Faculty with Research Interests
For information regarding faculty visit the Department of Social Sciences website.
The Department of Social Sciences offers four undergraduate degrees:
- Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Global Studies
- Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Political Science
- Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Social and Economic Development Policy
- Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Sociology
The department offers minors in policy, political science, and sociology, and collaborates with other university departments to offer interdisciplinary minors in global studies and urban affairs.
Also offered are two accelerated degree programs: a B.S./J.D. program with Chicago-Kent College of Law that can be completed in six years, and a B.S./M.P.A. program with Stuart School of Business that can be completed in five years.
The department offers a variety of courses to broaden the student’s education and to fulfill the Illinois Institute of Technology Core Curriculum requirements. Courses from political science (PS), sociology (SOC), and interdisciplinary social science (SSCI) are administered through the Department of Social Sciences.
- Bachelor of Science in Global Studies
- Bachelor of Science in Political Science
- Bachelor of Science in Social and Economic Development Policy
- Bachelor of Science in Sociology
The Department of Social Sciences also offers the following co-terminal degree, which enables a student to simultaneously complete both an undergraduate and graduate degree in as few as five years:
- Bachelor of Science in Social and Economic Development Policy/Master of Public Administration
This co-terminal degree allows students to gain greater knowledge in specialized areas while, in most cases, completing a smaller number of credit hours with increased scheduling flexibility. For more information, please visit the Department of Social Sciences website (humansciences.iit.edu/social-sciences).
This course is designed for students who are undecided about their major. Students will learn about professions in the context of different industries including entry points for each industry and the career opportunities associated with different sectors. Students will be provided assessments of their abilities and interests to inform their thinking about career paths that represent a best fit.
Investigate a topic of current interest at an introductory level. Topic will be announced by instructor at scheduling time. Course may be taken multiple times.
This course investigates a topic in the human sciences.
Surveys American politics and government. Informal political institutions, such as parties and interest groups, are analyzed and related to formal governmental institutions, such as the presidency and the Congress. Emphasis is placed on how the American political culture shapes these institutions and how public policies are produced.
Introduces students to modern political science covering American politics, comparative political science, and research methods.
Investigates the relationships among federal, state/provincial, metropolitan/regional, and local units of government, examining theories of federalism, constitutional foundations, judicial interpretations, administrative actions, and current trends and debates. The United States and other federal systems serve as case countries. The course also explores how federalism is being shaped by such factors as globalization, environmental challenges, tribal sovereignty, and terrorism.
Introduces students to the major theories and concepts needed to understand compelling issues confronting the international system. Students will examine how thinking and practice have evolved on such fundamental matters as war, peace, and national security; weapons proliferation; human rights; political economy; international aid and sustainable development; regional integration; and the roles and functions of international and non-governmental organizations.
Introduces students to the most common theories and approaches in contemporary comparative political analysis. Students then employ the tools of comparison developed in an examination of the causes and consequences of political instability and conflict and transitions to stable democracy.
Explores how American foreign policy is made and why it matters both in the context of domestic politics and for the international system as a whole. Students will identify U. S. foreign policy goals and critique foreign policy implementation.
Investigates a topic of current interest at the introductory level. Topic will be announced by instructor at scheduling time. There are no prerequisites for this course. Course may be taken multiple times provided the topic is different each time.
Analyzes public policy processes with a primary focus on the United States and a secondary focus on cross-country comparisons involving the U. S. The overarching concern is the effectiveness of government intervention given our market-based system. The student will become familiar with models and determinants of policy making. Beyond theories of policy making, the course also surveys a number of timely policy issues. In this way, a balance is reached between theory and application. There will be an underlying focus on the American political economy and public policy making, but students do not need an extensive background in either economics or policy making.
Explores techniques of policy analysis and program evaluation having practical application in such fields as transportation, education, housing, criminal justice, and environmental quality. The course includes the research and analytical methods most frequently applied in governmental decision making.
Considers why policies on issues like social welfare, health care, education, immigration, and others differ from country to country, looking for answers in such factors as political culture, level of economic development and equality, institutional frameworks and actors, social organization, or some mix of those explanations.
