Graduate program

The Master of Arts in Critical Sociology Program at Brock offers learners an exciting opportunity to explore, analyze and challenge all (human and non-human) aspects of the social world through a critical interdisciplinary lens.

Informed by the latest and most dynamic perspectives and methodologies from sociology and a range of allied disciplines, learners examine various forms of inequality and oppression as they manifest themselves in the workplace, the home, the political sphere, popular culture, and every other realm of social life.

Since its inception in 2009, the MACS Program has come to be widely regarded for its social justice emphasis, critically-oriented scholarship and intellectual culture, and its willingness to transcend the traditional disciplinary boundaries of sociology to bridge cutting-edge perspectives from the social sciences, humanities, and even the natural sciences.

Aided by the privilege of working in a small program, our ambitious, diverse, and committed faculty help students to cultivate academic and professional skills, knowledge, and a critical outlook that prepare learners for a wide array of careers and socio-political commitments.

MA in Critical Sociology

View the details below and visit the Faculty of Graduate Studies for more information.

MA in Critical Sociology

The purpose of our program is to inform Master of Arts students of the latest developments in these intellectual discourses and to prepare them to advance theoretical analyses, methodological approaches, social research projects, and social policy initiatives.

Drawing on existing strengths in the department, the emphasis in courses and faculty-supervised graduate research will be on theory, methods, and empirical research that prioritize challenges to oppression, disenfranchisement, and social inequalities in social arrangements. This approach encompasses a variety of critical sociological frameworks including, for example, feminist trajectories in sociological thought, Marxist political economy, political ecology, critical race theory, post-colonial theory, post-structuralist and queer paradigms, critical criminology, animal rights work, environmentalism, and critiques of and alternatives to current economic arrangements.

While students will be introduced to the classical and foundational texts in Critical Sociology, they will be encouraged to explore cutting edge theories, methodologies and empirical research. They will also examine a diverse range of sociological methodologies, in particular ethnographic research, interview and survey-based research methods, critical discourse analysis, and feminist methodologies. This theoretical and methodological foundation, coupled with exposure to diverse empirical concerns, will prepare students to develop sophisticated and rigorous approaches to critical sociological research and analysis.

  • Our small program size allows for high quality and extensive interactions in formal and informal settings with faculty and other graduate students.
  • Twenty-two engaged and diverse faculty members with a wide range of research interests constitute the core of the program.
  • Two Canadian Research Chairs currently teach and supervise in the program.
  • A critical curriculum structures all core and elective courses.
  • Our spacious new graduate student office is furnished with up-to-date equipment.
  • The department of Sociology organizes many academic events that contribute to graduate student training and learning.
  • Students are exposed to a breadth of critical sociological material.

The MACS program is notable for its vibrant faculty from a range of backgrounds who have strong research records. After only five years, we have an excellent record of student success in being admitted to prestigious doctoral programs and hired in professional workplaces. As a small program that admits fewer than ten students a year, our program is able to provide students with teaching and supervising complements that are responsive to individual intellectual needs. Supervisors are especially well-positioned to give their students intensive one-on-one attention.

Although we are a young program, we have already gained an international reputation as a cutting-edge training ground for ambitious students who aspire to pursue doctoral studies at other universities, research work outside a university setting or other professional work that benefits from radical thinking and critical problem-solving skills.

In addition to the traditional Thesis and Major Research Paper streams, the MA in Critical Sociology offers a Co-op with Major Research Paper (MRP) stream.  Securing paid employment will be coordinated with Brock’s Co-op Office.  

Students admitted to this stream will spend the summer and fall terms (8 months total) completing the paid employment requirement.  It is expected that students will have completed required courses in the two terms prior to undertaking their first employment term; after completing the two terms of employment students will write a 60-80 page major research paper.  Note that co-op employment opportunities are not limited to the Niagara Region.

To support their efforts to obtain appropriate co-op opportunities students will complete workshops designed to enhance their skills in the areas of job search strategies, career and professional development, resume preparation, interview techniques, and making presentations.

The Co-op with MRP stream is a six-term (24-month) program. A maximum of four students can be admitted to this stream each year.

Possible Workplace Settings and Opportunities

Students in the Co-op with MRP stream will have the opportunity to work with government agencies, media organizations, non-profit social service agencies (serving various communities and populations), unions, community health centres, research think tanks, educational institutions, to name but a few possible workplace settings.  Employment may entail evaluation, needs assessment and/or action research, community development, non-profit service delivery, event organizing, public relations, and adult education.

