Social and Political Systems

Social and Political Systems

The B.A. Program in Social and Political Systems 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 also provide the capstone senior-year experiences that help students integrate and define what the major means for them. Program courses reinforce the broad general educational objectives of the College by consciously integrating teaching strategies that reflect the Portfolio outcomes.

Learning Outcomes of the SPS Program

Graduates with a major in SPS will:

  • Be knowledgeable about important aspects of society and politics, such as social problems, social and political structures (including government and institutions), sources of conflict between and within societies, and the nature of globalization
  • Have a sense of their personal capacity to be agents of social action and social change.
  • Be able to design and undertake social science research
  • Be able to write effectively in the language of social science
  • Have the ability to interpret and evaluate quantitative information, both informally in their lives and as a social scientist
  • Be able to think critically and theoretically about the social and political environment in which we live – to be “practical skeptics”
For current information on College policies, organization, curriculum and academic courses, please see the Academic Catalog.


Program Faculty


  • Cynthia Miller
  • Kelly-Anne DeFao
  • Christine Samuel


William B. Vogele
Professor of Political Science and Program Coordinator
Tel: 617-731-7610

Program Courses

Core Courses

  • SPS 101 Introduction to Social and Political Systems
  • SPS 211 Special Topics in Public Policy
  • SPS 220 Local Action - Global Change
  • SPS 381 Methods of Social Research
  • SPS 382 Practice of Social Science Research Methods
  • SPS 490 Senior Seminar
  • SPS 495 Senior Internship



  • AN 100 Cultural Anthropology
  • AN/IDS 120 Communicating Identities in the Global Culture
  • AN 220 Culture Health and Healing

Community Health

  • CHC 100 Introduction to Community Healthcare
  • CHC 200 Healthcare Policy


  • IDS 141 Law Literature and Popular Culture

Political Science

  • PS 101 Introduction to Politics
  • PS 111 American Government
  • PS 131 International Relations
  • PS 201 Comparative Politics
  • PS 211 American Foreign Policy
  • PS 231 Women in Politics
  • PS 232 The United Nations
  • PS 241 American Legal System
  • PS/WS 245 Women and the Law
  • PS 248 Family Law and Children’s Justice
  • PS 310 International Organizations
  • PS 313 Campaigns and Elections in the United States
  • PS 315 International Political Economy


  • SO 103 Introduction to Criminal Justice
  • SO 201 Social Problems
  • SO 216 Making Morality: The Social Construction of Conformity and Deviance
  • SO 240 Work, Leisure and Society
  • SO 250 The Nature of Prejudice and Discrimination
  • SO 252 Crime and Delinquency
  • SO 291 Sociological Theory
  • SO 310 Family in Society
  • SO 320 Health, Medicine and Society
  • SO 330 Power and Privilege

Social & Political Systems

  • SPS 150 Peace & Conflict Resolution 
  • SPS 305 Social Movements & Social Change
Social & Political Systems Course Descriptions
Anthropology Course Descriptions
Community Health Course Descriptions
Interdisciplinary Course Descriptions
Political Science Course Descriptions
Sociology Course Descriptions