Examines city and metropolitan politics and government. The course emphasizes how economic and demographic changes influence local politics, how local politics work, and how state and national policies influence local politics.
Studies Chicago's politics and government from both historical and contemporary perspectives. Emphasis is placed on changes that have significantly shaped the direction of Chicago's politics. Special attention is devoted to social class, ethnicity, race, and ideology as factors that have influenced the Democratic political machine and its opponents.
Students look at the complexities of making and implementing environmental policy at the local, national, regional, and/or global levels. Emphasis will be placed the ways that conflict and cooperation among multiple economic, social, and political interests contribute to the successes and failures of environmental policy. Topics for in depth study may include global warming, air and water pollution, depletion of natural resources, biodiversity conservation, environmental communication, and the roles played by international organizations, local and national governments, businesses, and non-governmental organizations.
Explores the complex interrelationships among science, technology, and politics, with emphasis on the political issues created by contemporary scientific advances. The course gives roughly equal attention to the politics of scientific discovery; the development of organizations providing scientific advice to government; the impact of industrialized science and advanced technology on the economy and society; and the growing debate over the social implications of science and technology and how they can be predicted, measured, and controlled.
This course traces our dependence on fossil fuels and government-based attempts to promote energy conservation and develop alternate energy sources. Assessed are the economic and political effects of the supply and demand for energy; the implications of different energy production and consumption methods; and efforts to minimize the environmental consequences through increased energy efficiency and/or regulation. The course explores such problems as fossil fuel dependence, greenhouse gas emissions reductions, nuclear waste, rapid industrialization, and national and international attempts to provide economic, political, and technological solutions.
Examines the nature of administrative organization, decision-making in organization, and organizational structures and processes: division of work, authority, communications, and planning. The course considers the role of the government executive and analyzes the relationship between fiscal procedures and personnel management in organizations.
Explores major dilemmas facing cities today, including changing economic and tax bases, fiscal stresses, marginalized populations, new forms of consumption, and adaptation to structural change. Responses of politicians to pressures to develop new policies and leverage the productive capacity of the city and the impact of citizen preferences are analyzed. Same as SOC 354.
Examines the economic, socio-political, and cultural aspects of globalization within the context of both contemporary discussions about the phenomenon and wider debates in the field of political economy. The course also covers aspects of international development, both economic and political.
Surveys contemporary African politics in its historical, economic, and cultural context. Both individual country cases and regional issues are examined, and approaches to comparative political analysis are used to understand the causes and consequences of observed patterns of political similarities and differences.
Surveys contemporary East Asian politics in its historical, economic, and cultural context. Both individual country cases and regional issues are examined, and approaches to comparative political analysis are used to understand the causes and consequences of observed patterns of political similarities and differences.
Surveys contemporary European politics in its historical, economic, and cultural context. Both individual country cases and regional issues are examined, and approaches to comparative political analysis are used to understand the causes and consequences of observed patterns of political similarities and differences.
Surveys contemporary Latin American politics in its historical, economic, and cultural context. Both individual country cases and regional issues are examined, and approaches to comparative political analysis are used to understand the causes and consequences of observed patterns of political similarities and differences.
Investigates a topic of current interest in Political Science, which will be announced by the instructor when the course is scheduled.
This course examines structures of global governance using analytical lenses developed by both political scientist and international legal scholars to understand the depth and scope of international law. We will explore the relationships between power, rules, and norms as well as the relative impact of hard versus soft law and more or less legalized institutional structures. These themes will guide us through a comparative survey of international and legal frameworks attached to the US, the International Criminal Court, and the World Trade Organization and those created by regional economic institutions such as the EU and NAFTA.
Introduces students to the field of policy analysis and acquaints them with basic methods of policy analysis and urban planning. Emphasis is on these methods and problem solving rather than on politics or the political process. Topics include decision theory, benefit/cost analysis, problem simulation, population projection, and problem definition and formulation. This seminar serves as the required capstone course for the Policy Analysis/Technology specialization.
