Area of Study Guidelines: Social Science Policy After Jan. 1, 2014
|Office of Academic Affairs|
|Academic and Student Affairs|
|Area of study guidelines; Social Science; Social Theory; Social Structure, and Change|
To provide context for the area of study guidelines for area of study Social Science.
Area of Study Guidelines: This set of guidelines helps students plan their degree plans by spelling out what the academic world and many employers understand a particular concentration to mean. The guidelines are found in many academic publications.
Disciplinary — A program of study guided by the existing framework of a discipline.
Interdisciplinary — The simultaneous and interrelated study of two or more disciplines.
Problem Oriented — A program of study organized around a problem.
Professional/Vocational — A study which focuses on acquiring knowledge and skills needed for specific career performance and applications. It also entails inquiry into the conceptual foundations of the profession, the role of the professional in that career, and the relations between the profession and society at large.
Thematic — A program of study focusing on a particular theme or set of ideas.
For Students Seeking Associate Degrees
At the associate level, studies generally emphasize the first three elements of the guidelines for this AOS: developing a broad social perspective, a historical perspective and a comparative perspective. Such studies normally include exposure to theoretical concepts and research methods, as well as development of writing and critical thinking skills. Formal study of theory and research methods is typically undertaken at the advanced level for the bachelor’s degree.
Students who develop an associate degree in Social Theory, Social Structure and Change may seek to establish a foundation for advanced study in fields encompassed by the AOS, or for advanced study in one of the cognate professional fields that have roots in the fields encompassed by this AOS (e.g., human services, health services, business).
For Bachelor’s Seeking Student
Social Science encompasses a variety of academic disciplines. Students who choose to develop a concentration in this area explore theories, methods and problems addressed by such fields as sociology, political science and anthropology. Students may choose to work within the boundaries of a single academic discipline or may engage in a study which crosses disciplinary lines, such as criminal justice. Concentrations in areas such as women’s studies, communications, ethnic studies and African-American studies which necessarily rely upon a dominantly social (rather than literary, artistic, historical or psychological) perspective also belong in this area of study.
In formulating their degree programs, students should address the following developmental goals which define the aims of study in this area. Concentrations in Social Science should be planned to develop:
- a broad social perspective. Students should be familiar with institutions, systems of belief, cultural patterns, or political and economic structures of society and how these are interrelated.
- a historical perspective. Students should be able to locate social issues within a historical context, and appreciate the forces which bring about change in values, ideas, customs, institutions, or political and economic systems.
- a comparative perspective. Students should examine the similarities and differences between one set of social rules, institutions, mores, political or economic structures and others of the same or different times, places, cultures, nations and states. Students should be able to address themselves to the causes of such differences or similarities and to evaluate their significance. A comparative perspective also includes understanding of race, class and gender within social groups.
- a theoretical perspective. Students should be able to identify, understand and use general theories and conceptual schemes to define and approach their chosen topics, questions or problems.
- knowledge of research methods. Students should be able to identify, understand and use research methods appropriate to the topics, questions or problems that are central to their concentrations.
- critical ability. Students should learn to analyze, criticize and evaluate key concepts, assumptions, theories and methodologies of their particular field of study. This requires development of advanced-level writing abilities.