Professor Listing


Herbert C Northcott, PhD, MS, BA




About Me

I was born in Brandon, Manitoba and grew up in Winnipeg. I have always had a keen interest in the out-of-doors and have enjoyed camping, canoeing, skiing (cross-country and downhill), and backpacking. I have hiked the West Coast Trail, Chilkoot Trail, Skyline, Tonquin Valley, Grand Canyon, Havasu, Mt. Whitney (short of the summit--I am acrophobic), and Long's Peak (summit--I thought I was going to die), among many other adventures. I have rafted the Grand Canyon and car-camped along the Alaska and Dempster Highways to Inuvik (with two spare tires, both used) returning via the Cassiar Highway. I have been to Chicken, Alaska, three times! I have cruised the Inside Passage, been through the Panama Canal, and around Cape Horn at the southern tip of South America. I lost a canoe on the WildHay. I have shared these adventures with spouse Laura, children Ryan, Jennifer and Melissa, and friend Charlie, among others. I continue to adventure with my three children and nine grandchildren. 

I did my BA at the University of Manitoba majoring in Sociology with a minor in Psychology, MS in Sociology at Brigham Young, and PhD in Sociology at the University of Minnesota with minors in Anthropology and Statistics. I built my career at the University of Alberta primarily using survey research to explore issues in the sociology of health and illness and the sociology of aging. I have authored/co-authored books on work stress, population aging, residential mobility of seniors, and dying, death, and bereavement. I have contributed to recent editions of the textbook Aging and Society: Canadian Perspectives.  I have served as Associate Chair Graduate, Associate Chair Undergraduate, Director of the Population Research Laboratory, and very briefly as Interim Chair. I have been awarded a Killam Annual Professorship. I have taught over 11,000 students at the University of Alberta. I have consulted for various levels of government, in particular, for Alberta Health and Wellness. 


My research over the years has relied heavily on survey research and population census data. I have focused primarily on the sociology of health and illness, sociology of aging, and sociology of dying, death, and bereavement. In recent years I have concentrated on synthetic work resulting in the monograph Dying and Death in Canada (with Donna Wilson, three editions) and the textbook Aging and Society: Canadian Perspectives (with Mark Novak and others--I have been involved in the seventh and eighth editions and a ninth edition is in progress). I am currently working on a monograph on population aging. 


I have taught over 11,000 students at the University of Alberta. I have taught a wide variety of classes over the years. Presently I teach the Sociology of Death and Dying (SOC473), the Sociology of Aging (SOC375), Introduction to Sociology (SOC100), and a graduate seminar (SOC533) designed to help graduate students develop their research proposals.