Undergraduate Studies

What do we do here?

Are you interested in knowing more about the world we live in? Why are some people poor and others rich? What are the differences between men and women? How does culture shape our ideas? What are the causes and solutions to social problems in today's society?

If, for example, we want to understand what leads some people to heroin addiction, sociologists and anthropologists ask questions like: What are the daily lives of addicts really like? How is this lifestyle experienced differently by men and women? What are the answers that media, filmmakers, law enforcement, policy makers, social scientists, and the addicts themselves offer to these questions? What can we learn from watching and analyzing films like Trainspotting?

The Department of Sociology and Anthropology invites you to join us in our explorations of these questions that we study in a variety of ways: through reading books, watching films, listening to guest speakers, doing research, and participating in class discussions.

Both sociologists and anthropologists at Simon Fraser University are involved in research and teaching in Western industrial societies, in Third World societies, and on the theoretical and comparative questions that go beyond national boundaries.

As well as its intrinsic intellectual rewards, undergraduate training in sociology and anthropology provides invaluable background for students who intend to pursue careers in such fields as urban planning, journalism, law, public administration, welfare-related professions, teaching, personnel management, health care fields, and international development projects.

How are the fields of Sociology and Anthropology defined?

Sociology looks at the social building blocks, or social structures, organizing Canadian and other societies. For example, it examines the ways families, class, sexual orientation, gender, ethnicity, and the state are shaped and, in turn, how they are shaped by each of us as individuals. A “sociological imagination” is the ability to connect our personal story with social structures and history. It enables us to see the role played by social forces in shaping our experiences and choices and how seemingly personal characteristics may represent patterns of behaviour we share with people in other social groups.

Anthropology enables you to look at culture, the way in which humans create meaning in the world. Once focused on non-Western peoples, anthropologists now study Canadian culture as well as other societies, a shift blurring the older boundaries between anthropology and sociology. Anthropologists often spend long periods of time living with the groups they study to better understand their perspectives and experiences. 


Information about SA courses and our course offerings each term


The SA Department has a variety of majors, minors, joint majors, extended minors and honours programs students can select.


The SA department has an advisor dedicated to helping undergraduate students navigate their way through department, faculty and university systems. Don't hesitate to contact us for help!

You can find the SA courses and programs in the SFU Academic Calendar here.

Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Cooperative Education Program

The Arts and Social Science Co-op Program is an experiential learning program for students in undergraduate, post baccalaureate diploma (PBD)/Second Degree programs, and Master’s degree programs. See more.

International Students

International services for students provides both support and information for international students studying at SFU, and opportunities for SFU students looking to study internationally.