Social Sciences and Policy

The University of Iowa is a place where you can commit to building a path to a brighter tomorrow. That means not just preserving culture, but celebrating it. Not just caring about our fellow humans, but genuinely serving others. When you join the Hawkeye family, you’re welcomed into something larger than yourself: a strong, vibrant, open community dedicated to enriching the community around them and changing the world for the better. 

Anthropology Office of the State Archaeologist Pottery


Anthropology provides insight into our biological and cultural evolutionary background and offers a holistic view of how our economic, social, political, and religious systems relate to one another. It helps us reflect on our own social systems, on the interrelationships between individuals and societies, and on the reasons for the development of thoughts and feelings that can promote connection or conflict across social and cultural groups. 

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Criminology, Law, and Justice

The criminology, law, and justice major in the Department of Sociology and Criminology examines issues related to race and ethnic diversity and gender and poverty, promoting awareness of these important topics.

Students learn sociological explanations for crime and criminal justice; the operation of law and the criminal justice system, including their complex interplay with institutions such as politics and the economy, and important data sources on crime in the United States and internationally. 

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Environmental Policy and Planning

The Environmental Policy and Planning major concentrates on the social science and policy dimensions of environmental problems, which often are caused by people and may have significant economic effects.

Environmental issues are embedded in a complex mesh of economics, politics, culture, and behavior. Planners and policy makers must understand the human dimensions of these factors in order to solve environmental problems.

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Ethics and Public Policy

Ethics and public policy looks at the complex connections between economics, law, philosophy, political science, and sociology--disciplines that deal with questions about how people should behave and how we should regulate the behavior of others. The consequences of these behaviors are complex. They affect our economic lives, social and legal issues and policies, and even our ideals and values.

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Geography is concerned with places or environments and the physical, social, economic, and political processes that change them. It is a composite science, requiring a broad base of knowledge from many related disciplines.

Geography also is an analytical science that seeks answers to specific questions from a geographic perspective. To achieve their aims, geographers develop and use advanced geospatial methods, including computer-based mapping, global positioning, and satellite sensing.

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Global Health Studies

The Global Health Studies Program offers an interdisciplinary and experiential approach to the study of the complex factors influencing health and disease locally and around the world.

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History is the heart of a liberal arts education. The Department of History encourages students to develop an understanding of change--how it happens and why it happens the way it does--that enables them to engage our dynamic world as active and informed citizens.

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International Relations

The major in international relations focuses on economic relations between states, a crucial area of study in today's globalized world. Students are introduced to the politics of foreign countries. They develop an understanding of how countries interact and acquire a deep appreciation for the root causes of problems that transcend national boundaries.

International interactions and globalization have never been more extensive, making international relations a critical area of study and the major uniquely valuable to students with a wide array of interests.

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International Studies

Students in the International Studies Program learn that the complexity of current world conditions requires a multidisciplinary approach to international issues and global connections. They take core international studies courses to learn key concepts and practical skills, and extend their education by choosing from an array of internationally focused courses from the social sciences, humanities, and the arts.