Social Science Course Suggestions (BA)
BA General Education Requirement: 6 Hours
Any economics course will fulfill this requirement. Detailed below are the freshman and sophomore-level courses.
ECON 101. Introduction to Economics. This course is a primer for students who wish to have basic economic literacy, understand different economic concepts and policies, and develop critical thinking skills. Economics is not primarily a set of answers, but rather a method of reasoning. By the end of the semester, students should be able to use the analysis practiced in the course to form their own judgments about major economic problems faced by the United States and other countries. General goals of the course include: to help students understand various ways of thinking about economic phenomena; to make students more careful, critical, and thoughtful readers; to assist students in developing a personal philosophy of life.
Special note: This course does not count toward the Economics major.
ECON 202. Principles of Microeconomics. This sophomore-level course uses analytical and historical analysis to model the behavior of the two basic elements of a market economy: consumers, who are the underlying origin of market demand, and producers, who are the underlying origin of market supply. The individual consumer is modeled as an agent with preferences (likes and dislikes) who makes herself as well off as possible given her income, prices and the available choices of economic goods. The individual firm is modeled as an entity with production capacity that turns inputs into output, and output into profit. Firms operate in a variety of environments, ranging from competitive to monopolistic. As consumers try to attain their most preferred outcomes and firms try to maximize profits, their interaction within the economic institutions of the price system determine market outcomes, the production of goods and services and the distribution of income. This course analyzes the predictions of the analytical models and their relevance to society. The course also addresses the role of government policy both as an economic agent and the custodian of society’s goals and priorities.
ECON 203. Principles of Macroeconomics. This sophomore-level course requires Econ 202 as a prerequisite. The course focuses on the nature of economic activity at the national and international level as opposed to individual consumers and producers. Topics include the resources and the goals of the economy, and the role of government in achieving those goals. Students are introduced to national income accounting (how Gross Domestic Product is calculated) and economic issues like unemployment and economic growth. The course also discusses the basics of the monetary system in a market-based economy, which includes banking and financial institutions and the role of a central bank like the U.S. Federal Reserve system in determining monetary policy. Monetary policy includes control of the money supply and interest rates. The government’s taxation and spending policy, or fiscal policy, and its effects on the economy are also analyzed
Any political science course will fulfill this requirement. Below are the three introductory courses to the sub-fields of the discipline.
POL 101. Introduction to American Politics. The primary purpose of this course is to introduce the dynamics of American national government and policies. Students will better understand our political system in several different and important ways: as a set of primary and underlying values; as a series of governing principles; as processes in which forces compete; as separate institutions with powers and limitations; and, as a framework for human behavior and interactions. In addition, this course helps students refine their analytical and expressive skills. Simply put, the need to enhance citizens’ abilities to think critically, speak intelligently, and write clearly is a top priority in today’s world. If we as citizens are to participate in and contribute to our political society, we must be able to do three things well with new information and ideas: test their assumptions, assess their value, and then voice our educated opinions.
POL 102. Introduction to Comparative Politics. This course allows students to understand the political system of different countries around the world. Students will investigate the politics of certain countries from across the globe, including long-established democracies, transitional or new democracies, and authoritarian countries. Students will investigate topics that may include presidential and parliamentary systems, different kinds of electoral systems, political parties, interest group representation, communism, transitions to democracy, rule of law, political culture, and economic development. The comparative aspect of this field is the search for similarities and differences between cases in order to formulate theories and hypotheses about politics. By the end of the semester, students will be more informed about the political world outside of the United States of America and will have increased knowledge and understanding of important concepts and theories in comparative politics. Finally, the course will sharpen students’ reasoning skills by encouraging them to be more rigorous about how they think about politics and communicate their ideas.
POL 103. Introduction to International Relations. This course is designed as a broad introduction to the theories and ideas contained within the field of international relations, the study of global issues such as international security and international political economy. Topics include military conflict, concepts of power, cooperation, international organizations, economic sanctions, international trade and financial activities, population growth, and the environment. The goals of this course are to get students to think systematically about the processes of international relations, and ultimately to help students formulate their own informed opinions about world politics.
Any course in the department will fulfill this requirement. Below is the introductory course.
PSY 201. Introduction to Psychology. This course is a survey of the major areas in the field of psychology, the scientific study of behavior. The following areas are emphasized: major models of psychology, research methods used in psychology, social psychology, the organization of the human brain and the biological bases of behavior, principles of learning, major theories of personality development, the concept of intelligence, psychological development during the lifespan, and classification of abnormal behavior and mental illness. The terminology, principles, processes, and methods in the above areas will be discussed.
Any anthropology or sociology course will meet this requirement. Below are the introductory courses.
ANTH 101. Introduction to Anthropology. Anthropology is the study of all things human, from our biological beginnings to the modern world. This course offers a four-field introduction to anthropology, covering cultural anthropology, biological anthropology, archaeology, and anthropological linguistics. Students will be introduced to key subjects in anthropology such as culture, society, human evolution, and biological and social cross-cultural variations as well as the effects of colonialism and globalization on indigenous people. The course will introduce students to some of the basic research methods and theoretical approaches that anthropologists use to understand human life throughout time and across the world. Students will leave the course with a deeper social scientific understanding and appreciation of human variability.
SOC 101. Introduction to Sociology. Sociology is the scientific study of human social behavior. SOC 101 provides an introduction to the basic sociological concepts and research methods sociologists use to examine the social world. A major objective of the course is to teach students to utilize theory and empirical research so that they can analyze society from new viewpoints and better understand how individuals are shaped by powerful social forces. The course explores how groups create meaning through everyday interaction, how power functions in important social institutions such as the economy, politics, education, and the family, how systems of inequality are maintained and resisted, and how social change occurs.