The discipline of social sciences and humanities in the Ontario secondary school curriculum encompasses four subject areas: family studies, general social science, philosophy, and world religions. Although these subjects differ widely in topic and approach, they all explore some aspect of human society, thought, and culture.
The social sciences, represented in this curriculum by courses in family studies as well as general social science, explore individual and collective human behaviour and needs, and patterns and trends in society. Studies in these subjects shed light on a variety of social structures, institutions, and relationships. The humanities, represented in this curriculum by courses in philosophy and religion, explore fundamental questions about human nature and the human condition. The program in social sciences and humanities thus offers a range of perspectives and approaches, with an emphasis on the practical and applied in the family studies courses and on the theoretical in the general social science, philosophy, and religion courses.
Both social science and humanities courses teach students a variety of fundamental skills, such as formulating appropriate questions, collecting and analysing data, differentiating between evidence and opinion, recognizing bias, and organizing and communicating results effectively. Students gain experience in researching information from a variety of sources, thinking critically about the ideas and facts they gather, and using that information to solve problems through both independent effort and collaborative work.