The ISS curriculum is comprised of core and thematic Area courses.The core courses are the foundation of our curriculum, where students are introduced to the range of social sciences in our program, develop an understanding of various types of social science theory and research methods, and develop and polish their portfolio.

Thematic area courses represent the topics and content covered by the social sciences, allowing students to engage with a range of real-world social issues and phenomena. The thematic courses are organized within seven ISS Themes. Students are required to take courses in five of the seven thematic areas.

Below we have listed the ISS core and thematic area courses with their descriptions and an indication of which requirements they satisfy. For the thematic area courses we also list which ISS theme(s) they apply to. 

(In addition, students may need to take courses outside the major to fulfill UW requirements. See a description of different types of courses here. See our Registration page for instructions for registering for your courses.)

 

Core Courses

 

Course Number

Course Name and Description Credits General Education Credit*
ISS 301 Social Science in Context
Explores how social sciences study what people do, how people understand their world, and how that understanding shapes social practice. Provides ways to conceptualize how social relations - economic, political, cultural, sexual, racial, spatial, and historical relations - interact in real work contexts. 
 
5 I&S
ISS 350 Introduction to Portfolio in Social Sciences
Helps students begin the process of developing a Learning E-portfolio in which they articulate connections between substantive content learned in their social science courses, as well as begin a process of reflection of their learning in different contexts (private and public, individual, and social).
 
2 I&S
ISS 302 Survey of Social Science Research Methods
Provides an inclusive survey of methods used across the social sciences. Introduces statistics, survey research, and data visualization techniques. Also covers qualitative research methods ranging from participant observation to archival textual analysis. Students develop skills in both quantitative and qualitative reasoning using real-world evidence. 
 
5 I&S
ISS 355 Portfolio Seminar in ISS
Designed to continue the essential integration and reflection work begun in ISS 350 on an intersecting trajectory with developing content and disciplinary knowledge over time. Prerequisite: ISS 350.
 
3 I&S
ISS 401 ISS Capstone
Focuses on the completion of the Learning Portfolios, building on the reflective and integrative work done over the past quarters to produce a final synthesis.
 
5 I&S

* Abbreviation: I&S: "Individuals and Society"

 

Thematic Area Courses

(Courses are 5 credits each.)

 

Course Number Course Name and Description General Education Credit* Thematic Area(s)**

AES/COM/GWSS 389

Race, Gender & Sexuality in the Media
Introduction to media representations of gender, race, and sexuality.

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I&S, Div

IT / CC / DGJ / IP

AES/COM/GWSS 489

Black Cultural Studies
Examines how images of blackness have been (re)constructed through identity formation and entrenched inequality. Topics include black women's bodies, black men's bodies, blackface minstrelsy, black queer studies, black power, and black hybridities.

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I&S, W

DGJ / IP

ANTH 308

Anthropology of Gender, Women’s Health, and Reproduction
Examines anthropological approaches to improving women's health by surveying women's health history, status, and participation in healthcare. Analyzes a range of health issues, including reproductive healthcare problems, women's body images and sexuality, current health policies, as related to daily structures and relationships of gender, race/ethnicity, class.

I&S, Div

DGJ / HR

ANTH 377

Anthropology of International Health 
Explores international health from medical anthropological perspective, focusing on serious health problems facing resource-poor societies around the globe and in the United States. Develops awareness on political, socio-economic, ecological, and cultural complexity of most health problems and anthropology's consequent role in the field of international health.

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I&S

DGJ / HR

ANTH 378

Sustainability, Resilience, and Society
Introduction to concepts of sustainability and resilience and their relevance to environment and society in the current Anthropocene era. Understanding sustainability and resilience through ecological footprints, lessons from small-scale societies, case studies of resource management, theory of common property regimes, philosophies of environmental stewardship, and implications of climate change.

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W

HR / SE

ANTH 460

History of Anthropology (and the Future of Social Science)
Sources and development of leading concepts, issues, and approaches in anthropology. Findings of anthropology in relation to scientific and humanistic implications and to practical application. Main contributors to field; their work and influence. Past, present, and future perspectives, including anthropology of modern life.

