No matter what your major or life path ...

knowledge and perspectives from Social Sciences courses will enable you to excel.  This page highlights select courses offered in the upcoming semester that may be of special interest.  Scroll to the topics below to reveal a list of courses and special descriptions.  Some even have videos where instructors or students share their insights on the class.

Exploring Power and How it Drives Decision-Making in Societal Institutions

Who holds power in the U.S. and world?  How did they get and use their power?  How do power dynamics affect major societal institutions, such as government, businesses, schools, universities, and philanthropic organizations?  How does this relate to key societal values, like justice, equity, and liberty?  These are the types of questions we explore in Political Science courses.  A few that might consider taking in the upcoming semester are described below.

Highlighted Courses (descriptions in text, some with videos below)
  • POL101: American Politics-- (evening, online, and day options available) (DDC--Social & Behavioral) (Check out this video description)  America's political world has been upended in recent decades--from the threat of terrorism to Supreme Court decisions on election finance.  From ramped-up partisanship to the Trump election and presidency, much of what we thought we knew about American politics has come into question.  A solid understanding the core aspects of American politics is critical to our collective future. This course will enable you to gain such an understanding.  Executive orders, Supreme Court decisions, presidential appointments, political parties, Congress, political mobilization, elections ... these are just some of the topics you will explore in this course.
  • POL 201: Politics Around the World-- (DDC--Social & Behavioral)  (Check out this video descriptionWhether you plan to work in a business immersed in the global economy; design technological innovations to improve the living standards across the world; serve in a nonprofit dealing with the effects of immigration, climate change, or poverty; or just be an informed citizen in a global society, you'll need to gain an understanding of world politics.  How do American government and political institutions compare to those in other countries? How do those different systems affect the people and institutions in those countries?  Are some systems more stable than others?  What can the U.S. learn from other countries' political systems? Explore these and similar questions in POL 201.
  • POL 323: Urban Politics-- The world is becoming more urban.  We know from living in and near Detroit that politics in urban areas is complex and dynamic.  Take Urban Politics to better understand how our metro area and others function politically and what the implications are for society.
  • POL 300: Political Analysis--(DDC--Social & Behavioral) How do income, race, and family status affect voting?  Do countries with market-based economies demonstrate more political stability than those without?  How do socioeconomic variables affect positions on health care policies?  These are the types of questions you can attempt to answer when you understand the research design principles, data collection tools, and analytical methods of political science and other social sciences fields.  
  • POL 315: The American Presidency-- (DDC--Social & Behavioral) (Check out this video description) The course examines the expansion of presidential powers, focusing on the constitutional and political development in the president's role as chief executive, legislative leader, and administrative head of state. Topics include: separation of powers, presidential selection, impeachment, relations with Congress and bureaucracy, emergency powers, presidential character, and leadership. 

  • POL 322: Mich Gov, Pol, & Publ Policy-- (DDC--Social & Behavioral)  (Check out this video description) This course explores government, politics, and public policy in Michigan. It examines the major governmental and nongovernmental institutions involved in state level policy making, the processes used by these institutions to influence public policy, and the policies that emerge through their interaction.
  • POL 309: Ancient Political Theory--(DDC--Critical & Creative Thinking)  Believe it or not, many of the core beliefs we have about government are rooted in ancient political theory.  Through this course, you'll examine seminal ancient and classical thinkers and texts such as Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, and the Bible on significant themes pertaining to justice, government, religion, and philosophy.  
  • POL 350: Politics of Developing Areas--Our world is becoming increasingly connected and urban. As portions of the world move from undeveloped to developed, they spawn fascinating and complex political dynamics.  In Politics of Developing Areas, you will study political development, political and governmental structures, and conflict patterns, especially of an ethnic nature, as countries and regions transition into 'developed' areas.
  • POL 375: Great Powers and Conflict-- This course focuses on the foreign policies of major international powers, such as China, Russia, and the Western European democracies. Attention is also paid to the causes of the rise and decline of major powers. 
  • POL 472: American Foreign Policy II:  China, Yemen, Iran, Syria ... these are just a few of the many non-European countries demanding a lot of attention from American federal policy.  In American Federal Policy II, you'll explore the many dynamics associated with developing America's policies and approaches for dealing with countries in the non-European world.
POL 101: American Politics
My personal favorite subject that we talked about in this class was money -- money and politics!
Anastasey Manolatos (University of Michigan-Dearborn Student)
POL 101: American Politics
POL 101…will provide some practical tips so you can find your way in American politics and find your place in the political life in your own community
Dr. Julio Borquez
POL 201: Politics Around the World
We can learn about politics better in our own country by thinking about how politics is happening in different countries around the world
Dr. Emily Luxon
POL 315: The American Presidency
Did you know that Richard Nixon once physically shoved one of his top aides? Did you know that Lyndon Johnson would call people into the toilet room to give interviews?...Our Presidents are interesting!
Professor Sheryl Edwards
POL 322: Mich Gov, Pol, & Publ Policy
Whether it is the conditions of the roads, the costs of college, public education, protecting water and the state's natural much is covered under the responsibility of the state government
Dr. Dale Thomson

