The York University Electives That Changed My Life

If you study at York, odds are you may have to take a decent amount of electives. Choosing your electives can be a daunting process as there are so many to choose from. With a variety of  prerequisites and program requirements in place it can be difficult to find the right electives for you. Being in my final year at York, I’ve taken my fair share of electives at a variety of levels and in a variety of subjects. Though being a little nervous going into a course in a subject I wasn’t completely familiar with, some of the electives I’ve taken have turned out to be some of my favourite courses of my undergrad. Today I am sharing six of my favourite York electives in order to hopefully making the elective choosing process a little less daunting and highlight some of my favourite courses at York!


AP/SOWK 2025 3.00 Introduction to Eating Disorders

Course Instructor: Brenton Diaz

Brief Summary: This course explored a variety eating disorders at a very basic introductory level. From the beginnings of an eating disorder to treatment and recovery, this course explored the disorders and how they are impacted by society and the media.

Format Offered: This course is usually an online course, which makes it incredibly flexible with your schedule.

Why I Enjoyed It: This course was one of my earliest positive experiences with online courses in University. While many online courses prove difficult to keep up with and manage, this course had an even distribution of assignments throughout the term, with incredibly interesting assignments and tests. It also opened me up to the possibility of online courses that were manageable and engaging.


AP/WRIT 2004 3.00 Writing in Digital Cultures

Course Instructor: Andrea McKenzie

Brief Summary: This course explored writing and creating content for the digital world. The semester was spent working towards the creation of a blog on a topic of each students choosing, falling within certain boundaries and expectations. Assignments included creating both written and video content to be uploaded to their blog following certain guidelines set out by the course director.

Format Offered: When I took this course it was fully online but I know it is also offered in person as well which is helpful for students who don’t excel in online courses.

Why I Enjoyed It: I had a very good experience in this course as it helped me to develop a portfolio for job applications and create content for something I was genuinely interested in. The feedback from the course director on each assignment was very insightful and it ignited my passion for writing for pleasure, which I had not done in a long time. I later recommended this course to many of my friends.


Photo by Tim Gouw


AP/SOWK 2020 3.00 Addiction in Contemporary Society

Section Director: Wayne Skinner   

Brief Summary: This course explores addiction at a beginners level and analyzes its role in today’s society. A wide variety of addictions are explored through engaging and interesting readings and online forum discussions.

Format Offered: This course is normally offered online which is great for flexibility around a busy schedule.

Why I Enjoyed It: I enjoyed this course because I learned so much about something I had very little knowledge on but had be interested in for a while. This course was completely out of my field, but I got to learn so much new information and apply it to my own life and the lives of those around me. The readings were also incredibly interesting and many of them were anecdotal style which helped in my understanding of the topics.


AP/HREQ 3964 3.00 Equity & Human Rights in Schooling

Section Director:  Tannaz Zargarian

Brief Summary: This course explores education on a deeper level and critically examines practices in making education equitable for all students.  

Format Offered: I took this course in the summer term and thus it was offered twice a week lecture style. Lecture style is helpful if you excel when engaging with the material on your own time.

Why I Enjoyed It: Going into this course I admittedly wasn't very optimistic about the course as a whole, especially since I took it in summer school. After simply the first week I knew this course would stand out as one of my favourites of undergrad. I liked it so much because the content was very relevant to myself as a student, having spent the past 17 years in the education system. This course expanded my knowledge on gender, race, sexuality, religion and of course education in the most interesting way.


Photo by John Schnobrich


AP/SOCI 3660 6.00 Families and Social Change

Section Director: Amber M Gazso   

Brief Summary: This course explores families in the many shapes and forms they take. A variety of family structures are explored as well as factors influencing the family including education, gender and employment.

Format Offered: This course is offered in a combination of  lecture and tutorial format which is helpful for students who excel in smaller class tutorial settings to ask questions and engage with the material.  

Why I Enjoyed It: The study of families is something I am already very interested in, but this course took my interest to the next level. The course was incredibly engaging and the assignments were very interesting to do. I gained a new perspective on family structure and also connected to the content that was being taught on a personal level.


AP/ANTH 4440 3.00 Toward an Anthropology of Masculinities

Section Director: Arne Steinforth

Brief Summary: This course explored masculinity as a concept, decoding it through a variety of texts that question our traditional ideas of masculinity. Dominant ideologies around masculinity were questioned and societal impact on masculinity was explored.  

Format Offered: This course is offered in a seminar style with a lot of class discussion in order to engage with material.

Why I Enjoyed It: I stumbled upon this course by accident but I am so happy that I did! I enjoyed this course because I genuinely learned so much about gender, identity and society. I was excited to go to class every week and I shared a lot of what was discussed in class with my friends and family. The content was incredible eye opening and I enjoyed every moment.


Photo by Brooke Cagle

I hope that I’ve provided you with some guidance in making the elective choosing process a little less daunting. York offers hundreds of incredible courses in a variety of subjects, all with something unique to teach you whether regarding the course material or not. These six courses not only filled my graduation requirements but also taught me an incredible amount about the world, society and my own beliefs and for that I’m incredibly grateful.