Undergraduate Area of Study

Undergraduate Social & Behavioral Sciences Programs

RIC student studying in Gaige Hall

Explore a wide range of disciplines and career tracks: from history to anthropology, communications to film studies, gender and women's studies to Africana studies, public administration to international non-governmental organizations, psychology to sociology, political science to justice studies, chemical dependency and addiction studies to gerontology, and more. These many and varied fields of study are all connected by a common focus on people, culture and behavior. Students go on to pursue careers in journalism, filmmaking, law enforcement, marketing, public relations, counseling, government, advocacy, nonprofit work and many more professions. Through the careful study of people and the world around them, students gain an understanding of human behavior and the way it drives industries and institutions. A rigorous academic environment combined with ample experiential learning opportunities means graduates go out into the world prepared to hit the ground running.

Outcomes and Career Tracks

Graduate Schools

  • Rhode Island College
  • Antioch University-Los Angeles
  • Boston University
  • Bridgewater State University
  • Brown University
  • Clark University
  • Columbia University in the City of New York
  • Lesley University
  • Loyola University Chicago
  • Simmons College - Simmons School of Social Work

Job Placements

  • Inspiring Minds
  • Kaleidoscope Family Solutions
  • Momentum Behavioral Health
  • CODAC Behavioral Healthcare
  • Care New England
  • Lifespan
  • Aspire Health Alliance
  • RI State Government Internship Program
  • Amego
  • City Year

Sample Careers

  • Anthropologist
  • Behavioral Analyst
  • Case Manager
  • Development and Fundraising
  • Juvenile Justice Worker
  • Law Enforcement
  • Market Research Analyst
  • Paralegal
  • Policy Analyst

Our Programs

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Africana Studies

About this Program

Established in 1972, the Africana Studies program is one of the oldest Black Studies programs in the New England area. The program is committed to the original goals of the Black Studies movement of furthering a Black intellectual tradition and providing a corrective critique to the dominant Eurocentric narratives and academic discourse. Graduates of the program, which offers a trans-disciplinary curriculum in the arts, humanities and social/behavioral sciences, have gone on to establish successful careers in academia, education, law, public policy and social work. Students will learn to identify important contributors to the field, recite major events and persons in the chronology of the global black experience, and demonstrate familiarity with the history and impact of resistance against racism, colonialism, enslavement, poverty and injustice. 

Why Rhode Island College?

Africana Studies produces knowledge for the empowerment of Black people and advances the cause of transformative racial justice. The program provides an ideal education for students who aspire to careers in academia, education, community organizing, public service, law, government, public policy, and social work. 

Contact Information

Dr. Sadhana Bery

Assistant Professor

Program Information

Degree
Bachelor of Arts
Program Type(s)
Major
Minor

Anthropology

About this Program

The BA in Anthropology provides students with the skills and knowledge to examine the diversity of lived experiences of individuals, groups and communities both locally and globally. Students receive a broad foundation exploring the archaeological, biological, cultural and linguistic facets of anthropology and then pursue their interests through topical elective courses. An emphasis on anthropological methods in these courses urges students to undertake several research projects. The major culminates in a senior capstone course that requires aspiring grads to create an original semester-long research project.

Why Rhode Island College?

Locally and around the globe, RIC faculty in this field are committed to an applied and engaged anthropology that emphasizes addressing issues impacting local and global communities. As a result, graduates of the program go on to understand the real world implications of these issues and how anthropological tools can be used, preparing them for jobs in a variety of fields.

Contact Information

Program Information

Degree
Bachelor of Arts
Program Type(s)
Major
Minor
Concentrations
No concentrations within the major, but we do offer focused minors in General Anthropology, Archaeology, Biological Anthropology, Cultural Anthropology, Linguistic Anthropology and Medical Anthropology

Chemical Dependency/Addiction Studies

About this Program

This degree program is designed to develop the professional skills of students who intend to work with people struggling with substance abuse, addiction and other behavioral health disorders. In addition to foundational courses on the scientific basis of behavior, professional courses will teach students interaction and intervention skills used by clinicians of the 21st century. By completing this program, graduates will earn many of the certification requirements for entry-level clinicians in chemical dependency. 

Why Rhode Island College?

