Specializations for the BA in Social Science

The BA in Social Science offers a number of specializations that allow you to focus your studies in an area you are passionate about and wish to pursue in your career path. Review the Program Plans for each specialization to learn which courses are required.


Anthropology encompasses a wide range of subjects spanning cultural, linguistic, and physical anthropology, archaeology, and museum studies. The study is unique among the many fields that study humanity. It leads to a more sophisticated, historically and scientifically grounded understanding of the relationship of human beings to the natural world, past, and present. One of the strengths of anthropology as a discipline is its "holistic" or integrative approach; it links the life sciences, social sciences and the humanities and has strong ties with a multitude of disciplines ranging from biology to the fine arts. This broad perspective is applied to understanding ourselves and comparing ourselves with others. By using the knowledge and perspectives gained from many cultures, anthropology is in a position to offer great insight into understanding present human societies and offering solutions for the future. Anthropology is a key discipline contributing to multiculturalism, environmental studies, and globalization. Anthropology Program Plan

Courses include: Magic, Witchcraft, and Religion; Human Cultural Diversity; Archaeology; Nature, Culture, and the Environment, Cataclysmic Events in History, Anthropology of Food, California Indians, and Myths, Frauds, and Misconceptions.

Career and Life Planning

Career and Life Planning is an area of specialization that provides students with the knowledge, theory, and skills to work as effective career development specialists, and consultants in a variety of settings: community-based agencies, schools (K-12), colleges and universities, private practice, business, industry, rehabilitation services, and government. Students are trained to facilitate a holistic career development/career decision-making/planning process with groups and individuals that integrates personal, social, and career needs. Students develop the skills to address current issues in the 21st century, such as career self-reliance, work/family/life balance, equity, diversity, and lifelong learning. The Career & Life Planning Certificate program at CSU, Chico provides training for the National Career Development Association (NCDA) Career Development Facilitator (CDF) certificate. The CDF is nationally certified by the NCDA and can be obtained after completion of 3 courses. Career and Life Planning Program Plan

Courses include: Principles and Techniques of Career Guidance, Career/Life Planning Seminar, Tests, and Measurements for Career Guidance, and electives.

Child Development

Child Development provides a wide variety of courses designed to prepare students for work in careers focused on children and families. Many societal issues concerning children and youth are complex because wide ranges of factors influence the development of children and youth. A BA in SOSC with an emphasis in Child Development meets a number of career options including teaching, direct services for children birth to age 5, youth services, parent education, and family programs. Child Development Program Plan

Courses include: Marriage and Family Relationships, The School-Aged Child, Biology of Childhood, Children in a Changing World, and electives.

Community Organizing for Social Change

Community organizing is a field of practice in which residents collaboratively investigate and undertake sustained collective action regarding social issues of mutual concern—has often proven an effective method for achieving changes in policies and systems at local, regional, and even national scales. The field is dynamic. Community organizing encompasses a number of potential points of interest for social issues by researchers, policymakers, and funders. This interdisciplinary area of concentration brings together Multicultural and Gender Studies, Sociology, Political Science, Psychology, and Social Work in an innovative way emphasizing leadership, opportunities for practice, and social justice while bringing these skills to the distance education community. Community Organizing for Social Change Program Plan

Courses include: Leading Social Change, Civil Rights & Civil Liberties, Social Movements, Community & Organizational Change, and electives.

Environmental Planning

Environmental Planning allows students to explore the intersection of the natural and social sciences with urban and regional development. Environmental planning facilitates decision-making to carry out urban planning, urban design, land development and natural resource conservation with consideration given to environmental, social, political and economic factors. Environmental planners are central to inspiring more creative and ecologically informed plans and help mitigate the detrimental effects of development. Learn what it takes to facilitate the decision-making to carry out urban planning, urban design, land development and natural resource conservation with consideration of environmental, social, political and economic
factors. Environmental Planning Program Plan

Courses include: Introduction to Geographic Methods, Introduction to Land Use Planning, Water Resource Policy and Planning, Sustainability and Climate Change Issues, Planning for Sustainable Communities & Regions, and Environmental Impact Analysis.

Family Relations

Family Relations provides students with a systematic, interdisciplinary approach to the family as an institution, the current state of knowledge relating to family relations, gender relations, and child socialization. This coursework is a valuable complement to studies in psychology, social work, sociology, queer studies, aging, health, and child development. Two capstone courses offer students an opportunity to examine family issues at the individual, community, and policy level. Family Relations Program Plan

Courses include: Health in the Later Years, Survey of Child and Adolescent Psychology, Marriage and Family Relationships, Psychology of Personality, Family Relations Capstone Seminar, and electives.


Gerontology is the study of the aging process across the life course. It is a multidisciplinary field that includes the biological, social, family, and psychological aspects of the aging process, including the provision of services for seniors. The Gerontology specialization consists of an interdisciplinary cluster of courses, which enables students to effectively work with older adults and their families in a variety of settings. "Sparked by the burgeoning older adult population, the demand for healthcare and social services will create excellent job prospects for gerontological [professionals]."-Social Work Today Gerontology Program Plan

Courses include: Nutrition and Aging, Death, Dying & Afterlife, Health Equity, Policy, and Programs for Older Adults, Leisure and Life, and electives.