Social Science & Policy Studies
In its simplest form, economics is about how people respond to incentives. Every day, we all make many decisions in which we choose among the options available to us by responding to the relevant incentives. People wake up and decide whether to go to school or work, or enjoy a day of leisure. They choose what to do with the money that they earn. Though people typically do not understand the complex cost/benefit analysis associated with the decisions that they make, they for the most part make decisions suggesting that they do. In this course, we will study the economics of real world situations like those from the books Freakonomics and Super Freakonomics. We will cover the economic theory necessary for un derstanding the topics of the course, but the focus is the real-world applications of basic economic principles. The course involves a project and presentations. Recommended background: None
This course examines the theory of international trade and the policies followed by governments with respect to trade of goods and services among nations. Theoretical considerations will include the gains from trade under classical and modern assumptions and the impact of various measures used by governments to either restrict or promote trade. Policy considerations will include U. S. trade policies and the role of the World Trade Organization. Additional topics may include trade and the environment, NAFTA, U.S.-China trade, international financial markets, and the determination of exchange rates. Recommended background: ECON 1120.
Behavioral economics incorporates insights from psychology and sociology into economic models of decision-making. While traditional economic theory typically assumes individuals are self-interested and have an infinite ability to analyze and understand their decision-making environment, behavioral economics relaxes these assumptions in light of evidence from the field of experimental economics. Topics in the course include social preferences, mental accounting, decision-making under uncertainty and intertemporal choice. Additional topics may include the economics of social identity, preference formation and learning. Decision-making processes will be examined using simple economic experiments conducted in class. Recommended background: ECON 1110.
This course examines the economics of government expenditure and taxation. On the expenditure side, the course will review why governments often choose to be involved in the provision of healthcare, education, national defense, a clean environment, and infrastructure such as roads and bridges. It will also delve into the rationale behind programs such as social security. Regarding taxation, the course will cover income, consumption, and corporate taxes, including the use of corrective taxes to address market failures due to externalities. Within each topic, the relevant economic theories will be presented, and then students will practice applying the theories to real-world examples. As such, there will be plenty of opportunity to discuss policy implications and debate proposed policy changes. Recommended background: ECON 1110 or ECON 1120
Cat. I The course focuses upon the implications of reliance upon markets for the allocation of resources in a society, at the household, firm, and community level. Outcomes of current market systems are examined in terms of the efficient use of natural and other economic resources, as well as their impact upon the environment, fairness, and social welfare. of special interest in these analyses is the role of prices in the determination of what commodities are produced, their means of production, and distribution among households. In cases where current market outcomes have features subject to widespread criticism, such as the presence of excessive pollution, risk, discrimination, and poverty, the analysis is extended to suggest economic solutions. There are no pre-requisites for the course.
Cat. I This course is designed to acquaint students with the ways in which macroeconomic variables such as national income, employment and the general level of prices are determined in an economic system. It also includes a study of how the techniques of monetary policy and fiscal policy attempt to achieve stability in the general price level and growth in national income and employment. The problems of achieving these national goals (simultaneously) are also analyzed. The course stresses economic issues in public policy and international trade.
The topics addressed in this course are similar to those covered in ECON 1110 (Introductory Microeconomics) but the treatment proceeds in a more rigorous and theoretical fashion to provide a firm platform for students majoring in Economics or Management, or those having a strong interest in economics. Mathematics at a level comparable to that taught in MA 1021-MA 1024 is frequently applied to lend precision to the analysis. The course rigorously develops the microeconomic foundations of the theory of the firm, the theory of the consumer, the theory of markets, and the conditions required for efficiency in economic systems. Recommended background: ECON 1110.
This course investigates the effect of human activity upon the environment as well as the effect of the environment on human well-being. It pays special attention to the impact of production and consumption of material goods upon the quantity and quality of environmental goods. The analysis focuses on the challenges presented in mixed economics where markets are combined with government intervention to manage pollution and scarcity. The course reviews efforts to measure the costs and benefits of improving environmental conditions and evaluates current and potential policies in terms of the costs of the environmental improvements they may yield. Attention is also paid to the special difficulties which arise when the impacts of pollution spill across traditional political boundaries. Recommended background: ECON 1110.
