Social Science

Social Science Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) Degree On Campus

About Social Science

Study society and human relationships with this bachelor's degree program.

Social science includes a range of disciplines: history, psychology, sociology, culture, geography, anthropology, archeology, economics, communications and political science. Collectively, the social sciences encompass any effort to study society and human relationships.

The unifying principle is a desire to understand the world we live in from a variety of different perspectives. You can begin your exploration with a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Social Science at PennWest California.

As a social science major, you’ll develop specific skills that easily translate across many careers. PennWest California’s social science degree program places a strong emphasis on various forms of communication. Through your classwork, you’ll perform in-depth research and analysis: You’ll write papers, prepare case studies and deliver presentations. These are skills that have applications in such fields as communications, marketing, public relations, journalism, advertising and more.

Social scientists are trained to be problem solvers. They examine some of the most complicated issues in our world today and strive to propose solutions. Some of the problems a social science student may be asked to ponder include global climate change, gender inequality, deforestation and human rights violations. The aim is to challenge social science students to examine the world around them and think about how it could be better. Social science students also are trained to understand the idea of diversity. This concept has been gaining more and more attention lately as issues involving race, gender and sexual orientation have dominated headlines. Businesses that are sensitive and respectful of people’s differences will have a wider reach. Social science graduates are ideally suited to help businesses achieve this balance.

Gain a career advantage with PennWest California’s undergraduate program.

PennWest California students may choose to major only in social science or may select a second academic discipline to complete a highly marketable dual major that includes social science and another discipline. Social science majors frequently find that adding a sociology minor adds value to their credentials.

PennWest California students may also add a 12-credit certificate in violence and incidence collaborative evaluation (VICES) to their degree as a stackable credential for those anticipating a career in education. The African American Studies minor, like the VICES certificate, overlaps significantly with social science coursework, making it easy to pursue simultaneously with the social science major.

Students typically complete the social science major in four years of full-time study; this time can be expanded for students pursuing their bachelor’s degree part-time.

Program Highlights: Social Science

Multidisciplinary focus. PennWest California’s innovative program in social science offers you the advantage of multidisciplinary expertise within a single academic program of study. PennWest California’s social science degree program requires courses in the expected disciplines, such as anthropology, economics, history, political science, psychology and sociology. But social science majors also have a unique chance to venture into the field of geography, with opportunities to explore courses in such areas as geographical information systems, disaster vulnerability assessment and tourism.

Sound foundation. PennWest California social science students get many opportunities for hands-on experience through internships and field experiences. Students have worked with the Brownsville Area Revitalization Corp., Tripil, Rivertowns, Center in the Woods, Washington Food Bank and Mon Valley Hospital to plan, implement and report on recommendations to address challenges identified by the organizations based on interviews and participant observation. Students also have collaborated with Studio 224, PennWest California’s graphic design club, on a new map of Brownsville. Social science students have collaborated with the Community Manager of Vulcan Village, with a pre- and post-test of a green energy education program and an evaluation of residents' knowledge of and attitudes toward environmentally friendly usage of water, electricity and natural resources. The social science program facilitated a student team research project that examined the University’s Healthy Habits program to determine how to attract more participants. Students also examined the needs and wants of California borough residents related to recreational facilities and opportunities.

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Student-to-faculty ratio at PennWest California.
Credit hours for the bachelor’s degree in social science, which can be completed in four years.
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Degree Benefits

PennWest California social science students may work with social science and sociology faculty on research, and also do their own research for course assignments and papers. Social science majors in the Honors College complete a senior thesis at the conclusion of their final year in the program. PennWest California social science students may apply for student research presentation opportunities, such as the annual Strike a Spark conference at PennWest California and for the undergraduate student poster competition, or apply for a grant from the undergraduate Guttman Student Research Grant Committee. Social science students may present their work at the Pennsylvania Sociological Society conference or at the annual American Sociological Association conference, among others in various social science academic disciplines. PennWest California’s Sociology Club enables students to work with faculty to schedule guest speakers on career and internship opportunities, volunteer activities with local animal shelters, and attracting experts to speak on social phenomena such as the growth of tattooing.

