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Social Sciences

(For 2016–2017 academic year)

Director C. Stevens

The Division of Social Sciences is composed of the Departments of Economics, Educational Studies, Geography, History, Political Science, and Sociology & Anthropology, as well as the International Relations Program.

Social Science Topical Major  

The Social Sciences division supervises students considering a social science topical major, if they wish to focus their studies in interdisciplinary areas not encompassed by approved majors. Students must first discuss a possible program of study with an appropriate academic adviser, and then provide the division director with the proposed program and a rationale for this program (no later than the student’s fifth term at Colgate).

The major must include a minimum of nine courses that closely relate to a common theme and are complementary; a maximum of two of these courses may be counted toward another major. Please note that four of the nine courses must be courses taught by members of the Social Science departments. Equally, four of the courses counted toward the topical major must be at the 300 or 400 level. Students must produce a capstone 400-level research project, preferably as a member of a non-independent study course taught by a member of a Social Science department. An overall GPA of at least 2.0 is required for the courses chosen to meet the major requirements.

Course Offerings

SOSC courses count toward the Social Relations, Institutions, and Agents area of inquiry requirement.

275  Volunteer Income Tax Assistance
N. Simpson
This 0.25-credit course is centered on service learning, where students prepare tax returns for low-income households in Madison and Chenango counties. The course includes approximately 10 hours of class meetings and 15–20 hours of community service in the two-county area during the semester. Students work directly with various non-profit organizations in this course. Graded work includes tax quizzes, participation in tax preparation sessions, volunteer logs, class discussions, and a final paper. Students are allowed to receive credit for this course only once, but may participate in the program again following successful completion of the course.

405  Upstate Law Project: Social Security Benefits for Disabled Children
This course introduces students to the Social Security system, discusses the barriers that families of low-income and/or of individuals with disabilities face in accessing social services and medical care, and introduces students to the following legal topics: legal analysis, legal ethics, Social Security disability law, and legal writing. Students prepare a research paper addressing a selected topic on current issues in social service provision. Students also engage in a practicum experience. The practicum involves assisting the instructor, an attorney, with pro bono work helping low-income children (many of whom suffer from psychiatric illnesses) in securing benefits through the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program of the U.S. Social Security Administration. The course practicum takes place at the Utica office of The Legal Aid Society of Mid-New York. Only students who have completed their Social Relations, Institutions, and Agents area of inquiry requirement can apply. Students are admitted to this seminar by permission of instructor.