Summer 2023 - HSCI 481 D100

Senior Seminar in Social Health Science (3)

Class Number: 3270

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    May 8 – Jun 19, 2023: Wed, Fri, 9:30 a.m.–12:20 p.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    90 units, including at least 15 upper division HSCI units with a minimum grade of C-. Other prerequisites may vary according to topic.



An in-depth overview of the sociocultural, epidemiological, and policy aspects of population and public health. May be repeated for credit.


In Canada, life expectancy is 83 years for women and 78 years for men. While the three leading causes of death in Canada are the same for both women and men, on average, men die younger from these conditions.  In other countries, women are more likely to die at younger ages than men. Population patterns of morbidity are even more complex; descriptions, experiences and distributions of health and disease vary both across and within groups of women and men.  Why? Are observed differences in health, illness and disease between women and men biological? Or are these differences socially created? And how do social and biological factors influence each other? We will ask how can we investigate the relationship between biological and social determinants of health and when and why should our science attempt to understand these differences in the health of women and men? How can health programs and policy be designed to address sex and gender as determinants of health? And what can scientific inquiry in this area offer us in our attempt to improve population health? This course will offer students an opportunity to explore these issues through an exploration of literature examining sex, gender and health. The course will begin with a overview of the concepts of sex and gender and will cover theoretical frameworks from women’s studies, gender studies, sociology and public health that have been applied to understand the relationship between gender and health. We will then explore the relationship between gender and a range of health issues across a variety of different populations. The topics covered will vary by semester, based upon student and instructor preference.


Upon completion of the course, students will be able to:

  • Define the concepts of sex and gender and describe ways sex and gender can be measured;
  • Explain theoretical frameworks that have been applied to examine the relationships between gender and health;
  • Critically examine gender as a determinant of health and situate gender in relation to other determinants of health;
  • Conduct a gender analysis of a health program, policy or research topic and make recommendations for future initiatives related to the topic area; and
  • Recognize the influence of gender in their lives and the lives of others.


  • Class Exercises & Discussion Posts 20%
  • Reading Summaries/Reflections 20%
  • Individual/Small Group Assignment 25%
  • Facilitated Discussion (no powerpoints allowed) 15%
  • Individual/Group Presentation (Powerpoint with audio) 10%
  • Peer Feedback 10%


This will be an interactive seminar where preparation and participation is essential to the success of the course. The course will include lectures, guest presentations, short films and classroom activities, with discussion a part of all of these activities. Students will be expected to share their written work with their peers and will take leadership roles in the course delivery. 

NOTE: As this is an intersession course, you must be able to read a lot of material in a short amount of time. You will be expected to read 3 articles per class (six per week). You should plan your schedule accordingly. It's a bit intense doing this course during intersession. It has its advantages, but only if you don't have a heavy courseload/work schedule.

NOTE: In June, homework assignments will be due on Mondays before seminar to enable preparation for each seminar. You will need to do the weekly readings on the weekend before the Monday deadline in order to accomplish this.

NOTE:  Final exam (presentation of research projects) will be held during the exam period.  The exam is only this, a final presentation that enables you to share your work with your peers. It will be evaluated in part, by your peers. We may choose to do this via pre-recorded Powerpoint presentations (as was the case with remote sections). TBD.


90 units, including at least 15 upper division HSCI units.  HSCI 340 and CGPA 2.7 or greater highly recommended.

*I will consider requests from students that are almost there in terms of credit requirements, but not until students with 90 units have had the opportunity to register first. The course will be offered again in 2023-2024. You can email me at to explain your situation if this applies to you.



You will be required to keep a journal during this course.


  1. Fausto-Sterling, A. (2012). Sex/Gender: Biology in a Social World. Routledge.
  2. Original articles will be assigned each week (all available online through SFU Library system).


Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at:

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating. Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the university community. Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the university. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the university.


Students with a faith background who may need accommodations during the semester are encouraged to assess their needs as soon as possible and review the Multifaith religious accommodations website. The page outlines ways they begin working toward an accommodation and ensure solutions can be reached in a timely fashion.