Individual & Society

In this stream, students will consider the relationship between the individual and society. This will build the groundwork for many of the most popular majors at UBC including Psychology, Economics, Commerce, Sociology, and English.

This stream offers a foundation for understanding, researching, and writing about the relationships between people and the worlds they inhabit. Our approach considers economic and business policies, social and psychological phenomena, technological innovation, pop culture, and social justice.

This stream is ideal for first-year students interested in majoring in Psychology, Economics* or Sociology. It also suits students entering into an interdisciplinary major, or who are unsure of their major but want to develop a broad and flexible range of scholarly abilities in preparation for the rest of their academic career.

Individual & Society students develop skills for critical thinking, academic writing, and research across disciplines as they prepare to be the influencers and leaders of the future.

*Please note that students interested in majoring in Economics should take ECON 101 as an elective outside of CAP in Term 1 or consider CAP’s PPE stream (which offers ECON 101 in Term 1). This stream only offers ECON 102 (Term 2).


Courses: Term One

In the first term, students will enrol in CAP 100, Sociology, and Psychology. In CAP 100, you will be introduced to the research practices and features of academic writing at the university level.  Biological psychology seeks to explain individual actions by delving into the inner workings of a person’s mind. In Sociology, students will learn how societies work together towards a more just, fair and sustainable society for all individuals.

This course provides an interdisciplinary foundation for academic writing and related research communicative practices within an interactive learning environment. Students will choose the section that best suits their scheduling needs and academic interests.

Will be offered in 2024W.

Day and time TBD.

Course description TBD.

MWF 10-11

This course will introduce students to some of the major research areas within the field of psychology: the scientific study of the mind, the brain, and behaviour. The course begins with an overview of psychology and its research methods. Next, the course covers the biological basis of behaviour as well as cognitive psychology (the brain and the mind respectively). Specific topics include neuroanatomy, thinking and reasoning, consciousness, memory, learning, language, sensation and perception.


Courses: Term Two

In their second term, students will continue their studies in CAP 101 and Psychology, and take an Economics course. Bringing our focus from the individual to the society, macroeconomics will highlight the ways that we study economic behaviour on a larger societal scale. The study of social and personality psychology will also help us to explain how society might shape an individual’s personality and behaviour.

This course applies research and writing skills learned in CAP 100 to literary, cultural, and/or media analysis. The topics and readings integrate the stream theme (“Individual and Society”). Students will stay with the same instructor and small group of students from CAP 100 and may develop projects started in that course.

MWF 9-10

Students examine economic behaviour at aggregate/national level. We begin with measuring different macroeconomic, labour market, and monetary market variables like GDP, employment-unemployment and inflation, and measuring economic growth, shedding light on growth theories.

MWF 10-11

This course brings students deeper into certain research areas within the field of psychology: the scientific study of the mind, the brain, and behaviour. This course further addresses applied areas in psychology and will introduce such topics as intelligence, personality, human development, health psychology, social psychology, and the diagnosis and treatment of psychological disorders.


Sample Projects

Cities of the Future
Thinking about and imagining urban futures has become the focus of artistic expression, academic research projects, conferences, city planning agendas, and corporate think tanks. The goal of this assignment is to demonstrate understanding of academic writing and qualitative research as activities with the potential to create change in the world around us. The assignment asks students to respond to this prompt: “The year is 2223. You live in a Vancouver that few citizens of 2023 would recognize. You have invented a new form of time travel that allows you to send not people, but messages, back through time. In 2000 words, describe your Vancouver to the Vancouver citizens living in 2023, and explain to them how their society can achieve or avoid this future.”

Short Group Presentations: Selling Our School
This assignment, a short group presentation, approaches concepts from authors and critics in the course from a localized point of view, examining how the shared space of our university is branded, bought, and sold. This narrow focus creates opportunities for students to draw from first- hand knowledge as inhabitants of this institution: site-specific presentations and field trips around campus are encouraged!. Students select one topic, site, or commodity in tandem with one research question or “thesis.” This research question specifically addresses a cultural issue under discussion as it relates to individual social experience on campus, focusing explicitly on commodification and the course theme of “culture on sale.”

On-line experiments
On-line experiments, conducted on three selected evenings during the term, give students the opportunity to participate in real-time, online markets with their classmates and the professor. These experiments help students understand how real markets operate, how they organize the economic activity of disparate consumers and businesses, and how the market collects and processes information. Students are assigned a variety of roles to play in each experiment and their success as market participants becomes a (small) part of their overall course grade.

Article Report
A psychological research article is assigned for students to read and summarize during Term 1. Each student writes a short article report summarizing and critiquing the article. Students are welcome to work in groups when discussing the article report, but the paper is written independently.

Group Project
During Term 2, students (working in teams of 2 or 3) conduct their own psychological experiment on an assigned topic. Students are responsible for designing and conducting the experiment and submitting a report.


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