Share page: 

History, Philosophy, and Social Sciences Contact

Department Chair:

Barbara Bonnekessen

* is a required field

Contact Person:
Nancy Grantham

* is a required field

Phone: 620-235-4325
Fax: 620-235-4338

Department of History, Philosophy, and Social Sciences
412 Russ Hall
Pittsburg State University
1701 South Broadway
Pittsburg KS 66762

 Welcome and Introduction: Chair's Message

Welcome to the Department of History, Philosophy, and Social Sciences.  Including Geography, International Studies, Criminal Justice, Political Science, Social Work, and Sociology!  As you scroll down this page, you can find brief descriptions of each program and, when you click on their names, you find in-depth information about them, their degree requirements, and the potential career options they offer.

Each of these programs is a part of the Liberal Arts that have emerged as so desirable in the 21st century labor force.  Top corporations are looking for career-oriented employees, people who can thrive in ambiguity and chaos, who "think outside the box," who can shift gears quickly and competently, and who, most importantly, can work with other people of every conceivable background, locally or internationally.  If you are interested in crafting a solid foundation for a rich career and a satisfying existence that draws its knowledge about people from data and research, any one of our fields is the one for you!

But why are these academic fields all in one department?

For one, these fields are the core of a liberal arts education, the academic foundation of making informed and participatory citizens of communities and the world.  These fields introduce you to the human past, locally and worldwide, that created the present, and no current event can be fully understood without knowing how it came to be (History).  And we offer the major social sciences that explain how humans live in the world (Geography), how they organize in their societies (Sociology), how they manage public necessities and affairs locally (Political Science) and internationally (International Studies), and you can learn how to think critically (Philosophy) about everything. 

Second, any of these fields have their applied components, e.g. Historians work for museums and anywhere where analytical research skills are necessary, Geographers are designing computer-assisted urban planning projects and offer sustainable environmental know-how, while Sociologists typically enter quantitative research-related jobs or even management.  Three of our majors emphasize this applied component:  Social Work offers a program that leads to certification as a Social Worker, Criminal Justice paves the way to enter a police academy, and the BS Ed in History leads the student to secondary teaching opportunities.

And third, all these fields inform each other: as social workers support their clients, they often deal with law enforcement personnel and profit from courses in Criminal Justice - while Criminal Justice majors get to understand the population dynamics of the people they serve through Sociology.  Anybody who is affected by public policies profits from understanding the political system through Political Science (while also giving it some global understanding through International Studies) and ends up taking History and Geography to get a deeper understanding.  And Philosophy binds all these fields together, leading you to think critically, contemplating ethical conundrums, and becoming a more intentional student, whatever your major.  And, in contrast to any other department at PSU, if you major in one of our fields, you may actually minor in another field in our department; in fact, we encourage that!

If you are interested in working with human beings, helping to solve individual problems in a societal context, gaining a rich appreciation of individual circumstances and differences, and developing a rational and knowledge-based understanding of those things that have formed our past, explain the present, and direct the future, you may want to explore the programs listed below.

HPASS Programs

Geography, Bachelor of Science

At the heart of geographical analysis is the spatial perspective.  Recognizing that this is the key to understanding all geographical phenomena, the program at PSU strives to help develop in students an understanding of a spatial perspective and acquire the knowledge and skills to undertake research and analysis in a variety of geographic contexts.  The mission of the Geography program is to provide a quality multi-functional program that supplies service at the general education and baccalaureate level to the university community, fosters theoretical and applied research in geography and planning, promotes multi-cultural understanding, complements interdisciplinary work, and engages in community outreach.

History, Bachelor of Arts

History is far more than names and dates.  Historians seek to know how everyone from kings to the common man lived, believed, and dreamed. As a result, there are historians of science, of ideas, of religion, of every region of the globe, and of every era. The program offers classes to students with interests in technology and business as well. The program maintains a broad selection of courses and rigorous undergraduate and graduate programs, and all members of the history faculty are active scholars with a commitment to teaching. Our internship program, available to seniors and graduate students, has benefited from successful partnerships with the National Archives Central Plains Kansas City Branch, the Powers Museum, Mine Creek State Historical Site, Ft. Scott National Historical Site, and Axe Library Special Collections, among others. The Department of History seeks not only to provide its students with an understanding of people and the effects of their actions and ideas, but with analytical and problem solving skills useful in any occupation that demands intellectual discipline and articulate expression, be it written or oral.

History and Government, Bachelor of Science in Education

Aspiring teachers should know that PSU's first-rate history teacher education program enjoys a consistently high job placement rate and is directed by a practicing historian rather than a professional administrator. The degree's focus on a substantive knowledge of history gives History and Government students an advantage when taking the PRAXIS subject matter exam as part of the licensure experience. At the same time, cooperation and coordination between the program and the College of Education insures that prospective teachers are professionally trained and able to meet the rigors of the classroom.   