Learning from History to Build a Better Society

What can the past tell us about where we are today and where we may be tomorrow?  How do you obtain an accurate understanding of the past?  What do we know about the major causes of societal change over time?  How and why have institutions changed, and how does that affect us?  How does considering the context of time and place help us understand complex social phenomena?  These are the types of questions you can begin to answer through History courses.  Highlighted courses for the upcoming semester include 

Highlighted Courses (descriptions in text, some with videos below)

What can the past tell us about where we are today and where we may be tomorrow?  How do you obtain an accurate understanding of the past?  What do we know about the major causes of societal change over time?  How and why have institutions changed, and how does that affect us?  How does considering the context of time and place help us understand complex social phenomena?  These are the types of questions you can begin to answer through History courses.  Highlighted courses for the upcoming semester include 

  • HIST 3512: Modern Middle East, 1945-1991-- (DDC--Critical & Creative Thinking, Social & Behavioral)This course surveys the history of major political events and social changes in the Middle East from 1945 to 1991. Among the topics covered are the "Arab Cold War," the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the struggle for democracy, and the resurgence of "Islamist" politics.
  • HIST 111: The American Past I-- (online option available) (DDC--Social & Behavioral)  America has a rich and varied history that has shaped where the country is today. Explore economic, social, and political developments in America from the colonial era to the Civil War.  Consider how those developments pertain to where our country is today, the debates that we engage in, and how we address the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. 
  • HIST 103: The World Since 1500 CE--(DDC--Social & Behavioral) Study global social, political and economic trends, including the impact of nationalism, imperialism, industrialization, dictatorships, and democratic institutions since 1500 CE.
  • HIST 3380: The European City, 1750-2000-- (DDC--Humanities & Arts, Upper-Level Writing) (Check out this video description) As a novel form of social and spatial organization, the rise of the modern industrial city transformed the European landscape. This course tracks the growth and development of the city in modern Europe, focusing particularly on London, Paris and Berlin. The course considers the physical landscape of the industrial city and the infrastructural challenges of rapid urbanization, political revolution, the exercise of political power and social control in urban space, as well as intellectual and artistic responses to the urban environment. In the final two units of the course we consider 20th-century challenges to the model of urban modernity that has carried over from the nineteenth century, and which remains so powerful today.
  • HIST 384: Immigration in America-- (DDC--Intersections) Unless you've been living under a rock, you know that immigration is on everyone's mind these days. But so much of what is discussed in the popular media and in living rooms is wrong or misleading.  Shouldn't we all be more informed on the reality of immigration in our country.  This course enables you to learn more about the "immigrant experience" in the United States, from the early 19th century to the present. Particular attention is given to enduring problems of economic adjustment and cultural assimilation, and to the impact of immigration on the host society.
HIST 3380: The European City
Berlin, Paris, London, Vienna and Moscow...We're able to explore these places in really diverse and exciting ways -- through film, art, interactive maps, popular press and literature
Dr. Kristin Poling
HIST 103: The World Since 1500 CE
We took a look at the flow of history through a non-traditional of the things I really enjoyed is learning a about the industrialization process of food
Audrea Dakho (UM-Dearborn Student)
HIST 3380: The European City
I appreciated...learning about how the cities were built, how they were certain people believed the city should exist
Zach Hay (UM-Dearborn Student)

Examining Our World through the lens of Physical and Social Space

How are humans affected by physical space?  How do they affect it?  How does the physical landscape constrain or enable behavior that benefits society?  How are social problems spatially organized? How is our physical environment changing?  Geography integrates concepts and perspectives of multiple disciplines to answer these types of questions.  It helps us better understand the interactive relationship between people and place.  Consider the following courses for the upcoming semester:

