Apr 21, 2024  
College Catalog 2022-2023 
College Catalog 2022-2023 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Liberal Arts & Sciences: Humanities and Social Sciences (A.A.)

Transfer Path: Anthropology Transfer Path: English
Transfer Path: History Transfer Path: Sociology

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 into many different majors 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 of study.

This program also includes a generous choice of electives, enabling you to explore new ideas in areas that most appeal 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. (Please see the section on Minors  in the Catalog.)

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.

The department of English/Integrated Learning Studies/Communications offers courses in writing, literature, reading, communication, journalism and cinema studies. Students must complete ENG 103  and ENG 104  before taking upper-level English electives. A wide range of upper-division (200-level) writing and literature courses are available, including Creative Writing, Report and Technical Writing, surveys of British and American Literature, World Literature, African American Literature, Women’s Literature, The Novel, and Voices of Diversity.

The Integrated Learning Studies discipline offers a variety of courses 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 Communications discipline offers courses in basic communication skills, public speaking, argumentation, interpersonal communication, gender communication, and small groups. Communication courses that respond specifically to the needs of international students are also available.

The Social Sciences and Philosophy 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, feelings, and behaviors.
  • Sociology focuses on the study of society and its institutions, and social relationships among groups of humans.

The World 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 the Literatures, Cultures and Civilizations section). 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.

Humanities and Social Sciences Transfer Paths

SUNY has created transfer paths for most disciplines. These transfer paths will help you identify core coursework in these disciplines that will prepare you for multiple SUNY campuses. The transfer paths relevant to the Humanities and Social Sciences degree are listed below. All of the courses listed are three-credit courses, and may be used to fulfill other degree requirements, including SUNY General Education requirements. Make sure to consult with your academic advisor before choosing a transfer path.


The anthropology transfer path will provide students with a broad understanding of the human condition by introducing them to the sub-fields of cultural anthropology, archaeology, and physical anthropology as well as by providing them with courses in linguistics or in different topical areas. The goal of this transfer path is to prepare students to enter a four-year institution as an anthropology major at the junior level, ready to pursue more specialized courses in the discipline of anthropology.


The ideal preparation for the English major is familiarity with a broad range of ethnic and national literatures, literary periods and genres, and modes of writing. It is recommended, therefore, that students take as many courses as possible in different areas of literary study and writing.


History involves the examination of continuity and change over time. Historians investigate evidence from the past, interpret its meaning, and analyze the impact of the past on the world in which we live. Historical inquiry may be approached from a variety of perspectives and can lead to different interpretations, which makes the study of history both exciting and challenging. The history transfer path will provide students with a broad understanding of three major content areas within the history discipline: American History, World Civilization, and Western Civilization. For students who plan to major in history, this transfer path will prepare them to enter a four-year institution as history majors where they will pursue more specialized courses in history.


Sociology is the scientific study of human societies, organizations and behaviors. Specializing in sociology prepares students for a variety of career and educational paths in social services, public policy and administration, international relations, demography and social research, community development, law and legal studies, journalism, public health, teaching, and more. Successful completion of the sociology transfer path includes completing SOC 103  (Introductory Sociology) and three additional SOC courses, one of which should address social stratification, gender, or inequality.

Mission Statement

The mission of the Humanities and Social Sciences program is to provide students with a broad-based education that will enable them to develop critical thinking skills for inquiry and analysis suitable for life-long learning. The program emphasizes scholarship on the complexity of the human experience through mediums such as language, communication, text documents, thought, history, culture, society and its institutions. Students completing this program will be able to transfer to four-year liberal arts programs and major in a wide range of disciplines.

Program Learning Outcomes

  1. Deliver clear, well organized, well-reasoned oral presentations on Humanities and Social Sciences subjects appropriate to the audience.
  2. Analyze elements of different kinds of expression, from artistic to scientific, and implement relevant ideas and scholarship into various forms of writing.
  3. Demonstrate critical, reflective, and independent thinking while engaging with opposing viewpoints on issues encountered in the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  4. Exhibit an understanding of the value of community and the significance of civic engagement from a historical and contemporary perspective.
  5. Explain historical and theoretical perspectives on human behavior, development, and socialization.
  6. Compare and contrast the major research methodologies used in the Social Sciences and Humanities.
  7. Demonstrate basic communicative competency in a world language and understand the social values and practices of diverse cultures.

First Semester

Total Credits: 15

Second Semester

Total Credits: 15

Third Semester

Total Credits: 16

Fourth Semester

  • 200-Level History or Social Science Elective Credits: (3)
  • 200-Level Humanities Elective or any Arts Elective Credits: (3)6
  • SUNY Gen Ed Other World Civilizations Elective Credits: (3)
  • General Electives Credits: (6)7

Total Credits: 15

Total Program Credits: 61


  1. English as Second Language (ESL) students may substitute the SUNY Gen Ed Foreign Language requirements with ESL 115  and 116 . In this case, 6 credits taken elsewhere in the program must be designated SUNY Gen Ed from another category.
  2. The Social Science Elective in semester 2 does not need to be designated SUNY Gen Ed Social Sciences but can be from any of the disciplines within the social sciences: Anthropology (ANT), Economics (ECO), Geography (GEG), History (HIS), Political Science (POS), Psychology (PSY), or Sociology (SOC).
  3. It is recommended that the Math requirement be fulfilled in the first year. For students placing into credit-bearing math, the following courses are recommended: MAT 104 , MAT 112 , MAT 113 , or MAT 118 . Students needing a developmental course should take the MAT 004 /MAT 104  or the MAT 018 /MAT 118  sequence in the same semester.
  4. Three of the four credits must be classified as SUNY Gen Ed for the SUNY Gen Ed Natural Science requirement. Students should take the corresponding labs in the same semester as the lectures. The following courses are SUNY Gen Ed Natural Science courses recommended for non-Science majors: AES 100  or 105 ; BIO 105 , 106 , or 131 ; CHE 121  or 151 ; GEO 106 ; SCI 103  or 104 .
  5. A student who feels they would benefit from ILS 153  may take it as one of their General Electives. If ILS 153  is taken in semester 1 as a General Elective, the SUNY Gen Ed American History elective can be fulfilled in semester 3.
  6. The Arts elective can be satisfied by courses in the following subjects: ART, PHO, ARH, IND, MUS.
  7. The General Electives can be used to accommodate potential transfer paths to four-year partners or general electives.