Sociology (SOCI) 290

Social Problems (Revision 3)

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

Course Learning Outcomes

The course has the following three overarching learning outcomes:

  1. Define what is meant by the term social problems.
  2. Enumerate the various social problems studied by sociologists.
  3. Apply various sociological theories and research to understand and potentially reduce social problems in Canada.


SOCI 290 consists of Introduction and five units:

  • Introduction
  • 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 complete all the assignments and achieve a composite course grade of at least D (50 percent). The weighting of the composite grade is as follows:

Activity Weighting
Forum Participation 15%
Assignment 1 5%
Assignment 2 (Part A) 5%
Assignment 2 (Part B) 15%
Assignment 3 5%
Assignment 4 25%
Assignment 5 30%
Total 100%

To learn more about assignments, 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.

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Opened in Revision 3, March 11, 2021.