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General Education Electives

What is a General Education Elective?

Today’s employers are looking for individuals with flexible skills and a broad-based education that goes beyond their professional area. General Education Electives are designed to build creativity, communication, and critical thinking by letting students explore courses outside of their program of study.

The Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities’ (MTCU) Binding Policy Directive: Framework for Programs of Instruction 2005 requires that colleges develop, incorporate and deliver General Education courses in all Ontario College Certificates,Diplomas and Advanced Diplomas. Sheridan’s General Education Policy is aligned to MTCU’s directive which outlines the role and rationale for the delivery of General Education courses at all Ontario Colleges:

Sheridan requires the following minimum number of General Education courses for each credential level in order to ensure compliance with the MTCU Binding Policy Directive: Framework for Programs of Instruction. Locally approved Recognition of Achievement and Sheridan Certificates in addition to Postgraduate Certificates do not have mandated General Education requirements.

  • Ontario College Certificate: Minimum 1
  • Ontario College Diploma: Minimum 3 / Maximum 1 Mandated
  • Ontario Advanced Diploma: Minimum 4 / Maximum 2 Mandated 

At Sheridan, there are two general types of General Education Courses: Open General Education Courses (General Education courses which are chosen by students outside of their field of study to meet their General Education requirements) and Mandated General Education Courses (General Education courses that are identified and determined to be required by the Academic Faculty for students registered in a specific program(s)).

General Education Electives offered at Sheridan

Current Sheridan students can view the list of specific General Education Electives offered for the upcoming semester, as well as detailed instructions on how to select an elective and add it to your timetable, on Sheridan Central.

Sheridan offers a variety of General Education courses that focus on one of five themes: Arts in Society, Civil Life, Social and Cultural Understanding, Personal Understanding, and Science and Technology.

Below, you can explore some of the General Education Electives that are offered at Sheridan. Note that not all courses are offered in all time blocks. Some programs may also have restrictions imposed on General Education courses that closely match the content of their Diploma or Certificate program courses. This list does not include program-specific mandated general education courses.

  • Students explore the discipline of anthropology. Students address what it means to be human in contemporary society, as well as in different times and different places, by examining the five major subfields of anthropology: biological anthropology, archaeology, linguistic anthropology, socio-cultural anthropology, and applied anthropology. Students assess how anthropologists use information about our beliefs, fears, modes of communication, behaviours, lifestyles, activity, diet, and health, gathered from various sources in the past and present, to gain a holistic perspective on human diversity and our own evolutionary history. Students examine how the relationship between culture, biology and the environment has shaped the evolution of the human species, our hominin ancestors, and living primates. Through a variety of teaching modalities including lecture, discussion, experiential activities, documentaries and case studies students will develop skills that will help them better understand themselves, others and the world around them.

  • In this online distance education course, students learn how social media has transformed how they see themselves, how they interact with others, how they work, and how they play. Students explore themes of identity, status and power and issues that arise from them. They participate in and reflect on the culture of social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

  • Students explore the beauty, range and diversity of languages of the world through the study of their connections to specific cultural groups, geographic locations and political boundaries. Students examine the nature and elements of language, the primary language families and the persistence of language change over time. Students consider their own linguistic backgrounds in relation to such prominent language issues as standardization, multilingualism, minority language shift/death, and globalization of the English language. Through participation in interactive lectures, research in online databases and interpretation of maps and audio files, students develop an appreciation of the global linguistic landscape.

  • This course is designed to introduce students to one of the world's richest cultures, through an investigation of important geographic, historical, economic and cultural aspects of Spanish speaking countries. Through in-class and research activities, students examine similarities and differences among these countries, and acquire greater insight into the variations that exist in Spanish culture to expand the student's understanding. The course provides opportunities to develop the broader understanding necessary for effective intercultural interaction.

  • In this course, students learn to see beyond their culture, community and themselves. Students examine the world, starting from the local community within which we live and connect that community globally. They explore the "global village," where private sector decisions often have a public sector impact both nationally and internationally. Students preparing for travel and/or for work in diverse communities will be challenged to think critically about privilege and power and to foster a critical analysis of local and global conditions.

