Social Sciences Courses

Take Social Science courses overseas to enhance your career prospects! Choose from hundreds of courses in a wide range of subjects, including Anthropology, Cultural and International Studies, Gender Studies, Political Science, Psychology, Sociology, Social Work and more!
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Available Courses by Program
COURSE: RELS237/337
CREDITS: 18 points

Pre-requisite:
RELS 237: 36 points
RELS 337: 18 200-level RELS or PSYC points

An introduction to the psychology of religion, with emphasis on what research in contemporary cognitive and evolutionary psychology says about human religious belief and behaviour.

Can religious belief and behaviour be explained by science? What does cognitive and evolutionary psychology tell us about belief in god? Is religion universal? Is religion a product of human evolution? How does religious belief develop in childhood? What social functions does religion serve? Combining scholarship on religion and psychology, this paper introduces students to the important interdisciplinary field of psychology of religion.

In addition to the above questions, students will learn about the latest research on the psychology of terrorism, the psychology of atheism and the psychological effects of religion on prejudice/tolerance. No background experience in religion or psychology is required.

Assessment
Reading comprehension quizzes: 20%
Critical response essays: 40%
Final examination (2 hours): 40%

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COURSE: ICBS302
CREDITS: 3 US credits / 45 contact hours

This seminar course will provide an overview of theoretical perspectives, research methods, empirical findings, and practical applications of psychological research on prejudice, stigma, and intergroup relations. Students will better understand psychological principles underlying prejudiced attitudes and discriminatory behaviours, gain a more objective view of their personal beliefs and behaviours, and further develop their ability to critically think about the nature of evidence and arguments from a scientific perspective.

COURSE: PSY 320
CREDITS: 3 US credits / 45 contact hours
OFFERED: Session 1 and 2

Psychology has conventionally situated itself as universally applicable science, however, it can be described as a “modernist” and European-American phenomenon. This course explores the cultural aspects of psychology, examining how biology, psychology, and culture interact in the context of contemporary Spanish and North American societies. One of the key contributions of cultural psychology is thematizing the different filters that moderate how psychological phenomena are understood. These filters, which operate at both conceptual and epistemological levels in large part circumscribe how psychology is studied and applied. This course will provide a conceptual foundation for the understanding of psychology and culture, with a focus on human development, the self, intergroup relations, and cross-cultural communication. The study abroad experience will be used to experientially examine and apply the material covered in class. Finally, wider application of the material in the context of mental health and its care will be explored.

COURSE: CAS PS 371
CREDITS: 4 US credits
OFFERED: Session 1 and 2

Prereq: (CAS PS 101).

Attention to the wide range of ways in which personality may become disordered, and emphasis on normal behavior development as highlighted by psychopathology. Evidence and theories concerning problems of treatment are also considered.

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COURSE: SED CE 630
CREDITS: 4 US credits
OFFERED: Session 1

Focuses on the scientific study of psychological aspects of living a fulfilling and flourishing life. Topics include happiness, empathy, optimism, friendship, goal setting, achievement, emotion, creativity, humor, and mindfulness. Students become familiar with theory and research in this relatively new subfield and critically consider applications to their teaching, coaching, leadership, and/or counseling.

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COURSE: CAS PS 241
CREDITS: 4 US credits
OFFERED: Session 1

Prereq: (CAS PS 101).

Critical review of research and theories pertaining to intellectual and social development of infants and children. Role of early experiences and biological factors in later formation of personality, and intellectual and motivational behaviors; includes theories of Erikson, Piaget, and Freud.

Carries social science divisional credit in CAS. This course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Social Inquiry I, Critical Thinking.

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COURSE: CAS PS 333
CREDITS: 4 US credits
OFFERED: Session 1 and 2

Prereq: (CAS PS 101) and (CAS PS 231 or CAS NE 101) and PS junior or senior standing; or consent of instructor.

Comprehensive survey of drug influences on behavior; introduces a neuroscience approach to behavior. Several classes of drugs are discussed, including abused and addictive substances and psychoactive and therapeutic agents.

