The department places a high value on research and teaching that engages with fundamental aspects of social life.

Faculty members are committed to providing students - graduate and undergraduate alike - with an outstanding learning environment, a place where they can not only develop their sociological imagination, but also develop the research and writing skills they need for their future careers. With this goal in mind, we provide instruction in classical and contemporary theory, quantitative and qualitative research methods and techniques of data analysis, including a solid foundation in statistics.

Undergraduate Student Testimonials

"The Legal Studies courses I’ve taken have allowed me to conduct a sociological interrogation of the legal system and have provided me with a critical lens to analyze contemporary social and legal issues. I have enjoyed investigating how the law is shaped and how it impacts the social world around me. Thanks to my incredible professors, I feel confident in my ability to deploy a variety of lenses and methodologies, which will be helpful to me in my graduate studies and future career within the criminal justice system."

- Mackenzie Leclaire, Legal Studies and Sociology double major

"The Legal Studies program has motivated me to be both a better student and person. It is so valuable to be exposed to complex socio-legal issues in a supportive environment where professors are enthusiastic about the content they teach. Many of the courses I've taken have resonated with me deeply and will continue to impact my framework of thought for the rest of my career. "

- Razan Allousheh, Legal Studies major 

"The University of Waterloo has shown me various perspectives in viewing life through the lens of social sciences especially sociology. My first sociology course was SOC 227- Criminology and it led me to become such an avid student in learning  about these topics of interest because of how the professors knowledgeably and professionally explain concepts to their students. Many of these courses leave students to think out-of-the-box in order to creatively develop solutions towards worldly issues within our society. As an incoming 4th year student, I am happy to be graduating in a major that has a vast variety of options in careers that can make me become successful in life. You will never regret in choosing this major."

- Nathania Simowibowo, Sociology major

"Pursuing the Sociology program was an immensely rewarding and fulfilling experience. What made this program so impactful is that it taught me how to think rather than what to think. Indeed, my coursework was eye-opening in that it challenged my taken-for-granted assumptions about the world and compelled me to think differently. In my time here, I developed an intellectual curiosity and a passionate desire to keep learning in life. Thanks to this department’s passionate, supportive, and approachable professors, I have decided to go to graduate school and hope to one day be a professor of sociology myself."

- Karsh Joshi, Sociology major

Graduate Student Testimonials 

"The idea of starting the MA program in the middle of a global pandemic certainly came with doubtful considerations and fears. I was fearful that the graduate experience that I had long been looking forward to – an experience abundant with intriguing discussion and debate, interaction with other graduate students, invigorating conversation with professors and faculty members, and so much more – was not going to be a part of my time at the University of Waterloo. I was also fearful of how I would have to adjust to different learning methods than that which I had become accustomed to in my undergraduate experience.

Despite these initial fears, I must say that my experience in the MA Sociology program at the University of Waterloo has been nothing but prodigious. The professors and faculty members that I have been so fortunate to learn from and engage in conversation with have made me feel as though I am not merely misplaced behind a computer screen, but rather, an active and engaged student with a unique and worthy perspective. I am overwhelmingly appreciative of the advice, help, and guidance that they have been so available and willing to offer. As well, the group of students that I am delighted to call my cohort have been incredibly supportive and kind. It is through my conversations and interactions with them that I have learned a great breadth of interests and perspectives, and have thus broadened my own knowledge immensely. It is also from the discussions with my peers, as with professors and faculty members, that I am able to witness and be immersed in genuine passion within the academic realm of sociology. It is this for which I am incredibly grateful."

- Taylor Warkentin, current MA student

"The graduate program at the University of Waterloo’s Department of Sociology and Legal Studies offers an enriching environment for students to develop strong research skills, technical abilities, and tools for critical thinking. As a current doctoral student, the program has encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone by exploring new areas and methods of research and has allowed me to gain important skills both within and outside of the classroom. The faculty members in the department are incredibly knowledgeable, passionate, and kind; they help foster an inclusive and supportive learning environment where students feel comfortable and confident participating in class and asking for help. I really appreciate the time and care professors invest into each student and their success. The small cohort size allows for meaningful engagement and discussion amongst students within seminar courses and multiple opportunities for networking outside of class. The close-knit community feeling and welcoming atmosphere of the department was one of the features that really drew me to this program.

Alongside the collegial environment, I was drawn to the rigorous curriculum offered by the sociology program and the opportunities for academic and professional advancement. This program is the first of its kind to offer Ph.D. students the option to pursue a co-op term to supplement our academic endeavors and to explore alt-ac careers; aligning with the ethos of the University of Waterloo’s focus on innovative and experiential learning. There are also multiple opportunities to collaborate with faculty on research projects and get involved with the department, or on-campus more generally, through clubs and associations. One of the most rewarding aspects of the program for me has been working as a Graduate Teaching Assistant and Research Assistant; not only have these opportunities been a learning experience, but also a source for invaluable professional development. I highly recommend the Ph.D. program in Sociology at UW for anyone considering pursuing advanced level studies and who is passionate about research and learning. The supportive faculty and administration combined with the abundant opportunities for academic and professional development make it a perfect choice for any prospective applicant."

—Jessica Gill, current PhD student