Diploma in Social Policy

Post Baccalaureate Diploma in Social Policy

Social policy, a growing area of interest of the academic community, is concerned with human resource development. The initiation, formulation, management, and evaluation of social policy involves government, business, labour, community groups, and social researchers. At Simon Fraser University, faculty and graduate students are engaged in research projects pertaining to a broad range of social policy issues including: 

  • inequality and poverty;
  • multiculturalism and language rights issues;
  • social service privatization;
  • native rights and aboriginal land claims; 
  • immigration and refugee policies;
  • tourism and development projects; and
  • critical assessment of public problems.

The Post Baccalaureate Diploma in Social Policy offers students an opportunity to apply recent developments in social theory and research methods to the investigation of a range of social problems and social policy issues. As well as featuring courses which examine various substantive social policy issues, the overall program aims to provide the critical perspectives needed in order to grasp the processes by which social problems are defined, understood, and acted upon both in Canada and in other societies.

The program is intended for people who have previously completed a Bachelors degree (or higher) in any field of study, and is of special interest to those who wish to fulfill or change career goals, professionals (teachers, civil servants, nurses, and those working in the social services field) who seek new perspectives for analyzing and interpreting social policy issues, and to those who wish to develop their general educational background. The program may be completed through a combination of courses offered through distance education, at the Burnaby and the downtown campuses.

Admission Requirements

Acceptance of general Simon Fraser University admission does not automatically guarantee admission to the Post Baccalaureate Diploma program. Students must apply for entry directly to the Department of Sociology and Anthropology.

Contact the SA Undergraduate Advisor (saadvise at, or download and print the application form, along with the referee form.

Normally completion of a Bachelor’s degree with a minimum graduation grade point average of at least 2.5 from a recognized university, or the equivalent. Students applying to the University for admission are required to meet undergraduate admission deadlines. Application forms should be accompanied by official documents and a statement of objectives in undertaking the diploma program.

Program Requirements

Successful completion of an approved program comprised of at least 30 credit hours of third and fourth year courses, or graduate level courses if applicable. Of these 30 credit hours, at least 16 are to be earned by completing at least four of the required courses, one of which MUST be SA 340-4. Students without any background in sociology or anthropology are required to complete two lower division prerequisite courses in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology. Minimum grade point average of 2.5 on all courses applied toward the diploma. Completion of the diploma within five years of admission to the program.


Students must successfully complete an approved program comprised of 30 units of upper division courses. At least 16 are to be chosen from the set of core courses described below, and 16 from the option courses below.

Core Courses

Students complete a total of 16 units, including:

  • SA 340-4 Social Issues & Social Policy Analysis

and at least three of:

  • SA 316-4 Tourism and Social Policy
  • SA 319-4 Culture, Ethnicity, and Aging
  • SA 331-4 Politics of the Family
  • SA 335-4 Gender Relations and Social Issues
  • SA 337-4 Sexuality and Society
  • SA 345-4 Race, Immigration and the Canadian State
  • SA 363-4 Processes of Development and Underdevelopment
  • SA 386-4 The Ethnography of Politics
  • SA 418-4 International Health: Global Policies and Local Realities
  • SA 420-4 Sociology of Aging

Optional Courses

Students complete a total of 16 units, chosen from:

  • CRIM 334-3 Law and Human Reproduction or GSWS 334-3 Law and Human Reproduction 
  • LBST 301W-3 Labour Movements: Contemporary Issues and Images
  • LBST 310-3 The Politics of Labour in Canada
  • POL 321-4 The Canadian Federal System
  • POL 352-4 Urban and Local Governance in Canada
  • POL 451-4 Public Policy Analysis 
  • SA 300-4 Canadian Social Structure
  • SA 304-4 Social Control
  • SA 318-4 The Anthropology of Medicine
  • SA 321-4 Social Movements
  • SA 325-4 Political Sociology
  • SA 332-4 The Anthropology of Childhood
  • SA 362-4 Society and the Changing Global Division of Labour
  • SA 364-4 Urban Communities and Cultures
  • SA 371-4 The Environment and Society

To fulfil the optional course requirement, students may instead complete addional core courses, or upon the program steering committee's recommendation, select a course not included among listed options, but with appropriate content.