This course is an advanced treatment of macroeconomic theory well suited for students majoring in Economics or Management, or others with a strong interest in economics. The topics addressed in ECON 2120 are similar to those covered in ECON 1120, however the presentation of the material will proceed in a more rigorous and theoretical fashion. Recommended background: ECON 1110.
This course is a general introduction to the field of development economics. The focus is on ways in which a developing country can increase its productive capacity, both agricultural and industrial, in order to achieve sustained economic growth. The course proceeds by first examining how economic growth and economic development are measured and how the various nations of the world compare according to well-known social and economic indicators. Theories of economic growth and theories of economic development are then examined, as are the various social and cultural structures that are thought to influence economic progress. The inputs to economic growth and development (land, labor, capital, entrepreneurial ability, education, technical change), and the possible distributions of income and levels of employment that result from their use, is considered next. Domestic economic problems and policies such as development planning, the choice of sectorial policies, the choice of monetary and fiscal policies, rapid population growth, and urbanization and urban economic development are then examined. The course concludes with a consideration of international problems and policies such as import substitution and export promotion, foreign debt, foreign investment, and the role of international firms. In conjunction with a traditional presentation of the above topics, the course curriculum will include the use of computer simulation models and games. These materials have been formulated with a simulation technique, system dynamics, that has its origins in control engineering and the theory of servomechanisms. As a result, students will find them complementary to their work in engineering and science. In addition, the various development theories and simulation and gaming results will be related, where possible, to specific developing nations where WPI has on-going project activities (e.g., Costa Rica and Thailand). This course is recommended for those students wishing to do an IQP or MQP in a developing nation. Recommended background: ECON 1120.
This course provides an introduction to the economics, business strategies, and regulatory and legal aspects of telecommunication markets. The analysis of complex interactions between technology, Federal and state government policies, copyright legislation, and forces driving supply and demand is performed using Economic and Industrial Organization theories combined with computer simulation techniques. Topics include, among others: the economics of telephony services, cable TV, satellite communication, spectrum auctions, WLAN, and peer-to-peer file sharing. Special attention will be paid to the analysis of the latest regulatory and legal developments in the telecommunications industry. Recommended background: ECON 1110 or ECON 2110.
Experimental economics is a set of methods for testing hypotheses about behavior. Traditional economic analysis using naturally occurring data is often confounded by the complexities of the real world. Economic experiments, on the other hand, give researchers the control required for isolating behaviors of interest. As such, economic experiments can be useful tools for testing existing theories and establishing empirical regularities assisting in the development of new theories. In this course, we cover the basic principles of experimental design. We also study a number of classic experiments, on topics ranging from the efficiency of markets to decision-making under uncertainty and behavioral game theory. Students will participate in mock experiments and will begin putting their new skills into practice by designing their own experiments, which may serve as the basis for IQPs/MQPs. If time permits, we will discuss some of the basic methods for analyzing experimental data, which presents challenges somewhat different from naturally occurring data due to small sample sizes. Recommended Background: ECON 1110 .
This course introduces Geographic Information Systems (GIS) as a powerful mapping and analytical tool. Topics include GIS data structure, map projections, and fundamental GIS techniques for spatial analysis. Laboratory exercises concentrate on applying concepts presented in lectures and will focus on developing practical skills. These exercises include examples of GIS applications in environmental modeling, socio-demographic change and site suitability analyses. Although the course is computer-intensive, no programming background is required.
In this course, we will examine some of the important moral, legal, and public policy concerns which are raised by the interaction of human beings with the natural environment. How are policy frameworks, the beliefs and actions of environmental activists, and your views guided by deep seated notions of who has standing in the moral community? The course considers a range of moral perspectives including: anthropocentrism, biocentrism, ecocentrism, animal rights theory, and ecofeminism and examines them in the context of various contemporary public policy case studies. Recommended background: Introduction to Environmental Studies (ENV1100) or equivalent.