How to Apply

Applicants interested in the Co-op with MRP stream must include in their application a co-op statement in addition to the standard statement of interest required of all applicants.  In the additional statement applicants should:

  1. Explain why they are interested in the co-op stream;
  2. Describe the stregths and assets they can bring to a workplace setting and those which they hope to further cultivate; and
  3. Explain how the co-op opportunity might enhance their career prospects and/or activist ambitions.

For further information or questions please contact Dr. Kevin Gosine, Graduate Program Director, at criticalsociology@brocku.ca

  • Our graduate seminar (SOCI 5N00) provides two terms of professional development in a small group setting. In this seminar students develop skills and competencies essential to their future careers, whether as academics or in other professional work.
  • Students have the opportunity to attend the Mapping New Knowledges graduate conference hosted at Brock University every spring. Their graduate seminar work will develop the professional skills needed to present their research at this conference.
  • Students are also able to organize and present their research in the Niagara Social Justice Forum, hosted by the MA Program in Social Justice and Equity Studies each winter.
  • Vitae: Essential Skills for Graduate Students is another opportunity for students to develop their skills through training services such as workshops and activities. Students develop essential career competencies alongside their academic knowledge and skills.

Graduate Program Director
Kevin Gosine, Associate Professor
Office: STH 427A
905-688-5550 x4412
kgosine@brocku.ca

Administrative Coordinator & Graduate Advisor
Lesa Mansfield
Office: STH 400A
905-688-5550 x3455
sociology@brocku.ca
criticalsociology@brocku.ca

Learn more about our faculty here.

KATE BEZANSON
kbezanson@brocku.ca
x3457

JONAH BUTOVSKY
jbutovsky@brocku.ca
x4371

JANET CONWAY
jconway@brocku.ca
4196

NANCY COOK
ncook@brocku.ca
x3176

JUNE CORMAN
jcorman@brocku.ca
x4205

LAUREN CORMAN
lcorman@brocku.ca
x5080

KENDRA COULTER
kcoulter@brocku.ca
x5349

ANDREA DOUCET
adoucet@brocku.ca
x3150

THOMAS DUNK
tdunk@brocku.ca
x3425

IFEANYI EZEONU
iezeonu@brocku.ca
x4054

MARGOT FRANCIS
mfrancis@brocku.ca
x5381

KEVIN GOSINE
kgosine@brocku.ca
x4412

JANE HELLEINER
jhelleiner@brocku.ca
x3711

ANA ISLA
aisla@brocku.ca
x3466

TAMARI KITOSSA
tkitossa@brocku.ca
x5672

MURRAY KNUTTILA
mknuttila@brocku.ca
x4121

TRENT NEWMEYER
tnewmeyer@brocku.ca
x5118

HIJIN PARK
hijinpark@brocku.ca
x3540

REBECCA RABY
rraby@brocku.ca
x3172

MARY-BETH RADDON
mraddon@brocku.ca
x3460

IAN RITCHIE
iritchie@brocku.ca
x3966

MURRAY E.G. SMITH
msmith@brocku.ca
x4370

JOHN SORENSON
jsorenson@brocku.ca
x4369

DENNIS SORON
dsoron@brocku.ca
x3458

MICHELLE WEBBER
mwebber@brocku.ca
x4411

Dustin Sholl (2014) “Western Migrant English Language Teachers in East Asia” (Major Research Paper) (Supervisor: Jane Helleiner; Supervisory Committee Member, Hijin Park)

Stephanie Van Stralen (2014) “Ontario’s Teaching Labour Market: Precarious Employment, Alienation and Possible Outcomes for Young Adults in Contemporary Canada” (Major Research Paper) (Supervisor: Dr. Ann Duffy, Supervisory Committee Member: Dr. Jonah Butovsky)

Travis Mckay (2014) “May-June 1968 in France: Revolution, Counterrevolution and the Crisis of Leadership” (Major Research Paper) (Supervisor: Dr. Murray Smith; Supervisory Committee Member, Dr. Jonah Butovsky)

Kenton Engel (2014) “A Mind of Its Own: The Lived Experience of Adult Students who are ADHD” (Thesis) (Supervisor: Dr. Murray Smith; Supervisory Committee Members: Dr. Michelle Webber, Dr. Mary-Beth Raddon; External Examiner, Dr. Joseph Keeping, York University)

Amanda Marynowycz (2014) “Canadianness is Wilderness? Violent Love Relationships with ‘Wild’ Bodies” (Thesis) (Supervisor, Dr. John Sorenson; Supervisory Committee Members: Dr. Hijin Park, Dr. Keri Cronin; External Examiner, Dr. Amy Fitzgerald, University of Windsor)