  • This online distance education course focuses on the writing of migrants to Canada. Students consider how migrants have constructed their identities in the hyphenated space between the culture of their homeland and their new country of settlement. Through online course materials, discussions and written assignments, students examine changes in Canadian migration trends and policies which have given rise to diverse voices from outside the literary mainstream. Students demonstrate their learning by researching and posting a presentation on a writer who has migrated to Canada, writing journal responses on the work of select authors and analyzing the story of their family's migration to Canada.

    This is a web-based course offered online, using SLATE. To take this course, students will need reliable access to the Internet. They should have a basic level of comfort using computers as well as self-discipline to work online.

  • In this hybrid course, students examine contemporary representations of diverse gender identities and sexualities around the world. Analyzing photography, film, documentary, poems, and YA novels, students explore the meanings and significance of creative representations and forms of documentation that celebrate and witness experiences of diverse genders identities and sexualities in a global context. In addition, students examine contemporary figures and events that have helped to advance the struggles for equality and justice for LGBTQ2S+ people around the world.

  • This course has been designed to provide an overview of the increasingly diverse nature of Canadian society. Gender, race, ethnicity and culture affect us all personally, from how we see others and ourselves to how the institutions in our society operate. Students will develop an understanding of and skills necessary for daily interactions when living and working in a diverse Canadian society.

  • This course is a cross-college general education elective course that will be of interest to students concerned about their own personal health and well-being as well as those intending to pursue a career in health-related or care-giving fields. A second theme includes the limitations of Western style medicine and health care delivery and the increasing integration of conventional medicine with alternative or complementary medicine.

  • Students critically examine the history of modern global warfare from the 18th century to the present.  In addition to identifying the central features and military aspects of modern war, they also analyze its broader social, cultural, political and economic contexts.

  • In this course, students explore the social, political, cultural and military tapestry that forms the basis of the Canadian multicultural society today. This course covers Canadian history from the Fur Trade to the Space Age, focusing on the complexities of Canadian society in a historical context.

  • Boundaries between local, national and international issues have become increasingly blurred in the age of globalization. Issues such as trade inequities, environmental protection, climate change, the scarcity of resources, poverty and the rise of 'tribalism' and religious fundamentalism transcend national borders. How do we reconcile principles such as sustainable growth, human rights and democracy with the demands of industry, global financial institutions, and the market system as a whole? This discussion-based course will provide you with an overview of the key issues that affect you, your community, Canada, and the world.

  • Students explore creativity as a discipline of study, cultural myths about creativity, and the psychological conditions conducive to creative thinking. Through interactive lectures and discussions, they develop an understanding of the context, history, and major theories of the discipline. By engaging in experiential techniques, their competence and confidence to creatively address practical challenges is expanded. Students examine their own creative processes through reflective journaling, and they demonstrate their learning through exercises, a mid-term assessment, designing a project, and the development of a course e-portfolio.

  • This course introduces students to the vampire in myth, literature and film, and examines the ways in which the figure of the vampire has been continuously reshaped by Western society to reflect changing sexual and social values. Through interactive lecture, discussions, seminars and written assignments, students examine and analyze a variety of vampyric characters and track the changing physical and social face of the vampire through 150 years of history.

  • In this course, students investigate why fairy tales to which people are exposed as children are retained with such clarity even into adulthood. They examine the history and legacy of stories that have descended from anonymous oral tradition in multiple versions that span cultures. Students also examine original fairy tales written from as early as the second century to contemporary times, in the spirit of the tradition in which they were created. Through interactive lecture, discussion, films, seminars, and written assignments, students assess the interpretations of these magical stories, and draw conclusions about the beliefs, behaviours, and values they reinforce.

  • In this course, students explore the issues related to aging in a changing society. Their study focuses on demographic, institutional and maturational changes related to aging. In addition, students investigate matters of importance to older adults and their families, including self image, health care, housing and design, transportation, leisure and recreation. Students learn online through textbook reading, research and case studies, as well as assigned discussions, online chats, electronic games, and other activities.

  • Students examine the popularity of villains in literature and film over the last 200 years. They compare the characteristics of classic and contemporary villains and evaluate the importance of the villain with respect to race, culture and gender and class. Students also examine how villains drive the plot of stories and why the conflict they initiate is an essential narrative ingredient. In addition, students analyze the role that technology plays in shaping villains in literature and film. Finally, students participate in a variety of interactive learning activities and assessments, including group presentations, quizzes, exams and written assignments.

  • In this hybrid course, students investigate the graphic novel in the 20th Century. They consider its history, and explore how graphic novels reflect and represent social, political and popular cultures. Course themes include the construction of the hero in the Twentieth Century, revolution and political instability, and social change.

  • Whatever we call the form--Life Writing, memoir, personal narrative, journal, diary--telling stories about one's own life is a powerful human need. This distance-education course is designed to examine different forms of life writing. Students consider essential elements of personal narrative to investigate how these elements shape and are shaped by the social and cultural context of the times. Students research issues in life writing and investigate trends by researching and using new media such as web blogs and podcasts to explore contemporary life writing. Through e-learning such as lectures, online discussions, and written assignments, students read, analyze and compare different forms of personal narrative. Students demonstrate their learning by researching and writing responses to the material; creating and analyzing a personal memoir; writing quizzes; and developing a group PowerPoint presentation on a selected memoir and its author.

  • This course focuses on detective fictions in film and literature.  Students identify the characteristics of detective genre and compare the personalities, strengths and idiosyncrasies of a variety of male and female sleuths and the means by which they solve cases.

  • In this course, students examine the multiple ways narrative has represented and responded to the catastrophic experiences of the world wars. Through the analysis of narrative form and content, students learn how storytelling about war can expose atrocity, bear witness to trauma, and challenge historical records. By engaging with many types of text, novels, short stories, letters, film, and poetry, students read from a diversity of wartime perspectives and contexts; from soldiers to non-combatants, from the trenches to the home front, students encounter the cacophony of narrative voices spawned by two world wars. Through online readings, interactive discussions, quizzes, and essays, students analyze the enduring impact of war narratives, as well as the cultural values they both implicitly and explicitly construct.

  • This online course focuses on crime fiction narratives in literature and popular media. Through interactive lessons, online discussions, and written assignments, students analyze crime stories in various genres, such as literature, film, and video games. Students examine crime narratives from different eras and styles from around the world and learn about concepts such as the evolution of crime fiction, post-modern crime fiction, and how the crime fiction audience becomes an active part of crime narratives.

  • This course is designed to provide students with an introduction to classical mythology with an emphasis on the primary literature. Origins of classical mythology and the cultural influence of the Greeks and Romans on the art of the western world are examined. Specific topics include: the nature of the gods, heroes and mortals as they are celebrated in story, the variety of authors who narrated the myths, and the contexts in which the myths were created. By examining the qualities of myth, students develop an understanding of the timeless and universal appeal of the ancient myths to contemporary society. The canon of stories provides enduring insights into the human condition and our continuing struggle to understand both our environment and our emotions, which are still reflected in the disciplines of art, literature, and psychology today.

  • Students critically examine documentary films from acclaimed international film-makers as an on-going process — from early achievements to current presentations.

  • This course is designed to provide students with an introduction to some of the basic concepts and methods used to examine and analyze films. This includes an introduction to the concepts of film production. Theoretical and historical foundations include topics such as key concepts in the construction of form and aesthetics as well as genre and film production roles. A survey of international and Canadian film and video provides opportunities to understand the role of film culture from a global perspective. Through interactive lecture, discussion, written analysis and selected screenings, students will analyze film styles, narrative structures, genre forms, and thematic expression in the popular media.

  • Students are introduced to the basic concepts and methods used to examine and analyze films. In addition, students examine the ways in which cinema is produced in different contexts around the world. Students will explore topics such as story construction, form and genre, as well as the relations between cinema and society. A survey of international film, including many works by women, provides opportunities to understand the role of film culture from a global perspective. Through interactive lecture, discussion, written analysis, and selected screenings, students will analyze film styles, genre forms, and thematic expression.

