Courses: All Posts

Still open: Journal 497P: The Politician & the Journalist

Thursday, January 16th, 2014

Still looking for a spring elective?  Journal 497P: The Politician & the Journalist is still open! This course is taught by Congressman Richie Neal, so it’s an ideal way to explore media and politics — as well as gain some insights about the political world. Sounds like a great elective for political scientists, if you ask us :-)

Looking for a Unique Gen Ed? Try EDUC 202: Intergroup Dialogue

Monday, December 9th, 2013

Imagine sitting in a circle with 15 other students talking about subjects you rarely get to discuss?

EDUC 202: Intergroup Dialogue: Social Issues in Intergroup Relations is a course where you and your voice and your experience are central.

In this course you will learn from other’s experiences, examine social justice issues on campus and in the community (e.g., gender roles, immigration, violence, race and gender in sports, sexism and racism on campus, ally relationships), and explore different perspectives and controversial issues using constructive approaches to dialogue and the bridging of differences. All majors are welcome!

EDU 202: INTERGROUP DIALOGUE is a 4 credit graded course it meets the General Ed Requirements Social and Cultural Diversity (U) and Social and Behavioral Science (SB) requirement.

What’s unique about Intergroup Dialogue?
** Your experiences are at the center of learning about & understanding differences IGD provides an interactive classroom setting to explore issues in small, co-facilitated diverse groups.

Why take Intergroup Dialogue?
** Diversity on campus does not always = meaningful interaction across groups.
** You are better prepared to live and work in a diverse society when you engage with diverse perspectives.
** You will gain real world communication skills, practicing dialogic methods, and build opportunities for intergroup collaboration.

Sections meet on Thursdays from 4:00-6:30, and for a one-day class retreat on Sat., Feb 15th, from 9:00 to 5:00. The course runs for 11 weeks, beginning Jan. 30th.

For more information and to submit a placement form (needed to be registered) for the class, please visit the course website,

For questions please e-mail us at or call 413-545-5799.

EDUC 202 is co-sponsored by the Center for Multicultural Advancement and Student Success (CMASS).

Kill two requirements with one class!

Friday, December 6th, 2013

Thanks to the correction of an error in SPIRE, dozens of seats have just opened up for Spring 2014 in LABOR 280 (50930), which fulfills both the United States Diversity (U)  and Legal Studies law-related liberal arts requirements.

Labor 280 provides an overview of work and labor in the United States. It begins by examining the evolution of the American workplace, the changing nature of employers, and the impact on workers.  The second part of the course takes an in-depth look at the contemporary American workplace. Here we examine the myths and realities of work in the new economy. The final section of the course explores workers’ rights and new initiatives by the labor movement as it confronts globalization and the changing nature of work. Labor 280 takes a multi-disciplinary approach, drawing from sociology history, economics, and other social sciences.

For more information, search for this class on SPIRE!

New spring online course…HUNGER GAMES: Political Oppression & Rebellion!

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

POLISCI 391VT (59584) – Hunger Games: Political Oppression & Rebellion

(Fulfills upper-level Political Theory requirement for Political Science majors)

The aim of this course is to examine political narratives of oppression and rebellion through a close reading of the popular cultural phenomenon The Hunger Games trilogy.

The course will interweave the novels with historical and contemporary political theory works in order to address questions of inequality, totalitarianism, and civil disobedience. Through these texts, we will explore how social hierarchies are embedded into political institutions, the political rhetoric of fear and hope, and the emergence of popular rebellions. The timely novels provide a provocative entry into a dystopic reality that aligns closely with many of the contemporary political issues we
face today.

To enroll, go to .

For more information, contact instructor, Samantha Hill.

Research Methods for Political & Social Scientists

Saturday, November 16th, 2013

You asked for more research training, and we’ve listened!

Check out our new POLISCI 391RM: Research Methods for Political and Social Science course.

This online, 3 credit course is designed to teach upper-level social science undergraduates the basics of utilizing statistical and
quantitative methods of research to help better understand social and political questions. Quantitative methods allow for a systematic,
scientific and probabilistic way of studying how the world works. In this course, students will learn basic statistical concepts like
correlation and probability, as well as more advanced and applied techniques such as Ordinary Least Squares regression. Students will
learn how statistical inferences can help them advance their research and help better prepare themselves for the rigors of graduate school
or applied policy work.

