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Social Science Major

The interdepartmental Social Science major is available to Bachelor of Arts students in the College of Liberal and Professional Studies. In this major, you will choose your degree courses with the advice and consent of the major advisor, designing a curriculum at the intersection of your interests in the social sciences. You can complete the Social Science major by attending classes only in the evening, or in combination with daytime classes.

You are strongly advised to develop and submit a written description of the program of courses you and your advisor have chosen when you formally declare the major and before any of your major requirements have been fulfilled. You may make modifications to this plan if your needs or interests change, but such an amendment to the program requires a new written statement.

Students must take advanced courses in at least two of the clusters. Independent studies can be challenging to arrange. If students take an independent study, an outline of the topic to be studied must be approved in advance by the instructor supervising the study and by the major advisor, and the LPS advisor must also sign off on the independent study. Students should consult the Independent Study policy and procedures in the BA Student Handbook (PDF).

Major Advisor:
Dr. Brian Spooner
Professor of Anthropology
spooner@sas.upenn.edu 
(215) 898-7461
University Museum, Room 508
3260 South Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
The Social Science Major requirements are subject to change. Students are advised to consult with Dr. Spooner for current requirements.

Social Science Major: 34 total Course Units (c.u.)

  • Total Major Requirements: 14 Course Units (c.u.)
  • Introduction to Social Science: 5 core Course Units (c.u.)
      • Anthropology 002
      • Economics 001 or 002
      • Political Science 001, 110, 130, 150, 180, or 181
      • Psychology 001
      • Sociology (any course numbered from 001-010)

Advanced Concentrations: 9 Course Units (c.u.)

Advanced concentrations or “clusters” of three courses each are to be selected from three different departments listed below. These courses are in addition to the introductory courses listed above and are to be at the intermediate level or higher. Students should consult with the major advisor prior to choosing their clusters and courses.

      • Anthropology (excluding courses in archaeology and physical anthropology)
      • Communication (social science courses as approved by the major advisor)
      • Economics
      • Health and Societies
      • Political Science
      • Psychology (even-numbered courses only)
      • Science, Technology, and Society
      • Sociology
      • Urban Studies

Additional eligible courses in thematic programs such as Africana Studies and Gender and Societies must be cross-listed under disciplinary departments such as Sociology and approved by the major advisor.

Two of these three clusters of intermediate-level or higher courses must include a seminar. One of these seminar requirements may be fulfilled by an independent study.

*Academic credit is defined by the University of Pennsylvania as a course unit (c.u.). Generally, a 1 c.u. course at Penn is equivalent to a three or four semester hour course elsewhere. In general, the average course offered at Penn is listed as being worth 1 c.u.; courses that include a lecture and a lab are often worth 1.5 c.u.s.

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