This course examines how public policy models have the capacity to shape technological change and social innovation in a time of ecological crisis. With global attention dominated by environmental catastrophe and despair, we will spotlight new work that has brought together scientists, environmentalists, engineers, and artists to tackle the most serious problems facing communities. We will explore the political ecology implications of control over essential resources and the positive consequences of rethinking and democratizing basic social needs for a more sustainable future. Recent exciting case studies will feature examples of simple solutions that inspire elegant, transferrable, and inexpensive applications of technological design. We will examine the role and obligation that scientists have to collaborate with interdisciplinary and public policy efforts that benefit people with sustainable approaches to architecture, food, energy, transportation, and infrastructure. Recommended background: Introduction to Environmental Studies (ENV1100) or equivalent.
Cat. I The study of environmental problems and their solutions requires an interdisciplinary approach. This course will examine current environmental issues from the intersection of several key disciplines including: environmental philosophy and history, environmental policy, and science. The course will develop these different approaches for analyzing environmental problems, explore the tensions between them, and present a framework for integrating them. Topics such as environmental justice, developing nations, globalization, and climate change policy will be explored.
Many disciplines contribute to the study of the environment. This course presents an overview of the approach taken by some of these disciplines, which may include biology, chemistry, engineering, geography, public policy, philosophy, history, and economics, and how they interact to help us understand environmental problems and solutions. Through an examination of the assumptions made and lenses used by different disciplines students will gain insight into how different actors and institutions frame environmental issues and how to overcome barriers to communication between disciplines. To ground the exploration of these disciplines contemporary environmental issues and policy programs will be explored. Recommended background: ENV 1100.
This course examines how people think about and behave toward the environment. Environmental problems can ultimately be attributed to the environmental decisions and actions of human beings. These behaviors can in turn be understood as resulting from the nature and limitations of the human mind and the social context in which behavior takes place. Knowledge of the root causes of environmentally harmful behavior is essential for designing effective solutions to environmental problems. The goals of the course are (1) to provide students with the basic social science knowledge needed to understand and evaluate the behavioral aspects of such important environmental problems as air and water pollution, global warming, ozone depletion, preserving biological diversity, and hazardous waste and (2) to help students identify and improve shortcomings in their knowledge and decisions related to the environment. Topics will include, but not be limited to: environmental problems as ?tragedies of the commons?; public understanding of global warming and global climate modeling; folk biology; risk perception; intelligent criticism of environmental claims; making effective environmental choices; strategies for promoting pro-environmental behavior; and human ability to model and manage the global environmental future. Recommended background: ENV 1100. Suggested background: PSY 1400, PSY 1401, or PSY 1402. Students may not receive credit for both PSY 2405 and ENV 2400.
Environment and development are often seen as incompatible, in part because many poor people in the developing world depend directly on natural resources for their livelihoods. At the same time, poor people are often seen as responsible for causing environmental degradation because they lack the knowledge, skills and resources to manage the environment effectively. The vicious circle is completed as environmental degradation exacerbates poverty. However, optimists argue that poor people can and do contribute positively to environmental o utcomes, that states and organizations can facilitate their efforts and that environmental interventions can coincide with development. This course will examine these different perspectives on environmental problems in the developing world through the insights and critiques of social science. Subjects covered include sustainable development, population, environmental risks, gender, urbanization, environmental decision making, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). The goals of this course are to think critically about the various links between environment and development and the role of governmental and non-governmental organizations in promoting sustainable development in the developing world. Recommended Background: ENV 1100 .
Cat. I This course is intended for Environmental Studies majors. The course is designed to integrate each student?s educational experience (e.g., core environmental courses, environmental electives, and environmental projects) in a capstone seminar in Environmental Studies. Through seminar discussions and writing assignments students will critically reflect on what they learned in their previous courses and project experiences. In teams, students will prepare a final capstone paper and presentation that critically engages their educational experience in environmental studies and anticipates how their courses and experiences will translate into their future personal and professional environmental experiences. Recommended background: ENV 1100, ENV 2200 or ENV 2400, completion or concurrent enrollment in IQP and MQP.
Food is more than just what is on your plate at meal time. It can be framed in many ways, including as a cultural, ethical, or political issue. In this class, we explore the regulatory systems for food, with a particular focus on the United States and the European Union and their role in the international arena. The course will be split into five sections for advanced analysis: understanding food as a policy issue; technology in food production; food safety regulation; agriculture and sustainability; and food and foreign policy. Through readings, lectures, class activities, and research, students will learn the historical basis for current food issues, apply comparative theories and concepts to the American and European case studies, and develop analytic and research skills to engage effectively with the debates in contemporary scholarship on food production, regulation, and security issues. Recommended background: GOV1303 or GOV1320.
