Post-Secondary Pathway Series: The Social Sciences

Individuals who are interested in the social sciences are typically are analytical, globally aware critical thinkers who strive to make a positive impact in their society. Whether you find a particular aspect of the social sciences interesting, or you are simply passionate about making a difference, following the social sciences pathway may be the right move for you!

Suggested Courses

Regardless of what particular domain you’re looking to study within, it’s important to be sure you’re taking the right courses at the high school level to satisfy prerequisites for your intended program. For most social sciences programs, you will need to have taken English, at least two of the three core sciences (Biology, Chemistry and Physics), as well as the core math courses (Advanced Functions and Calculus & Vectors). Depending on your specific interests, you may want to explore additional courses, such as Economics, Politics, Psychology or World Issues to familiarize yourself with the specialized content.

Here is a full list of suggested OVS courses for students pursuing this pathway:

Grade 11
ENG3U Grade 11 English
MCR3U Grade 11 Functions
SBI3U Grade 11 Biology
SCH3U Grade 11 Chemistry
SPH3U Grade 11 Physics
HSP3U Grade 11 Introduction to Anthropology, Psychology & Sociology

Grade 12
ENG4U Grade 12 English
MCV4U Grade 12 Calculus and Vectors
MHF4UGrade 12 Advanced Functions
SBI4U Grade 12 Biology
SCH4U Grade 12 Chemistry
SPH4U Grade 12 Physics
CGW4U Grade 12 Canadian and World Issues
CIA4U Grade 12 Analysing Current Economic Issues
CPW4U Grade 12 Canadian and International Politics
HSB4U Grade 12 Challenge and Change in Society
NDW4M Grade 12 Indigenous Issues

Potential Programs

The social sciences field includes many potential programs that students can choose from. You will have to apply to a specific program directly out of high school, but some schools do offer the option to enter as an undeclared major so you can explore your options further before committing to a specific domain. Another great aspect of social sciences programs is that you can often combine various programs in a double major or a major/minor degree. So, whether you know exactly what you want to study or you’re still not sure, there’s guaranteed to be a program to suit your needs. Here is a list of some of the most popular programs in the field:

• Criminology
• Economics
• Feminist & Gender Studies
• Political Studies
• International Development & Global Studies
• Sociology
• Psychology
• Anthropology
• Social Work
• Public & International Affairs
• Indigenous Studies

Or, see for yourself! You can search the huge selection of programs available at different post-secondary institutions. Visit this link to search university programs in Canada, and this link to search college programs in Ontario.

Recommended Post-Secondary Institutions

We’ve compiled a list of Canadian universities that offer a variety of highly regarded social science programs, as well as colleges that offer 2-3-year diplomas in education, community, and social services.

Universities
University of Toronto
McMaster University
University of Waterloo
University of Ottawa
McGill University
York University
Queen’s University

Colleges
Algonquin College
Mohawk College
George Brown College
Confederation College
Fanshawe College
Seneca College
Centennial College

Scholarships and Bursaries

It’s no secret that post-secondary study can be expensive, but in today’s society, it’s considered an investment towards a brighter future. But who doesn’t want ‘free’ money? Scholarships and bursaries are great ways to ease the financial burden post-secondary study inevitably brings. While most schools give first-year students entry scholarships based on high school averages, it’s important to know that there are many other scholarship and bursary opportunities available as well, which range in value and entry criteria.

Generally speaking, scholarships are awarded in acknowledgement of academic excellence, while bursaries are allocated based on financial or situational need. Either may be given out by the university itself or by an external source. For school-specific scholarships and bursaries, it’s best to browse the university website for a dedicated page that explains the criteria and application processes for their awards. For externally offered scholarships, the Scholarships Canada database lists hundreds of searchable opportunities each year. It’s important to apply for these awards early, as the application deadlines vary widely. Tips for filling out scholarship applications can be found here.

The application process itself also varies greatly. Some will involve writing an original essay or creative piece based on specific criteria, others will require you to provide a series of specific documents proving your academic or financial standing, while a select few will simply ask you to fill out your contact information for a luck of the draw pull. In general, the applications whose processes are more complex, and whose criteria are more specific, are the ones you have a greater likelihood of being awarded. Scholarships and bursaries do lighten the financial burden of higher education, but they also require time and effort in finding and applying for ones that apply to your specific situation.

Career Opportunities

A Bachelor of Social Sciences can lead you to many amazing career opportunities, but which one is right for you? Just like picking a degree, it’s important to pay attention to your skills and personal interests. As they say, if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life! Here, we’ve compiled a list of several potential careers social sciences graduates might choose to pursue:

• Psychologist
• Aboriginal Rights Worker
• Economist
• Journalist
• Human Rights
• Political Scientist
• Environmental Worker
• Social Worker
• Labour Consulting
• Archaeologist/Anthropologist
• Public Relations
• Parole/Probation Officer
• Criminal Justice
• Health Care Coordinator
• Urban Planner

Looking for career paths that are more specific to your intended degree program? Portland State University provides a more extensive list of the types of career paths you can take with your social sciences degree. For many students in the Social Sciences, a Bachelor of Social Sciences is just the first step. Many choose to pursue a Master’s degree or PhD to study a more specialized topic or enroll in professional program, such as teacher’s college or law school.

At the end of the day, remember that the path you choose is never set in stone and the decision to change pathways should never be regarded in a negative light. Instead, consider a shift in focus or discipline as just another way of expanding your skill-sets and areas of knowledge. And, as always, OVS is here for you if you find yourself in need of prerequisite courses or upgraded marks to embark down a new path towards your ideal future.