University Core Curriculum
Module I: Engaging Academic Inquiry

Inquiry Seminar in the Social Sciences

  • Courses that introduce students to the subjects and methods of inquiry of the social sciences by engaging in focused study of one or more particularly important questions arising from a social science discipline. These courses introduce students to key concepts, knowledge, and principles of the relevant discipline as they relate to the questions being studied in the individual section. They are not intended to be survey courses or broad introductions to the discipline, but should be content-rich, with the content revolving around and connected to the central questions being studied.

    These courses engage students in studying questions about human behavior and social phenomena arising from a specific discipline in the social sciences. These courses all incorporate the direct study of human behavior or institutions through disciplinary-appropriate means (observation, experimentation, analysis of data, etc.); introduce students to developing hypotheses, research questions, and/or synthesizing qualitative data; and explore how knowledge of key social scientific principles provides explanatory insight into patterns of individual human and social behavior.

    In addition, these courses teach the following skills: academic writing, argument construction and critical thinking, critical reading, quantitative reasoning, and oral presentations.

    Sample Sections

    Can We Fix Health Care? Health Economics and Policy

    Faculty: Katie Fitzpatrick

    The government's role in health care is extremely controversial.  This course will examine the health care sector from a microeconomic perspective to understand the demand for health care and the provision of health services.  It will explore the role of industrial structure, insurance, market failures, and government interventions in explaining health-related outcomes.  Students will gain an appreciation for societal tradeoffs between economic efficiency and equity when crafting health policy.

    Healthy Relationships

    Faculty: George Sayre

    "What makes for a healthy intimate relationship?" Through the exploration of a wide range of psychological research regarding healthy and unhealthy relationships students will be introduced to the methods of psychological inquiry and communication (both written and oral).  Subjects will include attraction, love, friendship, sexuality, communication, conflict, and abuse.

    Urban Wastelands

    Faculty: Gary Perry

    This urban sociology course will explore the emergence and the consequences of wastelands, or polluted spaces, in the urban environment.  This academic service learning course will allow students to investigate urban wastelands throughout the urban landscape of Seattle-Pacific Northwest.

  • Learning Objectives

    All sections of this course introduce students to subjects, contents, methods, and perspectives of Social Science disciplines.

    Students' quantitative reasoning skills are reinforced through engaging students in analyzing some kind of numerical information.

    Together with several other courses that explore different disciplines, this course helps students understand and value the breadth and diversity of academic inquiry.

    All freshman-level inquiry seminars help students develop as thoughtful writers of effective academic prose.

    The oral presentation incorporated in this course helps students develop confidence and basic skills in public speaking.