Highlighted Courses
  • GEOG 201: Cultural Geography-- Examine language, religion, economy, settlement patterns, landscape, and other aspects of culture through a spatial lens to better understand how they vary and are impacted by location. Learn about the interactive nature of cultures and their environments.
  • GEOG 206: World Regional Geography-- World Regional Geography includes a systematic study of the world's geographic realms and regions, including Europe, Russia, Australia-New Zealand, East Asia, South Asia, Southwest Asia, N Africa, Subsaharan Africa, Middle and South America. Geographic concepts, such as map reading and spatial analysis, are first introduced. Then, the world is classified into geographic realms and regions using both physical and social criteria. Each region results from a unique interaction between the human societies and the physical environment. The physical, cultural, political, economic and social features of each region are studied, along with any special regional concerns or problems.
  • GEOG 320: Global Climate Change--(DDC--Social & Behavioral)  Hot much? Global climate change is real and complex. Wouldn't you like to get beyond the confusion of the popular discussion about it and understand the reality?  In GEOG 320 you'll learn about the history of Earth's climate, causes of climate change and current research attempting to forecast change. You'll also explore the biotic, economic, and social implications of climate change.

How Does Society Allocate Scarce Resources? How do markets work (or not)?

Economics examines fundamental questions regarding how society allocates scarce resources.  It helps you understand the motivations and behavior of individuals, firms, industries, and countries as they seek to maximize their well-being.  By studying economics, you can better understand how markets function, or do not, and how the economy and economic thinking affect countless aspects of society.

Some of the economics courses you might consider for the upcoming semester include the following:

Highlighted Courses (descriptions in text, some with videos below)
  • ECON 201: Principles of Macroeconomics-- (DDC--Social & Behavioral)  How do major economic concepts like income, wealth, employment, and prices at the national level work?  How are they inter-related?  How do they effect the economy?  Explore these and other big questions to gain knowledge to help your business plan, grow, and thrive.

  • ECON 305: Economic Statistics-- One of the great contributions of economics is the ability to use numerical data to analyze past behavior and help predict the future.  Economic statistics helps you better understand the complex array of statistical approaches used by economists to accomplish these goals. Topics covered include descriptive statistics, probability, estimation, hypothesis testing, and the use of linear regression analysis to study relationships between two variables.

  • ECON 448: International Trade-- Trade wars! What do they mean? What are their benefits and costs.  In International Trade you'll critically analyze the debate of free trade vs. protectionism. You'll explore different theoretical models of the "gains from trade," as well as studies of their empirical validity. Some historical perspective is included, as well as discussion of the current dynamics in international trade. Students cannot receive credit for both Econ 348 and Econ 448

  • ECON 4085: Public Finance-- Analysis of the role of government in the economy. Course examines theories of the need for and nature of government intervention in economic activities. Includes analysis of public goods, externalities, taxation, state, and local finance, and models of public decision making. Students cannot receive credit for both ECON 4085 and ECON 481.

Examining Cities and the Impacts of Urbanization on Society

Metro Detroit epitomizes the successes and failures of urbanization in America.  Living here brings you face-to-face with the challenges emerging from our historical development patterns, but so many of urbanization's effects remain unnoticed or difficult to comprehend.  Urban and Regional Studies courses enable students to take a step back and explore broad questions about how urbanization has affected and is affected by geography, politics, culture, economics, and other key forces.  The program integrates approaches from multiple disciplines--economics, history, geography, political science, sociology, and anthropology, to name a few--to give you a broad perspective on the dynamics and outcomes of urbanization.  You'll learn of the fundamental links between urbanization and critical issue, such as poverty, race relations, equity, economic growth, innovation, art, and mobility. 

For the upcoming, we encourage you to consider the following course:

Highlighted Courses

URS 300: Urban and Regional Studies--Dive into a rich, inter-disciplinary examination of the environmental, aesthetic, social, economic, geographic, historical, political and cultural aspects of cities, suburbs and regions. You'll consider the interrelationship between the spatial organization of a city, patterns of social and economic inequality, delivery of services, the relationship between culture and public space, and the processes of urban and regional change. Problems such as race and class inequality will also be examined. 

Department of Social Sciences

Social Sciences Building
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