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Social Studies

The BA Social Sciences Program offers a wide range of courses, encompassing the social, political, economic, cultural, and intellectual tradition of humankind. The department seeks to inspire students to think critically and creatively by asking historical questions about themselves, their communities, other cultures and society as a whole. Students are encouraged to participate in their own society, to apply historical knowledge to the situations they encounter, and to value the particular privileges and responsibilities inherent in their own lives. Armed with these skills, students are able to view their world in complex ways, not to be swayed easily by simple answers, to critically evaluate information provided by the media, government, or special interest groups. Through a solid background in history, these students become citizens who will think carefully, seek to better their understanding of the world, and have the confidence to act upon their convictions.

At all levels, the department provides students with the tools to think rigorously, to research, and thereby articulate independent ideas about historical events. Throughout courses, close critical reading is emphasized using textbooks, primary sources and literature. Activities and assignments incorporate vocabulary building and encourage students to engage with historical and geographic themes at increasingly complex levels. Similarly, writing instruction in the history department builds from one year to the next to help students develop their expository and analytical writing.

 

AP World History: Modern

In AP World History: Modern, students investigate significant events, individuals, developments, and processes from 1200 to the present. Students develop and use the same skills, practices, and methods employed by historians: analyzing primary and secondary sources; developing historical arguments; making historical connections; and utilizing reasoning about comparison, causation, and continuity and change over time. The course provides six themes that students explore throughout the course in order to make connections among historical developments in different times and places: humans and the environment, cultural developments and interactions, governance, economic systems, social interactions and organization, and technology and innovation.

AP Microeconomics

The purpose of AP Microeconomics is to give students a thorough understanding of the principles of economics as they apply to the decisions of individuals – both consumers and producers – within the larger economic system. It places primary emphasis on the nature and functions of product markets, and includes the study of factor markets and the role of government in promoting greater efficiency and equity in the economy.  

AP US Government & Politics 

AP United States Government and Politics is a one-semester, college level course offered to students who wish to be academically challenged and plan to take the AP exam in the spring. It is a survey course that provides an introduction into the operation of American national government. As such, students will examine: Foundations of American Democracy; Interactions Among Branches of Government; Civil Liberties and Civil Rights; American Political Ideologies and Beliefs; Political Participation; and Primary source materials and contemporary news analyses.

AP United States History

This course will survey the history of the United States of America from the “discovery” and settlement of the New World to the very recent past. The primary focus of the course will be to provide students with an opportunity to develop an understanding of some of the major themes in American history, to train students to analyze historical evidence, and to develop in students their ability to analyze and express historical understanding in writing. This class will emphasize certain themes: political institutions and behavior and public policy, social and economic change, diplomacy and international relations, and cultural and intellectual developments.

AP Human Geography

This course introduces students to the systematic study of patterns and processes that have shaped human understanding, use, and alteration of Earth’s surface. Students employ spatial concepts and landscape analysis to examine socioeconomic organization and its environmental consequences. They also learn about the methods and tools geographers use in their research and applications.  Offered every other year.

AP Psychology

The AP Psychology course is designed to introduce students to the systematic and scientific study of the behavior and mental processes of human beings and other animals. Students are exposed to the psychological facts, principles, and phenomena associated with each of the major subfields within psychology. They also learn about the ethics and methods psychologists use in their science and practice.

AP European History

AP European History is designed to be the equivalent of a two-semester introductory college or university European history course. In AP European History students investigate significant events, individuals, developments, and processes in four historical periods from approximately 1450 to the present. Students develop and use the same skills, practices, and methods employed by historians: analyzing historical evidence; contextualization; comparison; causation; change and continuity over time; and argument development. The course also provides six themes that students explore throughout the course in order to make connections among historical developments in different times and places: interaction of Europe and the world; poverty and prosperity; objective knowledge and subjective visions; states and other institutions of power; individual and society; and national and European identity. Offered every other year.

AP Comparative Government

AP Comparative Politics provides students with: a concrete understanding of the scientific method behind political comparison, a well-developed sense of political theory, and a “real world” understanding of global studies through specific analysis of 6 different political entities: The United Kingdom, Russia, Iran, China, Nigerian and Mexico. Offered every other year.

AP Macroeconomics

AP Macroeconomics is an introductory college-level macroeconomics course. Students cultivate their understanding of the principles that apply to an economic system as a whole by using principles and models to describe economic situations and predict and explain outcomes with graphs, charts, and data as they explore concepts like economic measurements, markets, macroeconomic models, and macroeconomic policies. Offered every other year.

 
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