Social Studies

Brief Description of Concentration

social studiesSocial Studies was founded in 1960 by a distinguished group of faculty who believed that the study of the social world requires an integration of the disciplines of history, political science, economics, sociology, and anthropology. For over five decades, Social Studies has brought together outstanding teachers and intellectually engaged students who share a fascination with social science research and theory and a deep interest in applying social science to contemporary social, economic, and political problems.

Learning Objectives

Social Studies students develop excellent analytical, research, and writing skills, and they devote their senior year to writing a thesis, which serves both as a capstone to their undergraduate education and a chance to develop and complete a major independent project.  We expect our students to engage with a range of ideas and opinions in the classroom and to explore their own values and beliefs in relation to empirical evidence and in relation to the values and beliefs of others.

Gateway Courses

  • First Year students considering Social Studies may want to take Economics 10, 50, or any upper level course for which Economics 10 is recommended preparation.
  • Students may want to take a course in Ethics and Civics or a philosophy course to determine whether they enjoy social theory.
  • Students should take social science courses in areas that interest them. For example, a student who is interested in development in East Asia should take a course on that region to learn more about the history, economics, or politics of at least one of the countries in that area of the world. A student who is interested in poverty in the United States should take a course on a related topic, such as a sociology course on urban poverty or a course on social problems in the American economy.