Read more at the course website.

Sneak Peak at Spring Classes

Friday, September 27th, 2013

We’ve posted a draft version of our spring 2014 classes online. Take a look at Political Science here and Legal Studies here, and check out our online classes here.

We will be adding course descriptions soon, but we wanted to get you as much information as possible as soon as possible. We know lots of you are trying to plan your schedules already!

Course for 1st year and Sophomore SBS Students that Empowers You to Take Charge of Your College Success

Wednesday, September 4th, 2013

Socbehav 197S is a 1-credit class geared towards first year and sophomore students in SBS, particularly ALANA students and those who are first generation college students, that empowers you to take charge of your college career and success.

Through weekly workshops, presentations and assignments, you will develop study and writing skills, understand your own values system and identify campus mentors.

Registration Information:

SOCBEHAV 197S. 1 credit. Wednesdays, 1:25-2:15 PM.

Space is limited. Enrollment by permission only!
Contact: Jackie Brousseau-Pereira,, or Wilma Crespo,

New Course Teaches SBS Students How to Make the Most of Their Liberal Arts Education in the Work World

Wednesday, September 4th, 2013

This fall, a new course is being offered that is geared towards helping students get a better grasp of how to look for employment and internships as well as how they can best present themselves in the world of work.

Alumnus Benjamin Happ ’98 (Psychology) is a member of Dean Feldman’s Alumni Advisory Board and he is also director of capital services for Credit Suisse. He has developed the course Business Communication and Networking (Socbehav 297A), which is designed to help students develop and master the skills necessary to succeed in life after college. It will also help students both recognize and talk about the value of a liberal arts degree in fostering a successful career.

The course is on Fridays from 2-4 pm and is limited to juniors and seniors with majors in SBS. Space is limited, so register today!

Research Fellowships?

Thursday, August 29th, 2013

Yes, that’s right! The Department is offering several research fellowships this semester. All openings are posted on our website and carry with them academic credit through our Political Science or Legal Studies research practicum. Apply now to work with one of our faculty or ABD PhD students. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis until positions are filled.

These research assistantships are the perfect place for you to investigate what social science research is all about. Students are expected to work on the research projects listed, but will also have the opportunity to engage with faculty and other fellows through regular research workshops and meetings.

They are also a great way to get to know your professors and TAs! Learn more about their research and methodology while building your own resume!

Keep checking our list of openings. Positions will be posted through the end of add/drop!

New LRLA Course for Legal Studies Majors

Monday, April 29th, 2013

The following online course has just been added to our list of approved Law-related Liberal Arts courses for the Legal Studies major:

Econ 397LE: Law and Economics

Law and economics addresses the economic motivation for legal practice and the economic implications of different legal regimes.  Law and economics is often taught based on the assumption that legal rules are and should be designed to maximize “efficiency,” often understood as some variant of cost-benefit analysis or welfare-maximization.  The best legal system is therefore, under this view, one that responds to impersonal factors, a society’s factor endowments and production technology. Our approach is different, because we recognize that legal systems are the product of political processes, shaped by the distribution of political and economic power, and with goals that go beyond maximizing output course to include the shaping of power within society.  The question then becomes whether the concept of “efficiency” can be as uncritically applied to legal rules as the field of law and economics often suggests.

We begin by exploring the relationship between a society and its legal system.  While some treat this as the relationship between a society’s economic substructure and its legal superstructure, we recognize that political and cultural relationships also have independent effects on the development of the economy and of the legal system.  We then focus critically on the question of efficiency, and on what sorts of limitations might be presented by the concept in its application to the law, drawing in part on the perspective offered by critical legal studies.  We then investigate different approaches to law and economics, apart from efficiency, including static theories of “original intent” and “individual rights,” as well as sociological theories where the law is a changing system to facilitate different social ends, a fair distribution of income, protection of the environment, and other ends.

Prerequisites for this class are either Econ 103, or Res-Econ 102.

This class was developed by Mark Silverman (graduate student in Economics and Attorney at Law) in consultation with Professor Gerald Friedman of the University of Massachusetts Amherst, an experienced teacher, renowned economic historian, author of many articles and books, and an editor of the journal Labor History.

This online course in Law and Economics is offered by the Department of Economics through the Office of Continuing and Professional Education at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Questions? Email us: