Sociology (SOCI) 290

Social Problems (Revision 2)

SOCI 290 course cover

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Delivery Mode: Individualized study online (with eTextbook)

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Social Science

Prerequisite: None

Faculty: Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences

Sociology home page

SOCI 290 has a Challenge for Credit option.

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Sociology 290: Social Problems is designed to introduce students to the study of social problems: their definition, their dimensions and interconnections, their effects and strategies for alleviating them.

Course Objectives

The course author has the following three overarching objectives:

  1. Understand the theoretical, methodological, and substantive issues surrounding the investigation of social problems.
  2. Critically analyze select sociological theories and consider them in the context of social problems.
  3. Recognize how sociology can contribute to the solution of social problems.


Sociology 290 consists of the five units listed below:

  • Unit 1: Defining Social Problems
  • Unit 2: Inequality as a Social Problem
  • Unit 3: Individual Social Problems and Common Sense
  • Unit 4: Social Problems and Social Institutions: Sociological Theory
  • Unit 5: Global Population and Global Social Problems


To receive credit for SOCI 290, you must achieve a minimum grade of D (50 percent) on the final examinations, and an overall grade of D (50 percent), for the entire course. The weighting of the composite grade is as follows:

Activity Weighting
Assignment 1 5%
Assignment 2 10%
Assignment 3 10%
Assignment 4 20%
Assignment 5 5%
Research Essay Outline 10%
Research Essay 20%
Final Exam 20%
Total 100%

The final examination for this course must be taken online with an AU-approved exam invigilator at an approved invigilation centre. It is your responsibility to ensure your chosen invigilation centre can accommodate online exams. For a list of invigilators who can accommodate online exams, visit the Exam Invigilation Network.

To learn more about assignments and examinations, please refer to Athabasca University's online Calendar.

Course Materials


Registration in this course includes an electronic textbook. For more information on electronic textbooks, please refer to our eText Initiative site.

Kendall, D., Nygaard, V. & Thompson, E. (2016). Social problems in a diverse society (4th Cdn. Ed.). Toronto: Pearson Canada.

A print version of the eText may be available for purchase from the publisher through a direct-to-student link provided on the course website; you can also acquire the textbook on your own if you wish.


Sharp, M. (2009). The rocket scientists' guide to money and the economy: Accumulation and debt. St. Albert, AB: Avatar Publications.


Fulkerton, L. (dir.) & Corry, J. (prod.). (2011). Forks over knives. New York: Virgil Films and Entertainment.

Other Materials

The course materials also include an online study guide and course manual.

Challenge for Credit Overview

The Challenge for Credit process allows you to demonstrate that you have acquired a command of the general subject matter, knowledge, intellectual and/or other skills that would normally be found in a university-level course.

Full information about Challenge for Credit can be found in the Undergraduate Calendar.

Challenge Evaluation

For more information please contact the course coordinator.

Undergraduate Challenge for Credit Course Registration Form

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 2, Feb 5, 2019.