UndergraduateSocial Science and Humanities Theme Requirements
All McCormick degrees require seven courses in the Social Sciences and Humanities. Because some of these courses must be thematically related, this requirement is often called the Theme.
For the 2016-17 school year, requirements for courses in the Social Sciences and Humanities have changed. All students in the Class of 2020 and later can access the revised requirements through the online theme form that is available in the McCormick Advising System (MAS).
How to fulfill the NEW requirementS
- Choose seven courses total from two categories - Social & Behavioral Sciences and Humanities (see table below). Nearly all courses from the departments and programs listed in each category will count, but there are a list of disallowed courses from those departments and a list of allowed course from other departments (see tables below).
- A maximum of five courses may be chosen from a single category
- Indicate courses that are thematically related (minimum of three, up to all seven)
- Create a title for their theme and describe it in a brief narrative
- No more than three 100-level courses
- Exception: up to four 100-level courses if three are foreign language
- Additional Allowances
- Weinberg first-year seminar courses (via petition; primarily for students who transfer in from Weinberg)
- Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate courses are allowed. See theAP/IB table.
- Engineering, math, or science courses that are 395 or 399 may be petitioned if their content is mainly social science or humanities
- Half-unit (1/2) and one-third (1/3) unit courses are automatically combined
- Courses used to fulfill other McCormick requirements may not also be used to fulfill this requirement (for example, GEN_CMN 102 if it is being used for the Communications/Speech requirement)
(You may need to scroll down and look for the down arrow to see the table.)
TABLE 1: Approved Departments and Programs by Category (link to PDF)
Social & Behavioral Sciences
ANTHRO – Anthropology
CFS - Chicago Field Studies
COG_SCI – Cognitive Science
COMM_ST – Communication Studies
CSD – Communication Sciences & Disorders
ECON - Economics
ENVR_POL – Environmental Policy & Culture
GBL_HLTH – Global Health Studies
GNDR_ST – Gender & Sexuality Studies
HDPS – Human Development & Psychological Services
IMC – Integrated Marketing Communications
INTL_ST – International Studies
LEGAL_ST – Center for Legal Studies
LING - Linguistics
LRDSHP - Leadership
LOC – Learning & Organizational Change
POLI_SCI – Political Science
PSYCH - Psychology
SESP – School of Education & Social Policy
SOC_POL – Social Policy
SOCIOL - Sociology
AF_AM_ST – African American Studies
AF_ST – African Studies
AMER_ST – American Studies
ARABIC – Middle East & North African Studies
ART – Art Theory & Practice
ART_HIST – Art History
ASIAN_AM – Asian American Studies
ASIAN_LC – Asian Languages & Cultures
ASIAN_ST – Asian Studies
CHINESE - Asian Languages & Cultures
CLASSICS - Classics
COMP_LIT – Comparative Literary Studies
DANCE - Theatre
ENGLISH - English
FRENCH – French & Italian
GEN_CMN – Performance Studies and Communication Studies
GEN_MUS – Music Studies for Non-Majors
GERMAN - German
GREEK - Classics
HEBREW - Middle East & North African Studies
HIND_URD - Asian Languages & Cultures
HISTORY - History
HUM – Alice Kaplan Institute for the Humanities
ITALIAN - French & Italian
JAPANESE - Asian Languages & Cultures
JOUR - Journalism
JWSH_ST – Jewish Studies
KOREAN - Asian Languages & Cultures
LATIN - Classics
LATINO – Latina & Latino Studies
MENA - Middle East & North African Studies
MUS_COMP – Music Studies
MUS_TECH - Music Studies
MUS_THRY - Music Studies
MUSIC – Interdepartmental Courses for Music Majors
MUSIC_ED - Music Studies
MUSICOL - Music Studies
PERF_ST – Performance Studies
PERSIAN - Middle East & North African Studies
PHIL - Philosophy
PORT – Spanish & Portuguese
RELIGION – Religious Studies
RTVF – Radio/Television/Film
SLAVIC – Slavic Languages & Literatures
SPANISH - Spanish & Portuguese
SWAHILI – African Studies
THEATRE - Theatre
TURKISH - Middle East & North African Studies
YIDDISH – Jewish Studies
TABLE 2: Courses specifically allowed and not allowed to be used (link to PDF)
Additional Courses Allowed
Specific courses not eligible to meet theme requirements
MMSS 211-1 – Social Sciences
MMSS 211-3 – Social Sciences
MMSS 311-2 – Social Sciences
NAV_SCI 120 – Social Sciences
NAV_SCI 230 – Social Sciences
NAV_SCI 341 – Social Sciences
PRDV 325 – Social Sciences
TEACH_ED 329 – Social Sciences
TRANS 310 – Social Sciences
BUS_INST – Kapnick Business Institutions Program
ENGLISH 106-1, 2
How to Choose Your Theme
As you consider picking a focus for your theme, think about which subjects interest you beyond engineering:
- Do you enjoy reading literature, pondering philosophy, painting, or playing a musical instrument?
- Do you like learning about other religions or studying psychology?
- Are there ways that speaking a foreign language or developing your knowledge of economics could further your professional or personal goals?
These are just a few potential starting points for your theme. Each department listed in the table has a website with descriptions of courses. Explore departments that sound interesting to find specific courses.
If you're still unsure if your theme might be approved, follow the acronym “S.T.A.R.”:
- Succinct Title: You have a concise focus to your theme, as indicated in the title.
- Thematically Related: The focus courses clearly and directly connect in this area of concentration.
- Approved Courses: All of your courses listed are from approved departments.
- Remaining Courses: You fulfill the rest of the categorical requirements.
WHEN to Declare Your Theme
By the end of your sophomore year, complete the Social Science/ Humanities using the online portal in MAS.
Students in the Class of 2019 and earlier have the option to follow the modified theme requirements using the online form. Look for a the option on your dashboard in MAS. Students choosing the follow the older theme requirements will not be able to use the online portal and must use a paper form available in the Undergraduate Engineering Office (located in Tech L269).
You will receive an email indicating whether their theme has been approved.
- If it is approved, this will be indicated in MAS and the courses will appear in your audit.
- If it is denied, you will receive an email with suggestions for revisions.
Students may choose to use the revised theme option with prior permission of the Undergraduate Engineering Office.
Choosing this option request the use of a paper form that is available from the Undergraduate Engineering Office in Tech L269.
Students who entered the School of Engineering prior to 2016 are encouraged to follow the updated requirements and may do so without changing their catalog year. The previous requirements are outlined at the end of this page but cannot be completed using the online process in MAS; a paper form is required as is permission of the Undergraduate Office.
Students must complete seven courses related to their approved focus. Courses approved for use in the theme are categorized into three very broad areas:
- Fine Arts, Language, & Literature (FAL)
- Historical Studies & Values (HSV)
- Social & Behavioral Sciences (SBS)
View the Approved Theme Course Listing for Prior to 2016 for a full list of approved courses and their respective categories.
After the student has chosen a focus, he or she must also make sure that the seven courses are distributed among these categories. There are two options to fulfill the theme requirement:
- Seven courses total
- Three courses in focus area
- At least two courses from each category (FAL/HSV/SBS)
- No more than three 100-level classes
- Seven courses total
- Five courses in focus area
- No more than five courses from one category (FAL/HSV/SBS)
Note: The group of focus courses is not restricted to just one of the three categories.
If a course falls into more than one category, the student can choose either category.