Social Science & History Department Overview – Asbury University
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Social Science & History Department Overview

Dr. Stephen Clements, Chair

The early twenty-first century world presents thoughtful observers with a staggering array of developments and challenges, from vast, well-functioning metropolitan centers that produce and channel billions of dollars’ worth of goods and services into global markets to troubled nation-states whose leaders preside over civil strife among rival people groups and pre-modern economies. The Department of Social Science & History faculty at Asbury University seek to understand the sources of social, political, and economic conditions among nations, people groups, and communities by utilizing the modes of inquiry available through the disciplines of Political Science, Sociology, and History. By studying the world through the lenses of these disciplines, and within the context of a broad liberal arts education, a student can be well prepared to engage the culture at home or abroad through work in the professions, government, missions, business or with nonprofit organizations.

The Department offers traditional undergraduate students majors and minors in all three of these academic fields. These disciplines and programs are detailed below.

Major and Minor requirements 


History is the story of human community as it has developed through time. It is a narrative and interpretive study, based upon documentary evidence. History plays a central role in the liberal arts Foundations curriculum because of its value in illustrating the human condition through time, and because it integrates into a comprehensible whole the range of activities that have formed the human experience. In addition to its contribution to the Foundations liberal arts program at Asbury, the SSH Department offers specialized courses. The History major has recently been revised, with a course distribution requirement across American History, European History, Non-Western History, and a methodology class. The Social Studies Teacher Education (SSTE) major is a collaboration between the SSH Department and Asbury’s School of Education, and draws from courses across the social sciences as well as those that prepare individuals for the high school classroom. The History major prepares students for a number of occupations and postgraduate studies, including secondary and college teaching, Law, Christian ministry, government and public service. In addition, History courses can be taken as electives by students in other majors. The department sponsors Phi Alpha Theta, an active national honor society for History and SSTE Majors.


Through the systematic study of politics—the examination and analysis of various regime types, rival political philosophies, and the historical experiences of peoples and nations over time—students equip themselves for many possible roles in society, from law, to government, to work in corporate settings, to positions in non-governmental organizations or cross-national agencies. Asbury’s baccalaureate program in political science includes a core of courses within the discipline, as well as emphases in international affairs or American politics. The faculty encourages all majors to engage in internships in government and politics at the local, state, or national levels, and will work to help place students. A minor in political science is also available, and includes the core courses and one additional elective course.

Opportunities In State Government

Frankfort Semester Internship Program (Frankfort, KY, OFC 317)

This is a full semester internship opportunity in state government, available on an annual basis. An initiative of the Association of Independent Kentucky Colleges and Universities (AIKCU), the Frankfort Semester Internship program seeks to enhance students’ academic, civic, and professional skills through internship experiences, public policy symposia, academic seminars and exposure to the ideas and perspectives of a variety of notable citizens. The interns work directly with state legislators, government officials, and government liaisons in the crafting and passing of legislation. The program is intended for upper-division students, regardless of major. Students must be motivated learners, have a deep curiosity about current events and the policy-making process, and be committed to fulfilling the requirements of the internships and seminars. Contact Dr. Stephen Clements.

Legislative Research Commission Internship Program (Frankfort, KY, OFC 317)

This is a full semester internship opportunity with Kentucky’s legislature, the General Assembly, available by competitive application during the spring semester of each even numbered year (e.g. 2014, 2016), when the Assembly operates its biannual 60-day legislative session. This internship is operated by the staff arm of the General Assembly, the Legislative Research Commission (LRC), and involves 20 undergraduate students from Kentucky’s colleges and universities (Asbury has successfully placed one or two students in each of the past several cycles). Selected students are officially enrolled at AU, but spend the semester assigned to a legislative committee or subcommittee, participate in 6 credits worth of courses supervised by a senior LRC official, and accumulate an additional 6-9 credits of coursework that can apply to a students’ major, minor, or electives. The LRC also pays each student a stipend for living expenses, which is generally used to reside in Frankfort during the legislative session.  Contact Dr. Stephen Clements.


The Pre-Law Handbook: The Official Guide to U.S. Law Schools states that most law schools do not recommend “pre‑law” majors because they believe that “courses designated ‘pre‑law’ tend to be a less effective means of preparing for law school”. For this reason, Asbury University does not have such a major. The Handbook further states: “While no single curricular path is the ideal preparation for law school, a broadly based undergraduate program that includes training in analytical reasoning and writing will serve you well. Law schools want students who can think, read and write and who have some understanding of the forces that have shaped human experience”. Asbury University has a number of majors that will accomplish the above objectives, and especially recommends the fields of study in the Social Science & History department.  Interested students should contact Dr. Stephen Clements, the law-school advisor.

Washington, D.C. Opportunities

Asbury studies interested in spending time in the nation’s capital city have multiple options. For several decades the University has sponsored PS 300 Washington Federal Seminar, a spring course available to students from any major that features a week-long visit to Washington, DC in latter January. The core of the trip is attendance of a 3½ day long Christian Student Leadership Conference, sponsored by the National Association of Evangelicals. But students also have time before and after the CSLC to tour sites in Washington, such as Smithsonian museums, the Library of Congress, the Mall monuments, and the National Cathedral. Beginning in 2020, the Joe Pitts Center for Public Policy will be sponsoring a two-week long intensive course in Washington, DC that will provide students with a longer period in DC, to interact with members of the policy community and alumni in the area, and also to visit historic sites within a 2-3 hour radius of the capitol city.

The Joe Pitts Center for Public Policy

Launched in Spring of 2018, the Joe Pitts Center for Public Policy provides opportunities for the Asbury community to host lectures and conferences on policy and political topics of interest to students and faculty. As the Center grows and expands, it will offer research and publishing options for students, as well as scholarships, targeted especially at students in the Social Science and History department. The Center will also provide access to the congressional archives of its founder, retired member of the US House of Representatives Joe Pitts, who will offer periodic lectures and will help coordinate events on campus. 


The mission of Asbury’s Sociology program is to equip students to effectively engage and work within various social, cultural, and global systems, organizations, and institutions that involve understanding the diversity of human social contexts and interactions. The program further prepares students for professional work and graduate study in a broad range of areas such as: sociology, social work, law, ministry and missions, criminal justice and juvenile delinquency, nonprofits, families, leadership, government, social research, and other related fields.

The Sociology program has been revised substantially, so that it better reflects developments in the discipline and will be more streamlined for students. In particular, the program will emphasize the pursuit of social justice, sustainability, and human flourishing. Coursework will illuminate the global and cultural significance of everyday realities like food, fashion, and family life. It will highlight both the nature of social inequalities and practical opportunities for positive change. The curriculum pairs theoretical frameworks with contemporary applications within a Wesleyan theological perspective.

2020-21 Academic Catalog