The Social Science Major prepares students for graduate study and for various careers that build from the foundation of interdisciplinary study of human behavior grounded in the scientific method. The social science disciplines that are featured in the major are history, political science, psychology, and sociology. Career pathways leading from the Social Science major include teaching, government service, law, and the helping professions. Social science learning is also an effective tool that can be useful for helping local congregations and para-church organizations to better achieve the mission of the Church.
Students who wish to prepare specifically for careers in the helping professions, which may include plans for further preparation in a Masters of Social Work program, may choose to pursue a Concentration in Human Services.
Students planning to seek admission to other single subject credential programs in social science in California or other states should consult with their faculty advisor as early in their undergraduate program as possible.
All Human Service students are required to complete practicum and internship hours in social service agencies. This allows students to receive exposure to real world experiences in the Human Services industry. The internships provide the opportunity to develop and practice skills while integrating theory. A field education director supervises students’ experiences and assists them as they process what they are learning.
In addition, we highly encourage you to take advantage of our study abroad programs, which will provide you with the opportunity to experience different world cultures while completing elective degree requirements.
1. You’ll learn a lot
If you elect to take the Political Science concentration, you will take courses on the American presidency, congress, the constitution, and political theory, just to name a few. And although political science is technically its own discipline, we draw on many disciplines for their unique insights. This includes film studies, critical race theory, history, philosophy, cultural studies, and theology. If you’re looking for a broad and well-rounded approach to the study of politics, then this program might be ideal for you.
2. You’ll un-learn a lot
Good education is just as much about unlearning than it is about learning. We’ve all been taught certain ideas about what a just society looks like, how it should be ordered, who deserves what, what is owed to whom, and who is considered “human” and worthy of protection. A big part of the political science curriculum at HIU deals with unsettling many of these assumptions and presuppositions we’ve been taught, either by schools, parents, politicians, or the media. This is where education is at its most uncomfortable. It’s not easy to question and let go of dominant modes of thinking and being. According to political science professor Roberto Sirvent, “this is where my students help me grow tremendously. Education here is a group effort. We are both learning and unlearning together.”
3. You’ll discover some new intellectual heroes
Learning should be an intellectual adventure. Do you know who W.E.B. Du Bois is? What about Anna Julia Cooper? You will when you’re done with this program. And they might just be two of the many new intellectual heroes you’ll come to love, admire, and emulate. You’ll read stories from people on the margins, those who have suffered, and those who have struggled. In the process, you’ll gain political wisdom that you couldn’t get anywhere else. You’ll find their passion for social justice contagious. They’ll invite you to think in new, creative, and liberating ways. Some of it will shock you. Some of it will inspire you. Either way, they’ll be sure to change you.
4. Your faith will be challenged and strengthened
The process of learning and unlearning applies to your faith as well. You won’t get any easy answers in your political science classes. Professors are not going to tell you who you should vote for. They’re not going to tell you what the “Christian” view is on today’s tricky political controversies. We can’t promise any of that. You won’t get easy answers. But you will get insight. And this insight will come from a wide array of theological voices. You’ll read from some of the most refreshing and thought-provoking evangelical leaders. You’ll also read some of the best writings from black liberation theology, feminist theology, Latin American liberation theology, womanist theology, and other voices that are often excluded from theological discussions. Your faith will be challenged and affirmed, sometimes both at the same time. When you leave HIU, you’ll hopefully have a deep appreciation for the rich tradition of Christian social and political thought. And more importantly, you’ll be inspired to help make this world—the world God loves— a little bit more just.
5. You’ll have plenty of fun along the way
Who says class always has to be boring? If you take “Human Rights and International Politics”, you’ll learn about the political history of the Olympics (and all the sexism, racism, greed, and hyper-nationalism that comes along with it). If you take “The American Presidency”, you’ll have simulations where you run a presidential candidate’s campaign—speeches, posters, twitter outreach, back room deals and all! Do you like competing? Perhaps you’d like to be on HIU’s Model United Nations team and represent us at Yale University’s Security Council Simulation in New Haven, Connecticut.