Student testimonials

Since the inception of our program in 2009, our graduates have either moved on to pursue a PhD in Sociology, continued their postsecondary education in other professional degree programs, have jobs related to research, work within the legal system, private or non-profit sector or continue their volunteer work as members of Boards of Directors or with community organizations.

Hear from current students and alumni

“My research explores the experiences, ideologies and strategies of Niagara animal activists within the context of animals used for entertainment purposes at Marineland in Niagara Falls, ON. Marineland has been embedded in an ongoing controversy around severe animal welfare violations, the ethical implications of animal captivity, and its attempts to silence dissent from opponents of the Park. I examine this case as an illustration of a broader theoretical debate on the morality and practical utility surrounding ideologies of animal rights abolitionism, pragmatic welfarism, and speciesist reformism. Through an exploration of these sociopolitical issues surrounding the exploitation of wild animal for human amusement, I hope to contribute new insight in the area of Critical Animal Studies and the philosophical debate of pursuing animal welfare vs. liberation. This thesis is motivated and informed by my experiences in the local animal advocacy community through organizing efforts and direct-action initiatives. I was the recipient of the Jack Hallam Animal Rights Award during my BA, and recently I received a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) grant to aid me in the completion of my MA.”

“It would seem that there has always been a moral inquiry into war that is as old as war itself. Underlying this tradition of inquiry are sets of assumptions about human rights, states’ rights and responsibilities and, of course, justice. What is often missing from war inquiry is a focus on people who refuse to participate in ‘unjust’ conflicts. My MA thesis focuses on enlisted American soldiers who refused to participate in or be deployed to the Iraq and Afghanistan occupations. These soldiers now reside in Canada as refugees and conscientious objectors. The ethnographic research I am conducting investigates how war is waged and sold, in order to create dialogue about military abstention and its place within the military.”

“My research highlights the role played by sex workers affiliated with Maggie’s Toronto Sex Worker Action Project in the fight for legal changes to prostitution related charges in the Criminal Code of Canada. On June 13th, 2013, the Supreme Court of Canada heard the case of Bedford v. Canada, a case that will determine the legal status of sex work in Canada. The advocacy work engaged in by Maggie’s has been instrumental in moving forward this case through the courts, up to the Supreme Court of Canada. Drawing on interview data, my thesis explores the ways in which members of Maggie’s organize for the decriminalization of sex work in Canada. I also theorize about the extent to which the case for decriminalization of sex work in Canada is strengthened by the involvement of sex workers, what the decriminalization of sex work would mean to members of Maggie’s, and what decriminalization would mean to sex workers on a national level.”

“My thesis project focuses on the relationship between constructions of dominant masculinities and violence against women in Canadian society. The objectives of this project are (1) to research the potential for male-driven peer-led campus-based anti-violence initiatives to develop rape consciousness in men; (2) to develop fresh and innovative ways to engage men, specifically athletes, in ending violence against women; (3) to foster critical introspection in my participants and me. The research questions are (1) what is the relationship between male athletes, dominant masculinities, and violence against women in Canadian society? (2) how do particular groups of men, specifically athletes, experience, perceive and perform masculinities? (3) what would appropriate programming to engage male student-athletes in ending violence against women look like?

Currently, I work at the Sexual Assault Support Centre of Waterloo Region as the Public Education Facilitator for the Male Allies Against Sexual Violence (MAASV) program. The practical application of my research through MAASV workshops has allowed me to interact with theory on a daily basis; something that has helped me grow, both as a student and a budding gender equity advocate.”

“Having recently completed my MA in Critical Sociology, I’m already missing the interaction and camaraderie that I experienced with my cohort, the Sociology faculty, and the support staff in the program. In terms of the program’s focus on contemporary social problems and the creation of new knowledge that addresses those problems, MACS is valuable to any student who wants to explore and push the boundaries of social thought. It was a fascinating and worthwhile experience.”

“The Master’s Program in Critical Sociology at Brock University was a natural fit for me. Having graduated from the undergraduate Sociology program at Brock, I was already familiar – often on a first-name basis – with many of the associate and senior professors in the program. The fact that my professors were approachable and friendly – a hallmark of many programs at Brock – was important in making my decision of where to study. In addition, while many universities offer multidisciplinary social justice related graduate programs (including Brock), Brock is one of the few schools that offers a concentrated, focused Sociology program – an important consideration for someone who is considering pursuing a PhD. Finally, Brock’s Critical Sociology program is one of the only explicitly critical Sociology graduate programs available. I always approached Sociology as a discipline that conducts social research with and for the explicit benefit of subordinated and oppressed people. Brock’s Masters in Critical Sociology program shares this approach and creates a space for students to promote social justice through their own research.

The program has helped me considerably to develop a number of skills (so many, in fact, that I often take some of them for granted).

Besides the obvious – research skills, writing skills, proofreading, transcription, note-taking – I have developed my public speaking and interpersonal and leadership skills. The skills I cultivated during my time in the MACS program have helped me succeed at essentially everything I have put my effort into since. As an activist, I was able to establish a positive reputation for our organization, create meaningful community partners and organize social justice events throughout St. Catharines. In my current role, these skills allow me to be a flexible and responsive office administrator. I am entrusted with duties as disparate as updating our organization’s website and writing press releases to researching and purchasing office equipment. These day-to-day tasks are small pieces of the larger goal of achieving food justice/security – a commitment that was cultivated in me throughout my time in the MACS program.”

“I believe that the MA level of graduate study poses a palpable challenge for students who are transitioning from consuming knowledge to producing knowledge. This challenge makes choosing an appropriate MA program a serious deliberation. My choice to undertake an MA in Critical Sociology (MACS) at Brock University was excellent for a number of reasons. First, MACS provided a wide range of expertise that was crucial for my intellectual development. In departmental academic events, faculty shared their research in progress. These events were opportunities for me to engage in mind-stretching and informal conversations with faculty and my peers. Second, the intimate academic atmosphere of MACS allowed me to be in close touch with the professors, my thesis committee members, and other invaluable personnel resources. The close-knit community of MACS encouraged me to enrich my understandings and pursue my academic interests. Third, the outstanding quality of the supervision I received in the MACS program paved the way for my academic growth. Owing to the education and care I received in MACS, I was accepted to many highly competitive PhD programs in several social science fields at Canadian universities.

Presently, I am continuing my doctoral studies in Sociology at a well-respected institution. I sincerely recommend that you considering joining the MACS community, where I’m sure you’ll enjoy many of the same tangible educational benefits.”