Texas State University Logo

Online Resources

Join the Conversation

adjust type sizemake font smallermake font largerreset font size

Social and Behavioral Sciences Component

Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board  Social and Behavioral Science Component

Assumptions

  1. Every institution of higher education will adopt a core curriculum. . .
  2. . . . a core curriculum should contain courses that establish multiple perspectives on the individual and the world in which he or she lives. . .

 

Definition

The objective of a social and behavioral science component of a core curriculum is to increase students’ knowledge of how social and behavioral scientists discover, describe, and explain the behaviors and interactions among individuals, groups, institutions, events and ideas. Such knowledge will better equip students to understand themselves and the roles they play in addressing the issues facing humanity.

 

Exemplary Educational Objectives

The way in which colleges and universities achieve these outcomes will thus vary in accordance with the particular circumstances of the institutions. The student will be able to:

  1. employ the appropriate methods, technologies, and data that social and behavioral scientist use to investigate the human condition;
  2. examine social institutions and processes across a range of historical periods, social structures and cultures;
  3. use and critique alternative explanatory systems or theories;
  4. develop and communicate alternative explanations or solutions for contemporary social issues;
  5. analyze the effects of historical, social, political, economic, cultural and global forces on the area under study;
  6. comprehend the origins and evolution of U.S. and Texas political systems, with a focus on the growth of political institutions, the constitutions of the U.S. and Texas, federalism, civil liberties, civil and human rights;
  7. understand the evolution and current role of the U.S. in the world;
  8. differentiate and analyze historical evidence (documentary and statistical) and differing points of view;
  9. recognize and apply reasonable criteria for the acceptability of historical evidence and social research;
  10. analyze, critically assess, and develop creative solutions to public policy questions;
  11. recognize and assume ones responsibility as a citizen in a democratic society by learning to think for oneself, by engaging in public discourse and by obtaining information through the news media and other appropriate information sources about politics and public policy;
  12. identify and understand differences and commonalities within diverse cultures.

 

Texas State University-San Marcos Social and Behavioral Science Component

Definition

The Social and Behavioral Science Component encompasses the Political Perspective, Historical Perspective and Social Science Perspective. The Social and Behavioral Science Component objective is to increase students’ knowledge of how social and behavioral scientists discover, describe, and explain the behaviors and interactions among individuals, groups, institutions, events and ideas. It includes the ability to conceptualize the chronological development of societies and the political systems they use for governments.

The courses that satisfy the Social and Behavioral Science Component present the basic information for the discipline. These courses also address the scientific approach to the world, including how a social/ behavioral scientist views society, cultures and individuals; tests observations; and creates new knowledge. The questions that should be addressed in any Social and Behavioral Science Component course include:

- What are the appropriate methods, technologies, and data that social and behavioral scientists use to investigate the human condition?

- What are the techniques used to examine social institutions and processes across a range of historical periods, social structures and cultures.

- What are the effects of historical, social, political, economic, cultural and global forces on the area under study?

- How does one analyze, critically assess, and develop creative solutions to public policy questions?

- How does one develop and communicate alternative explanations or solutions for contemporary social issues?

- How does one differentiate and analyze historical evidence (documentary and statistical) and differing points of view?

- How does one recognize and assume one’s responsibility as a citizen in a democratic society by learning to think for oneself, by engaging in public discourse and by obtaining information through the news media and other appropriate information sources about politics and public policy?

 

Requirements

All students will complete fifteen hours of the Social and Behavioral Science Component courses from the approved list of courses. Texas law requires that every student graduating from a state supported college or university must take two courses in American history and two courses in American government (two courses of equivalent junior or senior ROTC classwork may be substituted for one of the history and one of the political science courses). The remaining course in the component is chosen from a list of social and behavioral science courses outside of the legislated requirements for American history and American Government.

 

Courses meeting the Social and Behavioral Science Component:

Course number Course Title Prerequisite
HIST 1310* History of U.S. to 1877 None
HIST 1320* History of U.S. 1877 to date None
POSI 2310* Principles of American Government None
POSI 2320* Functions of American Government None
ANTH 1312 Cultural Anthropology None
ECO 2301 Economics of Contemporary Issues None
ECO 2314 Principles of Microeconomics Math 1319 or equivalent
GEO 1310 World Geography None
PSY 1300 Intro to Psychology None
SOCI 1310 Intro to Sociology None

*Course meets legislative requirements

Objectives

All Social and Behavioral Science Courses

- Define a social or behavioral science.

-Explain the various technologies and data that are used in a social or behavioral science.

-Exhibit an understanding of social science research and its uses in describing the human condition.

-Explain the nature of social institutions.

-Compare and contrast the development of social institutions and processes.

-Construct an explanation of how social institutions and cultures change over time.

-Select appropriate techniques or data to explain social or behavioral phenomenon.

-Compare and contrast alternative systems or theories of a social and behavioral science.

-Identify a contemporary social issue appropriate for social science research.

-Describe several strategies for investigating the social issue.

-Develop and communicate one solution that addresses the social issue.

- Identify and describe an area (geographic or contextual) of human society.

-Explain the influence of social processes upon the specific area, to include reference to historical, social, political, economic, cultural and global influences.

- Understand the limitations of historical and social science evidence.

-Discuss the ways in which social scientists and historians evaluate the reliability of evidence presented in these areas of study.

-Identify contemporary public policy issues.

-Evaluate existing responses of social scientists to such issues.

-Develop and defend a personal solution to one such issue.

-Will discuss public policy with peers and course instructors.

-Gather appropriate information from available public sources (news media, web, journals, magazines, etc.) that relate to public politic issues.

-Develop, support and communicate an informed personal point of view on a public policy issue.

-Compare and contrast one’s own point of view with those developed by social scientists and citizens in the society.

-Define the concept of culture as employed by a specific social or behavioral science.

-Describe at least two different cultures or subcultures.

-Compare and contrast at least two different cultures or subcultures.

Historical and Political Science Perspectives

-Describe and explain the origins of U.S. and Texas political systems.

-Describe the changes in the political institutions and constitutions of the U.S. and Texas.

-Identify political concepts such as federalism, civil liberties, civil and human rights.

-Describe and explain the historical changes in the role of the United States in the world.

Historical Perspective

-Explain the different types of historical evidence.

-Evaluate the effectiveness of particular types of evidence (documentary and statistical) in historical analyses.

-Compare and contrast the uses of evidence in developing an historical interpretation.

 

Assessment

In evaluating students’ success in meeting the objectives of the Social and Behavioral Science Component, and in assessing the overall effectiveness of courses that satisfy this component, faculty use some or all of the following measures:

- Objective quizzes and tests that determine whether students have mastered the cognitive skills in the course.

- Written assignments and essay exam questions that reflect competent understanding of course material and concepts.

- Class participation that indicates a satisfactory level of student comprehension of course material.

To help determine instructor, course and program effectiveness:

- Faculty surveys, including peer review of syllabi and tests.

- End-of-course student evaluation.