Social Studies

Department Chair: Dr. William Elster - William.Elster@uofdjesuit.org, Ext. 2668


Three credits of social studies are needed to fulfill the graduation requirement. These must include one credit of World History, one credit of U.S. History, and at least 0.5 credit of U.S. Government.

Courses in Social Studies 2017-2018

World History (1 credit)

World History is a full-year survey course required of all freshmen. It is a comprehensive study of human history that focuses on the development of civilizations from the ancient times up to the present. The course also will expose students to the changing political, societal, and cultural aspects of human societies across the globe.

Course Fee: $94 AP World History Fee

U.S. History (1 credit)

U.S. History is a full-year survey course required of all sophomores. The course covers all of American History from the settlement of the Western Hemisphere to the present. Emphasized are not only the fundamental aspects of change in our society, but also the continuity of events with regard to the political, economic and social developments of our nation’s history. Emphasis is also placed on the development of study skills, such as reading comprehension, note taking, critical thinking, and test preparation.

Course Fee: $20 for US History E-book

A.P. Courses in Social Studies

Requirements for Advanced Placement Courses

For Sophomore year: A.P. U.S History is by invitation only to freshmen with an A in World History and a B+ or higher in English I.

For Junior and Senior years:

  • Students who successfully completed a previous A.P. Social Studies course with a B or higher are approved to continue.
  • For students who have not completed A.P. U.S. History:

The prospective A.P. student should have established a strong record of scholarship in his World History and U.S. History courses, as well as in his freshman and sophomore English classes. He must also show the same level of scholarship in his work in freshman and sophomore English.

The A.P. Social Studies teachers must interview him. He must sit at school and write an historical essay based upon a U.S. History topic. For admittance in the 2017-2018 school year, testing is at 2:55pm on Wednesday January 25, 2017 in Room 202. The A.P. History teachers and/or the chairperson will read the essay. The intention of the essay is to show knowledge of history and must include a strong proficiency in English with emphasis on essay writing and competent handwriting skills.

Taking the A.P. test is a requirement for each course. The cost of the test will be charged to the student billing account.

A.P. U.S. History (1 credit)

A.P. U.S. History is a full-year course which is only open to sophomores by invitation. The course will satisfy the U.S. History requirement. The students in this class will be expected to perform at an honors level. There will be supplemental reading, intensive writing and preparation for the A.P. Test. Taking the A.P. test is required and it entails a fee.

Prerequisites: A.P. U.S. History is a full-year course open to sophomores who have earned an A in both Freshman World History and a B+ or higher in English I. If space is limited preference will be given to the highest performing students.

Course Fee: $94 AP U.S. History Exam Fee

A.P. Government (1 credit)

A.P. Government is a full-year college-level political science class open to juniors and seniors who have met departmental admittance requirements. The major topics of consideration are the following: constitutional underpinnings of American government; political beliefs and behavior; political parties and interest groups; institutions and policy processes of our national government; and civil rights and civil liberties.

This course may be used to fulfill the graduation requirement in U.S. Government.

Prerequisites: This course is open to juniors and seniors who have either 1) earned an B or higher in A.P. U.S. History or A.P. Modern European History, or 2) successfully passed the A.P. admittance essay test based upon a U.S. History topic.

Course Fee: $94 AP Government Exam Fee

A.P. Modern European History (1 credit)

A.P. Modern European History is a full-year college-level course open to juniors and seniors who have met departmental requirements. Students are challenged to gain knowledge of basic chronology and of major events and trends from approximately 1450 to the present. Students will develop an understanding of some of the principal themes in modern European history, analyze historical evidence, and express historical understanding in writing.

Prerequisites: This course is open to juniors and seniors who have either 1) earned an B or higher in A.P. U.S. History or A.P. Government or 2) successfully passed the A.P. admittance essay test based upon a U.S. History topic.

Course Fee: $94 AP Modern European History Exam Fee

U.S. Government (0.5 credits)

U.S. Government is a course required for graduation and available to juniors and seniors. This course deals primarily with the understanding and application of the U.S. Constitution. Much of the course is an in-depth look at government on the federal, state and local levels.

