Program Description

If you’re looking for a traditional course of study that exposes you to a broad spectrum of subjects - and also teaches you to reason, question, and communicate - Onondaga’s associate in arts (A.A.) degree in Humanities and Social Sciences provides this experience.

In addition, this program satisfies the General Education Liberal Arts requirements at many four-year colleges and universities, enabling you to move seamlessly into any major course of study once you transfer.

Graduates of this program have earned four-year degrees in liberal arts in pre-professional areas such as journalism, history, English literature, political science, modern languages, psychology, philosophy, economics, sociology, anthropology and more.

You will study the same liberal arts courses that freshmen and sophomore students typically study at colleges across the country: English composition and literature, history, mathematics, science, philosophy, fine arts, global awareness and languages, plus social sciences such as political science, psychology, anthropology, geography, sociology, and economics. This diverse exposure broadens your perspective on life and helps you make informed decisions about your career direction and future course study.

This program also includes a generous choice of electives, enabling you to explore new ideas and then focus on the area that most appeals to you: music, art, business, journalism, communication, computer science and more.

Through the completion of degree requirements and with careful advisement in selecting electives, you may be able to complete a minor in a specific area of study.

If you wish to enter the workforce after graduation from Onondaga, this degree tells employers that you have a broad-based education – and that you have learned how to learn. Many employers prefer to hire generalists who have solid reasoning and communication skills and therefore usually make good candidates for specialized, on-the-job training.

Humanities curriculum outline sheets, specifying all of the following requirements in detail, are available from the Counseling and Placement Testing department as well as from the English, Social Science and Modern Languages offices located in Mawhinney Hall.

The department of English, Reading and Communication offers courses in writing, literature, reading, communication, journalism and cinema studies. Students must complete English 103 and English 104 before taking upper-level English electives. A wide range of upper-division (200-level) writing and literature courses is available, including creative writing, report and technical writing, surveys of British and American Literature, literature by women, folklore, and science fiction.

The Reading discipline offers a variety of non-credit and credit courses. Non-credit courses are designed to help students develop their reading skills to meet the demands of college-level classes. Credit courses are available for students who would like to enhance their academic performance in college. Students may choose to focus on developing their vocabulary or improving their critical reading and study skills.

The Communication discipline offers courses in basic communication skills, public speaking, argumentation, interpersonal communication, gender communication, and small groups. Communication courses which respond specifically to the needs of international students are also available.

The Social Sciences department houses history and philosophy as well as the social sciences. The social sciences involve the study of human behavior and interactions. These sciences are anthropology, economics, geography, psychology, political science and sociology.

  • Anthropology is the scientific study of humans across cultures and through time.
  • Economics is the study of how society chooses to use limited resources in attempting to satisfy unlimited wants.
  • Geography examines through spatial analysis the world’s social, political, cultural, economic and environmental processes, with a particular focus on space and place.
  • History studies significant past events, explains their causes and effects, and their impact on the present.
  • Philosophy involves the critical examination of our fundamental views concerning reality, knowledge and values.
  • Political Science is concerned with the analysis of political and governmental institutions, public affairs and their interrelationships.
  • Psychology seeks to discover the environmental and genetic factors that influence an individual’s thoughts and behaviors.
  • Sociology focuses on the study of society and its institutions, and social relationships among groups of humans.

The Modern Languages department provides the opportunity to study languages other than English. Professors as well as students use the target language as much as the level of the course permits. Language study is complemented by learning about the cultures in which the language is spoken. In addition, courses on literature and civilization are offered (see list of courses under Literatures, Cultures and Civilizations). Knowledge of other languages and cultures is increasingly important for economic and social reasons.

Placement in language courses varies according to the high school background of individual students.