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Graduate Outcomes

Nearly 100% of PennWest California sociology graduates either directly enter the workforce or go on to graduate school in sociology or counselor education. The largest employers of sociologists are elementary and secondary schools; federal, state and local government; professional, scientific and technical consulting services; companies and enterprises; scientific research and development services; health practitioners; and colleges, universities and professional schools. Here’s a sampling of employers and positions held by PennWest California sociology graduates:

  • Allegheny County Adult Probation - Probation officer.
  • Behavioral Dynamics - Behavioral specialist.
  • Bollman Hat Co. - Vice president of sales.
  • Centerville Clinic - Director of behavioral health rehabilitation services.
  • Chicago Title Insurance Company - President/county manager.
  • Citadel Federal Credit Union - Instructor/performance consultant.
  • Commonwealth of Pennsylvania - Human resources management trainee.
  • Community Living and Learning - Program specialist.
  • PLS Logistics Services - National accounts sales representative.
  • The Leader’s Edge - Senior consultant.
  • - Blogger.
  • U.S. Government - Investigator.
  • Verizon Wireless - Customer advocate.

Social Science Bachelor's Degree Courses

Courses focus on interdisciplinary study of social science to examine situations from many perspectives. Students learn to design research projects, collect data and analyze findings, and draw conclusions to prepare to be innovators and problem solvers.


Course Credits
General Education Courses 40 or 41
Building a Sense of Community
UNI 100  First-Year Seminar
ENG 101  English Composition I
Public Speaking
Any Public Speaking Course
Mathematics and Quantitative Literacy
Any Mathematics and Quantitative Literacy Course
Health and Wellness
Any Health and Wellness Course
Technological Literacy
Any Technological Literacy Course
Any Humanities Course
Fine Arts
Any Fine Arts Course
Natural Sciences
Any Natural Sciences Course
Social Sciences
Any Social Sciences Course
General Education Options
  • Any Ethics and Multicultural Awareness Emphasis Course
  • Additional General Education Courses (three courses)
Required Major Courses 36
Select a 100- or 200-level course in six of the following disciplines: ANT, ECO, GEO, HIS, POS, PSY, SOC 18
Select a 300- or 400-level course in six of the following disciplines: ANT, ECO, GEO, HIS, POS, PSY, SOC 18
Free Electives 43 or 44
Total 120

Additional requirements, not counted toward the General Education requirements, include:

  • Special Experience Course (1 course required): Any Special Experience Course
  • Writing-Intensive Component Courses (2 courses required): Any Upper-Division Social Science Writing-Intensive Menu Courses (ANT, ECO, GEO, HIS, POS, PSY, SOC)
  • Laboratory Course (1 course required): Any Laboratory Course

Program Notes: 42 credits (or 14 courses) of upper-division (300- or 400-level) courses are required.


Social science degree program students study.

Professional Opportunities

Social science occupations are projected to grow 10% through 2026, faster than the average for all occupations. Social science majors have a sound foundation for further study to prepare for a wide range of occupations, including market research analyst; clinical, counseling and school psychologist; social scientist and related workers; urban and regional planners; survey researcher; economist; psychologist; political scientist; anthropologist or archaeologist; sociologist; historian; and geographer. 

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Graduate Study

PennWest California graduates have gone on for advanced study in one of the social sciences at such institutions as the University of Chicago, University of Maryland, Columbia University and Princeton University. Some social science graduates choose to remain at PennWest California to earn their master’s degree in counselor education, concentrating on either community counseling or school counseling.

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Student Resources

All social science students are encouraged to join the Sociology Club at PennWest California and to participate in its activities, such as panel discussions, field trips and volunteering in the community. Upper-level students are eligible for membership in Pi Gamma Mu, the social science honor society. Because socials science students conduct various field-based observations and complete internships, both nationally and internationally, they are provided with opportunities for career and professional networking.