Emily Short at summer camp

Combining religion and social science courses

Emily Short, a Bible and theology major with three minors (psychology, sociology, and peace and conflict studies), used her knowledge in all of these areas, along with a desire for social change, to create an innovative summer camp curriculum.

Social Sciences Department

Bettering the World Together.

If you are curious about how the world works and want to make this world a better place, the social sciences of psychology, sociology and criminal justice might be right for you. Bluffton professors lead conversation-based classes which lead to deeper understanding of our world and you’ll receive the tools needed to be successful.






Are you fascinated by figuring out what makes people tick? Then psychology might be the right major or minor for you.

Our classes are small, so you will receive considerable individual attention. The major in psychology consists of core and elective classes. Courses in the core provide an introduction to the field, teach general research skills, provide space to reflect on the interaction of faith and psychology and cover the foundational areas of personality theory. The elective classes you choose for personal interest or to meet your career goals. You have the opportunity for both experiential learning and faculty-directed student research.

As a psychology student at Bluffton, your classes are designed to provide solid preparation for either employment upon graduation or for you to move on to graduate studies. 

Bluffton's psychology major includes core courses in personality theory, social psychology, learning theory and abnormal psychology, and opportunity for elective classes in a variety of areas, such as gender issues, restorative justice and public health. 

Kala Jilani-Pritchett
As a senior psychology major, Kala Jilani-Pritchett spent a month at Harvard Medical School exploring the areas of neuroscience and neuropsychology, sciences involving the study of the brain.
>>>Kala's story."

Explore the courses required for a
Major in psychology
Pre-art therapy major
Minor in psychology

Check out the four-year plans for students beginning fall 2019 and after.
Psychology major, beginning odd year
Psychology major, beginning even year
Pre-art therapy major, beginning odd year
Pre-art therapy major, beginning even year


For those considering graduate school, you will develop skills in interviewing, conducting surveys and performing experiments. You will learn computer-based methods of analyzing data, to write and present the results of investigations and to be a critical consumer of psychological information.

For a MINOR in psychology, just take PSY 110 and six additional psychology courses of your choice.

It is also possible to DOUBLE-MAJOR in psychology and another discipline. Recently, students have paired their psychology major with majors in such areas as dietetics, social work, business administration, education, math and music (for those interested in music therapy.) If you are interested in art therapy, we have partnered with the art department to create the pre-art therapy major.



Sociology class with Matt Friesen

Sociology is a social science combining scientific and humanistic perspectives in the study of society and its organizations. The discipline of sociology includes the exploration and analysis of family patterns and relationships, group and organizational relationships, race and ethnicity, social class, social movement, and contemporary social problems and issues.

Explore the courses required for a
major in sociology
minor in sociology 

Check out the four-year plans for students beginning fall 2019 and after.
Sociology major


Sociology at Bluffton is studied as a critical science, investigating social structures and finding opportunities to work for social justice and peaceful resolution of conflicts in families and communities - local, national and international. 

Bluffton's sociology major is delivered collaboratively with Eastern Mennonite University and Goshen College and builds on the strengths of each of the three schools. Students will take a limited number of courses through video conferencing and online learning.

Sociology is a valuable liberal arts education for students interested in fields such as social research, public administration, community organization and development, public relations, social program planning, criminology, demography and data analysis. Sociology graduates frequently go on to graduate work in teaching and research.




Do you want to make the world a better place? To repair the harm caused by crime? Consider a major or minor in criminal justice.

At Bluffton, criminal justice is an academically rigorous program developed to produce leaders in the academic field, corrections, law enforcement, mediation and community organizing who embrace the philosophy of restorative justice. Restorative justice emphasizes repairing the harm caused by criminal behavior through cooperative processes including all stakeholders. It is a philosophy that is increasingly accepted by both public and private criminal justice services around the world.

You will develop an internship around specific career goals and receive active, personal oversight from a faculty member. An opportunity to spend a semester in Northern Ireland studying conflict management is available if you are interested in pursuing jobs in the federal government or the international arena.

Graduates from Bluffton's criminal justice program have enjoyed high placement rates in local and state law enforcement agencies and have secured highly competitive jobs in corrections institutions and federal agencies including the United States Secret Service.  >>> occupational outlook

Tajah Upshaw

Tajah Upshaw ’21, a criminal justice major from Lima, Ohio, explored the broad stereotypes she and other women of color have experienced. 

"“I wanted to know if other African American women feel the same way I do, and if stereotypes have a big impact on them. ”
>>> Tajah's story

Explore course requirements for:
major in criminal justice
a minor in criminal justice

Check out the four-year plans for students beginning fall 2019 and after.
Criminal justice major, beginning even year
Criminal justice major, beginning odd year