Rhode Island College offers the only undergraduate chemical dependency professional preparation degree program in New England. This innovative program reflects the scientist/practitioner model taught by clinical and teaching faculty who offer a diversity of expertise. Students also gain access to rewarding and challenging training experiences in long established professional internship placements within local communities

Contact Information

Dr. George T. Ladd

Associate Professor

Program Information

Degree
Bachelor of Science
Program Type(s)
Major

Communication

About this Program

Communications is a broad and in-demand field in the modern economy. Our Communications program prepares students for a range of exciting careers in journalism, public relations, marketing, government, broadcast news, graphic design, speech pathology and much more. Nearly every major company or industry now employs communications professionals in some capacity and our Communications Department provides practical, real world education in some of the most important disciplines in the filed. The major features a journalism concentration that places special emphasis on multimedia reporting in the digital era, which equips students to work for online and off-line publications. Meanwhile, the major’s speech, language and hearing science concentration covers core courses considered by the American Speech Language Hearing Association to be prerequisites for graduate study.

Why Rhode Island College?

A primary goal of the communication department is to develop students’ capabilities by providing a balance between practical experience and theory. Students are encouraged to participate in internship programs to get on-the-job communication experience. In addition to providing training for specialists, the communication department strives to supply students with the communication background necessary for their personal endeavors and career pursuits.

Contact Information

Dr. Giselle A. Auger

Associate Professor

Program Information

Degree
Bachelor of Arts
Program Type(s)
Major
Minor
Concentrations
Journalism; Public and Professional Communication; Public Relations/Advertising; Speech, Language and Hearing Science; Media Communication; Digital Media Production minor and Communication minor

Digital Media Production

About this Program

The minor in digital media production is for any student who wants to expand their digital media skills and learn to produce professional audio, video, music, podcasts, live streams and other multimedia projects. Courses in the minor provide students with foundations in concept development and scriptwriting for various forms of media and opportunities for advanced study in video and audio production and other forms of multimedia content creation. The digital media minor provides skills that complement a wide variety of majors, including education, psychology, music, theatre and dance.

Why Rhode Island College?

Jobs related to digital media production have been projected to grow much faster than average. For instance, employment for video and film editors and camera operators is projected to grow by 18 percent from 2019 to 2029.

Contact Information

Dr. Brian M. Knoth

Associate Professor

Program Information

Program Type(s)
Minor

Environmental Studies

About this Program

With an interdisciplinary approach, this program focuses on how humans interact with their environment, taking stock of the essential and reciprocal relationship between humans and the natural world. The program also examines ways to move forward towards a more sustainable future for human and natural systems. Drawing on courses offered in biology, mathematics and the physical sciences, as well as the humanities, social sciences and arts, environmental studies majors explore how behavior, cultural variation and the function of our social, political and economic institutions both shape and are shaped by the natural world. 

Why Rhode Island College?

As environmental issues are of increasing concern worldwide, this with training in the field of Environmental Studies will be increasingly in demand across a range of industries. RIC has a tradition of emphasizing liberal studies education, which is essential for Environmental Studies majors. Field courses and internship opportunities make this a robust and engaging area of study. Graduates build vital skills that can lead to careers with non-profit agencies, natural resource management, environmental education/interpretation, public policy, parks and outdoor recreation, journalism, etc.

Contact Information

Dr. April Kiser

Assistant Professor

Program Information

Degree
Bachelor of Arts
Program Type(s)
Major
Minor

Film Studies

About this Program

A wide range of courses within this major probe the production and critical study of film. Students inspect moving images and films of the past and present, from a national and international perspective. Films are contemplated in terms of history, culture, theory, genre, aesthetics and more. Students are urged to think carefully, deeply and passionately about the films they watch, write about and create.

Why Rhode Island College?

In 2020, for the second year in a row, RIC ranked among the top 10 most affordable Film Studies programs in the country. For 2021, Intelligent.com ranked RIC’s Film Studies program as the #12 film degree program in the county, specifically citing it as the “Best B.A. Program.” Our upper-level classes tend to be small – no more than 15 students – and emphasize discussion, collaboration, and hands-on learning. Our dedicated faculty and interesting students are caring, supportive, creative, fun, and accomplished

Program Information

Degree
Bachelor of Arts
Program Type(s)
Major
Minor

Gender & Women's Studies

About this Program

Graduates, future scholars and activists are prepared to understand, navigate and disrupt interlocking systems of oppression based on gender identity and expression, race, ethnicity, social class, sexuality, nationality and ability. Students actively engage in interdisciplinary courses that consolidate intersectional feminist perspectives and pedagogies and foster community. Courses provide students with valuable marketable skills and opportunities, including internships that complement any course of study or career path. Graduates work in a range of fields including medicine, social services, education and business, and many continue to graduate school.

