Program Overview

The social science major offers students an integrated and intellectually challenging approach to understanding social reality and the public issues that shape today's world. The program combines a strong commitment to higher order reading, writing, and thinking with extensive opportunities to integrate these academic skills with community-based experience. Department faculty are award-winning educators, committed to the intellectual, professional, and civic development of their students.

The program is built on a strong foundation of interdisciplinary social science. Social science majors choose from among six distinct tracks: anthropology, political science, sociology, global studies, “advocacy and leadership,” and generalist. In addition, all students participate in an interdisciplinary series of advanced courses that provide a creative and rigorous educational experience. The learning outcomes for a social science major are:

  • to know and understand the essential concepts of social science;
  • to comprehend the historical foundations and theoretical approaches of social science;
  • to plan and carry out social science research; to develop higher order thinking skills by analyzing and interpreting social science literature;
  • to write analytically in a style that is informed, well-reasoned, and literate;
  • to recognize and understand the social significance of gender and sexual orientation, race and ethnicity, religion, social class, and physical ability;
  • to understand and utilize a global perspective; and
  • to develop civic skills and ethical awareness by participating in community-based learning and program internships.

More information about this program

Declare Your Program

To be eligible for acceptance to the Social Science major, students must submit a College of Arts and Sciences Undergraduate Program Declaration Form. Consult with an advisor before enrolling in courses toward the major.

Declare Your Program

Requirements

Courses required for your specific program are listed in the right column on this page. They include prerequisite, foundation, core, and elective courses. Contact your advisor with questions concerning your degree plan.

  • At least half of the credits required for the major must be completed at Metropolitan State University.
  • Students must earn a grade of C- or above in all major courses.
  • Student should select lower division electives and upper division electives in consultation with an advisor.
  • Transfer courses may be applicable to major requirements. The university's degree audit will specify transfer courses that are directly equivalent to major requirements. Other transfer courses must be approved by a faculty advisor in the department.

How Admissions Works

We are looking forward to you joining us. Take the first step by filling out this application.
Course List

Prerequisites

Requirements ( 120 total credits)

Social Science Requirements (40 credits)

• At least half of the credits required for the major must be completed at Metropolitan State University.

• Students must earn a grade of C- or above in all major courses.

• Student should select lower division electives and upper division electives in consultation with an advisor.

• Transfer courses may be applicable to major requirements. The university's degree audit will specify transfer courses that are directly equivalent to major requirements. Other transfer courses must be approved by a faculty advisor in the department.

• Sequencing: SSCI 300, SSCI 311, SSCI 501 and SSCI 451 or SSCI 452 must be taken in four separate semesters in the order listed above. SSCI 300 and SSCI 311 may be taken concurrently with departmental approval.

• All social science majors must complete the following courses.

  • SSCI 300 Seeing Like a Social Scientist
    4 credits

    Most of us are only dimly aware of how politics, culture, and society influence, and often coerce, our daily lives. The calling of a social scientist is to help us make these invisible social structures visible. In this course, students develop the skills and tools to discover, analyze, and interpret these obscure social processes. Ideally, this knowledge will have a liberating effect on their individual lives. Students will also perceive how their civic and ethical participation can change politics, culture, and society, as well as themselves.

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  • SSCI 311 Research Methods in Social Science
    4 credits

    This course provides an introduction to the basic concepts of social science research. Students learn and implement a variety of research methods, and critically reflect on the relationship of these methods to philosophical traditions within social science. The courses examines two approaches to social science research, quantitative and qualitative, and the unique contribution of each approach for understanding social life. Experiential activities enhance classroom learning.

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  • SSCI 365 Leadership in Organizations and Public Life
    0 credits

    Students gain experience in applied social science while working as an intern in a non-profit or community-based organization, the public sector, or a social action group. Prior to registering, students meet with the instructor to select their specific internship project. Students supplement their specific field experience with participation in the group internship seminar which meets five times during the semester. Through this combination of extensive community-based experience and guided reading, writing and analysis, students develop their ability to integrate social science theory with community-based experience. ** Note: this is a variable credit course with credit range of 3 - 4.

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  • SSCI 501 Great Ideas: Classics of Social Science
    4 credits

    The social sciences have been shaping views of the human condition for more than 150 years. This seminar explores those ideas that continue to engage and perplex thoughtful observers of social life. Students become acquainted with writing by major thinkers like Karl Marx, Max Weber, Emile Durkheim, Georg Simmel, Sigmund Freud, Ruth Benedict, Frantz Fanon and Hannah Arendt. The course addresses the social and historical roots of the great ideas as well as the moral aspirations and creative impulses of these social scientists.

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  • SSCI 451 Empirical Research Capstone
    4 credits

    Social scientists investigate the patterns of human interactions and then seek to interpret, explain and communicate human behavior. This seminar is designed to provide a final, integrating experience for students with a social science major. Seminar participants complete a senior project that demonstrates an ability to design a study, collect new or existing data, analyze those findings and communicate the results.

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Advocacy and Leadership (Social Science Major Track) - Lower Division (up to 9 credits)

Students may select courses in anthropology, geography, political science, social science, and sociology. Students may not apply more than 6 credits in any one discipline.