  • This course provides opportunities for students to acquire foundation knowledge about the mass media and how news is reported and analyzed, focusing on the interplay between current events and the mass media. Throughout the course, students will have opportunities to think for themselves and to critically analyze various news items and topics under discussion. Course delivery includes a variety of methodologies from standard lecture format to topical video presentations and group work.

  • Students explore concepts of human nutrition as they relate to fad diets and cultural norms, while gaining an understanding of the impact nutrition has on wellness and disease. They will examine a range of popular and culturally-specific diets are critically examined and assessed based on current practice and scientific evidence. Using a variety of interactive learning tools, students investigate the links between the major nutrients and personal health. Further, comparison of individual diet and nutrition standards allows for a thorough understanding of connections between nutrition and health. Students use existing knowledge to evaluate the benefits and consequences of popular "fad" diets. Cultural diet norms and popular diet trends are explored with a focus on the overall impact on individual and population wellness. Finally, through scientific investigation of emerging literature, the impact of scientific change is appreciated.

  • In this course, students explore how human nutrition affects overall health by examining the role of nutrition in the prevention and treatment of diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity. Students also learn how to interpret food labels and create diets that support good health.

  • Students explore philosophical approaches to the environment in order to develop a well-grounded environmental perspective informed by current factual and philosophical research. Students study influential environmental thinkers and contemporary philosophical discussions of current environmental issues ranging from concern for non-human creatures to global climate change.

  • In this course, students critically examine a variety of concepts and philosophies about love and sex. In addition, they explore a number of related issues and themes, formulate their own definitions and analyze their personal philosophies and definitions. Topics include the following questions: What is the true significance of marriage? What is the difference between sex and gender? Is love selfish or selfless? What constitutes sexual violence? What is the difference between art and pornography? What makes someone's sexual practices normal or abnormal, and who gets to decide? Most importantly, what do our ideas about love and sex tell us about ourselves and the way in which we relate to other people? What can they tell us about our values and beliefs? Through debate, discussion, interactive lecture, case studies from the media, and selected examples of art, students compare and analyze societal norms and traditions.

  • This course is designed to provide students with opportunities to examine themes central to the philosophy of religion. Using methodologies such as in-class group work, informal presentations, interactive lecture and discussion, and problem-based learning within a philosophical framework, students will examine the complex issues surrounding such religion based themes as the nature and existence of God(s), the meaning of evil, the value of ethics and morality, the arguments of religion vs. science, the characteristics of miracles and life-after-death, the meaning of religious experience, and concepts of religious pluralism juxtaposed to secularism within contemporary society.

  • In this course students explore what democracy means in an increasingly dynamic world that presents both opportunities and challenges for it. Students explore basic concepts pertaining to the political practice of democracy. Students examine the basic definition(s) of democracy, its typologies, the everyday practice of democracy, as well as its challenges. To that end student engage both the Western and non-Western origins of democracy. Furthermore, students explore the differences between participatory and representative forms of democracy, in addition to different types of electoral systems. Finally, students appraise the relationship between populism, illiberal democracy, authoritarianism and democracy. Through the examination of these different themes students link the practice of democracy with their own lives.

  • Students explore basic concepts in political science and how politics impact aspects of our everyday lives and experiences. Students examine how politics influence our individuality, society, the world, and the future. Specifically, students assess what it means to be an active citizen in a world marked by a combination of ever-evolving political dynamics, and more permanent institutional and legal structures. To that end, students engage central themes in politics such as power and ideology, democracy and political parties, the state and its institutions, and international relations. Finally, students appraise the limits of their political environments and, accordingly, propose reforms to the manner in which we govern ourselves. Through class discussions, assigned readings, engaging in structured debates, written analysis and reflection, and completing evaluations, students analyze their experience as citizens in relation to political structures.

