Foundations - Social and Behavioral Sciences

The social and behavioral sciences examine the human condition from various perspectives including the study of individuals, communities, institutions, social structure, culture, and international relations. The methods, theories, and empirical findings of the social and behavioral sciences are essential to public discourse and constitute a basis for self-reflection, critical evaluation, public and social policy decisions, and social and cultural changes. 

You select two courses from two different disciplines/course prefixes. Each course introduces the content and methods of a social or behavioral science field. Courses are concerned with the development of principles that explain: A) individual thought, action, and experience, B) collective thought and action, C) group experience, D) the interactions between people in the context of small groups, communities, institutions, states, and societies, or E) the functioning of social systems.

Student Learning Outcomes

  1. Explain how knowledge in the social and behavioral sciences is created and applied.
  2. Explain major approaches, methods, theories, and substantive findings of the field.
  3. Evaluate and apply concepts and theories from the social and behavioral sciences to real-life examples.
  4. Skill Outcome #1:
    • Critical thinking: Comprehensively evaluate issues, ideas, artifacts, or events before forming a conclusion; or
    • Quantitative literacy: Competently work with numerical data; or
    • Information literacy: Identify the need for information; access, evaluate, and use information effectively, ethically, and legally.
  5. Skill Outcome #2:
    • Problem solving: Design and evaluate an approach to answer an open-ended question or achieve a desired goal; or
    • Ethical reasoning: Apply ethical principles and codes of conduct to decision making; or
    • Oral communication: Effectively prepare and deliver a formal oral presentation.


You are required to take two courses from two different disciplines within the Social and Behavioral Sciences Foundations category. If a course is cross-listed in two disciplines, the second course must be taken from a third discipline.

AAA 200 — Understanding Africa
An introduction to the theoretical, conceptual, and historical framework that has shaped the study of Africa and a multidisciplinary survey of the main topics and issues facing the African continent as a vehicle for understanding African studies and making sense of Africa’s evolution. Fulfills Cultures – Global Perspectives. Skills: critical thinking, oral communication 

AAA 201 — Introduction to African American Studies
Traces the historical development and examines the scope, theories, discourses, and methodologies defining African American studies and the critical responses to these studies. It surveys perspectives on African American history, religion, social organization, politics, economy, literature, and culture and social ideology. Fulfills Cultures – U.S. Diversity. Skills: information literacy, oral communication 

ANT 204 — People and Cultures of the World
This course introduces the discipline of anthropology by examining the diversity of human cultures that has been described by anthropologists over the last 100 years. The principles of anthropology are explained with examples drawn from non-Western culture: comparisons are drawn with our own. Fulfills Cultures – Global Perspectives. Skills: collaboration, critical thinking, ethical reasoning 

ANT 207 — Language and Culture
Explores the interaction between language, communication, and culture, employing cross-cultural analysis to reveal cultural models and to understand how linguistic variation is linked to gender, age, region, ethnicity, and class. Several practical activities are used to apply analyses to anthropological problems. Fulfills Cultures – U.S. Diversity. Skills: critical thinking, oral communication, written communication 

ANT 220 — Introduction to Archaeology
Introduction to the methods and techniques of archaeology, including methods of excavation, analysis, dating, techniques, and data presentation. Course has fieldwork opportunities and draws on examples from local and worldwide research. Credits: 4. Skills: critical thinking, problem solving 

CJ 101 — Justice and Society
This introduction to the study of crime and justice includes theories and methodologies from a variety of social science disciplines. The course also provides an introduction to the study of social control and to the origins of crime at individual, structural, and cultural levels. Skills: critical thinking, ethical reasoning

DS 201 — Digital Identities and Communities
Students will reflect on their participation in digital cultures and communities to examine the structure and function of digital environments. They will explore how digital platforms inform and are informed by self-understanding, identity performance, community membership, and material experiences. Skills: critical thinking, ethical reasoning

ECO 100 — Current Economic Issues
Examination of current social issues from an economic perspective, such as drugs, rent control, environmental pollution, poverty, crime, and the distribution of medical care. Recommended for students interested in current issues. Students with any economics course at ECO 200 and above cannot take this course for credit. Skills: critical thinking, problem solving

ECO 210 — Introductory Macroeconomics
Introduction to the study of national and global economies. Topics include the effects of government taxation and budget deficits on economic growth; ways to alleviate unemployment, inflation, and international trade imbalances; and the importance of expectations and decision-making in an uncertain world. Prerequisites: MTH 110 or MTH 122 or MTH 201, sophomore standing recommended. Skills: information literacy, problem solving 