Civil Rights: an American Journey (0.5 credits)

Civil Rights: an American Journey is a one-semester elective course that focuses on the history of the civil rights era—primarily from 1954-1968. The course will concentrate on the major events, ideologies, and leaders of that time. It will explore the impact of the civil rights movement on American politics, culture and economy, as well as discuss its continuing relevance on current issues in our society.

Economics (0.5 credits)

Economics is a one-semester elective open to juniors and seniors. The course explores the choices and decisions that people make about how to use the world’s limited resources. It introduces the basic principles of microeconomics and macroeconomics, international trade, and personal finance. This course places an emphasis on the students developing an economic way of thinking and problem solving that can be used in their lives as consumers, responsible citizens and effective participants in the global economy.

Course Fee: $94 Micro-Economics Exam Fee

Course Fee: $94 Macro-Economics Exam Fee



Michigan History (0.5 credits)

Michigan History is a one-semester elective course open to juniors and seniors. It surveys Michigan from prehistoric times to the present, with an focus on the Detroit area since the Civil War. Particular emphasis is given to the study of the development of the Michigan territory and early statehood, as well as the rise of the automotive industry and the labor movement. Students will improve research and writing skills by composing several small papers and power point presentations.

Plagues and Epidemics in History (0.5 credits)

Plagues and Epidemics in History is a one-semester elective course open to juniors and seniors. It examines the relationship between humans and the unseen world of germs. First, it explains how human activity help create the condition for epidemics, and secondly, it explains how plagues have affected past civilizations. It also explores in-depth the Bubonic Plague of the 14th century and the Great Influenza Pandemic of the early 20th century.

Psychology (0.5 credits)

The one-semester elective course is designed to introduce students to the historical inquiries of the discipline of psychology. These inquiries include -- but are not limited to -- the person; sensation and perception; states of consciousness; learning; memory; motivation; and emotion and personality. In addition to normal course requirements, students are expected to think and write reflectively.

Prerequisite: open to seniors only

Course Fee: $94 AP Psychology Exam Fee

Sociology (0.5 credits)

Sociology is a one-semester elective course open to juniors and seniors. The course is designed to introduce students to a study of human relationships. Much time is devoted to the concepts of culture, social organization, and social institutions, with special attention given to the role of the individual in society. Students are also introduced to the basics of sociological research, interpretation and communication.

Wealth and Poverty (0.5 credits)

Offered ONLY in Semester 2 in 2016-2017

Wealth and Poverty is a one-semester elective course open to juniors and seniors. It investigates our experiences and beliefs about wealth, poverty, social class, and economic inequality. Readings, videos, discussions, and simulations address historical roots, consequences of imperialism and globalization, and current data and policy options for America and the world. A crucial goal of the course is to understand Catholic social teachings and emphasize the Jesuit teaching on becoming committed to doing justice.

World Religions (0.5 credits)

World Religions is a one-semester elective course open to juniors and seniors whose objective is to introduce students to the history, beliefs and practices of the world’s major religions, including Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Church documents will contextualize the course and provide a framework for appreciating that which is “holy and true in these religions.” Special topics, such as Violence and Nonviolence in the World’s Religions; World Religions and Gender, etc. will be announced each time the course is offered.

World Since 1945 (0.5 credits)

The World Since 1945 is a one-semester elective course open to juniors and seniors. It surveys world history since the end of World War II, with an emphasis on tracing historical developments up to the present. Major topics include the Cold War, decolonization in Asia and Africa, the evolution of modern China and India, the Middle East, Islamic fundamentalism, globalization, and environmental issue. Students will write short papers, participate in simulations, and do a larger project of their choosing.

Seminar in Contemporary American Politics (0.5 credits)

Election Year - Offered ONLY in Semester 1 in 2016-2017

Seminar in Contemporary American Politics is a one-semester elective course for juniors and seniors. It allows a student to blend the practical experience of working for a campaign of his choice with a more conceptual and historical understanding of politics. The course calls upon students to participate actively in frequent discussions, to engage in both analytical and argumentative writing, and to generate projects expressing their own political views. It fulfills the social studies elective requirement but does not replace the required American Government course