Why Rhode Island College?

Our program embraces a vibrant, supportive community of learners, centralizing student voices in the planning of courses, programs and events. A thriving staple at RIC since the 1970s, the program has often paid particular attention to student voices and concerns. An example of that outreach is the Queer Studies minor, a new addition initiated by students.

Program Information

Degree
Bachelor of Arts
Program Type(s)
Major
Minor

Gerontology

About this Program

Around the world, people are living longer. Rhode Island is home to the largest proportion of older adults aged 85 and over in the United States. The college’s gerontology program consists of courses in sociology, psychology, social work, political science and nursing. Many of the fastest growing career fields, including government, community planning and counseling, are relying upon the skills of social gerontologists.

Why Rhode Island College?

As the first gerontology program in the state of Rhode Island, RIC’s multidisciplinary program leads to a minor or certificate in gerontology and equips students with a systematic grounding in the study of aging.  It can be combined with any major with courses offered through the Schools of Arts & Sciences, Education, Nursing and Social Work.

Program Information

Program Type(s)
Minor
Outcome
Certificate of Undergraduate Studies

History

About this Program

History majors explore opportunities to examine society through varied time periods and geographic regions; through popular culture, ordinary people, government and foreign relations; and through the lens of race, ethnicity, class and gender. By engaging in research, analysis and writing, students acquire valuable skills for graduate or law school and careers in business, government, teaching and more. History B.A. is for the general study of history and Secondary Education History/Social Studies B.A. prepares students for teaching careers.    

Why Rhode Island College?

You will benefit from small classes, flexibility to take courses of interest and an opportunity to interact with professors noted for their varied historical specializations and expertise. Students leave this program prepared to create original research projects, earn noteworthy internships and display their work during public events in the community.

Contact Information

Dr. Elisa Miller

Associate Professor

Program Information

Degree
Bachelor of Arts
Program Type(s)
Major
Minor
Accreditations
New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Inc. through its Commission on Institutions of Higher Education.

International Non-Governmental Organizations Studies

About this Program

As an interdisciplinary program, INGOS explores international social, political, and economic change and the people and movements that seek this change. INGOS offers two options: a minor and a certificate, both of which can be completed within a year. Students in the program have opportunities to work in the community, gaining professional nonprofit experience, as well as interning locally, nationally, or internationally.   

Why Rhode Island College?

RIC offers the only undergraduate program in the country in International NGOs and Nonprofit Studies (INGOS). Our graduates work at the United Nations, in federal and state government, and in nonprofits globally. Our program has a unique approach to professional development to prepare students for post-graduate opportunities and a committed group of alumni mentors to guide you.

Program Information

Program Type(s)
Minor
Outcome
Certificate of Undergraduate Studies

Justice Studies

About this Program

As an interdisciplinary major, justice studies focuses on both social and criminal justice. Students can select courses in sociology, political science, psychology, philosophy and other fields to attain a broad understanding for thinking about questions of justice, as well as a firm grounding in research and data analysis. Students have the chance to complete an internship for major credit and depending upon the strength of their performance can take graduate courses in their senior year to complete a BA and MA in just five years.

Why Rhode Island College?

Faculty possess a range of real-world experiences and develop skills desired by employers and graduate programs. Students go on to succeed in a variety of career paths, from legal work to law enforcement, from non-profit management to the corporate world, and from social services to education.

Program Information

Degree
Bachelor of Arts
Program Type(s)
Major
Minor

Political Science

About this Program

Our department offers both a bachelor of arts and a minor in Political Science. Our faculty and students examine enduring puzzles of politics and policy at the local, national, and global levels. A main goal of the political science program is to produce citizens who can evaluate information accurately, reason carefully, think critically, and communicate effectively. The major is also designed to make it easy for students to double major in programs like Public Administration or Justice Studies, or to add a minor in our International Nongovernmental Organizations Studies (INGOS) program or in other programs such as Cybersecurity or Data Science.