Cat. I This course is an introduction to the fundamental principles, institutions, and processes of the constitutional democracy of the United States. It examines the formal structure of the Federal system of government, including Congress, the presidency, the judiciary, and the various departments, agencies, and commissions which comprise the executive branch. Emphasis is placed on the relationships among Federal, state and local governments in the formulation and administration of domestic policies, and on the interactions among interest groups, elected officials and the public at large with administrators in the policy process. The various topics covered in the survey are linked by consideration of fiscal and budgetary issues, executive management, legislative oversight, administrative discretion, policy analysis and evaluation and democratic accountability.
Cat. I American Public Policy focuses on the outcomes or products of political institutions and political controversy. The course first addresses the dynamics of policy formations and stalemate, the identification of policy goals, success and failure in implementation, and techniques of policy analysis. Students are then encouraged to apply these concepts in the study of a specific policy area of their choosing, such as foreign, social, urban, energy or environmental policy. This course is an important first step for students wishing to complete IQPs in public policy research. Students are encouraged to complete GOV 1303 prior to enrolling in upper level policy courses such as GOV 2303, GOV 2304 or GOV 2311. There is no specific preparation for this course, but a basic understanding of American political institutions is assumed.
This course is an introduction to law and the role courts play in society. The course examines the structure of judicial systems, the nature of civil and criminal law, police practice in the enforcement of criminal law, and the responsibilities of judges, attorneys and prosecutors. Additional topics for discussion include the interpretation of precedent and statue in a common law system and how judicial discretion enables interest groups to use courts for social change. The student is expected to complete the course with an understanding of how courts exercise and thereby control the power of the state. As such, courts function as political actors in a complex system of governance. It is recommended that students complete this course before enrolling in GOV 2310, Constitutional Law.
GOV 1320 is a survey course designed to introduce students to the basic concepts of international relations: power and influence, nations and states, sovereignty and law. These concepts will be explored through the study of issues such as diplomacy and its uses, theories of collective security and conflict, and international order and development. The study of international organizations such as the UN, the European Union or the Organization of American States will also supplement the students? understanding of the basic concepts. The course may also include comparative political analysis of states or regions. It is designed to provide the basic background materials for students who wish to complete IQPs on topics that involve international relations or comparative political systems.
This course is an examination of the relationship between science-technology and government. It reviews the history of public policy for science and technology, theories and opinions about the proper role of government and several current issues on the national political agenda. Examples of these issues include genetic engineering, the environment and engineering education. It also examines the formation of science policy, the politics of science and technology, the science bureaucracy, enduring controversies such as public participation in scientific debates, the most effective means for supporting research, and the regulation of technology. Throughout the course we will pay particular attention to the fundamental theme: the tension between government demands for accountability and the scientific community?s commitment to autonomy and self-regulation. Recommended background: GOV 1301 or GOV 1303.
Constitutional Law is the study of Supreme Court decisions interpreting the U. S. Constitution. The Foundations course focuses on the powers of the Congress, the Presidency and the Judicial Branch, especially the Supreme Court?s understanding of its own power. These cases reveal, in particular, the evolution of Federal power with the development of a national economy and the shifting balance of power among the three branches of government. Issues of state power in a federal system are also addressed. Lastly, these materials are examined in the context of the great debates regarding how judges interpret the Constitution. How are the words and intent of the Founders applicable to the legal and political conflicts of the twenty-first century?
Cat. I This course deals with environmental law as it relates to people, pollution and land use in our society. A case method approach will be used to illustrate how the courts and legislators have dealt with these social-legal problems. The course is designed to have the student consider: 1) the legal framework within which environmental law operates; 2) the governmental institutions involved in the formulation, interpretation and application of environmental law; 3) the nature of the legal procedures and substantive principles currently being invoked to resolve environmental problems; 4) the types of hazards to the environment presently subject to legal constraints; 5) the impact that the mandates of environmental law have had, and will have, on personal liberties and property rights; 6) the role individuals and groups can play within the context of our legal system to protect and improve man?s terrestrial habitat and the earth?s atmosphere; and 7) some methods and sources for legal research that they may use on their own. Recommended background: GOV 1303 or GOV 1310.
