Social Sciences Department

The Social Sciences Department offers an International Studies major which integrates political, economic, geographic, historical, and anthropological approaches to the examination of the world.

Students explore contemporary and historical political and cultural systems as well as their interaction in a global context, and apply multidisciplinary theoretical approaches to local, national, and international issues. Students learn to think critically, write persuasively, ask questions, and consider problems from multiple perspectives. Our majors prepare for a wide range of careers: diplomacy, international business, non- governmental organizations, local and national government, as well as in teaching and journalism. Students also pursue graduate degrees in fields such as law, business, economics, political science, and history.


Students in International Studies begin with introductory courses in Economics, World Geography, History, International Relations, and Political Philosophy. Through elective courses, both practical and theoretical, students acquire more advanced knowledge of:

Political Science: ways of organizing power locally and nationally understood through an examination of political behavior, culture, and systems.

Political Philosophy: Persistent questions—Who should rule? What is the value of justice?—and traditional strong answers.

International Relations: how the interaction of state and non-state actors leads to cooperative and conflictive relations.

Public Policy: the formulation of problems, the design of approaches, and the evaluation of effectiveness of policy.

History: the examination of continuity, change, and causation in past societies and the use of historical evidence to question, interpret and build arguments about the past.

Area Studies: the religion, culture, philosophy, and literature of particular areas of the world.

Students apply the knowledge and skills acquired in these classes in a research project in the International Studies Capstone in their senior year.


Learning Outcomes

Skills:

  • Critical Reading: Analyze, interpret, and synthesize diverse sources of information.
  • Critical Thinking: Consider problems in a clear, reasoned manner that is informed by evidence and recognizes bias.
  • Communication: Engage in intellectual debate and present ideas and arguments in a clear, logical manner in writing and speech.
  • Research: Define and execute original research projects based on a solid understanding of social scientific theories and methods.

Content:

  • Regions: Understand worldviews, experiences, and power structures from a variety of societies, cultures, and time periods.
  • Contexts: Analyze the impact of regional or global economic, political, geographic, and historical developments on specific regions.
  • Theory: Evaluate theoretical approaches and research methods from various social science disciplines.
  • Practice: Apply theoretical approaches to the analysis of social phenomena and to problems in the contemporary world, such as issues of governance, policy, and international relations.