This is the capstone course for political science majors. It is intended to bring together a number of concepts, methodological approaches, and research skills while exploring a particular topic of current significance within the discipline.
Working with a member of the political science faculty, students will choose a topic, conduct research, and complete an original, independent research project.
Consists of independent reading and analysis, centered on particular problems and supervised by a member of the Political Science faculty. (Credit: Variable; maximum 3 credit hours)
Introduces students to the structure and operation of society. The course analyzes individual behavior and emphasizes social problems.
A more visual and performative, communication-intensive alternative to SOC 200. Students read and take short quizzes on chapters from a standard text and prepare weekly assignments that apply the associated concepts and insights. Assignments vary, from reviewing scholarly articles and identifying and exploring sociological databases to taking photographs to bringing in music and film clips illustrating political and social cartoons and designing and/or identifying spaces, devices, and clothing that illustrate the topics at hand.
Explores different aspects of everyday judgments and their sometimes undesirable social consequences, especially the Fundamental Attribution Error. Other topics include various types of group influences on individual judgment and behavior, as well as persuasion, "brainwashing," helping behavior, and prejudice. Formerly called SOC 308.
This introductory sociology course deals with people's general experience of space and how space and spatial arrangements affect people, social interaction, and the sense of community. It is designed to develop knowledge and understanding as well as analytical and perceptive skills. Our experiences of the spatial dimension of reality will be examined from various perspectives: emotional; cognitive; functional; symbolic; and cross-cultural. Our study objects range from everyday experiences to questions of community and city planning. Basic sociological concepts and research methods will be introduced and related to the topics covered. This course is required for SOC 311 (Social Use of Space).
Investigates various "social problems" and how they came to be defined as problematic. The course covers such general sociological concepts and theoretical perspectives as symbolic interactionism, conflict theory, structural functionalism, and constructionism. Students also examine the role of state advocates and the media in defining social problems. Case studies illustrate how different theoretical perspectives lead to different "solutions" and policy recommendations.
Investigates a topic of current interest at an introductory level. Topic will be announced by instructor at scheduling time. There are no prerequisites for this course. Course may be taken multiple times, provided the topic is different each time.
Examines how social and psychological factors influence the reasoning and behavior of scientists. By contrasting traditional views of science with actual scientific practice, the course aims to understand such phenomena as "hype," resistance to scientific discovery, controversy, vicious competition, error, self-deception, and fraud.
Explores the relationship between science and belief by comparing Western science with other belief systems, science with religion, and science with pseudo-science. The course also examines cultural and ideological influences on scientific knowledge and public faith in science.
Examines the role of the institution of science, scientific knowledge, and scientists in society. The course focuses on areas where science significantly influences and is influenced by political, economic, and cultural institutions and contexts.
Studies the variety of subtle ways, verbal and nonverbal, in which humans communicate in personal, professional, and public life, and how to identify and solve problems and misunderstandings that typically arise. Topics include the social nature of humans, interpersonal communication, interaction within and between groups, teamwork, leadership, and intercultural communication.
Gives students basic insights into people's experience of space and the effect of spatial arrangements on people's behavior. The course explores the differences in conceptions between planners and users and the need to take the user into account in spatial design.
Surely technology shapes society. But can society shape technology as well? This course focuses on technologies and technical objects and their intersection with basic sociological themes like social stratification, stability and change, social control, identity, and community. It emphasizes the relationship between the specific properties of technical systems and their social consequences, and examines the complex entwining of social structure and technologies among politics and technologies across many scales.
Surveys theories explaining the organization and structure of complex societies. The problem of social control, or the capacity of a society to regulate itself formally and informally according to its desired principles, is viewed as a central problem of social organization. Same as PS 340.
Analyzes the definition, development, and control of deviant behavior in relation to social processes. Societal reaction to and the amount, distribution, and behavioral systems of various forms of deviance (drug addiction, suicide, crime, alcoholism, illegitimacy, etc.) are examined.