I&S, W

PM / SE

CHID/HSTCMP 485

Comparative Colonialism
Explores the historic roots and practices of colonialism throughout the world, focusing on the roles of nationalism, cosmopolitanism, and imperial domination. Treats colonialism as a world event whose effects continue to be felt and whose power needs to be addressed.

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I&S, W

PM / CC / DGJ / IP

RELIG/JSIS C 380

Theories in the Study of Religion
Provides a variety of approaches to the study of religion centered on examining the relationship between religion and modernity in the tradition of post-enlightenment, Euro-American scholarship. Examines theories of religion across disciplines: history, anthropology, sociology, Marxism, feminism, postmodernism, political theology, and Freudian psycho-analytical theory. Offered: jointly with JSIS C 380.

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I&S

CC

COM 220

Introduction to Public Speaking
Designed to increase competence in public speaking and the critique of public speaking. Emphasizes choice and organization of material, sound reasoning, audience analysis, and delivery.

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VLPA, I&S

IT

COM 318

The Creative Advantage
Draws on research related to cognition, communication, and creativity to train students in the design and application of problem-solving approaches to complex community and organizational challenges. Emphasizes the benefits of diversity and collaboration in the design of innovative solutions.

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I&S

IT

COM 325

Communication, Cities, and Sustainability
This course explores the varied ways in which communication and creativity can improve the sustainability and livability of cities.  Students employ an array of fieldwork techniques to observe and analyze the complex, urban communication environment in which they live.

I&S

IT / SE

COM 339

The Business of Media in the Digital Age
Examines the production of media within changing social, technological, and economic contexts. Emphasizes how new technologies can change the market for media goods and media experiences and the ways in which mediated production pervades contemporary economic life.

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I&S, W

IT

COM 420/ POL S 468/ 
JSIS B 419

Comparative Media Systems
Provides students an understanding of policies that shape national communication processes and systems. Uses comparative analysis to identify both similarities and differences among media structures of nations at different levels of development. Primary emphasis on broadcast media. Offered: jointly with JSIS B 419/POL S 468.

I&S

IT

COM 468

Media Ethics
Explores ethical issues and ethical decision-making as they pertain to journalistic and media practices.

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I&S

IT / CC

ECON 200

Introduction to Microeconomics
Analysis of markets: consumer demand, production, exchange, the price system, resource allocation, government intervention.

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I&S, QSR

IT

ECON 201

Introduction to Macroeconomics
Analysis of the aggregate economy: national income, inflation, business fluctuations, unemployment, monetary system, federal budget, international trade and finance. Prerequisite: ECON 200.

I&S, QSR

IT

ECON 282

Using Econometrics: A Practical Approach
Concerned with estimating economic relationships, confronting economic theory with facts, and testing hypotheses involving economic behavior. Specific topics include mathematical statistics, single and multiple variable regression analysis, the Gauss-Markov Theorem, hypothesis testing, model specification, multicollinearity, dummy variable, heteroskedasticity, and serial correlation.

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NW

IT

GEOG/JSIS D 323

Globalization & You
Offers an evidence-based analysis of globalization that addresses how individuals are affected personally as well as economically a midst the market-led processes of global integration. Offered: jointly with JSIS D 323.

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I&S, W

DGJ / HR

GEOG 337

Migration and Development in China
Examines patterns of China's internal migration in different periods in relation to economic development. Explores how the state-created dual structure and the household registration system enables China to have a huge class of super-exploitable migrant labor and become the world's premier low-end manufacturing center.

 

PM / DGJ

GEOG 478

Social Justice & the City
Investigates how and why formal and informal order is established in urban areas, how this order produces advantages and disadvantages, and possibilities of alternative visions of order. Topics include formal means of control (zoning, laws, policing, building codes) and informal means of control (gossip, ostracism, peer pressure, local politics). Offered: jointly with LSJ 378.

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I&S

PM / CC / DGJ / IP

HSTAS/JSIS A 454

History of Modern China 
Examine the social, cultural, political, economic and intellectual transformations and continuities in China from the end of the imperial period to the present.

I&S

DGJ

ISS 381

Advanced Writing in the Social Sciences
Concentration on the development of advanced research-based writing skills in the social sciences.
 

W / C

IT

JSIS A/POL S 435

Japanese Government & Politics
Government and politics of Japan with emphasis on the period since 1945. Offered: jointly with POL S 435.

