Social Science

Social Science

Degree Type
Bachelor of Arts
Bachelor of Science
Honors Bachelor of Arts
Honors Bachelor of Science
College of Liberal Arts


In the social science degree program, you'll investigate the social and cultural dynamics in our communities, explore how these dynamics impact the development of sustainable communities, and examine how effective community leadership impacts positive social change.

You will gain fundamental skills in communication, political science, anthropology, environmental studies and where these fields intersect with the arts and sciences.

Areas of investigation include wellness, place, dwelling, food and community, migration and sense of place, sustainable communication, and community dialogue and public environments. One of the most distinctive features of this program is that most programs of its kind are graduate certificate programs; this is an undergraduate degree program.


Program Information

Community Development and Leadership Option
This option focuses on the social and cultural dynamics in our communities, how these dynamics impact the development of sustainable communities, and how effective community leadership impacts positive social change.

Cultures and Identities Option
This option focuses on cultures and identities as essential to understanding our lived community experiences. The coursework explores the processes through which we develop and negotiate identities and cultures.

General Social Science Option
The general option consists of 21 credits, selected with your advisor, from the following fields: Anthropology, communication, history, new media communications, political science, psychology, sociology, and social science.

Humans and the Environment Option
This option focuses on human relationships with the environment and decision-making. The coursework includes an understanding of the historical, cultural and economic systems which shape how humans interact with their environment.

Law and Society Option
A social science degree prepares students to be successful in a career in law. This option offers coursework focused on critical thinking, reading, writing, and argumentation for students who wish to apply to, and succeed in, law school.

A total of 180 quarter credits are required to graduate, including 60 upper-division credits. Requirements include:

  • Baccalaureate core: 48 credits
  • College of Liberal Arts Core: 6-15 credits
  • Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science requirements: 15-24 credits
  • Social Science Major Core: 32-35 credits
  • Specialty Option: 21-24 credits (required)
  • Electives as needed for 180 credits

Degree Guides

Social Science Major Degree Guide  (PDF)

Sample Academic Plan - BA Social Science
Sample Academic Plan - BS Social Science

Transfer Guides

Social Science transfer guides are created to help students plan to transfer into the degree program from an Oregon Community College.

Using the following course forecast information students will plan ahead and work with their advisor to create and update academic plans.

OSU Course Catalog

OSU Class Search

Social Science Courses by Term

Students who graduate with the social science major will be able to integrate knowledge from their coursework in anthropology, communication, political science, sociology and environmental sciences; develop an understanding of the social and cultural significance of the challenges individuals and communities face and apply content-level knowledge of the social and environmental sciences. Specifically, they will be able to:

1.    Demonstrate understanding and the value of communication competence in group and interpersonal communication.
2.    Apply concepts from the social sciences to local, regional and environmental communities.
3.    Demonstrate proficiency with critical thinking, analysis of problems, and synthesis of data.
4.    Communicate and collaborate with multiple audiences of diverse backgrounds and interests. Specifically, be able to write for and talk with both experts and lay persons utilizing multiple approaches.
5.    Be prepared to pursue further professional or academic endeavors in one’s selected discipline.

Students who graduate with the community development and leadership option will be able to apply content-level social sciences and sciences knowledge to the practice of community development and community leadership. Specifically, they will be able to:

1.    Demonstrate an understanding of communication competence in leading community development.
2.    Demonstrate ability to communicate effectively and work collaboratively with diverse, as well as conflicting interests to develop sustainable (socially and environmentally) communities.
3.    Demonstrate ability to apply understanding of politics as a context for developing community and communicating leadership.
4.    Gain practical community development and leadership experiences.

“Yes” to every opportunity

Myra Flores, Social Science '23, started at a community college. But two full-time jobs on top of her classes became challenging. After a six-year break, a move to Redmond and a pandemic to prompt some self-discovery, she enrolled at OSU-Cascades, and, with scholarship support, found new motivation to pursue her dream of law school. Read more

Intern in the community

“The internship with the Latino Community Association gave me confidence in my abilities and created a path I didn’t know was there,” said Social Science major Aidan Thrower. LCA offers services for the Latino community to assist with navigating the challenges of their new country. Thrower, who moved to Bend from San Jose, used his Spanish to assist with citizenship applications, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals renewals, data entry and volunteer management in the Bend office. He graduated last spring.

Real world experts

When you study social science at OSU-Cascades, you benefit from OSU's strength in environmental sciences and sustainability. More than 500 national experts contributed to the White House’s 5th National Climate Assessment. OSU-Cascades’ researcher Elizabeth Marino, a national leader in advancing understanding of the impacts of climate change and disasters on historically and socially vulnerable communities, led the development of a new chapter on Social Systems and Justice.

Sample Courses

  • Environmental Sociology
  • Cultural Codes in Communication
  • Social Psychology
  • Communication and Cyberspace
  • Psychopharmacology
  • Sociology of Intimate Relationships
  • Intro to US Government & Politics
  • Sustainable Communities
  • Social Aspects of Sustainability
  • Peoples of the World: North America
  • Anthropology, Health and Environment
  • Environmental Law & Politics
  • Welfare and Social Services
  • Introduction to Rhetorical Theory

Course listing

Where do our graduates work?

  • City of Eugene
  • City of Redmond
  • Deschutes Public Library
  • ECONorthwest
  • Harvest House Publications
  • Heart N’ Home Hospice & Palliative Care
  • Innovative Law Group
  • PeaceHealth
  • State of Oregon
  • U.S. Bank
  • Wellness & Education Board of Central Oregon


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We're here to help! Future students can connect with an OSU-Cascades admissions advisor for admission and program questions.