Contemporary Civilization/Social Science

Courses in the social sciences provide students with a basis for understanding social systems and the interactions of individuals and societies. Students are required to take two courses selected from the social sciences offerings.

Contemporary Civilization, COCI GS1101-COCI GS1102, gives students the chance to engage directly with some of the key political and philosophical texts in the history of Western thought. Students discover how, across the centuries, thinkers have struggled with certain central questions: What does it mean to be human? What constitutes a good society? What is the relationship between power and authority? How can we reconcile our aspirations to justice and our lived experience of inequality? When is revolution justified, and what happens when and if it goes awry?   

Students can also select two social science courses from the following departments and programs or aforementioned interdisciplinary programs to fulfill the social sciences core requirement:

  • Anthropology
  • Economics
  • History*
  • Political Science
  • Psychology
    • Columbia psychology courses at the 2600-, 3600-, or 4600- level
    • Barnard College psychology courses except Statistics (PSYC BC1101)
  • Sociology
  • Challenges of Sustainable Development (SDEV UN2300); check with your advisor about other courses listed under this interdisciplinary program that may fulfill the social sciences requirement

GS students may elect to take the two-semester course Introduction to Contemporary Civilization, COCI GS1101-COCI GS1102, commonly called "Contemporary Civilization" or "CC" to fulfill the social science requirement. Refer to/Print the 2016-2017 syllabus for Contemporary Civilization.

*Courses from the Department of History may be counted toward the social science or humanities requirement, but in no case may more than two courses from one department be used to fulfill core requirements.

Interdisciplinary Programs

The following interdisciplinary programs offer courses in both humanities and social sciences. GS advisors must determine the appropriate category for a course when taken to satisfy a core requirement.

  • African-American Studies
  • American Studies
  • Comparative Ethnic Studies
  • Comparative Literature and Society
  • East Asian Languages and Cultures
  • Ethnicity and Race Studies
  • Hispanic Studies
  • Human Rights
  • Jewish Studies
  • Latin American and Caribbean Studies
  • Middle East, South Asian, and African Studies
  • Women's and Gender Studies