The Social Sciences Department offers a wide range of courses, encompassing the social, political, economic, cultural, and intellectual tradition of humankind. The department seeks to inspire students to think critically and creatively by asking historical questions about themselves, their communities, other cultures and society as a whole. Students are encouraged to participate in their own society, to apply historical knowledge to the situations they encounter, and to value the particular privileges and responsibilities inherent in their own lives. Armed with these skills, students are able to view their world in complex ways, not to be swayed easily by simple answers, to critically evaluate information provided by the media, government, or special interest groups. Through a solid background in history, these students become citizens who will think carefully, seek to better their understanding of the world, and have the confidence to act upon their convictions. At all levels, the department provides students with the tools to think rigorously, to research, and thereby articulate independent ideas about historical events. Throughout courses, close critical reading is emphasized using textbooks, primary sources and literature. Activities and assignments incorporate vocabulary building and encourage students to engage with historical and geographic themes at increasingly complex levels. Similarly, writing instruction in the history department builds from one year to the next to help students develop their expository and analytical writing.
Modern World History Honors
The purpose of this course is to enable students to understand their connections to the development of civilizations by examining the past to prepare for their future as participating members of a global community. Students will use knowledge pertaining to history, geography, economics, political processes, religion, ethics, diverse cultures, and humanities to solve problems. Honors Prerequisite: Previous course grade, strong ERB scores, and teacher recommendation.
United States History Honors
This course presents students with a chronological look at American history while focusing on American values and institutions from the colonial period to the present day. Particular emphasis is placed on the following areas: Revolutionary War, Constitutional Development, Civil War and Reconstruction, Industrialization, World Wars I and II, Cold War, and Contemporary History. There will be a research element to this course.
AP United States History
This course will survey the history of the United States of America from the “discovery” and settlement of the New World to the very recent past. The primary focus of the course will be to provide students with an opportunity to develop an understanding of some of the major themes in American history, to train students to analyze historical evidence, and to develop in students their ability to analyze and express historical understanding in writing. This class will emphasize certain themes: political institutions and behavior and public policy, social and economic change, diplomacy and international relations, and cultural and intellectual developments.
AP Art History
This course explores topics such as the nature of art, its uses, its meanings, art making, and responses to art. Through investigation of diverse artistic traditions of cultures from prehistory to the present, the course fosters in-depth and holistic understanding of the history of art from a global perspective. Students learn and apply skills of visual, contextual, and comparative analysis to engage with a variety of art forms, constructing understanding of individual works and interconnections of art-making processes and products throughout history.
This course prepares students for two AP exams: AP Microeconomics and AP Macroeconomics. The purpose of AP Microeconomics is to give students a thorough understanding of the principles of economics as they apply to the decisions of individuals – both consumers and producers – within the larger economic system. It places primary emphasis on the nature and functions of product markets, and includes the study of factor markets and the role of government in promoting greater efficiency and equity in the economy. The purpose of an AP course in Macroeconomics is to give students a thorough understanding of the principles of economics that apply to the economic system as a whole.
AP European History
AP European History is designed to be the equivalent of a two-semester introductory college or university European history course. In AP European History students investigate significant events, individuals, developments, and processes in four historical periods from approximately 1450 to the present. Students develop and use the same skills, practices, and methods employed by historians: analyzing historical evidence; contextualization; comparison; causation; change and continuity over time; and argument development. The course also provides six themes that students explore throughout the course in order to make connections among historical developments in different times and places: interaction of Europe and the world; poverty and prosperity; objective knowledge and subjective visions; states and other institutions of power; individual and society; and national and European identity.
This course prepares students for two AP Exams: AP US Government and AP Comparative Politics. The purpose of AP US Government is to give students an understating of key political concepts, ideas, institutions, policies, interactions, roles, and behaviors that characterize the constitutional system and political culture of the USA. Studies will focus on foundational documents, Supreme Court decisions, and other texts and visuals to gain an understanding of the relationships and interactions among political institutions, processes, and behavior. AP Comparative Politics provides students with: a concrete understanding of the scientific method behind political comparison, a well-developed sense of political theory, and a “real world” understanding of global studies through specific analysis of 6 different political entities: The United Kingdom, Russia, Iran, China, Nigerian and Mexico.
AP Human Geography
This course introduces students to the systematic study of patterns and processes that have shaped human understanding, use, and alteration of Earth’s surface. Students employ spatial concepts and landscape analysis to examine socioeconomic organization and its environmental consequences. They also learn about the methods and tools geographers use in their research and applications. The curriculum reflects the goals of the National Geography Standards (2012).
The AP Psychology course is designed to introduce students to the systematic and scientific study of the behavior and mental processes of human beings and other animals. Students are exposed to the psychological facts, principles, and phenomena associated with each of the major subfields within psychology. They also learn about the ethics and methods psychologists use in their science and practice.
AP World History: Modern
In AP World History: Modern, students investigate significant events, individuals, developments, and processes from 1200 to the present. Students develop and use the same skills, practices, and methods employed by historians: analyzing primary and secondary sources; developing historical arguments; making historical connections; and utilizing reasoning about comparison, causation, and continuity and change over time. The course provides six themes that students explore throughout the course in order to make connections among historical developments in different times and places: humans and the environment, cultural developments and interactions, governance, economic systems, social interactions and organization, and technology and innovation.