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COURSE: CAS PS 325
CREDITS: 4 US credits
OFFERED: Session 1

Prereq: ((CAS PS 211 or (CAS MA 115 & CAS MA 116)) and (CAS PS 251 or CAS PS 252)).

Systematic approaches to the study of personality. Experimental and observational investigations of selected aspects of personality. Demonstration of experimental procedures and student participation in laboratory and field studies.

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COURSE: CAS PS 101
CREDITS: 4 US credits
OFFERED: Session 1 and 2

Basic introduction to the field of psychology. Topics include theories and findings governing learning, memory, perception, development, personality, and social and abnormal psychology.

Carries social science divisional credit in CAS. This course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Social Inquiry I, Ethical Reasoning, Critical Thinking.

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COURSE: CAS PS 473
CREDITS: 4 US credits
OFFERED: Session 2

Prereq: (CAS PS 371) and PS junior or senior standing.

Introduction to current diagnostic and treatment techniques in clinical psychology from empirical, applied, and theoretical perspectives. Topics covered include clinical interviewing, psychological testing, and a comparison of humanistic, analytic, and systems approaches to therapy.

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COURSE: SED CE 500
CREDITS: 4 US credits
OFFERED: Session 1

Emphasizes understanding of the theoretical basis of counseling. Introduces learning skills involved in helping relationships. Selected readings in counseling theory and practice are assigned. As part of the skill-building process, opportunities are provided for in-class practice and demonstrations.

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COURSE: CAS PS 211
CREDITS: 4 US credits
OFFERED: Session 1

Prereq: (CAS PS 101).

Introduction to the logic and processes involved in descriptive and inferential statistics for psychology. Topics include statistical inference, significance, t-tests, ANOVAs, correlation, and statistical software analysis. This is a hybrid class: class time is reserved for hands on activities.

This course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Scientific Inquiry II, Quantitative Reasoning I.

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COURSE: SED CE 741
CREDITS: 4 US credits
OFFERED: Session 1

A historical, philosophical, and clinical examination of subcultural considerations in counseling psychology professional practice and inquiry.

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COURSE: CAS PS 338
CREDITS: 4 US credits
OFFERED: Session 1

Prereq: (CAS PS 231 or CAS BI 325).

Survey of theoretical aspects and major empirical findings in human neuropsychology, including memory, language, spatial function, attention, emotion, and abstract thought. Emphasis is on the relation between brain disorders (resulting from head injury, stroke, degenerative disease, etc.) and abnormal behavior.

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COURSE: CAS PS 234
CREDITS: 4 US credits
OFFERED: Session 1

Prereq: (CAS PS 101).

How do we learn to associate stimuli together? How do we learn to associate behaviors with their consequences? How is memory applicable to learning? What are the different memory processes and systems responsible for learning? The aim of this course is to review the major traditional and current theories of learning and memory. Students begin with an understanding of simple learning, including theories and basic principles of classical and operant conditioning. Students then are introduced to the memory system, the three stages of memory, implicit and explicit memory processes.

Carries social science divisional credit in CAS. This course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Scientific Inquiry I, Social Inquiry I, Critical Thinking.

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COURSE: CAS PS 251
CREDITS: 4 US credits
OFFERED: Session 1

Prereq: (CAS PS 101).

Emphasizes the historical development of personality theories and their application to social and clinical concerns. Classic theories of personality (e.g., psychoanalytical, behavioral, trait, humanistic, cognitive, and social roles) are explored and evaluated through lectures, readings, and case materials. A consideration of trait-based approaches and personality disorder with regards to DSM 5 criteria is also included.

Carries social science divisional credit in CAS. This course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Historical Consciousness, Social Inquiry I, Critical Thinking.

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COURSE: CAS PS 261
CREDITS: 4 US credits
OFFERED: Session 2

Prereq: (CAS PS 101).

