INS100 - Introduction to the Social Sciences I

Outline info
Last revision date 2018-06-14 15:58:40.645
Last review date 2018-07-16 00:15:01.473

Subject Title
Introduction to the Social Sciences I

Subject Description
This course provides a foundation for further study in the social sciences by introducing students to their basic subject matter and theory. It is designed for students in the Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies degree program, forming a basis for upper level courses in any of the relevant social sciences. It also serves as a Liberal Studies course to introduce social science topics to the broader body of Seneca College students. The course is unified via a focus on a central theme or themes of relevance to all the social sciences, such as power and human nature. Through lectures, readings, discussions, and assignments, this course offers a comprehensive interdisciplinary introduction to these central issues, integrating diverse social science approaches to the topic. The course emphasizes the development of critical thinking and writing skills, facilitates the practical application of student learning, and promotes the integration of social science insights into students' broader understanding of themselves and their world.

Credit Status

Required Social Science course for students in the Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies degree program; also a Liberal Studies Option (LSO) for Seneca degree students.

Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this subject the student will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate an understanding of basic theoretical concepts of sociology, anthropology, history, psychology, political science, and economics.
  2. Employ research methods used in the social sciences.
  3. Analyse key issues in the social sciences, such as power and human nature.
  4. Apply social science concepts, theories, and research findings to current social issues, social institutions and the diversity of contemporary culture.
  5. Utilize selected social science concepts and research in their development as students and in their self-understanding as members of diverse human communities.

Essential Employability Skills
Communicate clearly, concisely and correctly in the written, spoken and visual form that fulfils the purpose and meets the needs of the audience.

Respond to written, spoken, or visual messages in a manner that ensures effective communication.

Use a variety of thinking skills to anticipate and solve problems.

Locate, select, organize, and document information using appropriate technology and information systems.

Analyze, evaluate, and apply relevant information from a variety of sources.

Show respect for diverse opinions, values, belief systems, and contributions of others.

Interact with others in groups or teams in ways that contribute to effective working relationships and the achievement of goals.

Manage the use of time and other resources to complete projects.

Take responsibility for one's own actions, decisions, and consequences.

Cheating and Plagiarism
Each student should be aware of the College's policy regarding Cheating and Plagiarism. Seneca's Academic Policy will be strictly enforced.

To support academic honesty at Seneca College, all work submitted by students may be reviewed for authenticity and originality, utilizing software tools and third party services. Please visit the Academic Honesty site on for further information regarding cheating and plagiarism policies and procedures.

All students and employees have the right to study and work in an environment that is free from discrimination and/or harassment. Language or activities that defeat this objective violate the College Policy on Discrimination/Harassment and shall not be tolerated. Information and assistance are available from the Student Conduct Office at

Accommodation for Students with Disabilities
The College will provide reasonable accommodation to students with disabilities in order to promote academic success. If you require accommodation, contact the Counselling and Disabilities Services Office at ext. 22900 to initiate the process for documenting, assessing and implementing your individual accommodation needs.

ENG 106 or one lower-level liberal studies (LSO) or Critical Thinking course.

Topic Outline

  • Basic Concepts
  • Science and the Scientific Method
  • Milgram and Authority
  • Ideology: Liberalism and Conservatism
  • Ideology: Fascism and Socialism
  • Psychology
  • Nature and Nurture
  • Anthropology
  • Family and Gender
  • Sociology
  • Stratification and Class


Mode of Instruction
In this course we will employ theory, concepts and research from a variety of social sciences. These will include anthropology, sociology, psychology, economics, history and political science. This approach will allow us both to explore the diversity of the social sciences, forming a foundation for further social science studies, and to engage the issues of power and human nature in a comprehensive and integrated way.

Prescribed Texts
Reading, provided by the instructor, will be assigned on a weekly basis. 

Reference Material
Students are referred to the following web site for the Seneca College Library APA Style Guide and Guide to Integrating Quotations (APA Style):

Promotion Policy

Grading Policy
A+ 90%  to  100%
A 80%  to  89%
B+ 75%  to  79%
B 70%  to  74%
C+ 65%  to  69%
C 60%  to  64%
D+ 55%  to  59%
D 50%  to  54%
F 0%    to  49% (Not a Pass)
EXC Excellent
SAT Satisfactory
UNSAT Unsatisfactory

For further information, see a copy of the Academic Policy, available online ( or at Seneca's Registrar's Offices.

Modes of Evaluation


All term work assignments must be completed prior to the time of the final exam or last class.  Students must contact faculty in advance of an assignment due date to discuss the possibility of an extension.  Late assignments will be subject to a late penalty resulting in a lower grade.

Make-up opportunities for assignments must also be arranged in advance of the scheduled due date.  If an assignment is missed due to class absence, official documentation must be submitted to the faculty on or before the next scheduled class. Make-up opportunities may not apply to all graded assignments.


Assignments 50%
Mid-Term Test 25%
Final Exam 25%

Students are graded on form as well as content. Marks (up to 5% of the final grade) may be lost for poor organization of ideas and errors in spelling, grammar, capitalization and punctuation.
Students are not permitted to use instructional aids during tests or exams.
To be successful in this course, you must complete all course work as specified, and achieve an overall grade of 50% or more.  It is expected that students have a sufficient command of the English language to express themselves clearly in both written assignments and class discussions. For further information on evaluation and academic standing, see the Academic Policy at


Approved by: Fiona Bain-greenwood