Environmental issues present some of the major international problems and opportunities facing the world today. Worst-case scenarios envision irrevocable degradation of the earth?s natural systems, but virtually every analysis sees the need for major change worldwide to cope with problems such as global warming, deforestation, ozone layer depletion, loss of biodiversity, and population growth, not to mention exponential increases in ?conventional? pollutants in newly industrialized countries. The global environment issues represent a ?second-generation? of environmental policy in which the focus of concern has moved from national regulations to international law and institutions. In addition, the environment has emerged as a major aspect of international trade, conditioning corporate investment and accounting for some $200 billion in sales of pollution control equipment in 1991. Exploration of the genesis and implications of these phenomena is the essence of the course. Topically, the material begins with the nature of global environmental problems, drawing on literature from large-scale global modeling as well as particular analyses of the problems mentioned above. Approximately half the course focuses on international laws and institutions, including multilateral treaties (e.g., the Montreal Protocol limiting CFC use, ocean dumping, biodiversity), international institutions (UNEP, the Rio Convention, the OECD) and private initiatives (international standards organizations, ICOLP (Industry Committee for Ozone Layer Protection), etc.) In addition, US policy toward global environmental issues will be compared with that in Japan, Europe and developing countries, from which it differs significantly. Students will design and undertake term projects that address particular issues in detail in an interdisciplinary manner. Recommended background: GOV 1303.
Intellectual property includes ideas, and the works of inventors, authors, composers and other creative people. Patents, copyrights and trademarks establish legal rights in intellectual property. Alternatively, control over the use of an idea might be maintained by treating it as a trade secret. In these ways, the ideas of inventors and creators are protected and others are prohibited from appropriating the ideas and creative works of others. This course addresses the concept of intellectual property and the public policies that support the law of patent, copyright and trademark. Subjects include the process of obtaining patents, trademarks and copyrights; requirements of originality and, for patents, utility; infringement issues; and the problems posed by international trade and efforts to address them through the World Intellectual Property Organization. Recommended background: GOV 1310 or GOV 2310.
Rapidly developing technologies for computing, information management and communications have been quickly adopted in schools, businesses and homes. The growth of the Internet and of e-commerce, in particular, have given rise to an entirely new set of legal issues as the courts, Congress and international bodies struggle to keep pace with changing technology. This course addresses the government?s role in the development of these technologies and the legal issues that result including questions regarding privacy rights, speech and defamation, and the application of patent and copyright law. Policy questions such as surveillance of e-mail, regulation of content, mandates on the use of filters, and the responsibilities and liability of internet service providers are also discussed. Additional policies studied include attempts to control Internet content and enforce international judgments (resulting from e-commerce or cyber-crime) by foreign states and/or international organizations. Students are expected to integrate knowledge of technology with law, politics, economics and international affairs.
It is apparent that environmental problems have outgrown national policy frameworks. Thus, institutions have emerged at the international and transnational levels to coordinate collective problem solving. But governance involves more than just the practicality of problem solving; it also involves uncertainty, controversy, power and politics. This course will examine the ways in which global environmental governance has been conceived: from establishing international institutions and agreements, to less tangible ways of interacting. We will examine themes such as scales of governance (from the United Nations to communities), policy networks, the role of NGOs, think tanks and special interests and the role of knowledge in global environmental debates. Students will then use this conceptual and theoretical basis to analyze major global environmental issues including: deforestation; biodiversity; endangered species; and climate change. The goals of this course are to gain an understanding of the main positions in global environmental debates; critically analyze these positions; and gain insight into the politics of global environmental policy and governance. Recommended Background: GOV 1303 or GOV 1320 .
Civil Rights and Liberties examines decisions of the Supreme Court which interpret the Bill of Rights and the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. These court decisions elaborate the content and meaning of our rights to speak, publish, practice religion, and be free from state interference in those activities. Privacy rights broadly, the right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure, and due process rights for criminal suspects are also addressed. Finally, rights to be free from discrimination based on race, religion, ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation are examined in the context of equal protection law. Students completing this course will receive credit toward the Minor in Law and Technology among the courses satisfying the requirement in ?legal fundamentals.?