Provides an understanding of how behavior, feelings, and thoughts of individuals are influenced and determined by characteristics of a situation. Topics include attraction, attitudes, prejudice, social rules, aggression, person perception, and groups. Readings cover theories, experimental research, and application.

Carries social science divisional credit in CAS.

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COURSE: SED CE 769
CREDITS: 4 US credits
OFFERED: Session 1

A comprehensive overview of the field of substance use and abuse, as well as prevention practices and intervention models. Students learn about substance use within the context of normative development as well as addictive behaviors and their associated interventions

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COURSE: SED CE 847
CREDITS: 4 US credits
OFFERED: Session 1

A conceptual and experiential introduction to group dynamics. Participation in an ongoing training group while studying the dynamics of group development. Covers group counseling approaches and models, issues of small group leadership, and styles of leadership. Treatment of group counseling goals, composition, phases, and research.

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COURSE: LAPYCS310
CREDITS: 3 US credits / 45 contact hours
OFFERED: July Sessions: 3, B

Pre-requisite: Background in Psychology or Social Psychology is recommended.

Over the recent decades, globalisation has brought about a phenomenon that has increasingly been recognised by both psychologists and anthropologists as a viable field of research: Culture Shock. Also referred to as “culture fatigue” or “role shock,” culture shock refers to the reactions of travellers during their first few months in a foreign country. This course presents culture shock within the context of cross-cultural psychology and places a specific emphasis on the students’ own experiences as they live and study in a foreign country. Topics explored will include the role of communication and communication norms, cultural variables, taboos and rituals, and cultural adjustment.

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COURSE: LAPYAD290
CREDITS: 3 US credits / 45 contact hours
OFFERED: July Sessions: 4, B

This course examines the practice and basic principles of addiction to drugs of abuse such as heroin, alcohol, tobacco, cannabis or cocaine. Course topics will cover the epidemiology of drug abuse, the experimental models used in brain research, and the pathological consequences of drug addiction (including heavy drinking and smoking). The course will extend the concept of addiction to pathological behaviours such as compulsive consumption of palatable food, physical exercise dependence, compulsive shopping, sexual hyperactivity, internet abuse, and gambling. The neurochemical mechanisms that are shared and lead from reward to positive reinforcement, loss of control, and dependence will be examined. The symptomatological and neurochemical similarities and differences between drug and behavioural addiction will be addressed, along with the self-destructive behaviours, tolerance, craving, and withdrawal symptoms that both types of dependence produce.

The course traces also the basic aspects of human biology and physiology that are needed to fully comprehend the topics at hand, including the neuronal circuits and neurotransmitters that are altered by both natural and artificial rewards. Students will also learn how to analyse scientific data and correctly interpret the information that is published in peer-reviewed international scientific journals. Finally, students will gain an understanding of the social and ethical implications of drug and behavioural addiction and of the peculiar features of this problem in different countries, with an emphasis on the European and Italian approach as compared with other areas of the world.

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COURSE: LAPYSP300
CREDITS: 3 US credits / 45 contact hours
OFFERED: July Sessions: 1, 3, A, B

“We see the world as we do, not because that is the way it is, but because we have these ways of seeing” (Wittgenstein). Social psychology is a scientific discipline that explores how the individual is influenced by social contexts. Students will learn to identify how social, environmental, and cognitive factors shape our thoughts, feelings, and actions. The course covers theories regarding attraction, aggression, conformity, and pro-social behaviour. As this course is taught in Italy, students will have the advantage of observing and testing theories learned in class in a foreign environment.

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COURSE: 4PSYC001X
CREDITS: 20 UK credits
OFFERED: Session 1 Only

In this module, we will explore the scientific evidence for phenomena widely accepted by the public but whose scientific validity remains open to challenge including, for example, astrology and near-death experiences. We will examine the methods used in the investigation of such popular myths and examine, from a psychological perspective, the factors which underlie how they grow and are sustained. The module involves a critical review of the scientific evidence for these phenomena, and general consideration of the application of scientific method.

