Society, Ethics & Human Behavior

On this page: Major Description | Requirements | Learning Objectives | Faculty & Staff | Courses

The Society, Ethics & Human Behavior Major

How do social institutions and practices shape human experience? How do individuals contribute to social stability and change?

Society, Ethics & Human Behavior (SEB) addresses these questions through a critical examination of the perspectives and tools used to understand human behavior, social institutions, and social policies. SEB combines an exploration of the ethical dimensions of individual and social action with analyses across multiple disciplines including sociology, psychology, media and cultural studies, anthropology, ethics, and political philosophy. The SEB faculty is committed to providing students with opportunities to engage in empirical research and project-based learning experiences in and beyond the classroom.

Career focus

Graduating SEB students are ideally prepared to pursue professional careers or advanced study in a wide variety of fields, such as social work, education, public policy, law, media and cultural studies, and human resources. SEB also educates students to assume more active leadership roles within their communities, families, and workplaces. Here is more information about career possibilities or pursuing graduate school.

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Major requirements

Prerequisites

While there are no official requirements beyond the requirements for admission into the School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences, students choosing this major will find it helpful to have completed college coursework in psychology, sociology, statistics, and philosophy.

Degree requirements

  • BIS 300 Interdisciplinary Inquiry* - min. 2.0 grade (5 credits)
  • SEB Core (5 credits)
  • BIS 215, BIS 312 or BIS 410 - min. 2.0 grade (5 credits)
  • SEB Courses (30 credits)
  • BIS 499 Portfolio Capstone - min. 2.5 grade (5 credits)
  • Additional IAS Coursework (20 credits)

TOTAL= 70 Credits

*Should be taken in the first quarter of IAS enrollment.

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Learning objectives

The Society, Ethics & Human Behavior curriculum advances the five core IAS learning objectives. Students taking courses and/or majoring in Society, Ethics, and Human Behavior:

  1. Understand how social institutions work (e.g., family, criminal justice, religion, media, education, business).
  2. Understand the connections between social institutions and social change.
  3. Identify how social position (e.g., race, sex/gender, class, sexual orientation, religion, age, nationality, disability) influence individual life outcomes.
  4. Develop and employ evidence-based research strategies.
  5. Develop creative and collaborative approaches for addressing social problems.

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Faculty

​Please contact the SEB Faculty Coordinator if you have any questions, concerns or ideas about the Society, Ethics and Human Behavior major. To declare the SEB major, please contact the First Year and Pre-Major Program.

Academic Advisor

Research Librarian

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Courses

Recommended Preparation

Interested in exploring this major, but not ready to commit? Consider taking one of the below courses! Any of these selections will help familiarize you with the academic program and prepare you for advanced coursework in the major.

  • BIS 181 Introduction to Sociology
  • BIS 193 Introduction to Philosophy
  • BIS 216 Introduction to Cultural Studies
  • BIS 255 Critical Diversity Studies
  • BIS 265 Introduction to Comparative Ethnic Studies

A. SEB Core Courses (SEB:CORE)

  • BISSTA 304 Institutions and Social Change
  • BISSTA 331 The Family in U.S. Society
  • BISSTA 333 The Individual and Society
  • BISSTA 359 Ethics and Society 

B. Methods and Modes of Inquiry (SEB:METHODS)

  • BIS 312 Approaches to Social Research
  • BIS 215 Understanding Statistics (or equivalent)
  • BIS 410 Topics in Qualitative Inquiry

C. Individual Behavior (SEB)

  • BIS 220 Developmental Psychology
  • BIS 222 Introduction to Human Sexuality (formerly offered under BIS 316)
  • BIS 225 Social Psychology
  • BIS 270 Abnormal Psychology
  • BIS 316 Topics in Psychology 
  • BIS 349 Personality Psychology
  • BIS 364 Realities and Representations of Adolescent Development
  • BIS 369 Indigenous Psychology and Health 
  • BIS 422 Clinical Psychology
  • BIS 438 Prevention and Promotion
  • BIS 449 Advanced Topics in Psychology
  • BIS 450 Decolonizing Psychology
  • BIS 489 Projects in Community Psychology
  • BIS 496 Community Service Project
  • BISPSY 337 Risk and Resilience
  • BISPSY 343 Community Psychology
  • BISPSY 348 Cultural Psychology
  • BISPSY 350 Intergroup Relations

D. Institutions (SEB)

  • BIS 226 Foundations of U.S. Social Service
  • BIS 282 Globalization 
  • BIS 327 History of U.S. Labor Institutions
  • BIS 330 Democratic Capitalism in the United States
  • BIS 332 Global Digital Industries (formerly offered under BIS 313)
  • BIS 338 Political Institutions and Processes
  • BIS 416 U.S. Constitutional Law
  • BIS 433 Gender, Work and Family
  • BIS 436 Comparative Family Systems
  • BIS 441 Global Labor Markets

