History, Philosophy, Religion, and Social Sciences

Our offerings span the breadth of human experience past and present, reflecting the call of our age for cross-cultural, interdisciplinary, and humanistic approaches to individual self-awareness, personal development, and an understanding of the world.

Amy Foster, Department Head

Sample Courses

United States History

This course is a chronological survey attentive to the political, economic, cultural, social, and constitutional developments by which the United States achieved independence, became a nation, and grew into a world power since 1898 and to superpower status since 1945.

The Modern Middle East

This course is an introduction to the modern Middle East and its relations with the West from World War I to the present. Students explore the causes of the current crescendo of Arab/Islamic hostility towards the West, the development of the Israeli/Palestinian stand-off, the oil issue, the Iranian Revolution, the spread of Radical Islam, and the forces that triggered the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Peace and Justice

This course explores the view of various religious traditions and key religious leaders on the important themes of peace and justice. Drawing on some of the central components of religious thought – compassion, neighborly love, repairing the world – the course examines contemporary topics such as poverty, human rights, racial justice, gender equity, peace and non-violence, and environmental sustainability and justice. Utilizing a variety of religious perspectives, students learn basic doctrines from each of the religions to aid in understanding, assessing, and developing solutions for the issues studied.


In this course students learn about starting and managing a small business. In the classroom, they study the basics of business management through readings, discussion, and homework exercises. They then see these principles applied in the real world through guest speakers and visits to local businesses. By the end of the term, students develop their own ideas for a business and write a business plan.

Cognitive Neuroscience

One of the fastest growing research areas in science is neuroscience. Cognitive and behavioral studies have attracted considerable popular and scientific attention in recent years and new techniques have opened up novel avenues for exploration. This course provides an introduction to the cellular and molecular mechanisms of neuronal function, and examines how cognitive processes can be explained by the structure and function of the brain.