The Waterloo Sociology Specialization in Survey Methodology

The University of Waterloo Department of Sociology offers a Specialization in Survey Methodology as part of the existing Master's program. Completion of the course of study is designated by the line "Specialization in Survey Methodology" on the Master's degree, and certifies that the degree holder has acquired an ensemble of skills qualifying him or her to design, administer, analyze and interpret social science surveys. The program capitalizes on the involvement of the Department of Sociology with the UW Survey Research Centre and is also reinforced by the presence of the Southwestern Ontario Research Data Centre located within the Department of Sociology.

Advisory Board

The Specialization is administered by a faculty member Director within the Department of Sociology. The Director consults with an Advisory Board comprising representatives from the market research industry, from government statistical agency, a recent graduate, a faculty member from Sociology and one from the Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science. The current Board members are:

Gary Edwards, ECP, Client Services, Empathica

Jean Dumais, chef, Section de recherche sur la qualité des données du recensement, Statistics Canada

Guilherme Martinelli, Ontario College of Nurses (recent-graduate representative)

Keith Warriner, Sociology

Mary Thompson, Statistics and Actuarial Science

The current director is Keith Warriner, Sociology

Structure of the Specialization

Any student admitted to the UW Sociology Master's program is eligible to take the Survey Methodology Specialization. It is useful for advising purposes (but not mandatory) that students indicate their interest at the time of application to UW, but formal enrollment occurs at the beginning of Term 3 (see below).

The Specialization is a sequence of six courses plus a research paper:

Core Master's Degree in Sociology (Research Paper Stream) Courses:

1. Soc 700 or 704 (Sociological Theory or Key Theoretical Debates)

2. Soc 712 (Elements of Social Research)

3. Soc 710 (Intermediate Social Statistics)

4. Any other Sociology course of the student's choice, other than the two courses listed below. This normally will be a course in a substantive area of Sociology).

(It is at the successful completion this stage that students are formally enroled in the Survey Methodology Specialization)

Courses unique to Survey Specialization Students

5. Soc 697 (Practicum in Survey Administration)

6. Stats 890 (A-Z series) (Statistical Issues in Sample Survey Design and Analysis)-this course can be taken on a "credit" (i.e., pass/fail) basis.

Research Paper (on a topic in survey methodology)

Integration with Co-Op Program

The University of Waterloo is a pioneer in Co-Op education in which academic terms are alternated with work-study terms in paid employment. Co-Op can be a helpful option within the Specialization in Survey Methodology. The only modification required is the following: whereas most students take an eight-month work term following their fall and winter coursework terms, Survey Methodology students begin Co-Op placement twelve months following September entry. The sequence thus is:

Fall(term 1), Winter(term 2), Spring (term 3) terms -completion of six courses

Fall (term 4) Winter (term 5)-Workterm

Spring (term 6) Research Paper

As with regular stream M.A. students, Co-Op is an option not a requirement.


Students in the Specialization receive the same T.A. and scholarship support, when eligible, as any other student in the Master's program. In addition, however, and the funds available will vary from year to year, it is sometimes possible to generate special funding assistance for Survey Methodology Specialization students within jobs arising from work contracted to the UW Survey Research Centre .

For further information call Keith Warriner,

519-888-4567, extension 33678 or contact via

e-mail at