This course surveys human development from conception to death, with an emphasis on the scientific analysis of developmental patterns. The course will cover the biological, cognitive, emotional, social, personality, linguistic, and moral development of the individual at all stages. Suggested background: Introduction to Psychological Science (PSY1400) or equivalent.
Cat. I Psychological science is the experimental study of human thought and behavior. Its goal is to contribute to human welfare by developing an understanding of why people do what they do. Experimental psychologists study the entire range of human experience, from infancy until death, from the most abnormal behavior to the most mundane, from the behavior of neurons to the actions of nations. This course offers a broad introduction to important theories, empirical findings, and applications of research in psychological science. Topics will include: use of the scientific method in psychology, evolutionary psychology, behavioral genetics, the anatomy and function of the brain and nervous system, learning, sensation and perception, memory, consciousness, language, intelligence and thinking, life-span development, social cognition and behavior, motivation and emotion, and the nature and treatment of psychological disorders.
Cat. I This course is concerned with understanding and explaining the mental processes and strategies underlying human behavior. The ways in which sensory input is transformed, reduced, elaborated, stored, and recovered will be examined in order to develop a picture of the human mind as an active processor of information. Topics will include perception, memory, problem-solving, judgment and decision making, human-computer interaction, and artificial intelligence. Special attention will be paid to defining the limitations of the human cognitive system. Students will undertake a project which employs one of the experimental techniques of cognitive psychology to collect and analyze data on a topic of their own choosing. Suggested background: PSY 1400.
Cat. I Social psychology is concerned with how people think about, feel for, and act toward other people. Social psychologists study how people interact by focusing on the individual (not society as a whole) as the unit of analysis, by emphasizing the effect on the individual of the situation or circumstances in which behavior occurs, and by acquiring knowledge through empirical scientific investigation. This course will examine the cause of human behavior in a variety of domains of social life. Topics will include, but not be limited to, person perception, attitude formation and change, interpersonal attraction, stereotyping and prejudice, and small group behavior. Special attention will be given to applied topics: How can the research methods of social psychology be used to help solve social problems? Students will work together in small groups to explore in depth topics in social psychology of their own choosing. Suggested background: PSY 1400.
Cat. I Life experience provides us with little insight into the basic workings of our own minds. As a result, we tend to approach many of the important problems and decisions of our professional and personal lives with only a dim awareness of the limitations and capabilities of the human cognitive system and how its performance can be improved. The purpose of this course is (1) to provide students with the basic psychological knowledge needed to understand and evaluate such important cognitive skills as memory, problem solving, decision making, and reasoning and (2) to provide students the practical skills and experience necessary to improve and assess their cognitive performance. Topics will include but not be limited to memory improvement, study skills, effective problem solving techniques, creativity, numeracy, making effective choices, risky decision making, dynamic decision making, intelligent criticism of assumptions and arguments, and evaluating claims about the mind. Suggested background: PSY 1400.
This course is concerned with the learning of persons in educational settings from pre-school through college. Material in the course will be organized into five units covering a wide range of topics: Unit 1: Understanding Student Characteristics - Cognitive, Personality, Social, and Moral Development; Unit 2: Understanding the Learning Process - Behavioral, Humanistic, and Cognitive Theories of Learning; Unit 3: Understanding Motivation to Learn; Unit 4: Understanding Student Diversity - Cultural, Economic, and Gender Effects upon Learning; Unit 5: Evaluating Student Learning - Standardized Tests, Intelligence, Grades, and other Assessment Issues. Students planning IQPs in educational settings will find this course particularly useful. Instructional methods will include: lecture, discussion, demonstration, and project work. Course will also focus on current issues in technological education and international higher education. Recommended background: PSY 1400 or PSY 1401.
This course is an introduction to the study of the ways in which social and cultural forces shape human behavior. Cross-Cultural psychology takes a global perspective of human behavior that acknowledges both the uniqueness and interdependence of peoples of the world. Traditional topics of psychology (learning, cognition, personality development) as well as topics central to social psychology, such as intergroup relations and the impact of changing cultural settings, will be explored. Cultural influences on technology development and transfer, as they relate to and impact upon individual behavior, will also be investigated. Students preparing to work at international project centers, International Scholars, and students interested in the global aspects of science and technology will find the material presented in this course especially useful. Recommended background: PSY 1400 or PSY 1402.
