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Programs Overview

Students with Prof Charise in a seminar

Department of Health and Society: Our Major and Minor Programs

UTSC's Health and Society programs promote an understanding of health across a spectrum of academic perspectives: from the clinical and biological health sciences to social science and humanistic ways of knowing. What binds together these disciplinary approaches is a consciousness of the need for rigorous biological knowledge to be understood in tandem with the social milieux of human health and embodiment.

This program is built around, above all, an evidence-based paradigm, to which the faculty in the program are unreservedly committed. The Department of Health and Society offers several degree options: a BA Major or BA Major Co-op, a BSc Major or BSc Major Co-op, and a Minor in Health Humanities. Further information is available on the Department of Health and Society  (Health Studies) page on the UTSC course calendar. Each year, Health and Society faculty and instructors offer a variety new Special Topics courses with descriptions that do not appear in the regular course calendar, but which count toward program requirements.

Our interdisciplinary program is designed to offer students the ability to critically explore the complexities of human health, including the following:

  • How biological and genetic factors affect human health, as well as how they affect our susceptibility and resistance to a broad spectrum of diseases;
  • The ways that the Canadian health care programming and policy have evolved and how changes compare to those in other nation-state models of political governance;
  • The conceptual and practical tools offered by critical social science health perspectives for investigating how social, historical, political and economic processes coordinate people’s interactions with society’s institutions, and in turn, how these shape people’s health and well-being, including how people mobilize to bring about progressive social change;
  • How cultural factors mediate health practices, and in turn, shape health outcomes through tradition, customs, ritual, and concepts of health, illness, and disease;
  • How environmental factors influence the wellbeing of people from an individual to a global level;
  • The ways that humanistic perspectives and arts-based knowledges (including literature, film, drama, visual and performing arts) uniquely reveal and inform the lived experience of health and illness;
  • Canadian health care system and how it is influenced by and adapts to ongoing challenges presented by changing societal values and political arrangements.

In addition to pursuing a rich core curriculum, students are strongly encouraged to diversify their learning by drawing upon relevant courses in various disciplines including Anthropology, Critical Development Studies, Environmental Science, Geography, Human Biology, Mental Health, Public Policy, Sociology and Statistics, as well as through emerging experiential learning opportunities and ongoing collaborations with community partner organizations.