Sara Vieira (2014) “You Know What I Mean? Language and Cultural Retention in Luso-Canadian Mothers in the Greater Toronto Area” (Thesis) (Supervisor, Dr. Andrea Doucet; Supervisory Committee Members: Dr. June Corman, Dr. Kate Bezanson; External Examiner, Dr. Ester Reiter, York University)

Galano, David (2014) “The Political Economy of St. Catharines Illicit Taxi Trade” (Thesis) (Supervisor, Dr. Tamari Kitossa; Supervisory Committee Members: Dr. Ifeanyi Ezeonu, Dr. Mary-Beth Raddon; External Examiner, Dr. Grace-Edward Galabuzi, Ryerson University)

Catherine Brigantino (2013) “Eating Some to Protect Others? A Case Study in our Moral Inconsistency toward Animals” (Major Research Paper) (Supervisor, Dr. John Sorenson, Supervisory Committee Member: Dr. Mary-Beth Raddon)

Meaghan Csikos (2013) “Envisioning Real Cooperatives: A Critical Engagement with Erik Olin Wright” (Major Research Paper) (Supervisor, Dr. Kate Bezanson, Supervisory Committee Member: Dr. Mary-Beth Raddon)

Gokboru Tanyildiz (2013) “Making Queer Anti-Capitalist Resistance Intelligible: Reading Queer Childhood In The Ruins of Neoliberalism” (Thesis) (Supervisor, Dr. Nancy Cook; Supervisory Committee Members: Dr. Margot Francis, Dr. Dennis Soron; External Examiner, Dr. Doreen Fumia, Ryerson University)

Doug Billyard (2013) “The Myth of Labour-Management Partnerships, Risk to Labour, A CAMI Automotive Study”. (Thesis) (Supervisor, Dr. Murray Smith; Supervisory Committee Members: Dr. June Corman, Dr. Jonah Butovsky; External Examiner, Dr. Stephanie Ross, York University)

Elizabeth (Liz) Kovacs (2013) “We Do It All: Investigating the Experiences of Niagara Women in Their 50’s who have Multiple Paid and Unpaid Responsibilities”. (Major Research Paper) (Supervisor; Dr. June Corman, Supervisory Committee Member, Dr. Ann Duffy)

Steve Romanin (2013) “M(e)a(t)sculinity: Investigating Veg(etaria)an Men’s Understanding of Masculinity” (Thesis) (Supervisor, Dr. John Sorenson; Supervisory Committee Members: Mary-Beth Raddon, Dr. Lauren Corman; External Examiner, Dr. Michael Kehler, University of Western Ontario)

Sarah Rizzo (2013) “The incarceration of Women in Federal Prisons in Canada: Creating Choices (1990) and Beyond” (Major Research Paper) (Supervisor, Dr. Hijin Park; Supervisory Committee Member: Dr. June Corman)

Navdeep Sandhu (2012) “Petals in the Wind: A Critical Examination of Indian Social Policies Addressing Gender Inequality” (Major Research Paper) (Supervisor, Dr. Ann Duffy; Supervisory Committee Member: Dr. Kate Bezanson)

Kaley Williams (2012) “Going Back To ‘Nothing Works’: A Critical Discourse Analysis of Youth Offender Rehabilitation in the Niagara Region” (Major Research Paper) (Supervisor, Dr. Ifeanyi Ezeonu; Supervisory Committee Member: Dr. Kate Bezanson)

Krystan Yvonne Jones (2012) “Representing Downtown Vancouver’s Eastside: Degeneracy, Gentrification and the ‘Woodward’s Squat'” (Major Research Paper) (Supervisor, Dr. Hijin Park; Supervisory Committee Member: Dr. Efeanyi Ezeonu)

Kristen Westcott (2011) “Hegemonic Discourses in the Curriculum of Higher Education” (Major Research Paper) (Supervisor Dr. Michelle Webber; Supervisory Committee Member: Dr. Ann Duffy)

Afsana Tabibi (2011) “Afghan Women Speak Back: Agency and Colonial Representations in the Contemporary West” (Major Research Paper) (Supervisor, Dr. June Corman; Supervisory Committee Member: Dr. Dan Glenday)

Matt Lemaire (2010) “In the Law We Trust? The Successes, Failures, and Perceptions of the 1983 Canadian Sexual Assault Reforms” (Major Research Paper) (Supervisor, Dr. Ann Duffy; Supervisory Committee Member: Dr. Dan Glenday)