  • Students are introduced to the study of social movements and activism, with a particular emphasis on how media can be utilized to achieve social change. By joining forces, individuals can work to transform social norms, create collective identities, change laws, and win human rights. In this course, students develop an understanding of how and why collective action arises, is sustained, and (sometimes) declines. Through various in-class activities, debates, relevant readings, and multi-media presentations, students explore how contemporary social movements are changing the world, including the women's movement, the LGBTQ+ rights movement, the environmental movement, hacktivism, Occupy, and Black Lives Matter.

  • In this course, students explore the diversity of human-animal relationships from a psychological perspective. Through interactive lectures, experiential activities and research, students examine human-animal interactions and the ways in which these relationships impact the human experience. Key topics explored by students include: the human-pet relationship, animal assisted activities, gender and the human-animal relationship, the use of animals in science, and the global movement towards helping animals. Students are challenged to think critically about the complexities of human-animal interactions and to reflect on the personal and societal importance of human-animal relationships.

  • This course provides students with an introduction to psychology, the science of behaviour and mental processes. Basic concepts, theories and research findings are examined within biological, behavioural, psychoanalytical, humanistic and cognitive perspectives. Core topics covered include: scientific methodologies; biopsychology; learning; memory and cognition; motivation and emotion; and personality theories. Two optional topics from the following list will also be addressed during the course: sensation, perception, consciousness, development, health, psychological disorders, psychological treatment, and social psychology. Students will have the opportunity to apply psychology to their personal life.

  • In this survey course, students examine the concepts of stereotyping, prejudice and discrimination. They study the historical significance of prejudice, its various forms, as well as its current issues and challenges relating to its cessation. Specific topics include the history of prejudice, modern prejudice, development of prejudice in children, the reduction of prejudice, understanding our own biases, and well-recognized forms of prejudice such as racism, sexism, heterosexism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, and ageism. Through interactive lecture, in-class activities and research, students explore the impact of stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination on society and individuals.

  • Students explore the ways in which research and experimentation in various areas of psychology (e.g., social psychology) are applied to understand human behaviour in legal contexts. Students cover many topics within the field, such as the intersection of psychology and the legal system, police psychology, deception, eyewitness psychology, child victims/witnesses, juries, the role of mental illness in forensic psychology, intimate partner violence, sexual offences, psychopaths and sociopaths and the differences between them, assessment of risk, and finally, assessment and treatment of young offenders. Students use a variety of learning tools including videos, scholarly and current-event articles, and websites/social media sources. Students participate in discussions, interactive lectures, and various applied activities, and through this participation, they gain an increased understanding of the ways in which the fields of psychology and the law interact with one another.

  • This course is designed to provide students with an introduction to the study of cults and cultic behaviour. Students examine the historical development of cults, their place in contemporary society, and the reasons why individuals are attracted to cults. Topics include the phenomenon of brainwashing, social and psychological methods used to recruit and assimilate members, the function of cults in society, and specific cults (e.g. the Church of Scientology, the Solar Temple, Heaven's Gate). Through interactive lecture, in-class activities and research, students explore the impact of cults on society and individuals.

  • This course is designed to introduce students to the study of major world religions. It will engage students in critical inquiry in order to explore the impact that religions have had on cultures and on the development of their followers' worldviews. It explores how religions have influenced society and shaped historical events, cultural values, and philosophical questions. Concurrently, it challenges students to explore their own worldviews to see how significantly their own values and assumptions affect their interpretation of other cultures and traditions. Topics include: origins of religions; religious/scientific approaches to understanding the world; Hinduism; Buddhism; Chinese religions; Judaism; Christianity; Islam; Native Spirituality; and modern religious movements. Through interactive lectures, independent research, case studies, in-class activities, interactive debates, videos, reflective journals and group-led discussions, students develop and enhance their communication, interpersonal and critical thinking skills.

  • In this course students use a sociological and science-based approach to explore historical and psychosocial issues related to a variety of common addictions such as smoking, alcohol, gaming and shopping. In addition, students examine addictions to psychoactive drugs. Topics include concepts of addiction, political approaches to substance abuse, and an examination of specific addictions. Through interactive lecture, video, in-class activities, and investigating current trends in addiction research through internet readings and group presentations, students explore the impact of these problems from a societal and biological perspective.

