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The Social Sciences Divisional Major (SSDM) is designed for students with a natural curiosity in several fields of study across the spectrum of the social sciences. It consists of 48 semester hours, 32 of which must be at the 300/400 level and 20 of which must be concentrated in one department or discipline within the division. This area of concentration must include 16 hours at the 300/400 level. The major must also include at least 8 semester hours of enrichment courses at the 300/400 level in each of two other disciplines within the division. Either the area of concentration or at least one enrichment field must be history, political science, psychology or sociology. Finally, the major must include one research course, which may be a research methods course or one with an extensive research component. The SSDM Oversight Committee maintains a list of approved research courses.
The student must formally declare the SSDM by filing a Declaration of Major form with the Registrar's Office at least two semesters before graduation, summer not counting as a semester. In close consultation with an academic advisor, the student develops a contract listing the courses to be included in the major, along with an essay explaining the goals and the rationale for choosing the divisional approach and demonstrating an intellectual coherence and clear focus for the major. The contract must also indicate which courses in or outside the major the student will use to fulfill the college's requirements for oral communication competency and computer proficiency and how those courses fulfill the requirements. The contract must be approved by the student's faculty advisor and the members of the SSDM Oversight Committee, all of whom, along with the student, sign the completed contract. The contract is kept on file by the administrative assistant of the Social Sciences Division. It may be renegotiated if courses listed are no longer available, but such changes must be approved by the student, the faculty advisor and the SSDM Oversight Committee. Finally, during the last semester of coursework, the student must compose a reflective essay that reviews the goals and unifying intellectual theme of the major as stated in the declaration contract and then explores in some detail how the goals and theme have been realized.
Departments from which courses may be drawn for the SSDM include Business (MBE), Education, Geography, Health & Human Services/Social Work, History, Political Science, Psychology, Recreation and Leisure Studies, Sociology and Criminal Justice. Please note: This list is strictly for the purpose of guiding course choices for the SSDM and should not be extended to other applications.
A student may choose education as the area of concentration, but this course of study will not permit the student to be certified by the Commonwealth of Virginia to teach in the public schools. Students seeking teacher certification should confer with a member of the Education Department when considering the SSDM.
Courses in Health & Human Services/Social Work may not be used in the area of concentration for the SSDM, but may be included elsewhere in the plan of study. A student using Business as the department of concentration must include MBE 301, MBE 316, MBE 322, and MBE 400 and take at least 9 semester hours of MBE courses at the 300/400 level in residence at Virginia Wesleyan.