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Social Sciences Programs

The social science departments integrate the study of society and social behavior with two objectives of a liberal education—analytical thinking and critical writing. At Pomona, professors and students apply scientific techniques to the study of humanity. In recent years, social science graduates have gone directly into such fields as management consulting, legislative work, banking, corporate finance, urban planning, social research, journalism and consumer relations. They have also attended prestigious schools of law, medicine and business and have won Rhodes, Marshall, Truman, Watson and Fulbright Fellowships.


The Anthropology major introduces students to cross-cultural, biocultural, and holistic approaches to the scientific understanding of human behavior and society, both past and present. Majors are encouraged to participate in Study Abroad or a summer field program in order to gain experience in a culture other than their own. Faculty: 5 (Research interests include transnationalism on the Sino-European frontier, human-environmental interactions, Chumash ethnohistory, medical anthropology, ancient Mesoamerica, health in transnational settings.)


The Economics major educates students in basic economic principles so they can effectively analyze public issues and offers rigorous training for students who expect to use the tools of economic analysis in their careers. Majors may specialize in financial, managerial, international, or industrial economics, or in another area of focus. Faculty: 17 (Research interests include consumer spending and saving, philanthropy, globalization, financial markets, the impact of sanctions on third-world economies, gender and racial pay differentials, Central European capitalism.)


Through the History major, students gain a rich understanding of the past in all its cultural diversity through course offerings that span the globe, including African, North American, Asian, European, Mediterranean, and Latin American history, with specially crafted courses that feature and highlight the wide-ranging fields of faculty research. Faculty: 15 (Research interests include African American history, violence in early England, oil and culture in Venezuela, saints and society in medieval Europe, Japanese war diaries, international labor movements, decolonization.)

International Relations

This interdisciplinary major fosters the analytical skills, clarity of expression and leadership ability needed to meet the challenges of a changing world. The programs’s emphasis on globalization and regional studies is supported by requirements in modern language and study abroad and by the rich on-campus resources of the Pacific Basin Institute and Oldenborg Center. Faculty: Courses for the major are taught by faculty in the fields of Economics, History and Politics.

Linguistics & Cognitive Science

Pomona is one of the few colleges to offer a major in linguistics and in cognitive science, integrating philosophy, linguistics, logic, psychology, neuroscience and computer science. The major features two tracks: Linguistics (human language) and Cognitive Science (the mind and intelligent behavior). Faculty: 6 and a number of affiliated faculty in related fields (Research interests include formal semantics of natural language, negative polarity, cognitive and neural processes of language, the syntax-semantics interface.)


The Politics major offers students a rich mix of courses and perspectives in four sub-fields: political theory, American politics, comparative politics and international relations. At Pomona, politics is addressed through the study of values, institutions, processes and behavior. Students may get first-hand experience through the Washington Semester. Faculty: 15 (Research interests include conflict reduction and peacemaking in divided societies, international relations in East Asia, the role of the Black church in social mobility, the politics of education reform, state stability in Africa.)


The Sociology major combines rigorous training in social theory and research design with extensive attention to social problems in communities. Students gain both scientific and humanistic perspectives upon such varied topics as urban life, family relations, ethnic relations, social class, social and religious movements, aging and gender roles. Faculty: 5 (Research interests include age and ethnic segregation in California, portrayals of the Holocaust in popular culture, the Vietnamese diaspora, race/ethnic relationships.)


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