  • Students critically analyze the Canadian criminal justice system and the impact of crime on victims and our society. Students explore criminal typologies, the causes of crime and the changing definition of crime and criminals. Through in-class activities, presentations, group discussion, relevant readings and multi-media presentations, students gain a deeper awareness of current issues facing the criminal justice system including police discretion, the role of the criminal court system, the plight of victims of crime, and proposed solutions to crime.

  • Students explore developments in technology and the impact that these developments have had on our society. Students examine how technology influences the way in which we view ourselves, society, the world and the future. Through online readings and activities, web-based research, assigned discussions, and quizzes, students describe, assess and analyze the socio-political impacts of technology on identity as well as cultural, business and political sphere.

  • This course examines homicide as a social phenomenon. Students will explore the numerous types of homicide including intimate, family and gang-related killing as well as mass and serial murder. Drawing on sociological, psychological and criminological theories, students will also examine what motivates people to kill, general homicide patterns in North American and how the justice system responds to those who commit murder. Drawing on real-life case study examples and official crime data, this course attempts to "make sense" of the senseless acts committed by the evil who walk among us.

  • This course is designed to provide students with an introductory overview of sociology in the context of Canadian society. This includes an examination of the complex nature of the social dynamics within our society. Topics include the sociological imagination, sociological perspectives, analysis of culture, interaction in social groups and institutions, crime and deviance and economic and social differences related to access of opportunity. Through interactive lecture, videos, in-class activities, role play, discussion, and small group work, students will develop their understanding of the social world in which they live.

  • Students explore current and emerging issues in the sociology of work, examining the Canadian economy and labour markets in relation to the pressures and processes of globalization. They address the key debates and topics in the field, including working in an increasingly virtual context. What citizens do for a living has a profound influence on their personal lives and society. It shapes their standard of living, identity, health, happiness, family, relationships, and the way they spend their time. Using the techniques and tools that workspaces are implementing to increase productivity and facilitate group/employee engagement, students explore the relationships between gender, diversity, social disadvantage, and mental health as they relate to the changing landscape of work.

  • This course is designed to provide students with opportunities to examine the relationship between individuals and their societies. This includes the fundamental principles of social science disciplines, including anthropology, sociology, political science, and the behavioural science discipline of psychology. Students will learn the nature of the various disciplines, specific topics within the disciplines, and the methodologies used to collect data and develop conclusions. Learning will be facilitated through the use of Interactive Lectures, Audio and Video Clips, Demonstrations, Role Plays, Individual and Group Activities, Presentations, and Discussions.

  • Students critically examine scams, frauds, and the growing crime of identity theft in a global context. Topics include scams, Ponzi schemes, low tech and high tech frauds, telecommunications frauds, white collar crime, counterfeits, piracy, identity theft, applicable legislation and preventative techniques. The crime of fraud is analyzed through a globalization lens, including, trends, causes and societal responses to this new wave of global and economic crime. Through a combination of interactive lectures, course exercises, case studies, research, videos, discussions, and assignments students assess how modern society in general and technology in particular may serve to facilitate crimes of deception in the information age.

  • Students explore human, social and economic aspects of science and technology through sociological and historical lenses. Social aspects of science are investigated including the different types and responsibilities of scientists, as well as controversies and resolutions in the scientific community. Historical case studies are examined to assess the relationship of science and technology to wider society, industries and global economies. Current social and economic issues impacting science and technology are also assessed including sustainability, resources and the environment. Students participate in a variety of self-directed and group activities. Through textbook readings, online readings, videos, course exercises, group assignments and discussions, students describe, assess and analyze how science and technology affect society.
    • CULT14857G – Exploring our Global Village: Supporting National and International Travel
    • CULT19815G – Living and Working in a Diverse Society
    • LITT15436G – Following Clues: Detective Fictions in Film and Literature
    • PSYC15892G – Stigma: Understanding Prejudice
    • PSYC19599G – Understanding Cults
    • SCIE10386G – Agony and Ecstasy: Addictions
    • LITT18748G – World War Narratives
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