2014-15 Catalogs

BA in Self-Designed Major - Social Science

Coordinator: Dana McDaniel, 65 Exeter Street, Portland

Steering Committee: Bjelic (Criminology), Hillard (Economics), McDaniel (Linguistics), Savage (Geography)

The self-designed group contract major in social science is a multidisciplinary program consisting of the following eight disciplines: criminology, economics, geography-anthropology, history, linguistics, political science, sociology, and women and gender studies.

In order to declare a self-designed major in social science, students must have met the University's College Writing and Quantitative Reasoning Core requirements and must have a GPA of at least 2.5. Students who wish to declare a major in social science must submit a completed application form (available from the coordinator's office) to a member of the steering committee. Each student must take a minimum of 51 credits to complete the major. Students must receive a grade of C- or higher in courses taken to fulfill the major.

Students choose between Options I and II below. The following three requirements apply to all students, regardless of option: 1) Every student's social science curriculum must include at least one of the following social science methods courses: CRM 220, ECO 305, GYA 202, HTY 200, LIN 490, POS 203, SOC 301; 2) All students must take a 3-credit capstone course, SDM 401, in addition to the requirements specified under their option; and 3) All students majoring in social science must demonstrate an intermediate competence in one foreign language as part of the departmental requirements for graduation. This requirement can be fulfilled by achieving a grade of at least C- in the second semester of an intermediate level course (and any necessary prerequisites) or by examination.

Option I

Students select one of the eight disciplines as a concentration. They must complete 21-23 credits (usually seven courses) in that discipline, as specified below.

DisciplineRequirements for Concentration
CriminologyCRM 100, CRM 216, CRM 220, CRM 301, CRM 317, CRM 334, and one 3-credit CRM course that is 300-level or above
EconomicsECO 101, ECO 102, ECO 301, and four 3-credit courses that are 300-level or above
Geography-AnthropologyGEO 101 or GEO 102; two courses from ANT 101, ANT 102, GYA 202; any two 3-credit GEO, ANT, or GYA courses that are 200-level or above; and any two 3-credit GEO, ANT, or GYA courses that are 300-level or above
Historyseven 3-credit HTY courses, at least four of which are 200-level or above
LinguisticsLIN 185, LIN 201, and five 3-credit LIN courses that are 300-level or above
Political SciencePOS 101, POS 102, and five 3-credit POS courses, at least three of which are 300-level or above
SociologySOC 100, SOC 210, SOC 300, SOC 301, SOC 312, and two additional 3-credit SOC courses
Women and Gender StudiesWST, 201, WST 380, WST 390, WST 235, WST 245, WST 255, WST 265; if any of the latter four courses are not offered, they may be replaced by WST 220, WST 320
Option II

Students choosing Option I also take 27 credits outside of their concentration. The 27 credits must be divided equally among three of the remaining seven disciplines (three courses in each), and at least 9 of the 27 credits must be upper division level (200 or above). Note that these courses are not restricted to the courses listed above as requirements for the concentrations.

Students select one interdisciplinary topic within the social sciences as a concentration. In consultation with their advisor, they design a curriculum that consists of at least 30 credits (10 courses) on their topic from at least two (but no more than six) of the eight disciplines. At least 18 of the 30 credits must be above the introductory level.

Students choosing Option II also take 18 credits in two disciplines not included in their concentration–three courses in each discipline. At least 6 of the 18 credits must be upper division level (200 or above).

Capstone Course

All social science majors (regardless of option) must take SDM 401 in their senior year or during the second semester of their junior year. The purpose of this course is to bring together the knowledge and experience students have acquired through the major, and to allow them to apply that knowledge.


  • Students who intend to teach social studies at the secondary level should consult with their advisor to design a curriculum that includes the specific social science courses required by the state of Maine for certification.
  • Students who have already taken more than nine credits of 100-level courses in the social sciences and who, due to prerequisites, are required to take more 100-level courses should consider consulting with their advisor about possible alternative arrangements.

SDM 401 Senior Seminar in Social Science
The capstone to the major and required for the degree, this seminar explores the nature and the craft of social science. The topic will vary but will always be a particular theme or set of issues that span various social science disciplines, such as competing methodologies in social science, ethnohistory, United States studies, etc. Students are expected, through discussion and writing, to apply the knowledge and skills acquired in previous social science courses. Prerequisite: The course is open only to social science majors or students majoring in one of the eight disciplines that make up the social science major. Students must also be seniors or second semester juniors. Cr 3.