This course will provide an overview of the psychological study of gender and will utilize psychological research and theory to examine the influence of gender on the lives of men and women. This course will examine questions such as: What does it mean to be male or female in our society and other societies? How do our constructs of gender develop over our life span? How does our social world (e.g., culture, religion, media) play a role in our construction of gender? And What are the psychological and behavioral differences and similarities between men and women? Recommended background: PSY 1400 or PSY 1402.
This course addresses the theory and practice of developing solutions to social and environmental problems through interaction with ?serious games,? computer simulation games designed to promote learning and improve decision making. By interacting with a selection of games and case studies, students will learn to recognize the systemic causes of complex social and environmental problems and gain experience developing and using simulations to test policies for creating sustainable futures. Special attention will be given to appropriate modeling practices and the design of simulation experiments, as well as the underlying theories of learning from simulation. The course is run in a laboratory format in which students work in groups to develop simulation models and present them to the class for feedback before they revise and refine their work iteratively for final evaluation.
Cat. I The goal of this course is to provide students with an introduction to the field of system dynamics computer simulation modeling. The course begins with the history of system dynamics and the study of why policy makers can benefit from its use. Next, students systematically examine the various types of dynamic behavior that socioeconomic systems exhibit and learn to identify and model the underlying nonlinear stock-flow-feedback loop structures that cause them. The course concludes with an examination of a set of well-known system dynamics models that have been created to address a variety of socioeconomic problems. Emphasis is placed on how the system dynamics modeling process is used to test proposed policy changes and how the implementation of model-based results can improve the behavior of socioeconomic systems.
Cat. I The purpose of this course is to prepare students to produce original system dynamics computer simulation models of economic and social systems. Models of this type can be used to examine the possible impacts of policy changes and technological innovations on socioeconomic systems. The curriculum in this course is divided into three distinct parts. First, a detailed examination of the steps of the system dynamics modeling process: problem identification (including data collection), feedback structure conceptualization, model formulation, model testing and analysis, model documentation and presentation, and policy implementation. Second, a survey of the ?nuts and bolts? of continuous simulation modeling: information and material delays, time constants, the use of noise and numerical integration techniques, control theory heuristics, and software details (both simulation and model presentation and documentation software). Third, a step-by-step, in-class production of a model, involving the construction, testing, and assembly of subsectors. Students will be required to complete modeling assignments working in groups and take in-class quizzes on modeling issues. Recommended background: SD 1510, or permission of instructor.
This course provides a broad overview of how sociologists analyze and interpret the social structure and culture of American Society, with special attention to issues of social and cultural diversity. Goals include achieving a culturally relative rather than ethnocentric stance on diversity and moving toward having a ?sociological imagination?. Topics will include but not be limited to socialization, social organization, deviance, gender, ethnicity, stratification, and political economy. These topics will be examined from a variety of perspectives as each student will read and discuss a first person account on life in America from the perspective of a Native American, African American, Hispanic American, Asian American and possibly members of other social groups. The class will examine one social problem in detail (e.g., crime, access to health care, environmental justice) that differentially impacts various social and ethnic groups. Students may not receive credit for both SOC123X and SOC1202
This course provides a broad introduction to the field of comparative sociology, with special attention to issues of modernization and globalization. Topics will include cultural relativity, ethnocentrism, and the causes and consequences of global inequality. These topics will be examined statistically and through historical and modern accounts by people in changing societies. The course is especially suitable for students planning overseas projects and devotes considerable attention to research strategy. The emphasis is on comparisons of characteristics of whole societies. Modernization is associated with growth in the size and complexity of societies as well as their relative wealth, power, and prevailing ideologies. Students may not receive credit for both SOC124X and SOC1202.