Why Rhode Island College?

RIC Political Science graduates can be found influencing public policy in the state and federal legislature, practicing law, and advocating progressive change. We help prepare many of our students for advanced degrees and law school. Our majors and minors develop leadership and analysis skills at an impressive value. Our faculty are ready to help you leave your mark.  

Program Information

Degree
Bachelor of Arts
Program Type(s)
Major
Minor

Psychology

About this Program

Courses that delve into research methods, personality and cognitive/brain science all fall under the big umbrella of the psychology major. As a discipline, psychology has largely adopted a scientific approach to the study of behavior. Consequently, three of the required major courses are entirely devoted to research methods and statistics. The major has no required practicum, however one course in the major is an internship course.

Why Rhode Island College?

Students graduating from our Psychology program find that the knowledge and skills gained through the program are easily transferred to several professions, including, but not limited to, human services, criminal justice, human resources, and nursing. The array of courses offered is broad and faculty attempt to ignite student curiosity through experiential and hand-on activities.

Contact Information

Dr. Bethany Lewis

Associate Professor

Program Information

Degree
Bachelor of Arts
Program Type(s)
Major
Minor

Public Administration

About this Program

The goal of the Public Administration program is to produce dedicated and creative public sector administrators to meet the governing challenges of federal, state, local and private nonprofit agencies. Our students are accepted into some of the best public administration graduate programs in the nation. Our alumni are working in public administration capacities in at every level of government and a broad cross-section of nonprofit organizations throughout the nation.

Why Rhode Island College?

All public administration students are paired with a full-time advisor from the day they declare their major and they graduate within four years of full-time study. The curriculum at RIC is a mix of foundation, skills and experience-based courses designed to appeal to employers and graduate schools. There is a growing RIC public administration alumni network throughout Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts.

Program Information

Degree
Bachelor of Arts
Program Type(s)
Major

Public History

About this Program

If you are passionate about History and desire to share your knowledge with others then public history makes a wise career choice. The numerous and varied applications of public history encompass historical sites and historical archeology; archival collections and museum artifacts; historical society collections; federal and state level park service, landmark preservation, and government and private sector document preservation.

Why Rhode Island College?

In this program, you will learn the practical application, scope, methodologies and procedures of public history. Your courses will lay the theoretical foundation and your off-campus internships will give you the hands-on experience and create opportunities for employment. 

Program Information

Program Type(s)
Minor
Outcome
Certificate of Undergraduate Studies

Queer Studies

About this Program

Queer Studies is an interdisciplinary field of inquiry that examines the histories, lives, identities, experiences and struggles of queer people. Queerness is an umbrella term that is broadly used to refer to individuals and identities that are (currently) understood as culturally non-normative, especially genders and sexualities such as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersexed, asexual, and others. Students actively engage in interdisciplinary courses that consolidate intersectional feminist perspectives, foster community and provide valuable marketable skills and opportunities, including internships that complement any career path.

Why Rhode Island College?

Our Gender and Women’s Studies program – of which the Queer Studies minor is a part – embraces a vibrant, supportive community of learners, centralizing student voices in the planning of courses, programs and events. A thriving staple at RIC since the 1970s, the program has often paid particular attention to student voices and concerns. An example of that outreach is the Queer Studies minor, a new addition initiated by students.

Program Information

Program Type(s)
Minor

Sociology

About this Program

Do you find people fascinating? If so, sociology is for you! You will learn about what people do and why they do it; how organizations, families, communities, and other groups function; the ways in which social, political, and economic contexts shape decision-making and social life; and how social interaction and social inequality matter to our individual and collective experiences. Our graduates leave college with strong research and data analysis skills that are highly marketable to employers as well as with a strong understanding of the social dynamics that shape our communities.

Why Rhode Island College?

RIC is a great place to study sociology because you will get to work closely with faculty who have a range of real-world experiences and develop excellent skills desired by employers and graduate programs. And you will be able to take courses on all kinds of topics, ranging from bodies, legal systems and families to policing, health and organizations. 

Program Information

Degree
Bachelor of Arts
Program Type(s)
Major
Minor