates in English and French, although you probably won’t need to speak the latter unless you go to university in Quebec. Over the last five years, the number of international students in Canada increased by almost 70 percent — so you will be surrounded by a multicultural environment both in the classroom and outside.
The standards of living are very high — Canada was ranked as the second best country in the world by the US News & World Report in 2020. Canadian universities are present in international rankings and international students get an opportunity to legally work while they are in higher education. The cherry on top is tuition fees that are considerably lower than those in the US, so you can see why so many head to the Great White North to pursue your academic studies.
So you’ve made up your mind to study there, but have no idea how to pick a program? The education system differs from more rigid structures like the one in the UK, allowing you more flexibility when picking courses. For example, many universities encourage the liberal arts approach, giving first year students a chance to take a variety of classes before settling on their major at the beginning of second year. There are also more specialised programs that may require you to take certain classes in your freshman year. Here is our list of some of Canada’s most interesting social science degrees you should consider.
2020 has been a year of difficult conversations — from the racial justice movement to environmental concerns to social inequalities when it comes to a global pandemic. The program at University of PEI offers a chance to question how one’s religion, sexuality or race is connected to knowledge and power. The students are offered courses that examine issues of identity and investigate construction of social disparities, as well as examining what impact identity categories have on social structures. In Diversity and Social Justice Studies, identity is more than a description to take into consideration; it is an area of constant question and contestation even as its overall concern is to explore what is meant by “social justice.”
A fascinating subject offered as a minor (which means that you won’t need to take as many courses in the subject), Island Studies is a program designed to further our knowledge of the world’s smallest islands, their political systems, ecologies, histories and cultures. You will learn about the history of PEI as well as the challenges and characteristics that small islands share.
McGill University’s Economics department is amongst the school’s most popular, certainly in the eyes of Arts students. You have a choice of a more mathematical approach in your degree if you decide to do the Honours structure, or skip the complicated maths and focus on theory, policies and history of the subject. Unfortunately for those who aren’t great with numbers, you are still required to take courses like Macro and Microeconomics, as well as Economic Statistics. But after that, the world is your oyster. The Underground Economy is one of the program’s most popular classes — the professor explains the origins, structure and operation of the underground sectors of modern economics, including contraband trade in drugs and guns, money laundering through the financial system and black marketeering in Western economies.
Indigenous peoples have shaped Canadian history. University of Toronto offers its students to learn about Indigenous cultures, traditions and languages, as well as spiritual and healing traditions, politics and representation of Indigenous peoples in media and society. Students are exposed to readings and research from a variety of sources to encourage development of critical thinking skills. This course offers a perspective on relationships between racism and colonialism, both in Canada and around the world.
Criminology is a study of social and personal aspects of crime, responses to crime and deviance, victimisation and different sections of society. This degree is great for those interested in psychology, social justice and current events. Criminology students have a wide range of careers available to them after graduation, in both corporations and the private sector.
Western University is a popular choice with the local crowd — it has one of the best school spirits in the country (Western Homecoming is one of the most-attended events throughout the year) as well as being a university known for its Arts Faculty. Anthropology is a program to consider studying there — the subject involves the study of humans around the world over the span of history, viewing society, human behaviour and biology in a cross-cultural perspective. The department offers a Minor (concentration) in Refugee and Minor studies, where students cover subjects like geopolitics, migration and international human rights. A course to note: The Jewish Immigrant Experience in North America.
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Kristina Spencer is a writer, editor and producer based in London, UK. She’s written for Vanity Fair, Vogue Business, The Business of Fashion and more.