Social Studies Course Descriptions

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Social studies curriculum at Randolph-Macon Academy, a U.S. boarding school that offers the advantage of an international population.

The study of the past and how it applies to the future is at the root of the social studies curriculum at Randolph-Macon Academy.  The social studies curriculum is also tailored to challenge and encourage students to grow in their breadth of knowledge, skills in finding and applying information, and in honing the ability to think, write, and speak clearly. 

World History II
World History surveys the history of civilization from the year 1000 to the present, with an emphasis on cultural development and the outstanding personalities who have shaped human progress. From the fall of the Roman Empire through the pivotal periods, ages, and revolutions that make up the modern period, students will gain a better understanding of the forces that have shaped modern cultures around the world.

United States History
United States History is usually taken in the junior year, and provides an in-depth study of America’s history from its beginnings to the present day. U.S. History is the story of an evolution—of the physical landmass as the country spreads across the continent; of the changing composition of society; of the revolutions and transformations in institutions, industry and government; and of the ever-changing role of America on the world stage.

Advanced Placement United States History (dual-enrolled as History 103, 104 with Shenandoah University)
This course has two purposes: to teach the main lines of American political, social, and economic history, and to develop the analytical skills necessary to develop a sophisticated understanding of the process of historical continuity and change. In addition to the enhanced course content, students learn and practice expository writing in order to prepare for the Advanced Placement exam, which is required of enrolled students. Students completing both semesters with a “C” or better can earn six college credit hours with dual enrollment at Shenandoah University. Prerequisite: Completion of World History or equivalent with grade of A or a grade of B with teacher approval.

United States Government
United States Government is a full-year course taken in the senior year. This course provides students with an in-depth look at the foundations and functions of American government. Major themes and topics of study include the history of American democracy and government; the Constitution and Bill of Rights; citizenship; political parties and the election process; Congress and the legislative process; the Presidency and the executive branch; the federal bureaucracy; and the Supreme Court, the lower federal courts, and major landmark decisions.

Advanced Placement United States Government and Politics
This course involves the study of general concepts used to interpret American politics and familiarity with the various institutions, groups, beliefs, and ideas that constitute US politics.  In addition, the course provides students with frequent practice in writing analytical and interpretive essays such as thematic essays in order to prepare for the Advanced Placement exam, which is required by all enrolled students. The pre-requisites for the course are a B or higher in United States History and the most recently taken English course. Prerequisite: Completion of United States History with grade of A or a grade of B with teacher approval.

Principles of Economics
n introduction for grades 10-12 to microeconomics and macroeconomics. Microeconomics analyzes corporations, consumers markets and income and how they interact. Macroeconomics analyzes income and products of nations, employment, inflation and money. This course is designed for students with an interest in a career in business and finance.

AP Psychology (dual-enrolled as Psychology 101 with Shenandoah University)
This course is designed to introduce students to the systematic and scientific study of the behavior and mental processes of human beings and other animals. Students are exposed to the psychological facts, principles, and phenomena associated with each of the major subfields within psychology. They also learn about the ethics and methods psychologists use in their science and practice. Prerequisite: Completion of Biology with grade of A or a grade of B with teacher approval.

Sociology (One semester)
Sociology is the study of the groups, behaviors, and institutions of human societies.  Sociology examines a wide range of subjects, including race, gender, and social class.  Students will understand how these factors impact broad societal issues, like crime and education, but also the personal issues of one's identity. The goal of this course is for students to use this knowledge to gain a better understanding of their own culture and the cultures of others.

Criminology (One semester)
Humans have a unique obsession with crime. Yet, despite this fascination, there is no consensus on how to punish or prevent crime, nor even its causes. Criminology attempts to provide answers to these questions. It is the study of the making and breaking of laws, and how society chooses to respond to it. This course will examine a wide range of subjects: theoretical perspectives, types of crime and their typology, as well as how we prosecute and punish crime. Students will understand how these factors impact broad societal issues, including problems with our prison systems and police brutality. Students will explore the functioning of the trial system: eyewitness testimony, evidence gathering, and jury selection. The course culminates with a mock trial. Students will assume the roles of lawyers and witnesses and learn a basic level of criminal procedure and courtroom objections.

Twentieth-Century Warfare
The world in 1900 was poised on the threshold of one of the most remarkable periods of change in human history.  This class will explore the clashes between nations and how these were affected by industrialization, rise of mass politics, the collapse of monarchical orders and the coming of mass urbanization. Some focus will be placed on strategy, tactics, and weaponry.