Why Study Social Sciences at New College?

Our Social Sciences Area of Concentration (AOC) is as distinctive as our students. When you pursue the social sciences at New College, you get the equivalent of a high quality private liberal arts education for the price of a public college. From traditional classes and labs to group tutorials and small seminars to one-on-one research arranged with faculty for senior project work, you have a chance to explore in depth the areas of learning that interest you.

Social Sciences area of concentration

At New College, we offer an unconventional, Ivy-League-quality education that is well suited to Social Sciences students. Our Division of Social Sciences includes the following disciplines: Anthropology, Economics, History, Political Science, Psychology and Sociology. You can pursue any of these Areas of Concentration (AOC), or if you wish to combine study in several social science disciplines, you may consider a “Social Sciences” divisional AOC.

The Social Sciences AOC introduces you to methods of research while giving you the freedom and flexibility to explore everything from Global Environmental Politics and Medieval and Renaissance Europe to Self and Identity, Marine Mammal Behavior, African Anthropology and more. Working with a faculty advisor from within the division, you will create your own individualized plan of study, and at the end of each course you take, you will receive an in-depth, narrative evaluation from your professors. Specialized independent study projects (ISPs) and a senior thesis are also required for graduation.

Guided by your faculty advisor, you create your own plan of study to suit your needs and interests including Independent Study Projects (ISPs), tutorials, internships, research and other academic experiences. You’ll sign an academic contract that includes your short- and long-term goals and the work you register to complete that term. You’ll get a detailed narrative evaluation — not a grade — about your progress in each course. It’s the kind of advising that is rare in college today: one-on-one mentoring and feedback.

The in-depth, interdisciplinary nature of our Social Sciences AOC is one of the reasons that our students are so well prepared when they enter graduate school and the workforce. Graduates from the program have gone on to attend some of the nation’s leading graduate schools and to pursue careers in a wide variety of fields, with law, business, education and government service being among the most popular.


Area of Concentration Requirements

Students pursuing a Social Sciences AOC at New College are required to take at least one introductory and two or more advanced courses and/or tutorials in at least three different social science disciplines. This amounts to a minimum of nine courses or tutorials within the field. Students are also required to complete a senior thesis that uses social scientific research methods, and they are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the various methodologies employed by social scientists.

In addition to general coursework, Independent Study Projects (ISPs), group research projects and off-campus research, as well as study abroad, provide important opportunities to gain direct experience of social sciences issues and concepts. Students are also encouraged to do field research, particularly in the local community.


Faculty are drawn from areas throughout the College, including Anthropology, Economics, History, Political Science, Psychology and Sociology.

Recent Theses

  • Black/White Biracial Identitiy and Self-Concept in the U.S.
  • Hammers and Sweat, Self and Other: The Gift of Habitat for Humanity Volunteerism
  • Credibility in Contemporary American Media
  • Collecting Stories: Oral History and Community Engagement in Urban Redevelopment
  • Promoted Gender Roles in Heterosexual Teenage Dating: 1950s and 2000s
  • The 1.5 Generation of the Bosnian Diaspora
  • Changing Attitudes Toward the Elderly through Intergenerational Massage: A Case Study
  • Predicting Graduation Rates at Liberal Arts Colleges
  • Doing Good?: A critique of Outcome-Based Evaluation in Non-Profit Organizations


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