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Graduate Studies at the Faculty of Social Sciences

The Faculty of Social Sciences focuses on issues relating to the human condition on topics including the analysis of resources, notions of social control, and major worldwide trends. Our focus is on the contemporary world, rooted in local and global realities. Our goal is to understand and have a positive impact on the planet.

Graduate studies programs in social sciences at the University of Ottawa offer a unique, bilingual learning environment ideally suited to study major contemporary social change. Our professors are experts in leading-edge fields and hail from both academia and other sectors. Our students travel the world to collect data in the field, play an active role in many uOttawa research centres and contribute broadly to campus and community life.

Discover more about the diverse fields of study in social sciences!

Anthropology

Understand the world better.
In ever-changing social and environmental conditions, anthropology offers new critical perspectives on the world by highlighting how local and global issues are connected. The discipline’s field research method, ethnography, makes it possible to document in real time a host of complex phenomena pertaining to diverse topics such as medicine, the environment, minorities, media, indigenousness and more. Anthropology students live “in the moment” to observe and understand the contemporary issues that emerge during field research taking place anywhere in the world.

Clinical Psychology

The combined MA/PhD clinical program is a CPA-accredited scientist-practitioner program designed to train students in both research and clinical skills, leading to a broad range of employment possibilities. Through practica, students learn about clinical work with children, adolescents, families, adults and couples, as well as about program evaluation and consultation with community agencies. Research skills are taught through an apprenticeship model with thesis supervisors, who may be full-time professors in clinical or experimental psychology, cross-appointed professors in other university departments, or adjunct or clinical professors working in hospitals or other community agencies.

Criminology

Criminology is devoted to the analysis of crime, criminal processes, justice and social control. The discipline examines intervention methods for problematic situations, focussing on four broad topics: the true character and dynamics of deviant behaviour; the social construction of norms and the notion of crime; the analysis of the goals, functioning and impact of the criminal justice system; and the examination of contemporary forms of intervention.

In criminology, we aim to instill a better understanding among students of the realities of crime and controlling crime. We help students develop the skills required to have an impact in these areas.

Economics

Among the phenomena that influence our society, those related to the economy attract much attention. Every day in the media we encounter concepts such as unemployment, inflation, labour, productivity, and investment — but it can be a challenge to unravel the mass of information conveyed. Economics is the discipline that seeks to understand these concepts and analyze the relationships between them. More precisely, economics examines how a country’s resources are used to meet the needs of its citizens. Our students have the opportunity to combine in-depth knowledge of traditional and alternative theoretical approaches with the intellectual satisfaction of analyzing the pressing social issues of the day.

Experimental Psychology

Our combined MA/PhD program offers specialized education in behavioural neuroscience, cognition, developmental psychology and social/community psychology, along with broad-based research and professional skills. Our dynamic professors have research interests that run from neurons to neighbourhoods, and they pursue them using our state-of-the-art multidisciplinary research facilities, including the brand new INSPIRE laboratory (www.inspire.uOttawa.ca). This prepares our graduates to function in a number of research settings, including universities, government and industry.

Feminist and Gender Studies

The Institute of Feminist and Gender Studies supports interdisciplinary education and research on women, gender and sexuality in a bilingual, multicultural setting. Our faculty members are renowned in Canada and abroad for their research and expertise in fields such as women’s health, human rights, social movements, policy, feminist theory and literature, queer theory, globalization, gender and migration, media studies, anti-racist and postcolonial theory, gender and development, and (dis)ability. 

International Development and Global Studies

We are a leading Canadian school for research, teaching and learning in international development and global studies. We focus on development theory and practice, with an emphasis on understanding the complexities and dynamics of the global South. Our graduate students conduct advanced interdisciplinary research and specialize in a particular field. Areas of specialization include conflict, transitions and peace; growth, the private sector and social inclusion; livelihoods, resources and sustainability; and social movements, equity and human rights.

Political Science

The University’s location, in the heart of the nation’s capital near Parliament Hill and across the river from Quebec, makes it the perfect place to study all aspects of contemporary politics. Our school has a diverse and multicultural student body, truly a microcosm of Canadian society. This ensures that students who enrol in political science get a distinctive view of the institutions, structures, norms and forces that make up contemporary politics. Students also benefit from the opportunity to work or volunteer in a variety of public service, government and non-governmental organizations.

Public Administration

Our programs aim to better understand how government works and its place in contemporary society. We offer teaching focused on the acquisition and development of knowledge in two separate but complementary fields: public management and public policy. Public management focuses on the internal dimensions of organizations, both formal (management, organization, budgeting, strategy, planning) and informal (leadership, motivation, organizational culture, coordination, power relations). Public policy, on the other hand, leans more towards understanding the external qualities of state activities, including the relationship between the state and civil society at different stages of the policy cycle and the factors influencing public choices.

Public and International Affairs

Join the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs and enter a world of new ideas in public and international affairs. We offer a rigorous multidisciplinary program that focuses on the following disciplines: political science, economics, sociology, ethics and law. You will deepen your understanding of the policy process while acquiring and developing professional knowledge and skills. We are a place where theory meets practice, combining mentoring by senior fellows with a diverse range of courses taught by internationally-renowned faculty. Discover a variety of “hands on” opportunities in the nation’s capital and around the world. The MA in Public and International Affairs prepares you for an exciting career in an unpredictable and complex world.

Social Work

The School of Social Work focuses on the development of social workers and the training of independent researchers and high quality high quality managers. Our goal is for our graduates to be able to take on leadership roles in social service development, provision and research. While our school places considerable emphasis on the situation of the Franco-Ontarian minority, our teaching is recognized beyond local and regional borders and can be applied in very different settings. We want to ensure that our graduates have the knowledge and skills to work anywhere around the world.

Sociology

What is sociology? It is understanding and explaining issues in contemporary society in all their complexity. Why do some feel excluded, or included? How do we justify inequality? How do we act to confront it? What are the dynamics of identity? These are some of the questions sociology seeks answers to. The work of the sociologist is to go in the field and collect new information.  It is analyzing words, figures and images to understand reality and to explain it to others. It is also thinking in new, critical ways about today’s world.

Collaborative Programs

Canadian Studies

The primary objective of this program is to foster exchanges among students exploring the Canadian reality from different disciplinary perspectives.

Environmental Sustainability

The key objective of the collaborative program is to provide graduate students with the knowledge and skills needed to identify and analyze the economic, legal, policy and scientific dimensions of environmental problems, and to employ an evidence-based approach to develop reasoned policy options for addressing those problems.

Science, Society and Policy

The goal of this collaborative program is to provide students with the knowledge and skills needed to evaluate the decision-making challenges at the interface of science and policy. Students have the opportunity to explore how evidence is used in decision-making, how current policies shape the scientific enterprise and how emerging technologies interact with society.

Women’s Studies

The goal of this program is to combine master’s level study in a particular discipline with analyses from a women’s studies perspective with faculty members engaged in research on gender, class, race, sexuality and (dis)ability.

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