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Sociology and Political Science Program

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,


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.”

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