In social studies at Randolph-Macon Academy, students embark on an enlightened journey through the tapestry of human history, cultures, and societal structures. Here, students question their perspectives and foster critical thinking skills. Students will ask: What factors drive social change?How do historical events shape contemporary society? What are the ethical implications of political decisions? Students cultivate a deeper understanding of the world and their place within it. At the heart of the curriculum lies the recognition that learning social studies helps students think critically, empathize with diverse perspectives, and navigate the complexities of the human experience. Students emerge as informed citizens poised to contribute meaningfully to an interconnected world.

Modern World History:
In this course, students will embark on a fascinating journey through the history of the world from 1350 to the present day. They will dive into the Age of Exploration, the Renaissance, the Scientific Revolution, the Industrial Revolution, both World Wars, the Cold War, decolonization, and the rise of globalization. Students will analyze key events, influential figures, and the societal, political, and economic transformations that have shaped our modern world. Through engaging discussions, interactive activities, and thought-provoking projects, students will gain a deeper understanding of how historical events influenced the world we live in today.

U.S. History:
U.S. History provides an in-depth study of America’s history from its beginnings to the present day. U.S. History is the story of 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.

U.S. Government and Politics:
In this course, students will explore the foundations and principles of the United States government. They will delve into the structure of the government, including the separation of power among the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial branches. Students will also analyze key documents such as the Constitution and the Bill of Rights to understand the rights and responsibilities of citizens. Through discussions and activities, students will gain a deeper knowledge of the democratic system that governs the nation and the role they play as informed and active participants in the political process.

Advanced U.S. 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 U.S. politics. In addition, the course provides students with frequent practice in writing analytical and interpretive essays such as thematic essays. This course is dual enrolled with Shenandoah University as PSCI (Public Administration) 102 (Semester 1) and PSCI 103 (Semester 2). Students can earn 6 credits upon successful completion of the course. Prerequisite: A or better in the previous year’s History class or teacher recommendation.

Honors Industrial Revolution and Modern 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, the 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. Prerequisite: A- or better in the previous year’s history class or teacher recommendation.

AP Psychology:
AP Psychology is an introductory college-level psychology course where students cultivate their understanding of the systematic and scientific study of human behavior and mental process through inquiry-based investigations as they explore concepts like the biological bases of behavior, sensation and perception, learning and cognition, motivation, developmental psychology, testing, and individual differences, treatment of abnormal behavior, and social psychology. Throughout the course, students employ psychological research methods, including ethical considerations, as they use the scientific method, evaluate claims and evidence, and effectively communicate ideas. Prerequisite: A or better in the previous year’s history class or teacher recommendation.

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. A 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.

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 cause. 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 them. 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. Prerequisite: A or better in the previous year’s history class or teacher recommendation.

Principles of Economics:
Adam Smith once wrote that “wherever there is great property, there is great inequality.” This course examines how this statement can be true or not. Because Economics is a study of human action, students will analyze how individual and organized stakeholders behave in all markets. They will then study the way in which economies are measured to further prove or disprove Adam Smith’s assessment of resources. Prerequisite: A or better in the previous year’s history class or teacher recommendation.

Honors National Security Decision-Making:
Theory and Practice How do nations view and protect their national interests? How are national alliances formed?Why are treaties signed? What processes do nations follow? This course will discuss these, and other questions related to United States and European history. Students will examine the U.S. National Security Community since its beginnings. Students will focus on the roles of important agencies in the U.S. government and the balance of power between the executive and legislative branches. The course will relate national decision-making to current events. Prerequisite: Successful completion of United States History.