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A smiling female student drips a chemical into a vial.A smiling female student drips a chemical into a vial.

History, Politics and Society

Faculty

Slaven (chair), Blumberg, Confer, Crawford, Edmonds, Heim, Kuba, Larsen, Madden, McClintock, Nass, Smith, Sweitzer, Tuennerman

Purpose

History and political science are closely related disciplines that use the past to understand the present and the future. Our program mission is to encourage literate critical thinking by students, who work with faculty engaged in diverse, broadly based scholarships. History and Political Science faculty strive to mentor and develop students as they build character and careers. We are also proud to house international studies and women's studies, both programs which encourage diversity and a stronger understanding of social issues.

Programs

The department offers programs in history and political science, anthropology, and sociology. Each of these programs is described below.

History and Political Science

The department offers Bachelor of Arts degrees in both history and political science, as well as minors in history, political science and pre-law. The Bachelor of Arts in Political Science also offers a concentration in pre-law. The history major is general in nature, providing students with the opportunity to select areas of topical interest. Political science is a highly prescribed discipline. It limits its interests to the political aspects of human behavior, both national and international, including the study of power and organizations. International studies, which is housed in our department, offers a degree with concentrations in several fields, while women's studies offers a minor.

Anthropology

The anthropology major consists of a core requirement of six courses that are designed to provide a broad and coherent approach to the two concentrations. The first is a forensic anthropology concentration consisting of six required courses. The second is an archaeology concentration also consisting of six required courses. In addition to these, a series of low- and mid-range courses can be taken as general electives or as electives for the General Education requirements. In addition to the B.A. in Anthropology, students can also complete a minor in anthropology.

Sociology

Sociology is the systematic study of all features of group life beginning with family and extending to global arrangements. The primary purpose of the sociology program is to prepare students for graduate work in sociology or a related social science advanced degree. The sociology program is also a strong liberal arts major that provides its graduates with the necessary skills for entry-level positions requiring knowledge of human behavior.

In addition to the B.A. in sociology and minor in sociology, the department, in conjunction with the College of Education and Human Services, provides a teacher certification program for those interested in teaching the social sciences in secondary schools. The department also works with the women's studies program and offers a selection of courses on gender issues in social institutions and social movements.

The applied concentration within the sociology major is oriented toward preparing students for research positions in applied settings. Students are trained to:
  • Use sociological concepts, theories, skills and research methods to understand social and organizational problems;
  • Apply these tools to concrete, real-world, practical problems faced by organizations and communities at all levels; and
  • Provide organization leaders with practical solutions to these problems.

Honor Societies

History students who meet the academic requirements are eligible for membership in Phi Alpha Theta, National Honor Society in History.

Political science students who meet the academic requirements are eligible for membership in Pi Sigma Alpha, the Political Science Society.

Anthropology majors are eligible for membership in the Gamma Chapter of Lambda Alpha, the National Anthropology Honor Society.

Students in the sociology program are eligible for membership in Pi Gamma Mu, the social science honor society, and Alpha Kappa Delta, the honor society for sociology.

Careers

Teacher, archivist and museum curator are professions directly related to the history major. Careers in law, religion, foreign service, both corporate and government, and diplomacy have a great reliance on historical knowledge. In addition, history majors are employed in the marketing field, the communications industry and the insurance industry.

Students may choose to concentrate in a major field of study in political science: pre-law, campaign management or public policy. A degree in any of these concentrations prepares the student for a variety of careers in the public and private sectors. Students may be employed in national, state and local government agencies; international government and public agencies; fields such as criminal justice, environmental protection, consumer affairs or urban planning; political consulting and research firms; nonprofit organizations and citizen action groups; and public policy analysis.

Anthropology graduates can pursue numerous careers. Those students taking the forensic anthropology concentration work with coroners' and medical examiners' offices, as well as state, federal and international law enforcement agencies. Students specializing in archaeology may work as archaeological excavation crew members, cultural resource management specialists, environmental impact reviewers, and museum curators and researchers. Students may also pursue careers in the Foreign Service as well as undertaking graduate study.

Students with an undergraduate degree in sociology find work in a variety of social settings. Material published by the American Sociological Association indicates that sociologists pursue careers in teaching and research in universities, federal, state and local government, corporations, and small business and nonprofit organizations.

Sociology graduates may work in diverse applied settings such as industry, government, higher education and voluntary associations, or as solo practitioners/consultants. Examples of applied sociological work in these settings include:

  • Evaluating the effectiveness of various educational policies/programs;
  • Investigating the social norms promoting or inhibiting the spread of AIDS;
  • Evaluating and assessing the effectiveness of various criminal justice programs;
  • Analyzing employment records for evidence of discrimination; and
  • Planning medical services and facilities for a target population.
Our sociology graduates hold positions in community agencies at the local, national and international levels; nonprofit organizations; trade associations; labor unions; foundations; and small and large corporations.