College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences

Social Sciences and Global Studies


The concentrations listed below will provide a brief outline with links to learning plans for each concentration.

How is a concentration different from a BA?

Students in SBS receive a Bachelors of Arts in the Social and Behavioral Sciences along with a concentration in their field. For example there is no BA in Sociology, but a BA in Social and Behavioral Sciences with a concentration in Sociology (which is reflected in your degree and printed on your diploma.

Why have concentrations?

Graduates of SBS, while focusing on their chosen fields, all receive a broad understanding of social theory and methods which in turn informs their current and future research. For example, an Economics student might draw upon historical methods to find economic data or discuss the history of their research question. A psychology student might find some sociological survey methods appropriate. Archaeologists are constantly needing both regional and local mapping systems that are found in the field of geography. All SBS students learn a little of each field, enabling them to stretch the boundaries of their discipline.

  • Advisor: Dr. Juan Jose Gutierrez

    Students interested in the area of Anthropology have an array of courses that will allow them to become knowledgeable in theory, method and application. This preparation enables them to become successful candidates for either job positions in the area of social services and community organizations, serving organizations with culturally plural clients. Others can use their acquired skills in positions requiring research and analysis of cultural groups data; or, still others, can expect to be applicants and be accepted to prestigious graduate programs, as have some of our past students.

    Additional competencies gained include the ability to conduct analysis of the cultural context of social policy, cultural content of educational programs, analysis of the effect of international programs on local communities, ethnographic evaluation of social projects. This concentration provides a hands on experience conducting research in the international environment through the international summer program in Mexico. In preparation for this experience, the concentration offers the learning of research methods in a virtual ethnographic environment.

    Examples of job positions that students graduating with a concentration in Anthropology are the following: research positions at universities (i.e., Research Assistant, CSU Pomona; Data Analysis, AMBAG, UFW). Students graduating with a concentration in Anthropology have been very competitive when applying to graduate programs particularly to the UC system.

  • Advisor: Dr. Yong Lao

    Both as citizens and as participants in the labor force, university and college graduates are confronting issues and problems that require geographic knowledge and spatial perspectives -- ranging from environmental degradation to local impacts of global economic change and effects of changing national demographics on the U.S. economy. The Geographic Information Systems (GIS) concentration within the Social and Behavioral Sciences Major is designed for students who would like to study the patterns and processes of economic, social, political, and cultural features on Earth's surface with the assistance of GIS technology.

    Geographic Information Systems is an emerging technology that deals with computerized spatial information (i.e. digital maps and images). As the development and application of GIS continues to grow in both public and private sectors, GIS education and training have become very popular around the country. Most recently, the term Geographic Information Science has emerged to represent the science of spatial data processing-including theory and method of spatial data acquisition, storage, analysis, and visualization.

    There are many exciting career opportunities for students with GIS background. The GIS software, data, and services industry is estimated at $4.2 billion in the United States alone, and appears to be growing at around 20 percent per year.[[1]]( The demand has been rapidly rising for people who are knowledgeable about using GIS within their own discipline and for people who are professional GIS technicians.

    Examples of job positions that students graduating with a concentration in GIS are the following: GIS analysts, GIS programmers, marketing analysts, planners, research associates at universities, etc. Opportunities are also abundant for students who want to enter graduate schools.

    Learning outcomes

    The study of GIS requires a core of basic knowledge in social sciences, in-depth understanding of geographic theory and method, proficiency of computing skills, and demonstrated ability of conducting complex spatial analysis. Students must achieve competency in the following aspects:

    • a thorough understanding of basic theory and method of geography
    • comfort with acquiring, transferring, visualizing, and evaluating both spatial and attribute data from a variety of sources
    • the ability in applying GIS to study complex socio-economic issues by situating them in cultural, historical, and political context
    • skill of using multimedia and web techniques in presenting and sharing spatial information
  • Advisor: Dr. Angie Tran

    The political economy concentration offers an interdisciplinary approach to study the interconnections between economics and politics. It provides both breadth and depth of the discipline within a comparative framework in which students gain critical thinking skills and analytical tools to explain the inter-connected political economies of the U.S. and the rest of the world, especially Vietnam and other East and Southeast Asian countries. To meet the outcomes of this concentration, students can select from a variety of courses associated with this concentration, and combine with special activities that are related to these courses, including participation in the annual Social Justice colloquium series, roundtable discussions, seminars, exhibitions, presentations, etc. This combination also encourages students to connect these courses and activities with their Capstone projects on political economy.

    A concentration in political economy prepares and empowers students in two ways. First, at a conceptual level, it prepares students for graduate schools by providing them with a strong theoretical and methodological foundation based on diverse and critical perspectives. Market and government, as both political and economic institutions, interact with each other to bring about prosperity, justice and security for all citizens. To analyze them separately will yield only partial and distorted understanding of the social system. Hence, the political economy concentration provides an integrative analysis in which politics and economics are two facets of processes by which society is organized to achieve both individual and communal goals.

    Through a combination of both courses and hands-on projects, students will obtain a foundation in the principles of microeconomics and macroeconomics, relate them to real-life issues, and understand various implications for social policies. Moreover, they learn critical thinking and analytical skills in examining and critiquing the underlying assumptions of these theories and methodologies in terms of their embedded values, judgments and ideologies.