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COURSE: 5PSYC001X
CREDITS: 20 UK credits
OFFERED: Session 2 Only

This model aims to provide students with the opportunity to engage with a range of topics and issues in psychology that relate to growing up and living in or visiting a large global city such as London, England. It will bring together research and theory from a number of areas of psychology and forensic psychology. Topics include: Stress & Wellbeing; Crime & Aggression; Loneliness, Prosocial behaviour, and Resilience. Lectures will discuss recent research and seminars will provide students with practical activities, visualisation through documentaries and guided discussions related to each topic.

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COURSE: PSYCH 127A
CREDITS: 4 US credits

Study of psychological disorders (e.g., depression, anxiety, substance use disorders, schizophrenia) across lifespan, including role of biological, behavioral, social, cognitive, and cultural factors, diagnosis and treatment approaches. Discussion of Stigma and practices that support inclusiveness.

Lecture, three hours; discussion, one hour. Requisite: course 10. Not open for credit to students with credit for course 127B or 127C.

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COURSE: PSYCH 118
CREDITS: 4 US credits

Survey of determinants of species-specific behavior, including genetic influences and learning.

Requisite: course 115. Designed for junior/senior majors.

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COURSE: EDUC 120
CREDITS: 5 Units

Seminar, four hours. Development of positive social behaviors and their enhancement. Broad overview of children’s psychological development, with emphasis on personal, social, and emotional attributes of preschool and elementary school child. Aspects of prosocial behavior and aggression. Enhancement of prosocial behavior and modification of such negative behaviors as aggression. Review and evaluation of contemporary educational programs for promoting positive social behaviors in elementary schools. Methodological aspects of child development. Overview of early childhood education and issues related to role of family, school, and television in child development.

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COURSE: PSYCH 137C
CREDITS: 4 US credits

Introduction to how social scientists think about, study, and treat intimate relationships, with emphasis on understanding how relationships change over time. Topics include attraction, relationship formation, conflict resolution, social support, sex, role of individual differences, and external circumstances.

Lecture, three hours. Requisites: courses 10, 100A. Limited to juniors/seniors.

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COURSE: PSYCH 150
CREDITS: 4 US credits

Areas of health, illness, treatment, and delivery of treatment that can be elucidated by understanding of psychological concepts and research, psychological perspective on these problems, and how psychological perspective might be enlarged and extended in medical area.

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COURSE: PHILOS 7
CREDITS: 5 Units

Introductory study of philosophical issues about nature of the mind and its relation to the body, including materialism, functionalism, behaviorism, determinism and free will, nature of psychological knowledge.

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COURSE: PSYCH 15
CREDITS: 4 US credits

Designed for non majors. Survey of genetic, evolutionary, physiological, pharmacological, and experiential factors affecting behavior. Using comparative approach where appropriate, emphasis on relevance of biological mechanisms to understanding of humans and their interaction with their environment.

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COURSE: PSYCH 10
CREDITS: 4 US credits

Lecture, four hours. General introduction including topics in cognitive, experimental, personality, developmental, social, and clinical psychology; six hours of psychological research and a grade of C or better required of all departmental premajors.

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COURSE: PSYCTRY 175
CREDITS: 4 US credits

Designed for beginners; prior experience with meditation not required. Introduction to mindfulness, including basic mindfulness meditation practices, both sitting and moving, ways to deepen positive emotions like gratitude, kindness, and joy, and methods for integrating more awareness and creativity into ordinary activities. Examination of varying meditative traditions as well as emerging science on beneficial effects of mindfulness practice for mental and physical health. Beneficial effects include reduced stress, improved attention, reduced emotional reactivity, and greater mind-body awareness. Learning and development of practical skills of relational mindfulness in interactions with others.