Begins with a brief comparison of the nature, role, and meaning of work across time and space. The course continues with a survey of some of today's most important topics in the study of work, primarily looking at the United States and other developed countries.
Examines the social implications of selected emerging and cutting-edge technologies with an emphasis on recent developments and events. The course investigates the consequences of those technologies for society using both short-term and long-term perspectives and including moral, ethical, socioeconomic, and educational considerations. Same as PS 362.
Investigates a topic of current interest in Sociology which will be announced by the instructor when the course is scheduled.
This course explores current conceptualizations of and behaviors about privacy. It is a reading-intensive, film-based, senior-level seminar on the design and engineering of privacy, the case law and policy aspects of privacy, professions deeply engaged in issues of privacy, the commercial business of privacy, and the cultural and cross-cultural cognitive, personal, and interpersonal behaviors of privacy.
This is the capstone course for sociology majors. It is intended to bring together a number of concepts, methodological approaches, and research skills while exploring a particular topic of current significance within the discipline.
Working with a member of the sociology faculty, students will choose a topic, conduct research, and complete an original, independent research project.
Consists of independent reading or analysis, centered on particular problems and supervised by a member of the Sociology faculty. Credit: Variable; maximum 3 credit hours.
Provides students with an opportunity to acquire better field-work skills by providing a forum for discussing and practicing the craft. This is a seminar in advanced ethnographic methods. Permission of instructor is required.
The course introduces students to social science professions, career possibilities, and the range of skill sets utilized by professionals in the field.
This course examines theoretical explanations for the relationship between governments, society, and the global economy. It considers structural industrial shifts and the impact of technology on production, economic competitiveness and social welfare. Themes include labor value, bureaucratic theory, class conflicts and in the internationalization of capital.
Introduces students to explanation in the social sciences and both qualitative and the quantitative research methods. Topics covered include the formulation of research questions, measurement, data collection, survey research, significance tests, experimental and quasi-experimental design, sampling, and various techniques of qualitative research.
Examines central social and political theories and their ideas concerning the relationship between individual and society, social harmony and conflict, social equality, and the state.
Through readings, lectures, and field trips to local neighborhoods, this course will look at the ways that Chicago has become a global city and what that means for local government, businesses, educators, and the non-profit sector. The course explores how Chicago has become a node in the global economy and a gateway to immigrants from all over the world.
This course introduces students to the use of digital geographic information in reasoning about the world. Topics include geographic data collection and management, geographic data models, and basic geographic analysis. A variety of GIS applications will be described across a range of disciplines with an emphasis on geographic problem solving. The social, economic, and legal context of geographic information will also be examined. Principles and concepts will be provided in lectures and reinforced through a series of hands-on exercises.
Investigates a topic of current interest at the introductory level. Course may be taken multiple times provided the topic is different each time.
Multidisciplinary course that addresses the most critical issues and initiatives in global health, covering the history of the field and its basic principles and goals, the determinants of health and its links with development, competing perspectives on global health challenges and ways to meet them, the most important causes of disease and death, and the organizations and governance mechanisms that are endeavoring to improve outcomes. The course is geared toward developing theories and methods to understand the social, economic, political, and environmental causes of health outcomes with a focus on disadvantaged communities and health inequalities.
Surveys and compares health care systems in a range of developed and developing countries. The course examines why countries facing similar health problems have sometimes developed different policy responses, what has been the nature of those policies, and how effective or ineffective they have been. Health insurance, payment methods,the role of providers, the relationship between medicine and culture, and recent reforms and innovations in health care policy are among the topics discussed.
Accidents and disasters are endemic to complex systems. Security involves the practices employed to mitigate, manage, or defend against them. This course provides critical sociological perspectives on accidents, disasters, and security practices by examining cases which may include nuclear accidents, vulnerability to extreme weather events resulting from social inequality, counter-terrorism practices, "friendly fire" in combat zones, and enhanced surveillance of public and private life.
Evaluates the patterns and dimensions of social, economic, and political inequality in American society and how these compare with other societies, who gets ahead and why, the consequences of social stratification, and the outlooks for the future of inequality in developed countries like the United States.
