Social Science BA: Advocacy and Leadership Track

College of Liberal Arts
Undergraduate major / Bachelor of Arts

About this program

Why Advocacy and Leadership?

The Advocacy and Leadership Track is an ideal course of study for students interested in:

  • Social Justice: Building a more equitable world.
  • Building Community Power: Working in communities to bring people together to solve problems that impact their lives.
  • Developing Leadership Capacity: Cultivating the knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary for effective and equitable leadership within our communities.

What will I do in the major?

Advocacy and Leadership is a track within the Social Science Major. Students in the Advocacy and Leadership Track will take courses focusing on:

  • Community Organizing
  • Advocacy and Lobbying
  • Community Development and Leadership

Upper-division students in the Advocacy and Leadership Track complete an internship and conduct their own research to complete their degrees.

What can I do with the degree?

The Advocacy and Leadership Track prepares undergraduates for application to the Masters in Advocacy and Political Leadership program at Metropolitan State University. The Advocacy and Leadership Track can also be the first step towards careers in:

  • Non-Profit and Non-Governmental Organizations
  • Advocacy Organizations
  • Community Organizations
  • Union Organizing and Labor Organizations

 

Student outcomes

The learning outcomes for this major provide the knowledge, skills, and abilities to enter the 21st-century workplace to:

  • know and understand the essential concepts of social science;
  • comprehend the historical foundations, theoretical paradigms, and research methods of social science;
  • develop higher order thinking skills by analyzing and interpreting social science literature;
  • write analytically in a style that is informed, well-reasoned, and literate;
  • recognize and understand differences of gender and sexual orientation, race and ethnicity, religion, and social class;
  • understand and utilize a global perspective
  • develop civic skills by participating in community-based learning and internships
  • become advocates and leaders in their communities, our nation, and the globe.

Enrolling in this program

Current students: Declare your program

Once you’re admitted as an undergraduate student and have met any further requirements your chosen program may have, you declare your major or declare a minor.

Future students: Apply now

Apply to Metropolitan State: Start the journey toward your Social Science BA: Advocacy and Leadership Track now. Learn about the steps to enroll or, if you have questions about what Metropolitan State can offer you, request information, visit campus or chat with an admissions counselor.

Get started on your Social Science BA: Advocacy and Leadership Track

Course requirements

Requirements (120 credits)

Core Courses (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 365 Leadership in Organizations and Public Life

3-4 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.

Full course description for Leadership in Organizations and Public Life

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.

Full course description for Seeing Like a Social Scientist

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.

Full course description for Research Methods in Social Science

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.

Full course description for Great Ideas: Classics of Social Science

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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.

Full course description for Empirical Research Capstone

SSCI 452 Conceptual Research Capstone

4 credits

The social sciences have been shaping our understanding of the human condition for 175 years. Students will be comparing and evaluating ideas that continue to engage and perplex thoughtful public intellectuals. The capstone project involves researching an idea that remains disputable. The goal of a student's thesis is an independent interpretation of a specific concept.

Full course description for Conceptual Research Capstone

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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.

Full course description for Community Organizing and Social Action

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.

Full course description for Community Organizing and Social Action

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…

Full course description for Advocacy for Policy Change

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.

Full course description for Interpersonal and Social Power: A View from Below

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.

Full course description for Lobbying: A Citizen's Guide to the Legislative Process

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.

Full course description for Homelessness: Critical Issues for Policy and Practice

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.

Full course description for Community Leadership: Principles and Approaches

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.

Full course description for Community Leadership: Principles and Approaches