Sociology and Political Science (SPS)

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.

SPS graduates are prepared for entry into a variety of fields, including law enforcement and other aspects of the criminal justice system, human services, politics and community organizing, or work in international business and development. Recent graduates have completed law school, are working as victim advocates in regional offices of the attorney general, are working in communities to reduce youth violence, and are providing counseling in prisons.

Learning Outcomes of the SPS Program

Pine Manor 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”

Program Courses

All students in the major take a cluster of 6 courses, 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 courses, and 2-3 electives. Within each track, at least two courses must be at the 300-level.

Teakia Brown ‘07

Career path:

With a clear focus on joining the Peace Corp, Teakia pursued employment with organizations that advanced her goal.
Peace Corps in Zambia
Boston Area Rape Crisis Center
 Boston Public Health Commission


Pine Manor College, Social and Political Systems Major

"The professors and advisors at Pine Manor really helped to shape me. They showed me that there are many possibilities for me to do the work on social issues about which I am passionate. They gave me the space to think as freely as I possibly could and to not put limitations on myself."

To learn more about Teakia’s story and her career at Pine Manor and beyond,
visit: www.pmc.edu/teakia-brown-07 

Jeannie Rhinehart ‘02


Supervising Attorney for the Commonwealth in Springfield


Syracuse School of Law in 2006
Pine Manor College, Major in Social and Political Systems

"I am truly grateful for my education at Pine Manor College. My desires to continue working in this field and bring about a change to social injustices is fueled in part by the many thoughtful discussions that I had in my Social and Political Systems courses at Pine Manor."

For more stories visit: www.pmc.edu/my-career-story

For current information on College policies, organization, curriculum and academic courses, please see the Academic Catalog.



Program Faculty


  • Dawn Elworthy-Aicardi
  • Cynthia Miller


Kelly DeFao
Assistant Professor of Sociology and Political Science and Program Coordinator
Tel: 617-731-7636

Program Courses

Common Courses

  • Two of these foundation courses:  PS 111, American Government; PS 125, Globalization; PS 145 Politics & 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 concentration 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 220/320 Criminal Law
  • PS 248 Family Law and Children’s Justice
  • PS/WS 245 Women and the 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 Justics
  • SO 291/391 Sociological Theory
  • SO 310 Family in Society

Politics and Policy

Required in the concentration 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


Required in the concentration 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 concentration 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

 Sociology and Political Science Course Descriptions
Anthropology Course Descriptions
Community Health Course Descriptions
Interdisciplinary Course Descriptions
Political Science Course Descriptions
Sociology Course Descriptions

Recent Internships:

  • Office of the District Attorney for Suffolk County, Victim Advocate Program 
  • Chelsea, MA, Police Department 
  • Boston Municipal Court, Dorchester 
  • Jobs with Justice 
  • Dominican Resource Center 
  • Gubernatorial campaign of Martha Coakley