Interdisciplinary Centre for Health & Society


UTSC's ICHS program promotes 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. See below for a description of our Major and Minor Programs.

Our interdisciplinary program is designed to offer students the ability to critically explore the complexities of human health, such as the ways that:

  • Biological and genetic factors affect human health, as well as how they affect our susceptibility and resistance to a broad spectrum of diseases;
  • Canadian health care programming and policy have evolved and how changes compare to those in other nation-state models of political governance;
  • Critical social science health perspectives offer conceptual and practical tools to investigate 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;
  • Cultural factors mediate health practices, and in turn, shape health outcomes through tradition, customs, ritual, and concepts of health, illness, and disease;
  • Environmental factors influence the wellbeing of people from an individual to a global level;
  • 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;
  • The Canadian health care system 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.