ECO 211 — Introductory Microeconomics
Focuses on the interactions among households, producers, and governments in market economies. Applies fundamental methods of economic analysis to topics such as household spending and saving patterns; producer pricing, profits, and organization; wages and income distribution;  investment decisions; health care and insurance; and government taxes, spending, and regulation of markets. Prerequisites: MTH 110 or MTH 122 or MTH 201, sophomore standing recommended. Skills: information literacy, problem solving

EDF 115 — Introduction to Education: An exploration of Schooling in America
This field-based course explores the way schools work and introduces students to the professional roles and responsibilities of educators. Students learn principles of teaching and learning, including social and cultural factors that shape learning outcomes. Students spend up to 30 exploratory hours in various educational settings. Skills: critical thinking, oral communication

GPY 111 - Cities, Towns, and Villages
An investigation into cities, towns, and villages as physical phenomena, focusing on the role built environments play in the future of human civilization. Methods and theories from sustainability science are used to examine the relationship between the built environment and topics such as public health, economic inequality, and environmental quality. Skills: quantitative literacy, problem solving

GPY 220 — Cultural Geography
The distinctive spatial patterns of culture around the world will be investigated. Examines the distributions of population, language, religion, race, agriculture, industry, urbanization, and development and how these distributions change over time. Skills: critical thinking, problem solving 

GPY 235 — Geography for a Changing World
Examines a world that is undergoing political, economic, social and environmental changes at many different spatial scales. Using geographic concepts, this course examines national, regional, and global interaction and development, and the diverse and complex processes that both hinder and help forge a global community. Fulfills Cultures – Global Perspectives. Skills: collaboration, critical thinking, problem solving 

GSI 201 — (Dis)Order and (In)Justice: An Introduction to Global Studies  
An interdisciplinary introduction to global studies using themes of order/disorder and justice/injustice to explore problems and issues affecting people globally. Focuses on interconnectedness of global concerns and links between the local and global, primarily from a social science perspective.  possible topics: migration, human trafficking, food security, antiglobalization movements, infectious disease. Fulfills one of the Foundations – Social and Behavioral Sciences. Skills: collaboration, critical thinking, problem solving 

GSI/PLS 215 — Global Migration
An interdisciplinary analysis of the global movement of immigrants and refugees and its relationship with the economy, politics, development, and culture. Students learn about migration as a key feature of globalization. Possible topics: migration history, immigration policies, border control, integration, citizenship, migrant transnationalism, diaspora, remittances, child migrants, and migration theories. Fulfills Cultures – Global Perspectives. Skills: collaboration, critical thinking, ethical reasoning 

GSI 290 - Changemakers! Introduction to Social Impact
This course gives a broad overview of global and local, formal and informal initiatives that are meant to tackle urgent issues such as poverty alleviation, gender equality, education, access to water, etc. It teaches basic skills to design interventions, measure the success/failure of initiatives, and
develop advocacy for social change. Skills: critical thinking, problem solving

INT 201 — Diversity in the United States
Explores how the intersections of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, class, religion, and physical abilities affect the material lives and media representations of various cultural groups in the United States. Engages historical and current debates regarding issues of immigration, meritocracy, segregation, the economy, the environment, and identity. Fulfills Cultures – U.S. Diversity. Skills: critical thinking, ethical reasoning, written communication

LAS 210 — Exploring Latin America
This course examines the origins and development paths of Latin American and Caribbean societies through the multifaceted lens of the social sciences. Attention is also given to U.S. Latinos and to the interrelationship between Latin America and the U.S. Fulfills Cultures – Global Perspectives. Skills: collaboration, critical thinking, problem solving

LAS 220 — Introduction to Latino/a Studies
An interdisciplinary introduction to the diversity and complexity of the U.S. Latino/a population, with attention to intra-ethnic and interracial relations, formation of social identities, and issues of assimilation and cultural conflict. Fulfills Cultures – U.S. Diversity. Skills: critical thinking, ethical reasoning, oral communication, written communication

LS 101 — Law in Our Lives
Examination of the law's impact on our lives. An introduction to law and legal reasoning including the legal profession, roles and responsibilities, and major substantive areas of U.S. law including criminal law and civil law areas including torts, contracts, real and personal property, wills and estates, and business law. Skills: critical thinking, ethical reasoning

