Jun 14, 2024  
ARCHIVED 2019-2020 Undergraduate Catalog 
ARCHIVED 2019-2020 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Social Sciences, B.A.

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The Shimer School Social Sciences Major introduces students to various modes of critical reflection on human societies. Classic and major contemporary works of anthropology, sociology, economics and psychology form the core of the Social Sciences curriculum. Students come to know and understand these texts partly through individual reflection, but also through collaborative practice of methods and small-class discussions with their peers and in intensive writing, peer-editing and revision of essays. While each course includes two or three distinct approaches to social scientific thought and inquiry, the sequence progresses through a series of organizing themes that orient the student’s interdisciplinary work toward broad but nuanced accounts of social phenomena.

Breadth and depth of knowledge and skills characterize graduates of the Shimer School. Through the core curriculum of the Shimer School they immerse themselves in major classic and contemporary works of human expression, social thought and scientific knowledge and practice. Their broad familiarity with fundamental ideas and methods across the Liberal Arts provides the foundation on which they build increasingly refined understanding and skills in more specialized courses in chosen disciplines taught across North Central College. Shimer School graduates thus find meaningful employment in an unusually broad array of fields, including teaching, social work, law, small business and entrepreneurial enterprise and non-profit administration among the most common.

For additional programs and courses in this school, see Shimer Great Books School .

Major Requirements

Social Science Electives

Eight elective credits in Social Science:

  • Four credits that carry a prefix of SGBS at the 300-level or above
  • Four credits from the SGBS prefix or another approved Socieal Science course carrying a prefix outside the Shimer School.


*Consult with the Department Chair for a list of approved courses

Comprehensive Examinations

  • Pass the Shimer Great Books Basic Studies Comprehensive Exam (following successful completion of at least six of the required courses at the 100-level).
  • Pass the SGBS Social Sciences Area Studies Comprehensive Exam following completion of SGBS 201  and SGBS 202 .

Additional Requirements for the B.A. Degree

Students must demonstrate elementary competence in a foreign language. For more information, see the B.A. Degree Requirements  within the Academic Regulations section of this catalog.

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