Social Sciences

2014 Social Sciences Students


Through a series of seminars and a carefully-supervised research project in an area of personal interest, students explore how the social sciences share some intellectual heritage and how they can come together to address problems confronting the contemporary world. Track participants will examine the perspectives of psychology, sociology, political science, and anthropology on matters including the family, work life, the legal system, religion, hatred, aggression, poverty, international conflict, and other topics.

Who should apply?

Open to students from any major, the track draws primarily from sociology, psychology, political science, and anthropology majors. Students from business, communications, public health, and many other majors have also enrolled. A minimum 3.25 GPA is required.

Students in the track can expect a stimulating learning opportunity led by accomplished researchers in the social sciences who are also deeply committed to teaching and preparing students for the next steps in their education and careers.

Students will read and discuss some of the finest social scientific thinkers throughout history; they will also learn how to conduct meaningful social science research. Our goal is for many students in the track to present their findings at scholarly conferences and, even, to publish their work.

The Honors Track in the Social Sciences is particularly appropriate for students who want to strengthen their applications to law school or graduate school in psychology, sociology, political science, anthropology, social work, law enforcement, and associated fields.

How do I enroll?

To enroll in the Social Sciences Honors Track, contact the Director, Dr. Neil Kressel, at 973-720-3389, You must also complete the track application online.

What courses will I take?

Required Courses

Track courses may be taken in any order with the permission of the director.

Social Science Honors 2010 – Honors Seminar in the Social Sciences I: Theory

As social scientists attempt to decipher human social behavior, they make various moral, theoretical, political, and methodological choices. The first two seminars in the track examine the intellectual origins of such choices. A special effort is made to identify where the various social science disciplines differ and where possibilities exist for interdisciplinary cooperation. Students in the first seminar explore these issues while reading and discussing classic works in psychology, sociology, political science, and anthropology.

Prerequisite: Admission to the Social Sciences Honors track

Social Science Honors 2020 – Honors Seminar in the Social Sciences II: Methodology

This seminar presents and assesses various quantitative and qualitative research methodologies used in the social sciences.  Students also participate in semester-long group research projects.

Prerequisite: Admission to the Social Sciences Honors track.

Social Science Honors 3010 – Honors Seminar in the Social Sciences III: Application

Each semester, this seminar examines a different social dilemma from a variety of social science perspectives. Seminars may address: (1) Law and Justice, (2) International Conflict, (3) Family Matters, (4) Religion, or other topics.

Prerequisites: Admission to the Social Sciences Honors track or permission of the Track Director. Students may repeat this course for credit, though subsequent enrollments would count as electives.

Social Science Honors 4010 – Honors Thesis I

Students design and carry out research in preparation for writing an honors thesis. We will embrace methodological diversity, requiring primarily that a project be feasible and fall within the domain of the social sciences broadly conceived. Faculty members are committed to helping students conduct successful research.

Prerequisites: SSH 2010, SSH 2020, and SSH 3010 or permission of the Track Director.

Social Science Honors 4020 – Honors Thesis II

Students complete and present an honors thesis.

Prerequisites: SSH 4010 or permission of the Track Director.

Recent Thesis Topics:

Anna Guarino, The Psychosocial Benefits of Martial Arts Training, 2019

Sean Orso, How Americans Think about the Abortion Issue, 2019

Casaundra Pagan, Hispanic Student Educational Attainment: Challenges and Suggestions for the Future, 2019

Tyler Ponomarev, Representations of Police on Television: A Content Analytic Study

Reem Shair, A Content Analysis of Direct to Consumer Pharmaceutical Advertising in Television Commercials, 2019

Abigail Urena, Finding Thinspiration: An Integrative Review of Pro-Anorexia Literature, 2019

Noel Bota, The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator: A Century of Research and Application, 2019

Kelley Breheny, Insurance Coverage of Eating Disorders, 2018

Miranda Galambos, Exploring Resilience and Post-traumatic Growth in Survivors of Childhood Trauma, 2018

Kelsey Harkins, Work-Life Balance in Athletic Training: A Systematic Review of the Literature, 2018

Karen Mendoza, Observing the Portrayal of Immigrants on American Children's Television, 2018

Cassandra Beck, The Impact of Political and Social Institutions on Income Inequality: A Review of the Literature, 2017

Johana Caba, Social Media and Public Relations: The Impact That Social Media has had on the Practice of Public Relations, 2017

Karisa Foreman, Analysis of Internet Self-Help Resources for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, 2017

Jessica Jones, Media Portrayal of Schizophrenia, 2017

Brittany Line, LGBTQ+ Representation in US Primetime Television and Audiences' Reaction on Twitter, 2017

Matthew Ruppert, The Correlation between Life Purpose and Life Satisfaction: Understanding the Effect of Various Purposes on Levels of Life Satisfaction, 2017

Erica Schwerthoffer, Angelina Grimké: The Unrenowned Catalyst of the Women's Rights Movement, 2017

Amanda Sobotor, Influence of Peer Pressure and Social Media on Adolescent Non-Suicidal Self Harm, 2017

Nalani Wilson, Democracy in Peril: The Undue Influence of Money on American Politics, 2017


About the Track Director: Professor Neil Kressel holds a Ph.D. in social psychology from Harvard University and an M.A. in comparative history from Brandeis University. A recipient of William Paterson's award for excellence in research and scholarship and a Visiting Associate Professor at Yale University’s Institution for Social and Policy Studies, his books include: Bad Faith: The Danger of Religious Extremism (2007), Mass Hate: The Global Rise of Genocide and Terror (1996; rev. ed., 2002); Stack and Sway: The New Science of Jury Consulting (2002), Political Psychology (1993), Antisemitism in North America: New World, Old Hate (2016), and “The Sons of Pigs and Apes:” Muslim Antisemitism and the Conspiracy of Silence (2012, selected as Book of the Year by the Journal for the Study of Antisemitism.).  A licensed psychologist, he enjoys supervising undergraduate student thesis projects and helping students to develop their own voices, perspectives, and careers.