In this course psychological concepts developed to study personality and creativity connect with concepts from the sociology of education and the study of innovation. The result is a psycho-sociological perspective on ?learning styles? as they affect both individual and active cooperative learning in small groups. Several different measures of learning style will be discussed in this course, including the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, the Gordon-Mednick Cognitive Style Indicator, and others. Applications of these measures to a variety of outcomes will be examined, including SAT scores, high school achievement tests, career and major choices, student reactions to courses, texts, and programs, 4-year graduation rates, graduation with honors, and team formation in college and the workplace. The course culminates in a final team project that will take the form of a proposal writing exercise to recommend changes to a public school system or college on how to best serve different kinds of learners. Suggested background: PSY1402 or STS1207.
Cat. I The Introduction to Sociology and Cultural Diversity is a Macro-Sociology course on modernization that incorporates a systematic comparison of one of the most and one of the least modernized regions of the World; Europe and the Middle East. However, the focus is on concepts used to describe how the social structure, culture and nature of community were affected by this massive social transition, and how to do qualitative comparative research at the level of whole societies. The field of sociology was created in the 19th century to try to understand the social changes and trends (ranging from social differentiation and demographic transition to the emergence of bureaucracy and secularization) that were sweeping Europe as the area industrialized. Trying to understand what new kind of society was being born amidst the ruins of the old order was the task of Sociology, the new science of society. The course is designed to give students planning to go to Europe to do project work a chance to learn about the country they will be visiting, while giving everyone a chance to learn something about the Middle East.
Cat. I This course is open to students accepted to off-campus IQP centers and programs. The course introduces students to research design, methods for social science research, and analysis. It also provides practice in specific research and field skills using the project topics students have selected in conjunction with sponsoring agencies. Students learn to develop social science hypotheses based upon literature reviews in their topic areas and apply concepts drawn from social psychology, anthropology, sociology, economics and other areas as appropriate. Students make presentations, write an organized project proposal, and develop a communication model for reporting their project findings.
What is the process by which a hypothesis about human behavior gets supported or rejected? This course represents a review of the methodological tools of social and behavioral science. Topics to be covered include experimental design and ethical issues specific to behavioral research with human subjects, the use of statistical and simulation modeling in the interpretation of behavioral phenomena, and methods for statistical inference in compiling evidence for or against a hypothesis. Recommended background: PSY 1400 and either PSY 1401 or PSY 1402.
The focus of global health research and practice is improving the overall health and health equity of all people worldwide. In this course, we will use an interdisciplinary approach to explore the major underlying biological determinants of health including the contributions of social, political, environmental, and economic factors. We will analyze the dual burden of communicable and non-communicable disease facing the world?s populations including study of current health systems, global health practices and priorities as well as major organization and institutional players. Class sessions will consist of lecture, intensive small group discussion, and global health case analyses. After successful completion of this course, students will be able to explain the basic principles of public health; discuss the determinants of health; describe how globalization has changed the patterns of the spread of disease and the methods needed to control disease; evaluate the complex, multi-faceted links between health, social and economic factors; and identify critical issues in the delivery of health care services, with a particular emphasis on challenges faced with regard to different cultural and economic settings.
This course will describe how traditional issues addressed in the Sociology of Science dealing with science as an institution, social controversies involving science, priority disputes within science and process of scientific discovery are illuminated by studies using measures borrowed from psychology. Examples will involve measures of cognitive style, personality and openness to innovation. The scientific pipeline that runs through the science programs in the educational system and the experience of women as students and as practicing scientists will be addressed as a science and society equity issue. Problems balancing the roles of the scientist as expert and concerned citizen in a democratic but technological society will also be addressed. This course works equally well as a second course after PSY 1402, Social Psychology, or a first course in Social Science.
A course which considers what one means when they say that we live in a technological society, focusing on the characteristics of technology that humanistic critics find problematic or objectionable. In the course of the analysis, the nature of technology, its connection to scientific advance, as well as its relationship to the state, and the social role of scientists and technologists will be considered. Special attention is given to the behavior of experts in scientific and technological controversies, and to the debate about the ?technological mentality? said to pervade western societies. Utopian, Dystopian and Marxist interpretations of where technological development is taking us will be examined in an effort to understand the major themes in the larger debate about the social impact of technology. Computer science majors can take this course in place of CS 3043 if they write a term paper on a computer-related topic. Recommended background: SOC 1202.