E. Social Policy and Social Justice (SEB)

  • BIS 218 Power of Maps
  • BIS 219 The Politics of Sex Education
  • BIS 224 Introduction to Feminist Studies
  • BIS 240 Sustainable Practices
  • BIS 243 Introduction to Environmental Issues
  • BIS/BEDUC 255 Critical Diversity Studies
  • BIS 275 Social Problems
  • BIS 279 Introduction to Law and Society
  • BIS 307 Environmental Justice
  • BIS 321 Human Rights and the Arts
  • BIS 325 Disability and Human Rights
  • BIS 326 Race, Space, and Segregation
  • BIS/BEDUC 328 Diversity, Leadership and Engagement
  • BIS 335 Human Rights in America
  • BIS 336 History of Mass Incarceration in the United States
  • BIS 353 Human Rights in Theory and Practice
  • BIS 359 Principles & Controversities of Sustainability
  • BIS 394 Comparative Economic Development
  • BIS 403 Washington, D.C. Seminar on Human Rights
  • BIS 405 Environmental Education
  • BIS 406 Urban Planning and Geography
  • BIS 408 Critical Physical Geography
  • BIS 415 Public Policy and the Law
  • BIS 419 Urban Politics and Policy
  • BIS 420 Colonizing History in Sub-Saharan Africa
  • BIS 443 Educational Policy and the American Economy
  • BIS 445 Meanings and Realities of Inequality
  • BIS 448 Social Policy
  • BIS 458 Energy, the Environment and Society
  • BIS 466 Human Rights and Resistance
  • BIS 468 Human Rights and Sustainable Development
  • BIS 497 Political Internship in State Government (5 credits max)
  • BISLEP 301 Law, Economics, and Public Policy
  • BISLEP 302 Policy Analysis
  • BISSTS 231 Genes, Genomes, and Heredity
  • BISSTS 232 Embryos, Genes, and Reproductive Technology
  • BISSTS 307 Science, Technology, and Society
  • BEDUC 220 Education & Society (3 credits)
  • BEDUC 475 Global Perspectives on Diversity and Citizenship Education 
  • BEDUC 493 Environmental Education

F. Culture and Society (SEB)

  • BIS 205 Technologies of Expression
  • BIS 216 Introduction to Cultural Studies
  • BIS 217 Introduction to Debate
  • BIS 221 Gender and Sexuality
  • BIS 227 Rad Women in the Global South
  • BIS 233 Participatory Media Culture
  • BIS 238 Language, Identity, Culture and Power
  • BIS 245 Environmental Humanities
  • BIS 256 Introduction to African American Studies
  • BIS 257 Introduction to Asian American Studies
  • BIS 258 Introduction to U.S. Latina/Latino Studies
  • BIS 265 Introduction to Comparative Ethnic Studies
  • BIS 310 Women, Culture & Development
  • BIS 317 Language, Society and Cultural Knowledge
  • BIS 331 Journalism and Media History
  • BIS 368 Women's Lives in Context
  • BIS 372 Representation, Colonialism, and the Tropical World
  • BIS 374 Middle East Politics
  • BIS 384 Health, Medicine & Society
  • BIS 385 Art and Climate Change
  • BIS 431 Issues in Sexual Politics and Cultures
  • BIS 465 Performance, History, and Memory
  • BIS 470 Art, Politics and Social Change
  • BIS 471 Women in Art
  • BISAES 305 Power, Dissent, and American Culture
  • BISAES 364 Public Memory and Dissent in American Culture
  • BISAES 367 Exploring American Culture: Race, Ethnicity and Immigration
  • BISAES 368 Sex, Love, Romance
  • BISAES 369 American Culture and Mass Media
  • BISCLA 318 Performance, Identity, Community and Everyday Life
  • BISGWS 301 Critical Gender & Sexuality Studies
  • BISGWS 302 Histories and Movements of Gender and Sexuality 
  • BISGWS 303 Approaches to Feminist Inquiry
  • BISMCS 333 Media and Communication Studies 
  • BEDUC 456 Adolescents in School and Society
  • BEDUC 461 Education and Gender Inequality
  • BEDUC 475 Global Perspectives on diversity and Citizenship Education (3 credits)

G. Ethics, Philosophy and Social Theory (SEB)

  • BIS 281 Contemporary Political Ideas and Ideologies
  • BIS 345 American Environmental Thought
  • BIS 356 Ethics and the Environment
  • BIS 357 Native American Religious and Philosophical Thought
  • BIS 380 Bioethics

I. Topics (SEB)

Topics courses under the below course numbers may apply to the SEB major depending on the subject and title. Please see the Time Schedule notes to determine how they count toward the major. 

  • BIS 316 Topics in Psychology
  • BIS 341 Topics in the Study of Culture
  • BIS 447 Topics in Quantitative Inquiry
  • BIS 449 Advanced Topics in Psychology
  • BIS 480 Study Abroad
  • BISMCS 343 Media Production Workshop
  • BISMCS 471 Advanced Topics in Media and Communication
  • BISMCS 472  Advanced Media Production Workshop

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