Survey Courses (8 credits, select two of the following courses):

  • One of the following classes is required:
    • POL 311 Community Organizing and Social Action
      4 credits

      This course examines the theories, current trends and practical dimensions of how people with common goals and grievances organize themselves to effect change. Topics include the nature of community organizing, organizing models from a variety of cultural and historic traditions, practical approaches to identifying issues, bringing constituencies together and nurturing grass roots leadership, and choosing and implementing effective strategies and tactics. Case studies include organizing projects in communities of race and ethnicity, social class and gender.

      Course Outline Class Schedule <<<<<<< HEAD ======= >>>>>>> 35179410ff55d83bece68cc1d84aadaa0fa744b8
    • SOC 311 Community Organizing and Social Action
      4 credits

      This course examines the theories, current trends and practical dimensions of how people organize to effect change. Topics include the nature of community organizing, cultural and historical models, issue identification, leadership development, approaches to social power, campaign planning and implementation, and the relationship of community organizing to other forms of social action. The class is participatory and includes intense interpersonal and reflective exercises designed to increase students organizing skills. Students will supplement classroom learning with a case study of a Metro area community organization.

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  • POL 312 Advocacy for Policy Change
    4 credits

    Democratic governments are assumed to be more legitimate than and preferable to other forms of government due to their openness and responsiveness to citizen influence. Yet many citizens and residents in the United States express feelings of powerlessness when it comes to influencing legislators and engaging in politics. In this course, students will learn about the state legislative process in Minnesota and develop a wide range of democratic skills necessary for becoming citizen advocates and influencing elected officials. Over the course of the semester, students will identify an issue area they want to work in; choose legislation related to that issue area to advocate for; identify and build relationships with community organizations working in the issue area; work in coalition with at least one community organization; develop a range of political communication materials for influencing legislators; and meet with state legislators to advocate for their preferred policies. The skills students will develop in this class will be applicable to participating in democracy at the local, state, and national level.

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  • SOC 302 Interpersonal and Social Power: A View from Below
    4 credits

    Power has traditionally been defined from the perspective of those who issue orders. This course examines power from the vantage point of those expected to follow orders. A model of empowerment is developed and applied to the interpersonal and social dynamics of domination and subordination with emphasis on gender, class, race and ethnicity. Novels, movies, autobiographies, simulation games and case studies are used to explore the power dimension in everyday life.

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Advocacy and Leadership (Social Science Major Track) - Upper-division Electives (to reach 40 credits)

Students may select 300-level courses in anthropology, political science, and sociology. Students may also take:

  • POL 342 Lobbying: A Citizen's Guide to the Legislative Process
    4 credits

    This course, for the seasoned lobbyist as well as the newcomer, is designed to stimulate people to effectively assert power in the political arena. The structure and dynamics of Minnesota government and politics are examined. Students learn how to start with an idea and build a strategy to make that idea into law using the Minnesota Capitol as a laboratory.

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  • POL 305 Elections and Political Parties
    4 credits

    This course uses the current campaign as the basis for studying voter behavior, polling, the impact and role of the media, political parties, and general election strategy on behavior. Special emphasis is placed on the role of race, class and gender in shaping political participation. Campaign involvement is encouraged.

    Course Outline Class Schedule <<<<<<< HEAD ======= >>>>>>> 35179410ff55d83bece68cc1d84aadaa0fa744b8
  • SOC 309 Homelessness: Critical Issues for Policy and Practice
    4 credits

    This course explores the experiences of the homeless and the public policies that affect them. The problems of homelessness are viewed from sociological and historical perspectives, as well as from a more experiential angle. The course emphasizes assessing the needs of the homeless and students serving as their advocates. Particular attention is devoted to race, gender, class, and age. Service learning is an integral part of this course. Students are expected to give forty-five hours of service to homeless people.

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  • One of the following classes is required:
    • POL 381 Community Leadership: Principles and Approaches
      4 credits

      What is leadership? What skills and qualities make a good leader? What is the relationship between leadership, civic participation and the common good? Open to both experienced leaders and those who are just starting out, this course will explore a variety of leadership principles and approaches as well as the relationship between civic engagement and social justice. Students will investigate a variety of community participation strategies including: volunteer service, citizen organizing, electoral politics, public and non-profit boards and commissions, and community development. On-line and community resources and assignments will supplement class-room based learning. Students will be able to apply previous community experience to completion of course requirements.

      Course Outline Class Schedule <<<<<<< HEAD ======= >>>>>>> 35179410ff55d83bece68cc1d84aadaa0fa744b8
    • SOC 381 Community Leadership: Principles and Approaches
      4 credits

      What is leadership? What skills and qualities make a good leader? What is the relationship between leadership, civic participation and the common good? Open to both experienced leaders and those who are just starting out, this course will explore a variety of leadership principles and approaches as well as the relationship between civic engagement and social justice. Students will investigate a variety of community participation strategies including: volunteer service, citizen organizing, electoral politics, public and non-profit boards and commissions, and community development. On-line and community resources and assignments will supplement class-room based learning. Students will be able to apply previous community experience to completion of course requirements.

      Course Outline Class Schedule <<<<<<< HEAD ======= >>>>>>> 35179410ff55d83bece68cc1d84aadaa0fa744b8