Social Development Studies (SDS) has been providing alternatives to in class learning for over 20 years. Our required courses and many elective courses are already offered regularly in online format, so it’s possible for SDS students to complete their degree exclusively online. This makes for a smooth transition to remote learning, as we continue to offer a variety of established online course offerings to our degree seeking students.
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.
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
FIRST-YEAR COURSES AND BEYOND
September to December
January to April
*The Arts First requirement consists of two first-year courses that are capped at 25 students: ARTS 130 - Inquiry and Communication and ARTS 140 - Information and Analysis. Instead of listening to a lecture and trying to capture notes, Arts First courses will have you and your classmates working together to respond to a challenge posed by the instructor.
After first year
About half of the classes you’ll take will be SDS courses. With your remaining classes, you can choose electives from many of the 100 subject areas at Waterloo.
Sample upper-year courses
CO-OP = RELEVANT PAID EXPERIENCE
Sample co-op job titles
- Client and sales support
- English teacher
- Training and documentation associate
- Project coordinator
Sample co-op employers
- Third Eye Solutions Inc.
- University of Waterloo
- Chicopee Ski and Summer Resort
CUSTOMIZE YOUR DEGREE
You can add additional areas of expertise to your degree by including one of these specializations:
- Diversity and Equity
- Individual Well-being and Development
- Social Policy and Social Action
- Social Work
You can also include one of the minors available to all Waterloo students. Popular areas of focus for SDS students include Psychology; Sociology; and Sexuality, Marriage, and Family Studies. For full details, visit our SDS Specializations Page
WHAT CAN YOU DO WITH A DEGREE IN SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT STUDIES?
Graduates commonly pursue careers in support work, child and youth counselling, early childhood education, and more. They often work in schools, youth mentorship groups, counselling offices, hospitals, and a wide variety of government departments.
Recent graduate positions:
- Senior Case Worker - Regional Municipality of Waterloo
- Probation Officer - Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services
- Bereavement Coordinator - St. Paul's Hospital
- Coordinator, Newcomer Settlement – Multicultural Association of Perth-Huron
- Community Behaviour Consultant – Woodstock General Hospital
- Support Worker – Community Living North Halton
- Early Childhood Educator – Waterloo Catholic District School Board
Learn more about the future of careers in arts, humanities, social sciences, languages, and creative arts.
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.
|High School student/recent graduate||
Admission average: Low 80s
|College student/recent graduate||
Admission average: Minimum cumulative college average of 75%
|University student/recent graduate||
Admission average: Minimum cumulative university average of 65%
|Not studying in Ontario?||
Study options that suit your needs
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.
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