Education for social impact

The common goal of those who study Social Development Studies is to help people, communities, and nations flourish. In Social Development Studies, you'll explore how human interactions are influenced by individual, collective, and structural forces including mental health, social relationships, economic conditions, education and politics, and movements for social justice and social change. 

Through courses in psychology, sociology, and social work as well as hands-on community engagement opportunities, you’ll be well prepared for a meaningful career in social work, counselling, education, public services, human resources, law, or community and international service organizations. You can also enhance your learning experience by enrolling in co-op to apply what you learn in class to real work situations.

Marielle chose a Social Development Studies degree because it can lead to careers in teaching, counselling, and social work.

Why study Social Development Studies at Waterloo?

  • Develop a solid foundation across the social sciences, including Psychology, Sociology, and Social Work
  • Learn through diverse course offerings in areas like social justice, social policy, community development, diversity and equity, and counselling  
  • Variety of program-specific experiential learning opportunities available
  • Engage with your peers and instructors through small class sizes and a supportive learning environment

SDS courses are interesting and engaging. Plus, Waterloo and Renison set you up for academic and career success by providing dozens of supports. They're incredibly helpful, so you never feel like you need to figure it all out on your own.

Abby, third-year Social Development Studies student

Get some serious experience

Enhance your résumé with an apprenticeship, where you’ll get experience by volunteering in a local community agency or by helping a professor conduct their research. 

Fast-track your BSW

Want to become a professional social worker? After completing SDS, you can apply directly to our accredited 10-month Social Work program and earn a Bachelor of Social Work.


Stay social. Stay connected.

Be sure to follow @renisoncollege to stay connected to our community and get a glimpse of life as a Renison student.

Student in SDS

Students cooking with Tim

Students on Warrior Tennis team


Want to learn more about Renison and Social Development Studies? 

Meet Cassidy!


Hi, I'm Cassidy. I am the Marketing, Recruitment, and Outreach Officer at Renison and I'm here to support you! I can answer all your questions about what to expect as a Renison student, living in residence or general inquiries about the University of Waterloo. 
You can reach me through: