Take your passion for and curiosity about human connections to a higher level. If you want to dig more deeply into the scholarship of sociology, the Honours program offers the challenge and satisfaction of advanced sociological study.

The centerpiece of the program is a student-designed, faculty-advised research project—your Honours thesis. Through this project, you gain skills in social science research methodology, expertise in the theoretical conceptualization of sociological problems and a detailed knowledge of a particular sociological issue. You formally present your findings to your peers and professors at an end-of-term research forum.

Courses and requirements

The Honours program in sociology is available to selected students in the Bachelor of Arts. Courses in the discipline are only one component of the requirements you need to graduate. Consult the academic calendar for the year you are accepted into the Honours program for a complete list of requirements.

Courses & Requirements
Check the academic calendar to find the courses you need to take and the requirements you must fulfill to complete your program.
Academic Calendar

Past Honours’ projects

Our Honours students’ projects cover a wide range of topics, providing insight and proposing solutions to pressing sociological issues.

Years: 2019 – 2021
Supervisor: Dr. Alissa Overend

Many studies show that masturbation is a common and healthy aspect of human functioning (Kontula & Haavio-Mannila, 2002). Despite this, masturbation has been, and continues to be, perceived by society as a sinful, unhealthy, immoral, and/or shameful act (Hare,1962; Kontula & Haavio-Mannila, 2002; Studd & Schwenkhagen, 2009). Female masturbation, in particular, is subject to harsh social criticism and experiences elevated levels of conceived social unacceptability. Female masturbation is demonized within society to such a degree that it is often perceived as inherently unworthy of discussion or consideration (Garlick, 2012; Stolberg, 2000). The purpose of this study is to trace the ways in which female masturbation is discussed in Human Sexuality textbooks. By conducting a content and discourse analysis of 21 Human Sexuality textbooks and encyclopedias, I explore the dominant themes in which female masturbation is represented and discuss the implications of these representations.

Years: 2019 – 2021
Supervisor: Dr. Kalyani Thurairajah

In late January 2020, the first confirmed case of the COVID-19 virus was verified in Canada (Marchand-Senécal, Kozak, Mubareka, Salt, Gubbay, Eshaghi, Allen, Li, Bastien, Gilmour, Ozaldin & Leis, 2020). In early March 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) officially declared the COVID-19 virus as a global pandemic at a media briefing (World Health Organization, 2020). The advent and evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic has created a culture of enhanced public health and safety measures. In addition, a dramatic increase in anti-Asian discrimination and racism due to the COVID-19 pandemic has also materialized in Canada (Statistics Canada, 2020). At an unprecedented time, the media has become a critical and powerful mechanism to remain informed about emerging events, including anti-Asian hate and racism in Canada. Therefore, this study explores the similarities and differences between the discourses of anti-Asian racism during the COVID-19 pandemic in online Canadian news media. A critical discourse analysis of 30 news articles from Vancouver-based and national online news sources was conducted, which revealed several themes about the relationship between Asian Canadians, racism, and media amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

Years: 2018 – 2020
Supervisor: Dr. Jeffrey Stepnisky

From November 2013 to February 2014, Ukraine’s Independence Square (or Maidan) became the site of revolution. The Maidan Revolution culminated in the deaths of over 100 protesters and law enforcement, and the removal of former President Viktor Yanukovych. Subsequently, several studies have observed how Maidan is being remembered (see Kozachenko, 2020; Nuzov, 2016; Shevel, 2016). I rely on the perspectives of Maurice Halbwachs (2011/1925) on collective memory, Robin Wagner-Pacifici (1996; 2010; 2017) on events, and various perspectives on media framing in journalism. This paper builds upon existing literature by exploring the formation of collective memory in 52 newspaper articles from the Kyiv Post and RT. From my findings I argue both news outlets accept Maidan as part of their taken for granted memory. Both outlets primarily frame Maidan using national memory narratives. Like Kozachenko (2020), I observed the presence of Ukrainophile and Sovietophile historical frames. Though both news outlets frame Maidan as a failed revolution, I argue Maidan is characterized differently by the Kyiv Post and RT. Whereas, the Kyiv Post frames Maidan as a tragic unfinished revolution, RT constructs a framing of Maidan as a coup which allows them to compare it to current events.

Read the article

Years: 2018 – 2020
Supervisor: Dr. Joanne Minaker

Black youth often contend with negative external social constructions, labels, and categories, defining who they are as individuals and as racialized others. Regardless of the degree to which Black youth identify with these narratives of deviance, the expectations and assumptions within this discourse have consequences. This research project analyzed Black youth identity and racialization through the lens of my racialized experience of growing up Black in Canada. Thus, this study attempted to answer the following question: How have I as a Black youth made sense of the “narrative of deviance” as I created my identity during adolescence? The method used for this research was an auto-ethnographical approach, which allowed me to analyze my own life experiences and explore the themes in relation to academic literature on Black youth and adolescent experiences. As the primary researcher I coded the selected life experiences using MAXQDA coding software, analyzed them for major themes, and drew on the major connections that existed between the data and the existing literature. The existing literature represented Black youth identity as frequently being fraught with internal identity tension, varying levels of performative tendencies, and denial of individual recognition. My research found that throughout my life, I contended with social process that constructed Blackness, through creation, performance, and judgment, making my Blackness an object that was meant to represent a stereotypical image of a Black male.

Read the article

Years: 2017 – 2019
Supervisor: Dr. Fiona Angus

Many social traditions involve alcohol consumption from a glass of wine with dinner or a pint of beer in a tavern after work. In both cases, social norms regarding acceptable and unacceptable drinking habits are dictated by gender and social class. This qualitative research project uses a triangulation of methods to analyze the way gender dynamics operate in public drinking establishments in Edmonton, Alberta. The themes of gendered safety, visual culture and hook-up culture are explored through this analysis.


Years: 2017 – 2019
Supervisor: Dr. Joanne Minaker

The human process of becoming, which involves identity formation and an emerging sense of self (Worth, 2009, p.1050), begins at a very young age and reaches critical points through the course of a youth's educational life. Through the process of becoming, the ways which youth deal with challenges in their lives are potentially supported or thwarted, depending on the presence of caring adults who may act as guides, adult mentors or what can be referred to as "champions." According to Rita Pierson (2013), a champion for youth is "an adult who will never give up on them, who understands the power of connection and insists they become the best they can possibly be.”

During adolescence, the transition from elementary school to junior high can result in “heightened levels of mistrust between teachers and students, student perceptions that teachers no longer care about them, and a decrease in opportunities for students to establish meaningful relationships with teachers” (Wentzel, 1997, p.411). Therefore, the position that teachers occupy at such an important time for youth becoming gives these adult authorities a unique opportunity to connect with youth and to establish a relationship that can serve as a role model and a support system as youth learn who they are and aspire to become. This project is a sociological exploration into the dynamics of building caring relationships between youth and teachers. Specifically, what are the relational processes of teacher-student connections according to junior high teachers?


Years: 2017 – 2019
Supervisor: Dr. Amanda Nelund

Post-secondary institutions are intended to be safe spaces where students, faculty and staff engage in critical thought and discussion, thereby raising awareness, giving context and challenging assumptions that have the potential to shift the narrative around significant issues. Although post-secondary institutions foster the intellectual growth of their members, they are also environments where these same individuals face sexual violence.

In recent years, sexual violence in the post-secondary system is receiving closer media attention, resulting in public pressure which demands post-secondary institutions create and implement policies and educational programming that specifically addresses sexual violence. Other policies and processes, however, such as Student Codes of Conduct, already designate forms of sexual violence as intolerable or illegal. Due to massive public pressure and demand for policies that specifically address sexual violence only, it is crucial to examine how or if these policies add or contribute to the policy or legislative context in Canada. This research investigates campus community members’ knowledge of and perceptions of sexual violence policies in the context of Canadian post-secondary institutions. 


Years: 2017 – 2019
Supervisor: Dr. Kalyani Thurairajah

Canada, like many countries, has to deal with the issue of human trafficking, which is both a product of and response to globalization. Human trafficking is often conflated with various other social issues, such as sex work, illegal migration and labour rights. This study examines how discourses of human trafficking were constructed and disseminated by three federal governmental organizations and six provincial non-governmental organizations in Alberta. Using critical discourse analysis, the study analyzed three possible web pages on each organization's website, including the home page, About Us page and a page with a definition of human trafficking. It identifies two main levels of power relations: one between the government and non-governmental organizations and another between the non-governmental organizations and the public.

The power relation between the governmental and non-governmental organizations demonstrated a lack of power influence from the governmental organizations onto the non-governmental organizations. However, the relationship between the non-governmental organizations and the public showed a clear exercise of power by the non-governmental organizations through their ability to produce knowledge in society. By comparing and contrasting the thematic codes evident in both sets of organizations, this thesis also addresses how power relates to the discourses of human trafficking. 