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COURSE: PSYCTRY M182
CREDITS: 4 US credits

Basic overview of brain function and consideration of some management methods that exist already, and what future may hold. New methods for predicting our own futures and modeling what if scenarios that might alter risks and benefits of different courses of action, based on individual genetic background and other elements of personal history and environmental exposures. Introduction to key principles from science of behavior change, illustrating how important health-related behavioral habits are and how difficult these can be to change and why. Coverage of series of topics that center on personal enhancement of well-being through consideration of stress management, long-term goal and value identification, mapping of long-term goals onto immediate actions, reinforcement learning, meditation, neurofeedback, and time management. Critical appraisal of tools to help students distinguish scientifically validated procedures.

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COURSE: DIS STD M139 / PSYCH M139
CREDITS: 4 US credits

Genealogy of autism as diagnostic category and cultural phenomenon from its historical roots as new, rare, and obscure condition in early 1940s to its current contested status as minority identity and/or global epidemic. Examination of material sourced from various fields and disciplines invested in autism, including psychology, neuroscience, arts and humanities, popular media, anthropology, activism, and critical autism studies. Students encounter and analyze multiple perspectives on autism and put them in conversation with one another. Attention paid to way people on spectrum define, explain, and represent their own experiences of autism and discussion of what ramifications of these multiple framings are in context of autism intervention strategy and disability policy today.

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COURSE: PHILOS 129
CREDITS: 4 US credits

Preparation: one 4-unit psychology course, one philosophy course. Selected philosophical issues arising from psychological theories. Nature of perception and issues about perceptual psychology and development of important types of representation (e.g., of body, cause, agency) in early childhood. Relevance of computer simulation to accounts of thinking and meaning; relations between semantical theory and learning theory; psychological aspects of theory of syntax.

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COURSE: PSYCH 119Y
CREDITS: 4 US credits

Broad overview of scientific study of sexual behavior, with emphases on evolutionary, biological, psychological, and social considerations. Topics include historical antecedents of sex research, evolution of sex, influence of sex hormones on brain and behavior, sexual development, and roles of genes and hormones on sexual orientation.

Lecture, three hours. Requisite: course 115.

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COURSE: PSYCH 100A
CREDITS: 4 US credits

Basic statistical procedures and their application to research and practice in various areas of psychology.

Lecture, four hours. Requisites: course 10 with a grade of C or better, and one course from Mathematics 2, Program in Computing 10A, Statistics 10, or one term of calculus. Designed for pre-majors.

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COURSE: GENDER M165
CREDITS: 4 US credits

Consideration of psychological literature relevant to understanding contemporary sex differences. Topics include sex-role development and role conflict, physiological and personality differences between men and women, sex differences in intellectual abilities and achievement, and impact of gender on social interaction.

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COURSE: PSYCH 135
CREDITS: 4 US credits

Interrelationships between the individual and his social environment. Social influences on motivation, perception, and behavior. Development and change of attitudes and opinions. Psychological analysis of small groups, social stratification, and mass phenomena.

Lecture, three hours; discussion, one hour. Requisites: courses 10, 100A. Designed for juniors/seniors.

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COURSE: PSY3050
CREDITS: 3 US credits / 48 contact hours

This course introduces students to the field of psychology, and examines the influence of culture on human behaviour and cognitive processes. “Culture” is defined as the shared norms, values and behaviours of groups, and of the individuals within those groups. We will focus on such topics as cultural factors in self-concept, gender roles, motivation, cognition, emotions, relationships and social values. Our exploration will be based on psychological theories, research, guest lecturers and field experiences.

COURSE: COMM3200
CREDITS: 3 US credits / 48 contact hours

This course addresses issues related to diversity and commonalities amongst human beings, and the implications and applications of each situation or professional context. Students will develop the skills needed for intercultural competence.

This course provides an introduction to the field of intercultural communication, enhances the development of intercultural competence and explores implications and applications towards shaping one’s cultural identity and worldview. The course also examines theoretical aspects of culture and worldview; communicative and intercultural competence; intercultural contact and entry processes; issues of diversity and commonalities among human beings; and implications and applications for work settings and for oneself as a member of multicultural groups.

This course is a part of the social psychology, cultural – historical psychology, developmental psychology, and cognitive psychology fields.

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