Department of Sociology

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Current Students

This page is designed to provide you with information and resources to assist you in your current studies as a Sociology graduate student:

School of Graduate Studies Calendar

This Calendar is a comprehensive guide to graduate programs and courses. It also provides information on admissions, awards and registration, and serves as a record of the policies and procedures of the School of Graduate Studies at Queen's University.

The Graduate Studies Calendar can be found here.

2020-2021 Sociology Timetable
Click here for the 2020-21 graduate timetable.
2020-2021 Fall/Winter Course Descriptions and Outlines


SOCY-901 - Sociological Theory     
This course critically examines the main tenets of contemporary sociological theory. Key sociological concepts are studied in a variety of contexts spanning from the micro to macro levels of social action. Although heavily reliant on the main historical developments in sociology (Marx, Weber and Durkheim), emphasis is place on post Second World War II developments in sociological theory.

SOCY-917 - Quantitative Methodology     
This course serves as an introduction to a broad range of quantitative methods typically employed in the Social Sciences in a manner suitable for students at the graduate-level. Students will learn to prepare data for analysis, carry out analyses, and interpret research results using a variety of statistical techniques. Students will be acquainted with the assumptions that are made while employing various methods, as well as the problems that arise with the use of such methods.

SOCY-920 - Advanced Issues in Socio-Legal Studies   
This course will examine issues and controversies in the socio-legal area. Topics will vary, but may include some or all of the following: corporate crime, victimology, crime and the elderly, feminist criminology.

SOCY-934 - Global Surveillance Controversies

This graduate course is surveillance studies covers six major contemporary controversies, in 2-week ‘modules.’ Each module comprises a short introductory lecture from the course leader (and occasionally guest contributions), a series of theoretical and empirical readings and other media, and will have a small research task and a short reading response.

  • Surveillance, Blackness and Policing – the current uprising in the USA and elsewhere will be considered through the history and contemporary practices of policing black lives.
  • Surveillance and Authoritarianism – new surveillance technologies give contemporary authoritarian states power out of reach of classic authoritarian regimes. This module focuses on China’s ‘social credit’ and urban safety schemes, as well as the repression of popular movements in Xinjiang and Hong Kong, as examples.
  • Surveillance and AI – surveillance is being automated and captured information subjected increasingly to algorithmic processes in software. We examine the promises, shortcomings and dangers of Artificial Intelligence applied to surveillance in a variety or institutional and organisational settings, particularly schools and workplaces. 
  • Smart Cities – the aftermath of Sidewalk Labs’ failed plan for Toronto’s waterfront will be examined, alongside the ambitious schemes for new cities in Saudi Arabia, India and Brazil.
  • Pandemic Surveillance – the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has seen an upsurge in surveillance technological solutions ‘for our own good’. This module examines the conflict around Contact-Tracing apps, wearable technology and robots in countries around the world.
  • Surveillance and the Climate Emergency – humanity is currently facing its biggest challenge, global climate breakdown. This module examines how surveillance systems generate knowledge about climate, and how they might help in resolving the emergency, but at the same time how this, along with many of the other trends examined in this course, could embed  surveillance into government at the planetary scale.

SOCY-936 - Disability Studies 
Disability Studies explores the cultural formation of ability and disability, with an eye to removing disabling barriers for all persons.  This course will serve as an advanced introduction to that discipline, with an emphasis on theoretical and qualitative sociological research.  More than just a sociology of disability, this means using disability to reframe classical and contemporary theories of social life, and exploring disablement as a site of transformative change and the politics of access.  Concretely, this course will explore the medical and social models of disability, their detractors, intersectional and critical theories of disability, and empirical studies of disablement.  By focusing on disability and ability, the seminar should be of interest to those interested in disability, and the social and material organization of capability more generally.  Some basic questions that frame the course content: What is the relationship between disability and impairment?  What are the politics underpinning disability terminology?  What is the role of rehabilitation in the politics of disability and ability?  What is the relationship between physical and mental disability? Who gets to theorize disability?  Does disability change under different modes of economic organization? Students should finish the seminar with an understanding of disability studies debates, their history, key disability studies thinkers, and points of similarity with adjacent spaces of academic inquiry, not solely within sociology.


SOCY-902 - Sociological Methodology     
This course deals with the main contemporary methodological approaches to the explanation of social phenomena. It will critically examine the strengths and weaknesses of the major strategies of social research (qualitative, quantitative and historical).

SOCY-931 - New Media Cultures
We live in cultures which are increasingly organized around or saturated with digital information or new media. In this advanced course we will engage with some of the major commentators on relationships between new media and culture, working through a series of key ideas and problems focused around intersections of theory and practice. Instead of maintaining a domination/resistance conception of cultural industries and practices, we will explore complex dynamics of innovation and consumption across a variety of arenas. There will be scope to engage with notions of mobility, speed, reflection, reflexivity, information, virtuality, consumption, in the context of different spaces or objects (city; home; archive; gallery; brand, memory, sounds, visions, events, body, etc.) and practices (photography, art, writing, listening, tourism, learning, etc.) which exemplify contemporary debates about new media in cultural sociology.

SOCY-934 - Political Sociology   
This course examines key political issues in contemporary societies through engaging with a mix of classical and contemporary social and political thought. It is not intended to give a comprehensive overview of the entire field; rather, the course is organized around some salient features of the current political moment related to state sovereignty, capitalism, and violence. The course is divided in two parts: The first part examines ideas and concepts around ‘the state’ and ‘politics;’ and the second part is dedicated ‘the economy’ and capitalism, and how these relate to contemporary political issues. Some of the questions we will discuss revolve around: The resurgence of concerns about state sovereignty vis à vis a globalized and networked economy; the relationships between economic crises and the resurgence of nationalisms; the renewed visibility of race and racisms in global politics; shifting understandings of citizenship; the legacies of violence on which modern political and economic orders have been built and the ways in which this matters for (understanding) the present; and finally, possibilities of imagining alternative modes of organizing economic and political activities.

Course Registration

Graduate students in the Department of Sociology are unable to register in their courses through SOLUS. All course selections must be submitted to the Graduate Program Assistant in the department.

When the graduate timetable is finalized each summer the Graduate Program Assistant will inform (by email) all continuing and new incoming students. When graduate students have determined their courses for the upcoming year, the graduate student will send an email to the Graduate Program Assistant listing his/her selections. Course selections will be entered onto the system prior to the beginning of classes. Check SOLUS at the beginning of the term to ensure courses have been added correctly. If there are any errors or omissions, please contact the Graduate Program Assistant immediately. Note that SOLUS will not always show you the date/time/location of the course. This information can be found on the graduate timetable.

Forms and Policies
Graduate Studies in Sociology Handbook
Individual-Direct Study Form
Annual Progress Repot
Conference Travel Award
Queen's Graduate Teaching Fellow (TF)
Teaching Assistantship (TA)
Blakely Family Student Initiatives Award
Comprehensive Exams
Thesis Proposal And Defense Information

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