    Second, at an applied level, students will obtain the analytical tools to re-examine commonly held politico-economic conceptions/assumptions in a critical and comparative perspective. They gain a greater understanding of processes that affect everyday life of Americans and Third World peoples, as well as larger issues in the post cold-war world including the changing role of government to cope with challenges and opportunities arising from greater global integration, impacts of economic restructuring on sustainable development (defined as growth with economic, gender and environmental justice), socio-economic changes (gender division of labor, labor-capital relations, migration, cultural transformation, etc.).

    Learning outcomes

    1. The use of economics as both setting and methods: traditional economic analysis of ways of adapting resources to ends in an efficient manner. Students will be able to analyze human behavior as a relationship between scarce resources and unlimited ends within the market setting, and situate their place within this whole process.
    2. The use of economics as methods in political settings (government, political arena at all levels: individual, local, national, global). Students will be able to analyze the economic analyses of socio-economic policies such as trade, industrial, labor, tax, environmental, investment, immigration, health care policies. They should be able to situate their place within this whole process.
    3. The use of political methods in the market setting. Students will be able to analyze power relations in market settings on issues such as market power of firms (including domestic and multi-national corporations), labor-capital relations, gender division of labor locally, nationally and globally. They should be able to situate their place within this whole process.
    4. The underlying assumptions of those politico-economic frameworks. Students will be able to identify and critique them in terms of their embedded values, judgments and ideologies. They then discuss some potential changes to the frameworks/models in question using a more gender and class conscious set of assumptions.
    5. Data collection and data analysis methods. Students are expected to understand the strengths and limitations of these methods, and be able to use a combination of various data collection and analysis methods to explain some real-life problems and connect them with the theoretical concepts and frameworks. They should be able to identify the differences between primary and secondary sources, and to assess their usefulness.
    6. Applications to real-life issues that connect local and global concerns. Students will select some real-life issues that can be found in at least two countries (the U.S. and another country) such as sweatshop conditions, gender inequity, environmental degradation, labor migration, etc. These class projects can be associated with the themes of the annual Social-Justice Colloquium and their Capstone projects.
    7. Historical foundations and context. Students should be able to contextualize their analyses in broad historical and social contexts, and analyze how historical legacies influence contemporary practices and processes. They should incorporate gender and class dimensions into their analyses, and analyze the differential impacts of processes in question with respect to gender and class.
  • Advisor: Dr. Rebecca Bales and Dr. Ruben Mendoza

    The Native American Studies Concentration in SBS allows students to explore and examine Native America through the different Social Science disciplines. They will produce coursework focused on Native American history and societies. The SBS major gives students the skills and abilities to work with and within Native American communities to gain a broad understanding of issues that affect those communities including historical trauma, historical agency, environmental concerns, contemporary societal development, cultural awareness and survivance. In addition to scholarly pursuits, students are encouraged to meet and work with Native American communities in North America, especially California. They will link what they learn to broader, global indigenous issues and apply what they learn to their own professional development.

  • Advisors: Dr. Rebecca Bales, Dr. Chrissy Lau, and Dr. Frederik Vermote

    The concentration for Social History is dedicated to innovative teaching and research in social history and the practical application of historical knowledge in contemporary society. The concentration has been designed to allow students to pursue and achieve high standards in the following skills and competencies:

    • Self Reflection
    • Location of Primary Sources
    • Interpretation Primary Sources
    • Location and Interpretation of Secondary Sources
    • Identification and use of scholarly Secondary Sources
    • Understanding of Historiographic Context
    • Definition of a Researchable Topic
    • Ability to Study Change Over Time of a Given Social Group
    • Ability to Study and Understand the Significance of Place
    • Understanding of Broad Social Contexts

    Students concentrating in social history can expect innovative teaching methods combined with scholarship in social history. Students are expected to social history methods of teaching and scholarship to topics and interests that have practical benefits to the diverse students, faculty, staff and administration of CSUMB and to the communities of the Monterey Bay region.

    In addition, students will participate in a learning environment aimed at erasing the artificial academic line between the scholarly and the personal, receiving encouragement and support to participate in projects in the local communities that both meet community needs and provide opportunities for CSUMB students to conduct real, hands-on social history research and writing. Directly linked to the historical traditions and methods, students will be expected to assist in the preservation and analysis of the documents and materials of the local histories of the Monterey Bay Region.

  • Advisors: Dr. Armando Arias, Dr. George Baldwin, and Dr. Amanda Pullum

    Students interested in the concentration in sociology have a flexible array of courses from several campus centers that assist them to become knowledgeable in the outcomes related to theory, method and application in one or both of these areas. This preparation enables them to become successful candidates for positions in the area of social and human services working with community organizations especially those organizations serving culturally diverse clients. Others may wish to use their acquired skills in positions requiring research and social analysis. Still others are accepted to prestigious graduate programs in sociology, social psychology, or social work.

    Examples of positions that students graduating with a concentration in Sociology include: research and planning positions in state agencies, the foreign service, police departments, gerontology organizations, etc. Students graduating with a concentration in sociology have been accepted into sociology graduate programs in the UC system as well as Masters in Social Work programs in the CSU system.