SOCIAL STUDIES

7 semesters/ 35 credits required

Unless otherwise noted, all academic courses in this department meet both CSU and UC entrance requirements.

All students are required to take seven semesters of social studies. The required courses include: Global Studies (9th grade), World History (10th grade), United States History (11th grade), United States Government (12th grade) and one social studies elective course (12th grade).

College Prep Courses

Honors & Advanced Placement Courses

12th Grade Elective Courses

#1506 GLOBAL STUDIES
5 credits - Grade 9
Prerequisite: None       

This semester class will explore various regions of the world through their historical backdrop, themes of geography and those effects on contemporary society. Global and regional issues will be examined in the following areas: Latin America, Africa, the Middle East through the use of case studies. Students will study these areas through the five major geographic themes: physical and human geography, region, movement, and human-environmental interaction. Special attention will be given to the issue of human rights in contemporary societies around the world and the influence of religious belief systems on a culture.  This course will provide a foundation for the 10th grade World History course. Important skills will be introduced and reinforced throughout the semester, such as study and test taking skills, writing, critical thinking, listening and reading comprehension.

#1510  WORLD HISTORY
10 credits - Grade 10     
Prerequisite: None 
Fees will be collected for field trips

This one-year required course will explore the themes of modern world history with emphasis on the period from the 1200s to the present day incorporating themes from the Facing History program and curriculum.  Using case studies from different regions of the world, students will study the impact of science, religion, culture, revolution, nationalism, and democracy on the human condition throughout history.  Cross-curricular connections will be made throughout the year through assessments and discussions with Religious Studies and English courses.  During the second semester an in-depth study of events leading to and following World War II as well as the Holocaust will be conducted.  Historical events are connected to the present day condition of the world.  Diverse instructional methods are used in class including discussions, lectures, group activities, simulations, and individual reading.  Student assessment will be varied but can include tests, group and individual projects, quizzes, and homework.  As a result, students will develop writing, critical thinking, reading comprehension, study, and note taking skills.

#1520  U. S. HISTORY
10 credits - Grade 11
Prerequisite: None 
Fees will be collected for field trips      

In this class, students will study the major themes in United States History in the twentieth century.  Following a review of the nation’s beginnings, students will seek to understand the people and events that led to the emergence of the United States as a modern nation.  Students will consider the major social and political movements which continue to shape the country.  Students will evaluate past events with regard to ethical and moral criteria and their impact on life in the United States today.  The class will challenge students to critically examine the country’s history and its influence on contemporary society nationally and internationally.

#1500 U. S. GOVERNMENT
5 credits - Grade 12 
Prerequisite: None   
Fees will be collected for field trips    

This one semester course examines the development of the U.S. system of government and how the process works today.  Students will examine the foundational documents and principles of our government.  Careful study of the three branches of the federal government will incorporate current events to illustrate how each institution works and interacts.  Students will explore the political process to see how citizens can participate in civics through individual action, interest groups, and political parties.  Moreover, students will trace the evolution of civil rights and liberties and how they are protected and challenged today. Students not only explore how the governmental system works, but how to be active citizens who are involved in the process and in their communities. Students will engage in debates, writing assignments, group work and independent research.

#1540 COMPARATIVE GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS
5 credits - Grade 12 
Prerequisite: None   
Fees will be collected for field trips                                                                                                                              UC/CSU approval pending  

The course uses a comparative approach to examine, research, debate and analyze the political structures; policies; political, economic, and social challenges of the United States, United Kingdom, China and Mexico.   Students will explore the political process to see how citizens can participate in civics through individual action, interest groups, and political parties through the lens for four different countries.  Moreover, students will trace the evolution of civil rights and liberties and how they are protected and challenged today. Students not only explore how various governmental systems work, but how to be active citizens who are involved in the process and in their communities. Students will engage in debates, writing assignments, project based assignments and an independent research paper.  

Honors Program

Eligibility for Enrollment in Honors and Advanced Placement Courses in Social Studies: 
  • World History Advanced Placement enrollment: A grade of B or better is needed  in Global Studies Honors or in Global Studies or a teacher recommendation. 
  • US History Advanced Placement, US Government & Politics Advanced Placement: A minimum grade of C in a previous AP history course is needed or a teacher recommendation. 
  • Psychology Advanced Placement:  A grade of B or better in U.S. History or U.S. History Advanced Placement is needed or a teacher recommendation. 
  • Note: Students should have a grade of B or better in English in order to be successful in the social studies Honors and Advanced Placement program. 
  • Note: Students must maintain the required grade in the second semester in order to maintain eligibility. All placements will be reviewed at the end of the school year by the department.

#1507 GLOBAL STUDIES HONORS
5 credits - Grade 9 
Prerequisite: see Eligibility for Enrollment in Honors and Advanced Placement Courses in Social Studies

The content of this course is similar to the Global Studies course.  The depth of study in each area provides more critical analysis and the pace will be accelerated.  College level texts will be incorporated as well as primary sources.