History, Master of Arts

The decision to seek an advanced degree in the History program reflects an interest in and an appreciation for the historical past. The History program's purpose is threefold: to prepare individuals well qualified to teach the subject of history; to provide students with research and investigative skills applicable to academic and professional situations; and to encourage the thoughtful and continuing study of history throughout the lifetime of the individual. The History program is committed to excellence in the education of teachers and to completeness in the preparation of students for the many History-related career opportunities beyond teaching now open. The History program further believes in the relevance of other disciplines to History and encourages work in those areas relating to the student's historical interests.

International Studies, Bachelor of Arts

International Studies is a multidisciplinary major within the Department of History, Philosophy and Social Sciences at Pittsburg State University. The core of the discipline consists of Political Science, History, Geography, and Sociology, with important contributions from departments across campus, including Communications, Management and Marketing, English and Modern Languages, and the Fine Arts and Humanities. The major is designed to give students a core body of knowledge and basic skills necessary to live and work successfully in an increasingly interconnected world. The development of students’ foreign language skills is a key component of the program.

Justice Studies, Bachelor of Science

The Bachelor of Science in Justice Studies is an interdisciplinary liberal arts degree program with a foundation in social science inquiry.  Students develop an understanding of the nature of justice and analyze controversial justice issues through critical inquiry and social science investigation.  While primary focus is placed on theories of justice, legal studies, and social and economic justice, students may elect a Criminal Justice emphasis that will allow them to pursue interests in law enforcement, corrections, and other legal careers.  The criminal justice emphasis gives students a substantive base of criminal justice courses such as interviewing and laws of evidence while building on the justice studies major that emphasizes critical thinking skills, analysis of statistical data, and student understanding of broader meanings and practices of justice.

Multicultural Studies, Minor

The interdisciplinary multicultural minor allows the student to make sense of an increasingly diverse and globalized world. It has a flexible curriculum that allows students to pursue their interests while answering the Kansas Board of Regents' call for more multicultural academic programs.

Philosophy, Minor

Philosophy is defined "as the love of wisdom" which rationally studies axiology, epistemology, history of philosophy, logic, and metaphysics. Given the rigor of thought necessary to comprehend and appreciate complex texts and ideas, philosophy students are highly successful on the various professional school tests, such as the LSAT (law school) or the GMAT (business school.)  Even though students may elect only at minor at PSU, the classes will provide reasoning skills and a knowledge base of human thought that will prepare them for both professional careers and a lifetime of critical thinking.

Political Science, Bachelor of Arts

 Political science broadly studies governments and governing processes - whether these "governments" are sovereign states, international entities and regimes, national governments, or sub-units of political systems so that students of politics can better comprehend how societal conflict is managed through political institutions and processes.   The discipline looks at the structure of governments, the intricacies of the decision-making process, and the results of political choices.  And, in the final analysis, the discipline is concerned with the how governments and processes should be instituted relative to individual and social values and choices.

Within the liberal arts, political science is the foundation for 1) understanding the nature of political phenomena, including individual, national/domestic, and international levels.  It is a program that allows students 2) to gain the knowledge base, skills set, and understanding of the nature of values and choice to become a more effective citizen and participant in the American democracy, as well as 3) be successful in their career choices.

Social Work, Bachelor of Science

The Social Work Program's mission is to prepare baccalaureate level social workers who are capable of helping people enhance their human functioning, both individually and collectively, and resolve problems which prevent them from realizing their aspirations and achieving social and economic justice.  Furthermore, the program seeks to prepare students whose practice reflects sensitivity to the impact of discrimination and oppression on "at-risk-populations," especially those in the Four- State area surrounding Southeast Kansas. The program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education and its graduates are eligible to take the baccalaureate level social work licensure examination.

Sociology, Bachelor of Science

The Sociology program is focused on serving the public good by liberally educating students about human societies and institutions, how they are formed, and their effects. The American Sociological Association defines the discipline as:

  • the study of society
  • a social science involving the study of the social lives of people, groups, and societies
  • the study of our behavior as social beings, covering everything from the analysis of short contacts between anonymous individuals on the street to the study of global social processes
  • the scientific study of social aggregations, the entities through which humans move throughout their lives'
  • an overarching unification of all studies of humankind, including history, psychology, and economics

Beyond a generalist orientation to the field, the program also offers two emphases, one in Criminology and a second in Diversity Studies.  For students who do not elect an emphasis, the remaining six hours are taken as electives.  Those pursuing the emphasis in Criminology choose from among the crime and deviance courses in completing their remaining electives.  Those pursuing the emphasis in Diversity Studies choose from among the social inequality courses in completing their remaining sociology electives.