Investigate, Explore, Apply the Social Sciences 

Imagine groups of students visiting courtrooms to observe first-hand the mental health and addiction issues in the criminal justice system. Or students traveling to locales as diverse as Russia, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Japan, Morocco and Senegal to participate in independent and group research in anthropology. Or the economics professor working one-on-one mentoring a first-year student who has aspirations to build his own college access program for families.

All of these are real experiences in the study of the social sciences at Franklin & Marshall.

Social Studies at F&M

We focus on teaching students to understand society and the human impact on our world through investigative and analytical approaches that begins with our faculty's deep engagement with students and often reaches beyond the classroom.

Faculty guide our students in working in the community on asylum cases for political detainees and helping lower-income families fill out tax forms. Students learn to collect and analyze soil samples in the study of the environmental health risks posed by lead, and they visit local markets and restaurants to explore food as a means to understanding culture.

This is part of the distinctiveness of how F&M teaches the social sciences.

Students Bring Social Sciences to Life

The way we teach the social sciences at F&M shapes minds, builds curiosity, launches careers and has an impact on students for a lifetime. It may be no surprise that students take what they learn beyond their coursework to find ways to impact communities in their free time. Like the international studies major who formed a student group to provide solar stoves to families in Guatemala. And the government major who led a project to establish a school in Cambodia.

Students Provide Solar Ovens to Guatemalan Families 
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	A woman with her children in Guatemala cooks over a wood-fire stove. Using solar stoves would minimize exposure to unhealthy gases and particulates that can accumulate when cooking with firewood indoors. (Photo courtesy of Anna Folz)

 During her junior year, Anna Folz formed the student-run group Impulso, with the goal of providing as many as 500 solar stoves to Guatemalan families so they can cook food with the heat of the sun instead of using firewood. A public health major at F&M with a minor in international studies, Folz had observed during a trip to Guatemala that indigenous women and children walked miles each day from their villages, often into unsafe territory, to find firewood for cooking.  

Students Collaborate to Construct School in Cambodia 
Cambodia School Project

Government major Jessica Fuhrman was able to witness the dedication of the school she helped found in Cambodia. A group of students established the Cambodia School Project to benefit Cambodia’s education system, which was essentially eliminated by the Khmer Rouge regime during the 1970s. The school in Trapaing Kong village was a multi-year effort that culminated during Fuhrman's senior year. The project was supported by F&M's International Women’s Outreach Committee (IWOC) and F&M's Human Rights Initiative.

The Pulse of the Social Sciences at F&M 
Story 9/13/2019

Author Examines Education Reformer, Race in U.S.

The author of the 2007 book, “In a Shade of Blue: Pragmatism and the Politics of Black America,” Eddie Glaude Jr. described today’s American democracy as one in turmoil in his remarks at Franklin &...

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Story 9/5/2019

A Long Way From Behind Enemy Lines

Four years after the liberation of Paris from Nazi occupation, Marthe Cohn enlisted as an Allied spy. Now 99 years old, Cohn relaxed comfortably in a chair on stage in F&M’s Alumni Sports and Fitness...

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Story 9/5/2019

Letter From an F&M Student Abroad: My Summer in Wales

This summer, having finished her first year at Franklin & Marshall College, sophomore Lydia Shaw studied as a Fulbright Summer Participant in the United Kingdom. The following is Shaw’s letter about...

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