Sociology and Political Science

The Major in Sociology and Political Science at Pine Manor College integrates sociology and political science into a single program of study. It has a central set of courses that emphasize understanding social and political systems from the neighborhood to the world. We see the place in all communities for activism and leadership. Core courses provide both foundational learning and common experiences integrating and applying learning in the major. SPS majors complete one of four tracks, through which they integrate and define what the major means for them: Politics and Policy; Criminal Justice; Sociology; or International Development. Program courses reinforce the broad general educational objectives of the College by consciously integrating teaching strategies that support achievement of the Core Competencies of the Pine Manor College education.

In 2015, the name of the major in Social and Political Systems at Pine Manor College was officially changed to Sociology and Political Science. The change accompanied a restructuring of the focus and requirements in the major. Both the previous and current versions of the major offer a close integration of Sociology and Political Science, including required foundational course-work in each discipline, a year-long research methods sequence involving community-based research, an integrative capstone seminar and a capstone internship experience. Within both versions, students emphasized the areas of learning – in sociology, politics, and policy or international relations – that best suited their professional and educational interests. One purpose of the name change was to clarify the nature of the interdisciplinary focus in this major.

Major Requirements

All students in the major take the cluster of courses below, which provide a common experience in foundational concepts, the skills of undertaking social science research and formative capstone experiences.

Each student in the major selects a track to focus his or her study – Criminal Justice; Politics and Policy; Sociology; International Development. Each track has 3-4 required course, and 2-3 electives. Within each track, at least two courses must be at the 300-level.

Common Courses

  • Two of these foundation courses:
    • PS 111 American Government
    • PS 125 Globalization
    • PS145 Politics and Economics in the US
    • SO 101 Introduction to Sociology
  • SPS 381 Methods of Social Research
  • SPS 382 Project Design for Social Research
  • SPS 490 Senior Seminar
  • SPS 495 Senior Internship


Criminal Justice

Required in the track in Criminal Justice

  • PS 241/341 American Legal System
  • PY 250/350 Forensic Psychology
  • SO 103 Introduction to Criminal Justice
  • SPS 220 Local Action - Global Change
  • Electives (2)

    • PS 248 Family Law and Children’s Justice
    • PS/WS 245 Women and the Law
    • PS 220/320 Criminal Law
    • PS 252/352 Constitutional Criminal Procedure
    • PS/CO 257/367 Media, Law and Justice
    • PY 345 Psychology of the Family
    • SO 201 Social Problems
    • SO 215 Prisons and SOciety
    • SO 216 Making Morality: Deviance
    • SO 252 Crime and Delinquency
    • SO 255 Rethinking Justice
    • SO 291/391 Sociological Theory
    • SO 310 Family in Society
  • Politics and Policy

    Required in the track in Politics and Policy

    • PS 241/341 The American Legal System
    • SPS 211 Topics in Public Policy
  • Electives (3)

    • CHC 200 Healthcare Policy
    • IDS 141 Law Literature and Popular Culture
    • PS 105 Democracy & Democratization
    • PS 211 American Foreign Policy
    • PS 231 Women in Politics
    • PS 248 Family Law and Children’s Justice
    • PS/CO 257/367 Media, Law and Justice
    • PS 313 Campaigns and Elections
    • PS/WS 245 Women and the Law
    • SPS 305 Social Movements
  • Sociology

    Required in the track in Sociology

    • AN 101 Cultural Anthropology
    • SO 216 Making Morality: The Social Construction of Conformity and Deviance
    • SO 250 The Nature of Prejudice and Discrimination
    • SPS 220 Local Action Global Change
  • Electives (2)

    • AN 215/315 Making Monsters
    • PY 345 Psychology of the Family
    • SO 215 Prisons and Society
    • SO 291/391 Sociological Theory
    • SO 310 Family in Society
    • SO 320 Health, Medicine and Society
    • SO 330 Power and Privilege
    • SPS 305 Social Movements
  • International Development

    Required in the track in International Development

    • PS 201 Comparative Government
    • PS 232 The United Nations
    • PS 315 International Political Economy
  • Electives (3)

    • PS 105 Democracy & Democratization*
    • PS 211 American Foreign Policy
    • PS 310 International Organizations
    • SPS 150 Peace and Conflict Resolution