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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

Public health major investigates child health in Africa

As a public health major, Jennifer Gay traveled to South Africa to study child health. Her project combined qualitative research in the field with quantitative research in the biology lab with a professor. Read more 

Students help bring historic records to public

Benefitting research in history, American studies and government, two students processed documents, newspaper clippings and photographs from the national Junior League from 1923 through 2004. Read more 

Students Bring Social Sciences to Life

Students Provide Solar Ovens to Guatemalan Families 

 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 8/1/2017

Shanghai Rises as a 21st Century Global City

A Franklin & Marshall College professor and student are examining whether Shanghai’s resurrection from its war-torn, impoverished past to its thriving capitalist present under communist rule is...

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Story 6/22/2017

Student Investigates Why Grocery Stores Leave Neighborhoods

It was the first Giant grocery in the city of Lancaster, located in a low- to moderate-income neighborhood, but after 40 years, the supermarket chain closed the store, leading to protests and...

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Story 5/11/2017

Majority of Pennsylvanians Now Support Marijuana...

For the first time since the Franklin & Marshall College Poll began surveys on the issue in 2006, the majority of Pennsylvania voters – 56 percent, according to the latest poll – support marijuana...

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Story 4/27/2017

Faculty, Students Plant and Climb Trees at F&M's Arbor Day

As one of Pennsylvania’s few colleges certified as a Tree Campus USA, Franklin & Marshall College recognized Arbor Day April 27 with the planting of a Kentucky coffee tree on the front lawn of...

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Story 4/26/2017

Kneedler Award Recipient Keeps Things Light, Efficient,...

Behind her desk, motivational posters cover a wall, and several capture who she is – “Sharing,” “Gratitude,” “Tenacious,” “Do or do not, there is no try,” “Never Let Inexperience Get in the Way of...

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Story 4/17/2017

How Three Icelandic Political and Religious Movements...

In the last two decades, three unique movements have emerged in Iceland, shaping the island nation’s culture. They captured the interest of a Franklin & Marshall College first-year student who...

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Story 4/17/2017

Spring Research Fair: National and Imperial Discourses at...

"Museums and the Production of Identity" was among the many student projects on display in the Martin Library of the Sciences for the April 14 Closer Look Research Fair.  

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Story 3/31/2017

Students Take Second in Social Entrepreneurship Pitch...

Todd Bartos, adjunct assistant professor of business, organizations & society, and his Social Entrepreneurship class left an impression with three Franklin & Marshall College seniors, Aaron Hoffman,...

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Story 3/25/2017

Government Department Torch Passes to a New Generation

Atop an old, Italianate-style hotel that overlooks the White House and the Washington Monument, the five “legends” of Franklin & Marshall College’s Department of Government were feted.

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