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I&S

CC

JSIS B 310/POL S 320

State-Society Relations in Third World Countries
Relationships among political, social, and economic changes in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Problems of economic and political development, revolution and reform, state-society relations, imperialism and dependency. Offered: jointly with POL S 320.

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I&S, Div

CC / DGJ / SE

JSIS B 320

Yoga: History, Practice, and Health
Examines history, practice, literature, and health effects of yoga from ancient to modern. Explores essential texts and ideas, issues of health and wellness, and contemporary legal debates about yoga.

I&S, VLPA

HR

JSIS B 331

Political Economy of Development
Growth, income distribution, and economic development in less-developed countries today. Policies concerning trade, industrialization, the agricultural sector, human resources, and financing of development.

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I&S

CC / DGJ

JSIS B 351

The Global Environment
Explores the environment in international perspective emphasizing the social implications of living in an economically globalized and environmentally interconnected world. Examines these implications through examples of toxics and the human body, biodiversity conservation, climate change, disease, and environmental problems.

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I&S, W

HR / SE

JSIS B 406/POL S 432

Political Islam & Islamic Fundamentalism
Study of resurgence, since mid-1970s, of political Islam and what has come to be called Islamic fundamentalism, especially in the Middle East. Topics include the nature and variety of political Islam today, causes and implications of the current resurgence, and comparison with previous resurgences. Offered: jointly with POL S 432.

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I&S

CC / DGJ / IP

JSIS B 416

Putting the World on a Couch: Psychoanalysis & International Studies
Explores the relation of trauma to memory and cultural production, focusing on historical, literary, and filmic treatments of hysteria and repression, shell shock, and the effects of war, terrorism, and psychic trauma. Uses psychoanalytical theory to analyze the commentary on international issues that lies in texts, films, and other cultural phenomena.

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I&S, W

DGJ

JSIS B 420​

Failed States
Critically examines the causes and consequences of state failure. Analyzes theories about the rise of the modern state and the precondition for "successful" states to form and endure, then examines theories and case studies of modern failed state.

I&S

CC

LSJ/POL S 327

Women's Rights as Human Rights
Women's rights in comparative perspective, focusing on varying settings that alter the meaning and practical application. Domestic level: areas including abortion politics to trafficking in women. International level: areas including equality claims before European supranational judicial bodies, rape as war crime in international law. Offered: jointly with POL S 327.

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I&S, Div, W

CC / DGJ / IP

PHIL 102

Contemporary Moral Problems
Philosophical consideration of some of the main moral problems of modern society and civilization, such as abortion, euthanasia, war, and capital punishment. Topics vary.

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VLPA, I&S

CC / DGJ

PHIL 343

Ethics & the Environment
Advanced introduction to environmental ethics, with an emphasis on nonanthropocentric value theory.

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I&S

CC / SE

PHIL 362

Topics in the Philosophy of Science
Critical study of nature of scientific knowledge, emphasizing the role of evidence in several different sciences. Topics include accounts of scientific methods; the relation of theory to observation; how theories change; and the nature of the confirmation and falsification of hypotheses and theories.

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I&S / NW

IT / HR / SE

POL S 312

Survey of American Political Thought
Survey of American political thought from colonial times to the 1980s. Topics include the idea of the self-made man; the intellectual contexts of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution; slavery, abolition, and the Civil War; progressivism; Cold War liberalism; the Civil Rights Movement and its critics; and modern conservatism. Prerequisite: cannot be taken for credit if POL S 318 or POL S 319 already taken.

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I&S, W

CC / IP

POL S 385

Political Ecology of the World Food System
Investigates the intersection of globalization and food politics, the pivotal role of petroleum in the world food system, and the commodity chains for some foods. Includes an optional service learning component.

I&S / NW

HR / SE

SOC 362

Race Relations
Reviews social science perspectives on race and ethnicity. Explores sociological definitions and understandings associated with race and ethnicity and the construction of identities. Examines different issues that impact individuals' and groups' life chances.

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I&S, Div

DGJ / IP

* Abbreviations: I&S: "Individuals and Society"; Div: "Diversity"; C: "Composition"; W: "Writing Across the Curriculum"; VLPA: "Visual, Literary and Perfoming Arts", NW: "Natural World"
**For more information and descriptions, see the ISS Themes page.