Social science is the study of society and individuals’ relationships to that society and to one another, with a focus on how and why human activities vary over time or across cultures. In the social sciences, students discover the diversity of the human experience, the complexity of the choices facing human beings, and the potential consequences of the paths people take. This discovery helps students to become better citizens and people and prepares them to engage thoughtfully with others in all aspects of life.
Social science is empirical, meaning that observed patterns can be explained, and perhaps predicted. Social scientific knowledge changes by progressive refinement of pre-existing ideas, explanations, and theories, all informed by the collection and analysis of new data. The disciplines constituting the social sciences all examine dimensions of human activity but differ in emphasis, content, and the relevance of certain dimensions. Nevertheless, the disciplines are interdependent, and understanding the connections among the disciplines allows for better understanding of the central issues within each.
Courses that satisfy this requirement will introduce students to the diversity and complexities of various societies in the world and the research methods by which questions about human behavior and human interactions can be analyzed.
This requirement could be satisfied by courses in disciplines such as anthropology, economics, political science, psychology, and sociology, and by social-scientific courses taught by faculty from the Law School or the Mendoza College of Business.