Focuses on the political challenges arising in multi-ethnic, multi-religious societies in which there has been substantial conflict or balkanization. Developed and developing countries receive attention.
This course builds on introduction to geographic information systems (GIS) and emphasizes GIS spatial modeling skills to solve real world problems. Topics covered include vector and raster data models and conversions, common map algebra functions, surface analysis, 3-D rendering, network analysis, and solve road network problems.
Explores major dilemmas facing cities today including changing economic and tax bases, fiscal stresses, immigration, marginalized populations, new forms of consumption, and adaptation to structural change. Responses of politicians to pressures to develop new policies and leverage the productive capacity of the city and the impact of citizen preferences are analyzed.
This course focuses on methods of analyzing why regions differ economically, how they interrelate, and why and how they react to changes in economic policies and conditions. Students will learn about models and metrics of regional structure and growth.
Examines the relationship between humans and nature, including reasons for some well-known ecological catastrophes in human history. The course traces changing attitudes to the environment and explores various measures that have been offered to solve problems, for instance, the Green Revolution, sustainable development, renewable energy, "clean" technologies, and the potential social and ecological consequences of these solutions.
This course will examine the history of migration and present-day situations in Europe, the Americas, the Asia-Pacific region, Africa, and the Middle East including the policies that let some people in but keep others out. Significant attention will also be paid to the process by which foreign "outsiders" become integrated (or not) in their new home. Course draws on research from political scientists, sociologists, demographers, economists, and anthropologists.
This course explores government-led research and development (R&D) collaboration across government research institutes, private firms, and universities. This "triple helix" model originated in the 1980s in Japan under the technocratic model, was quickly taken up by Germany, the UK, and the US, and is responsible for the success of innovations ranging from the integrated circuit to household hydrogen production. But, why does it work, and is it always an ideal policy choice? In other words, should private firms be left alone to innovate or should they be coupled with the public sector?.
This course reviews multidisciplinary perspectives on international development over the last century. It includes a survey of social science theories of development and parallel shifts in the definition of development and development approaches. The role of development stakeholders is also addressed. Topics may include international aid, environmental sustainability, migration, investment, and resources. The course aims to provide students with the necessary knowledge to critically evaluate the successes and failures of current development policies.
Investigates an interdisciplinary topic of current interest in the social sciences. Course may be taken multiple times provided the topic is different each time.
Introduces research methods used in a variety of social science disciplines. Students may explore theoretical and practical issues in research interviewing, ethnographic fieldwork, experiments, conversation analysis, the construction of investigable research questions, data generation and recording, and analytic approaches such as grounded theory and analytic induction. The course combines in-class instruction and workshops with opportunities to apply research methods in on- and off-campus settings.
This course is designed to provide students with the opportunity to work on a real-world project that is or will be taking place "in the field."
Urban planning plays a critical role in promoting a full and productive life for people around the world; therefore, planners must be able to evaluate the effectiveness of planning responses to particular situations. This course introduces methods for developing and evaluating empirical information in support of urban planning, applying methods widely used by planning and policy professionals.
Introduces students to the significant theoretical frameworks that have emerged over time to describe and explain public and non-profit organizations as well as organizational actors and actions. The seminar includes consideration of relations between organization and its environment, the importance of inter-organizational networks, and the role of power in organizational life.
This course will introduce advanced undergraduate students to the set of principles of survey research design that are the basis of standard practices in the social sciences. The course will discuss how to formulate research questions and develop hypotheses suitable for testing.
The purpose of this course is to provide students with an introduction to applied research methodologies which are commonly used by public and non-profit managers to assess the effectiveness of service delivery. We will explore the theoretical underpinnings and practical application of the range activities involved in planning, implementing, and evaluating programs.
This course is designed to give students the opportunity to combine classroom theory with practical application through job-related experiences. Students will complete a 120-hour internship with an approved industry, government, or non-profit organization with a work focus which relates to their academic training and career objectives. Instructor permission is required.