#1515  WORLD HISTORY ADVANCED PLACEMENT
10 credits - Grade 10 
Prerequisite: see Eligibility for Enrollment in Honors and Advanced Placement Courses in Social Studies
Fee: Advanced Placement Exam; Fees will be collected for field trips

This course will focus on a greater understanding of the global processes and interactions with different human societies primarily from 1200 CE to present day. The first six weeks of the course will address regions and the significance of ancient historical empires. Through a combination of Text reading, Primary and Secondary source analysis, AP writing and analytical skills work, this course is advanced. The course highlights the nature of changes in international frameworks and discusses their causes and consequences. In addition, comparisons among major societies will be discussed. The long-term objective is for students to demonstrate a clear understanding of how the big picture of world history helps in understanding the complexities of today’s world. College credit may be awarded for passing the exam in May.

#1530 U. S. HISTORY ADVANCED PLACEMENT
10 credits - Grade 11 
Prerequisite: see Eligibility for Enrollment in Honors and Advanced Placement Courses in Social Studies
Fee: Advanced Placement Exam; Fees will be collected for field trips     

The AP U.S. History course focuses on the development of historical thinking skills (chronological reasoning, comparing and contextualizing, crafting historical arguments using historical evidence, and interpreting and synthesizing historical narrative) and an understanding of content learning objectives organized around seven themes, such as identity, peopling, and America in the world. In line with college and university U.S. history survey courses’ increased focus on early and recent American history and decreased emphasis on other areas, the AP U.S. History course expands on the history of the Americas from 1491 to 1607 and from 1980 to the present. The student will develop the skills necessary to arrive at conclusions on the basis of an informed judgment and to present reasons and evidence clearly and persuasively in a written format. 

#1545 U. S. GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS ADVANCED PLACEMENT
5 credits - Grade 12     
Prerequisite: see Eligibility for Enrollment in Honors and Advanced Placement Courses in Social Studies
Fee: Advanced Placement Exam; Fees will be collected for field trips  

The Advanced Placement U.S. Government and Politics program is designed to teach U.S. constitutional government based on principles of philosophy, political beliefs and behavior, political parties and interest groups, national institutions and policy processes, and law. Emphasis is given to the relationship of the citizen to the structure and function of the American constitutional system.  This course is designed to enable students to develop a critical perspective of government and politics in the United States. AP Government and Politics is a highly structured, very demanding college-level course. Students are required not only to read thoroughly the college-level text, but also to augment this material through research and reading of supplemental articles and then critically apply the findings to the political nature of current governmental policies and analyze the ramifications of these policies.

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12th Grade Elective Courses

All 12th grade students must take one social studies elective course in addition to the required government course. 

#1502 PSYCHOLOGY ADVANCED PLACEMENT
10 credits - Grade 12
Prerequisite: see Eligibility for Enrollment in Honors and Advanced Placement Courses in Social Studies
Fee: Advanced Placement Exam; fees will be collected for field trips  

Psychology AP is a yearlong course that will introduce students to the systematic, scientific study of mental processes as well as the behavior of humans and animals. Students will be exposed to the science of psychology, as well as the role of the brain and nervous system in regards to the emotions, cognitions and behavior of an organism. In addition, the course will include the study of sleep, learning, memory, intelligence, motivation and emotion. Students will also study developmental psychology, personality theories, anxiety and mood disorders and their treatment. The course will also include the study of ethics and methods psychologists use within their science and practice. 

#1503 ECONOMICS
5 credits - Grade 12 
Prerequisite: None 
Fees will be collected for field trips  

Why does the price of gasoline rise and fall? Why are businesses constantly introducing new products and services? Why do workers with more education and experience usually earn more money than high school students? Should the government raise taxes or lower them when the economy is in trouble? This course will explore these questions and many others. The course is a one-semester course designed to give the student a broad overview of basic economic principles, theories and practices. The student will evaluate the role of government, business, labor and the consumer in a market economy. Special emphasis will be given to economic interdependence, the emergence of the global economy and its effects. In addition, “life economic skills” like resume writing, do’s and don’ts of job interviewing, creating a personal budget, how to shop for insurance, and credit will be addressed.

#1508 CONTEMPORARY SOCIAL ISSUES: RACE, GENDER AND ETHNICITY ISSUES
5 credits - Grade 12 
Prerequisite: None   
Fees will be collected for field trips

This is an interdisciplinary semester course that will examine the changing demographics, communities, institutions and values of American society. Students will grapple with questions of identity and membership in the United States.

  • What shaped individual identity formation?
  • What institutional and individual factors contribute to the construction of American identity?
  • Is equity and justice granted to all living in America?
  • What rights and privileges are given to members of American society?

These questions will be explored through the lenses of gender, race, immigration, sexual orientation, and physical abilities. Students will consider how these characteristics shape the identities of individuals as well as influence the community dynamics and decision-making. The class uses an interdisciplinary approach which will incorporate perspectives of history, literature, sociology, anthropology, and politics.