Social Science

Composite Major

Department Chair: Dr. Anthony Dutton,, (701) 845-7107
Faculty Contact: Dr. Anthony Dutton,, (701) 845-7107
Department Office: 315 McFarland Hall, (701) 845-7310
Schedule a Visit:, (701) 845-7101 or (800) 532-8641, ext. 7101


The Social Science curriculum encompasses a wide range of areas: geography, political science, economics, sociology and history; all explore the ways that human beings, as societies or cultures, relate to each other and their environments and how they establish structured systems to effectively govern and administer their activities. Each of the areas has a knowledge base and a point of view that is distinctly its own, but together they form a cohesive grouping of studies designed to train students to deal with people in a wide variety of settings and to manage the problems of society. The wide variety of subject matter is designed to produce generalists who may either value their education as an end in itself, use the Social Science degree as a springboard to career placement in related fields, or who elect to pursue graduate work in a more specialized context.

Career opportunities include law, government service, museum work, archivist, broadcasting, campaign worker, consultant, editor, foreign service officer, intelligence agent, journalist, researcher, and more.

Explore Social Science

VCSU has an active Phi Alpha Theta/History Club, allowing students to develop leadership skills and promote history across campus. Students have opportunities to present their research at the Dakota History Conference and the Northern Great Plains History Conference, in regional, professional history settings. The Social Science Department also periodically organizes overseas travel opportunities for VCSU students.

Practical Experience

You are encouraged to earn credits by extending your learning beyond the classroom. The Barnes County Historical Museum gives students the opportunities for practical, hands-on experience, archives for research, and community involvement. Both behavioral science and business internships are available if you lack previous employment experience. You may earn credit in an internship program that provides supervised training in regional areas.

“VCSU challenges students to grow, and that’s achieved by giving students opportunities both on and off campus to test and strengthen their abilities. I’m a better writer and student because of the Dakota History Conference and numerous opportunities VCSU has given me.” —Mark Huber ’09, Ellendale, N.D.

“My internship at the Barnes County Museum was a valuable experience. I learned about exhibits, collections, and the daily functions of a museum.” —Timothy Eppen ’09, Edgeley, N.D.


General Education Requirements 

English Composition
Select one of the following:6
College Composition I
College Composition II
Introduction to Professional Writing
College Composition II
Introduction to Professional Writing
College Composition III
Speech Communication
Select one of the following:3
Fundamentals of Public Speaking
Interpersonal Communication
Intercultural Communication
Select one of the following:3
College Algebra
Finite Mathematics
Calculus I
Elementary Statistics
Lab Science
Select two of the following:8
Concepts of Biology
General Biology I
General Biology II
General Zoology
Introductory Chemistry
Introduction to Organic and Biochemistry
General Chemistry I
General Chemistry II
Introduction to Earth Science
The Earth Through Time
Concepts of Physics
Introductory Astronomy
Introductory College Physics I
Introductory College Physics II
University Physics I
University Physics II
Technology, Engineering, and Design
HPER 100Concepts of Fitness and Wellness2
Select one of the following:3
Introduction to Computer Information Systems
Introduction to Programming in Java
Introduction to Structured Programming I
Discovering Computing
Select one of the following:3
Introduction to Literature
Introduction to Film
World Literature I
World Literature II
American Literature I
American Literature II
Civilization, Thought, and Literary Heritage
1st Year Spanish I
1st Year Spanish II
2nd Year Spanish I
2nd Year Spanish II
Introduction to Theatre Arts
Acting One
Art and Music
Select one of the following:3
Introduction to the Visual Arts
Fine Arts and Aesthetics
Music Appreciation
Music Fundamentals
History of Rock and Roll
Social Science
Select two of the following:6
Understanding Media and Social Change
Human Communication
Principles of Microeconomics
Principles of Macroeconomics
Human Geography
United States to 1877
United States to Present
World Civilizations to 1500
World Civilizations since 1500
Women in America
Environmental History
Native American Studies
American National Government
State and Local Government
Introduction to Psychology
Introduction to Sociology
Introduction to Anthropology
Additional Humanities or Social Science
Select one additional course from Humanities or Social Science or select from the following:2
Drawing I
Ceramics I
Survey of Geography
Group Piano for Non-Majors
Group Piano for Non-Majors
Concert Choir
Athletic Band
Concert Band
Planetarium Science
Theatre Practicum
Total Credits39

Major Requirements

Required Courses
Economics Courses
Select two of the following:6
Principles of Microeconomics 1
Principles of Macroeconomics
Business Statistics
History of Economic Thought
Money and Banking
The Atlantic World
Geography Courses
Select 6 hours from the following:6
Introduction to Earth Science
Survey of Geography
Human Geography 1
Environmental Earth Science
Applied Geography Workshop
History and Geography of England and Britain
History and Geography of Spain and Latin America
Geography of North America
Independent Study
The Atlantic World
Field Experience in Geography
History Courses
Select 6 hours from the following:6
United States to 1877
United States to Present
World Civilizations to 1500
World Civilizations since 1500
Women in America
Environmental History
History and Geography of England and Britain
Russia And Her Neighbors
The Atlantic World
Political Science Courses
Select 6 hours from the following:6
American National Government 1
State and Local Government
Canadian Government and Politics
Research Methods
U.S. Constitution: Federalism
U.S. Constitution: Civil Liberties
The American Presidency
International Relations
Psychology Courses
Select 6 hours from the following:6
Introduction to Psychology
Developmental Psychology
Social Psychology
Group Dynamics
Abnormal Psychology
Human Sexuality
Mental Health
Personality Theories
Sociology Courses
Select 6 hours from the following:6
Introduction to Sociology 1
Introduction to Anthropology
The Family
Introduction to Gerontology
Race, Ethnic, and Gender Relations
Research Methods
Social Psychology
Criminology and Delinquency
Social Science Theory
Students complete 18 additional credits in one of the following areas: History, Political Science, Psychology, or Sociology.18
HIST 491Senior Capstone1
Total Credits55


Total General Education 39 Hrs
Total Major Requirement 55 Hrs
Total Credits Needed to Graduate 120 Hrs

For degree and graduation requirements, visit degree requirements and graduation requirements.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Content: Students will accumulate knowledge and understanding of the necessary material to establish historical context and causality. Content will be demonstrated by thesis driven, evidence based responses to historical scenarios.
  2. Social theory: Students will develop an understanding of the philosophies, methodologies, and theories that define, give meaning to, and shape scholarly understanding of the social sciences. Social theory will be demonstrated through thesis driven research that applies relevant theories or methodologies to historical writing.
  3. Application: Students will demonstrate their content knowledge and understanding of social theory and use them in a manner that illustrates that they can apply it in real world experiences.