Years: 2017 – 2019
Supervisor: Dr. Michael Seredycz

Reoffending is one of the primary difficulties faced by offenders exiting the correctional system today. High rates of reoffending, otherwise known as recidivism, contribute to the effects of churning where offenders become entrenched in the correctional system. In Canada, we don’t seem to study this at all on a systematic, national or regional level. As such, I chose to utilize data from an American alcohol and drug rehabilitation program, Access to Recovery, that offers both religious and non-religious programming in an attempt to combat recidivism. Reoffending data was analyzed in an attempt to determine if religion and religious commitment would predict recidivism, in particular re-incarceration within an offender’s first year out of prison. Religious rehabilitation may not directly contribute to drastic reductions in recidivism; however, religion can provide offenders with other intangible benefits such as pro-social relationships and moral frameworks that may assist in the process of re-integration back to one’s community.


Admission to the Honours program

Many students apply to the Honours program at the end of their second year, with applications accepted in early to mid-April for Fall admission. However, you can also apply for Winter admission in mid- to late-December.


Eligible students are evaluated for acceptance into the program according to a number of criteria. Before you apply, you must meet selection criteria for the degree.


You must meet additional criteria for acceptance into the Honours program in sociology. Before you apply, you must have:

  • Completed a minimum of 45 credits
  • Completed at least six credits in sociology courses above the 100 level
  • Completed at least 24 credits within the last 12 months
  • A cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • A GPA in senior sociology courses (above the 100 level) of least 3.3 or higher
  • Declared sociology as your major in the Bachelor of Arts program

To remain in the Honours program, you must maintain a course load of 30 credits over 12 months and maintain the GPA required at initial admission.

Not all students who meet the minimum criteria will be accepted into the program. Because the Honours program is an intensive course of study, involving a significant amount of one-on-one interaction with a faculty supervisor and access to departmental resources, a limited number of students are accepted into the program. Acceptance is based on academic performance, GPA, course experience and the availability of a suitable supervisor. Decisions made by the Department of Sociology regarding acceptance to this program are not subject to appeal.

Admission process

Book an appointment with an advisor in Program Services to check your progress and determine if you meet the requirements for the Honours program. An advisor can help you:

  • Review your course history
  • Plan your program to make sure you fit required courses (and their prerequisites) into your schedule
  • Calculate your cumulative GPA, especially if you have transfer credit

You must submit a completed Program Check Request Form from Program Services with your application to the sociology Honours program.

Please note that students who declared their major after Fall 2019 can complete their own program check through the “Academic Progress” option in their myStudentSystem.

Aside from the formal requirements for acceptance into the Honours program, you must find a faculty supervisor within the Department of Sociology. Meeting with various faculty members helps you to get an idea of the type of research faculty members are involved in and who you might be interested in working with.

Well in advance of the application deadline, you should investigate the research and scholarly interests of various faculty members and contact several of them to discuss the possibility of working together on an Honours project. You are much more likely to be selected for the program if you begin discussing potential projects with at least one faculty member prior to applying to the program.

Applications to the sociology Honours program must be submitted to the Discipline and Honours advisors by April 30.

You need to complete the following forms as part of your application:

  1. Sociology Honours Program Application
  2. Program Check (This item is completed through Program Services if you declared prior to Fall 2019, or can be completed using the "Academic Progress" option in myStudentSystem if you declared after Fall 2019).

After submitting your application, you will be contacted within four to six weeks regarding acceptance into the Honours program. Admission is determined on the basis of your GPA, course experience and the availability of a suitable supervisor.

Program criteria

Students accepted into the Honours program must complete 24-credits in each twelve consecutive months they are in the program. Exceptions to this rule may occur with the approval of the Honours discipline advisor.

You must maintain an overall GPA of at least 3.0 and a GPA of at least 3.3 in all sociology courses (200-level and above). These averages refer to the average across all courses that apply to the Bachelor of Arts, not minimum grades in each course.

Should you fail to meet these GPA requirements, you will be notified by the program and the Office of the University Registrar will be advised to change your program status to 'BA Undeclared' within 15 days. If you are in ‘Good Standing’ and wish to remain in the Bachelor of Arts, please consult with an academic advisor in Program Services and the discipline advisor to determine the required courses to complete your program of study.

You can find more information about academic standing and grades through Enrolment Services in the Office of the University Registrar.

In addition to meeting the core requirements for the Bachelor of Arts, students in Honours sociology are required to complete the following:

  1. A course in quantitative or qualitative methods (SOCI 416 or 418)
  2. An individual study focused on the literature review (SOCI 398)
  3. An individual study to complete the research proposal (SOCI 496)
  4. The Honours thesis (6 credits: SOC 499A and 499B)

Your progress will be evaluated at the end of the third year. If you are underperforming, you may be asked to leave the Honours program.

Honours advising

Consult the Honours Advisor for more information on the selection process and what to expect in the program or to submit your application to the Honours program in sociology.

Dr. Amanda Nelund, Discipline & Honours Advisor
6-396N, City Centre Campus