Social Science

The Bellarmine Social Science Department educates in the belief that the study of this diverse discipline is an integral part of becoming a “man for others.” The exploration of history, geography, politics, economics, culture, and human thought creates an appreciation of our world and a sensitivity to its many peoples. The department feels that the study of the Social Sciences helps each student to better understand the Jesuit mission of the promotion of faith that does justice by focusing on issues of social justice throughout history.

The progression of courses in the Social Science department seeks to develop the fundamental social studies skills of critical reading, writing, and thinking. In lower division courses, study skills such as efficient note taking, close reading, and proper study strategies are also reinforced. Upper division courses stress research, composition, and oral presentation skills.

Advanced Placement (AP) Program

The Social Science Department offers rigorous honors and AP courses to challenge top students in a number of fields. AP course offerings are available sophomore, junior and senior year. Classes are intended for students interested in pursuing studies in these particular fields in greater depth.  Informed Enrollment is employed for honors/AP courses, meaning that interested students must first solicit feedback from their current teacher, parents and counselor, and secure counselor approval, prior to enrollment.


All freshmen must take either Rhetoric or World History: Axial Age to the 1700s.

Course Name
UC / CSU Approved?
Rhetoric Semester Yes

Course Description: This course will provide the student with an introduction to various written and oral techniques of persuasion, argumentation, exposition, discussion, and analysis of controversial current issues. Students will further develop their reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills, and learn how to research, analyze and organize materials for effective oral presentation and argument.

Comments: Enrollment is limited to those students who apply and are accepted to the course. The pace of this course will be rapid and is designed for the student who is both self-motivated and very disciplined in study skills. Excellent time management skills are required. Students who wish to pursue the competitive speech and debate program are especially encouraged to take this course.

World History:
Axial Age to the 1700s
Semester Yes

Course Description: This Freshman course will begin the student’s exploration of World History covering material from the Axial Age through to the mid 1700s, though the intent is not to provide a comprehensive survey. Instead, individual units will focus on particular civilizations and cultures from around the globe during specific periods in order to highlight the themes of the World History sequence: Humans and the Environment, Cultural Development and Interaction, State Building and Expansion, Development of Economic Systems, Development of Social Structures, and Issues of Justice. Particular attention will be paid to the student’s development of a strong foundation in active reading and writing, as well as the use and interpretation of historical sources.

Comments: Standard freshman-level Social Sciences course.