Summary (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.
Lower Division Electives (up to 9 credits).
Students may select courses in anthropology, geography, political science, sociology, and social science. Students may also select ECON 200 as a lower division elective. Students may not apply more than 6 credits in any one discipline.
Survey courses (12 credits)
Students must take three survey courses, one from each of the three disciplines: anthropology, political science and sociology.
Anthropology (choose one):
This course introduces the study of humanity from a comparative and cross-cultural perspective. Students learn what anthropologists do, how they do it, and why. Exposure to the range of human possibilities, differences, and similarities will highlight the processes of enculturation in all societies. The course explores topics such as kinship, economics, religion, social control, globalization, culture change, and contemporary cultural issues affecting all humans.
What is gender? How can we understand differences in gender and sexuality? Through the perspective of cultural anthropology, students examine how gender is perceived and realized in a range of human societies. Discussions on the biological/cultural determinants of gender are considered. Ethnographic materials explore how gender varies cross culturally and historically and is related to social power. Students engage with contemporary debates surrounding such themes as marriage, family, human rights, and sexuality.
Political Science (choose one):
This course investigates the theory and practice of citizenship in local communities, the United States and the world. Students draw on core concepts from political science to explore contrasting ideas about citizenship and the political, economic and cultural dimensions of critical issues facing the global community. Classroom inquiry is supplemented by field experiences and investigation.
This course examines critical global issues and the organizations and institutions that are attempting to address them. Drawing on concepts from political science and international relations, students explore such issues as human rights, the global environment, violence within and between nations, and the gap between "have" and "have not" nations. The course investigates the response of the United States to these issues as well as the effectiveness of formal international organizations like the United Nations and emerging transnational citizen organization. Classroom inquiry is supplemented by field experience and investigation.
Sociology (choose one):
This course introduces and explores the sociological perspective. The central theme of the course is what C. Wright Mills called the sociological imagination which enables us to grasp history and biography and the relations between the two within society. Students explore how they are embedded in ever widening social circles that range from local to global. The focus is on how social forces such as culture, race and ethnicity, nationality, religion, social class, and gender contribute to the shaping of societies and the course of their histories. Students use conceptual tools drawn from sociology to analyze a range of contemporary social issues.
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.
This course introduces and explores the sociological perspective through the study of food. While eating is a biological necessity and often a social activity, the meanings of food are embedded in larger socio-cultural contexts. Food is connected to individual and cultural identities, structures of power and inequality, and activism and social justice. Students will examine the social forces and social relations surrounding food, and the links between food and bodies. Lecture, discussion, multimedia materials, and a variety of readings are used to study the complex connections between food, culture, and society.
Core courses (17 credits)
All social science majors must complete all four core courses (SSCI 300, SSCI 311, SSCI 501, and SSCI 451/452). Students should take core courses after earning the following number of credits: SSCI 300 (60 credits), SSCI 311 (75), SSCI 501 (90), SSCI 451/452 (105). Sequencing: SSCI 300, SSCI 311, SSCI 501 and SSCI 451 or SSCI 452, taken in four separate semesters. SSCI 300 and SSCI 311 may be taken concurrently if a student intends to graduate in three semesters (not including summer) and with departmental approval.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Upper division electives (to reach 40 credits)
Students may select any 300-level courses in anthropology, political science, and sociology. Students may also take SSCI 401 (Social Science Seminar: Contending Perspectives), which is offered only in the summer.