20th Century Wars Honors
The 20th Century saw dramatic increases in the size and scope of wars, as well as major changes to the nature of warfare because of developments such as the widespread use of gunpowder to the proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. This topic explores the causes and consequences of conflicts, as well as the practices of warfare in the 20th Century. The course will explore the causes and effects of World War II, The Korean War, The Falklands War, and The Gulf War. These wars run the gamut between a total war with World War II, which completely changed the world order to limited, but important wars such as the Falklands War and the Gulf War. One Semester
Accounting and Personal Finance
This course is an introduction to accounting principles and personal finance. Ideal for students who have an interest in business and plan on taking accounting or finance courses in college. One Semester
America in the 1960s Honors
This course explores the political, social, and cultural history of 1960s America. The times they were a-changin’ and we will discover why and how the decade so turbulent. Topics include: politics, the struggle between post-war liberalism and resurrection of conservatism; the many political and social uprisings; including the civil rights and black power movements, environmentalism, women’s rights, the gay liberation movement, the counterculture, rock ‘n’ roll, and the Vietnam war. Students will investigate these and other issues using both primary and secondary sources such as speeches, newspapers, autobiographies, photographs, television, movies, and music. One Semester
Applied Sport Psychology
This course is required for students enrolled in the Human Performance Scholars Program, as well as, offered as an elective with open enrollment. The focus of this course addresses the psychological factors that affect performance in sport such as motivation, expectations, concentration, focus, confidence, anxiety, and relaxation. Students will be introduced to mental skills and strategies that will enhance performance, make athletic participation more enjoyable, and learn skills that can be transferred to any performance based activity. One Semester
Contemporary Issues in Sport
This course is required for students enrolled in the Human Performance Scholars Program, as well as, offered as an elective with open enrollment. Students will examine the scope and effect of sport on society. They will explore sociological concepts on how sports participation impacts the lives of individuals and groups in a society. The course will cover sport at the youth, intercollegiate, professional and international level. Students will explore several significant contemporary issues. These contemporary sport issues will include, but not limited to, drug abuse, race, ethnicity, gender inequity, cheating, ethics, gambling and violence. One Semester
Criminal Psychology Honors
This course is designed for students interested in criminal justice, the law, or mental health professions. This course examines the relationship between human development and the likelihood of committing a crime through the basics of psychology and use of case study methods to explore the nature and history of psychological and behavioral disorders. The second part of this course takes it one step further as psychological concepts are applied to investigation and the law. Through the study of real crimes in America and the legal system in action, the course will draw connections on how research and theory affect your comprehension of suspects, criminals, police officers, lawyers, witnesses, judges and jurors. Due to the content of this course, it is recommended for upperclass students only. One Semester
Using the foundational philosophies of Eastern and Western traditions, this course will examine how to understand and formulate ethical decision-making. Students will apply these different philosophical frameworks as they read (articles and essays), examine media (social media, film, documentaries, and television), and discuss contemporary issues. One Semester
This is a required semester-long course aligned with the National Health Education Standards. The course will assist students in obtaining accurate health information, developing lifelong positive attitudes and behaviors, and making wise decisions related to their personal health. Study includes personal and community health; mental, emotional and social health; injury prevention and safety; nutrition and physical activity; alcohol, tobacco and other drugs; growth and development. All students will be certified in CPR and use of the AED. One Semester
This course introduces students to the history and concepts of sociology, including social-cultural groups, race and ethnicity, gender relations, social classes, citizenship, immigration, poverty and health. Major themes such as power, inequality, social change, and justice help give students an understanding of their
role in society and the roles of others. Students will further enhance their understanding through service based learning projects and in depth case study analysis on social issues that exist within their own communities. Students will develop foundational skills such as research, communication and collaboration while also fostering a sense of social responsibility. One Semester
US Government Honors
This course explores origins of the U.S. government and the workings of our federal system, all within the context of learning how to write and present research projects. The history of our government, the U.S. Constitution, the form and function of the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial branches are the main themes. Beyond the basic understanding of the form and function of the three branches of our federal system, this course will also probe, in depth, case studies of the events, problems, court cases, leaders and controversies that have shaped our current interpretation of the U.S. Constitution. One Semester
World Religions Honors
This course will provide a clear and concise introduction to the major world religions and philosophies. Students will learn about the people, places, and practices shaping today’s events that will include the study of western religions including Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. It will also focus on the development of the eastern religions of Hinduism, Buddhism, Daoism, Confucianism, Sikhism and Shinto. Additionally, the study of world religions will be from an approach that considers three fundamental features of religion: theoretical, practical and sociological. One Semester
Principles of American Politics & Legal Studies
Interested in how politics, current issues and elections in America work? You will learn about all three levels of elections: local, state, and national. In addition, you will participate in debating campaign issues, develop campaign ads, and visit campaign headquarters of candidates. Participation in Harvard Model Congress or other Social Science club competitions will be expected. One Quarter
Principles of Legal Studies
This Principles class offers an examination of the American legal system. The course will examine the law and will be punctuated by student participation in mock legal proceedings, guest speakers, and activities to explore our diverse legal system and its professions. Follow a case from arrest to verdict, examining court cases from multiple lenses and perspectives. One Quarter