PNH 270 — Public and Nonprofit Administration
A survey of what is involved in the administration of public and nonprofit entities. How to hire, evaluate, and reward the right people, developing and carrying out public policies, preparing and interpreting budgets, dealing with various pressure groups and government agencies, and organizing human resources to carry out the public’s business honestly and effectively. Several case studies will be used. Skills: critical thinking, problem solving 

PED 207 — Personal Health and Wellness
Provides students with the knowledge, skills, and ability to assess personal health status and reduce risk behaviors. Social and behavioral models facilitating physical activity, health, and wellness are explored. Students will analyze physical, social, emotional, spiritual, intellectual, and environmental wellness. Skills: critical thinking, oral communication

PLS 102 — American Government and Politics
A prerequisite to all courses listed in the subfield of American government and politics. Examines American political values, governmental functions, political processes, policy issues, and decision-making processes. Skills: critical thinking, ethical reasoning 

PLS 103 — Issues in World Politics
Analysis and discussion of contemporary issues in world politics as a vehicle for introducing core concepts in comparative politics, such as democracy, dictatorship, civil society, power, nationalism, political economy, social policy, identity politics, and development. Students will gain basic familiarity with the institutions, actors, and processes that influence world politics. Fulfills Cultures – Global Perspectives. Skills: collaboration, critical thinking, problem solving

PLS 211 — International Relations
This introductory course in international relations (IR) examines interactions among states and non-state actors in the international environment. Class focuses on military, economic, ethnic, and religious conflict. Topics include power, organizations, nationalism, and economic integration. Major IR  theories are exemplified by current topics, such as terrorism, poverty, trafficking, and climate change. Fulfills Cultures – Global Perspectives. Skills: collaboration, critical thinking, problem solving.

PSY 101 — Introductory Psychology
General survey of psychology, the scientific study of behavior and experience, including overt actions and mental activity. Covers how psychologists think and act as scientists and how the study of its subject matter may be integrated at the biological, psychological, and social levels of analysis. Skills: critical thinking, ethical reasoning

REL 100 — Religions of the World
An interdisciplinary study of multiple world religions in their cultural, historical and political context. Students will investigate topics including belief structures, ritual systems, sacred literature, social dimensions, and historical development of various religious traditions. The course will include identification and comparison of key aspects of religion across traditions. Fulfills Cultures – Global Perspectives. Skills: collaboration, critical thinking, ethical reasoning 

SOC 101 — Introduction to Sociology
Introduction to the fundamental questions, concepts, theories, and general principles of sociological thought. Inquires into culture, socialization, norms, power relations, social institutions, and group interaction. Illustrates how human action transforms society, and how social and cultural forces constrain human action. Skills: critical thinking, problem solving

SOC 105 — Social Problems
Examines a range of social conditions, arrangements, and behaviors typically defined as problems in modern society. Applies sociological analysis to understand how problems arise from the organization of society, and the processes by which conditions become identified as social problems, and how ideology and power shape responses to social problems. Fulfills Cultures – U.S. Diversity. Skills: ethical reasoning, information literacy 

SOC 286 — Health and Society
Health is not only an individual characteristic but is also influenced by society and sociohistorical context. This class focuses on the current state of healthcare in the USA and the future of healthcare, healthcare systems in other countries, as well as health issues relevant in the United States today. Fulfills Cultures - U.S. Diversity. Skills: critical thinking, ethical reasoning, written communication

SOC 287 — Sociology of Religion
Critically analyzes religion as an institutional structure and belief system and explores the relationship of religion to social change and organization. Emphasis on religion in the contemporary United States, both the uniquely American aspects of religion and in comparison to the broader diversity of religious expression globally. Fulfills Cultures – U.S. Diversity. Skills: ethical reasoning, information literacy. 

SW 150 — Introduction to Social Work and Social Welfare
Social work practice, ethics, and values, in the context of social welfare policy in the United States are discussed. Topics in social welfare are examined including social policy, service delivery, research, theory, and practice. Basic social work values and concepts are interpreted. Note: SW 150 is a prerequisite for all social work courses. Skills: critical thinking, ethical reasoning 

WGS 101— Introduction to Gender Studies
Examines gender, sex, sexuality, and race as they relate to other categories of difference from an interdisciplinary perspective including disciplines in the social sciences and humanities. Fulfills Cultures - U.S. Diversity. Skills: information literacy, oral communication, problem solving 

Page last modified May 11, 2022