Social Science/History

Requirement:  6 semester credits

Social Sciences

Students will study people, movements, institutions, and forces which play a major role in human history and development in order to understand the present and implications for the future. The perspectives and methods of social sciences and history provide a basic foundation for understanding, evaluating, and decision-making relating to the human experience. These courses support upper level courses.
Social Sciences core courses will:

  • introduce the diversity of purpose, focus, and methodology among social sciences;
  • illuminate the role and impact of major social institutions (family, education, business, government, and religion) on the daily existence of individuals, and on social and cultural groups, societies, and nations;
  • describe the nature, structure, and historical development of human organization and the extent to which individuals (in contrast to physical or social forces) are able to influence events.

Upon completion of the Social Sciences core, students will be able to:

  • analyze how institutions and traditions develop, evolve, and shape the lives of individuals, social and cultural groups, societies, and nations;
  • analyze human behavior, ideas, and social institutions for historical and cultural meaning and significance;
  • gather information, analyze data, and draw conclusions from multiple hypotheses to understand human behavior;
  • synthesize ideas and information with regard to historical causes, the course of events, and their consequences, separated by time and place;
  • use factual and interpretive data to support hypotheses based upon appropriate inquiry methodology.


Most broadly, history is about recognizing, analyzing, and interpreting changes in human activity and interaction within and between humans and between humans and their environments over time and space, using primary and secondary print, visual and material resources, as well as historiographical resources. The study of history may also inform contemporary analyses of interaction between humans and between humans and their environments.
History core courses will:

  • develop in students habits of historical analysis sensitive to context, interrelations among humans, and interactions between humans and their environments, on local, national, and international scales;
  • familiarize students with the uses – and the limitations – of historical comparison as an analytic tool;
  • enable students to recognize and interpret multiple forms of evidence (visual, oral, statistical, artifacts from material culture);
  • enable students to critically analyze and construct historical narratives.

Upon completion of the History core, students will be able to:

  • analyze historical phenomena in appropriate context;
  • weigh and interpret the evidence available to them and present a narrative argument supported by historical evidence;
  • recognize the distinction between primary and secondary sources, understand how each are used to make historical claims;
  • recognize and interpret multiple forms of evidence (visual, oral, statistical and material, and print);
  • understand the historical construction of differences and similarities among peoples within and across groups, regions, and nations;
  • interpret other societies in comparative context and one’s own society in the context of other societies.

(These criteria were developed with aid from the American Historical Association, Tennessee State University, University of California, Merced, and University of Baltimore web sites.)


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