Behavioral Sciences Courses

Careers for Social Sciences graduates can be found in education, corporate, non-profit, government, criminal justice – virtually any organization where overall analysis of human behavior and culture is utilized.

The Behavioral Sciences Department is home to seven unique disciplines: Anthropology, Corrections & Law Enforcement, Economics, History, Psychology, Political Science and Sociology.  The department serves thousands of students each year and employs various innovative delivery methods including hybrid, online, and traditional lecture courses.

  • Anthropology

    What is anthropology?

    In simple terms, anthropology is the study of human behavior in all times and all places. Unlike many of the other social sciences, one of the primary goals of anthropology is to undertake a cross-cultural comparison of human culture. This includes both western and non-western cultures, their values, and their cultural practices. Likewise anthropology adopts a holistic view of culture, meaning it looks at all aspects of human culture instead of one particular area. Holism means that anthropology is interested in everything from day to day economic decisions, family patterns, political organization, and more abstract concepts such as ideology and world views.

    Course # Course Name Credits Prerequisites Notes
    ANT 131 Cultural Anthropology 3 ENG 085*

    Cultural anthropology is a one semester introductory course. The course focuses on the thesis that every society is based on an integrated culture, which satisfies human needs and facilitates survival. The course also explores the ways in which our own culture fits into the broad range of human possibilities.

  • Corrections & Law Enforcement


    There is a need for men and women across the state, and women in particular for the Women’s Huron Valley Correctional Facility. In Michigan, now only women can supervise women prisoners, and recently there has been a shortage of applicants.

    To become a corrections officer, applicants need to complete a minimum of 15 college credits in a prescribed selection of courses, including correctional administration, criminal justice, criminology, psychology, sociology, social work, counseling and guidance, law enforcement and more. JC offers associate degree and certificate programs in corrections. Students may benefit from Jackson College’s transfer agreement with Siena Heights University, allowing them to transfer up to 90 credits from JC to Siena Heights and with all courses needed for a bachelor’s degree available on JC’s campus.

    Corrections Program Information at Jackson College

    Law Enforcement

    Personnel in law enforcement and corrections perform a variety of services to help protect the public and maintain order. Law enforcement fields include careers such as police officers and detectives, who are charged with protecting lives and property, and investigating and apprehending individuals who break the laws. Corrections officers are charged with overseeing individuals who have been arrested, are awaiting trial or have been convicted of a crime and are serving time in a jail or penitentiary.

    JC offers associate degree and certificate options in both law enforcement and corrections, as well as the State of Michigan Certified Corrections Officer curriculum of 15 credit hours necessary now prior to employment in the field. Students may benefit from JC’s transfer agreement with Siena Heights University, allowing them to transfer up to 90 credits from JC to Siena Heights and with all courses needed for a bachelor’s degree available on JC’s campus. Police officers must also complete academy training prior to employment in Michigan.

    Law Enforcement Program Information at Jackson College
  • Economics

    What is economics?

    Economics is the study of how people make choices under conditions of scarcity and the consequences of these decisions for society. In other words, we acknowledge that resources are limited, and study how people choose to use them in light of that fact. Economists study a broad range of topics including earnings, labor markets, the environment, education, healthcare, economic development, international trade and finance.

    Economics courses teach students how to think analytically about social issues. Economics majors become keen critical thinkers, which makes them attractive candidates to a variety of employers. Some popular career fields for economics majors are public service, law, international relations, banking and finance, and business.

    Course # Course Name Credits Prerequisites Notes
    ECN 231 Macroeconomics 3 ENG 101* and MAT 135 (Preferred), MAT 133 or MAT 139 Accepted

    This course covers macroeconomics and explains the operation of free markets, the role of government in the economy, measurement of the national product, inflation and unemployment, monetary and fiscal policy, and economic growth.

    ECN 232 Microeconomics 3 ENG 101* and MAT 135 (Preferred), MAT 133 or MAT 139 Accepted

    This course covers microeconomics: the market structure of firms operating in competition and monopoly, labor markets and unions, how income is distributed, current economic problems, international economics, and alternative economic systems.

  • History

    What is history and why should I study it?  

    The purpose of studying history is to better understand the complex cultures as well as the historical systems and events that have driven the past, produced the present, and guide the future of our world.  This crucial discipline reveals human connections across time and place; it teaches us about past human experiences and their influence upon our present lives.

    Historians no longer see their discipline as a parade of powerful men and lists of dates.  Instead, we critically analyze evidence about all people living in the past to create an inclusive narrative of past human experiences and an understanding of issues that impact the modern world.

    So while history is the study of the past, it is simultaneously a tool used to understand the present.  It encompasses every dimension of human interaction, including social life, economics, gender, culture, philosophy, conflict, and politics.  Students of history study individuals, communities, and nations from every conceivable perspective, and they employ all the techniques of the humanities and social sciences to raise important questions and probe for answers about how our world has developed over time.

    In particular, this discipline is about analyzing evidence in order to better understand the causation and significance of historical phenomena.  In this way, history leads us to better understand the complexities and problems of our modern world.  Only after we understand the historical causation of a problem can we hope to solve it effectively.  As Herbert Hoover once stated most eloquently, “The supreme purpose of history is a better world.”

    No other discipline better prepares students to deal with and understand our contemporary world than does the discipline of history.  In the process of carrying out this crucial field of study, students trained in history develop the critical skills of research and analysis, creative methods for recognizing patterns in information, and techniques for effective and persuasive writing.

    History Program Information
  • Political Science

    Political Science

    Believe it or not, we are immersed in politics and impacted by political decisions every day. That said, most people think political science/American Government is a bland and down right boring subject. The reality, however, is that American politics is a rich subject that, among other things, asks us to question the following: What does it means to be an American? How does the Constitution relate to today’s world? Why do laws differ from state to state? Should the internet be regulated? Does the media involve itself too much in the personal lives of public figures? What is the difference between the Democrats and Republicans? What is going to happen to social security? What is the role of the United States in the international world? And finally, why should I care about politics?

    Course # Course Name Credits Prerequisites Notes
    PLS 141 American National Government 3 ENG 085, ENG 091

    Develops a systematic framework for the interpretation of political activity in the United States. Numerous models explain the theoretical foundations of government and the decision-making process.

    PLS 262 International Relations 3 ENG 085* and ENG 090*

    Survey contemporary world affairs and examine the nation-state system, the struggle for power, and factors creating harmony and hostility among states.

  • Psychology


    The study of psychology can help you understand other people and yourself by studying human behavior. Psychology covers a broad range of topics, including social interaction, language and communication, motivation, emotion and learning. Psychologists specialize in such areas as clinical psychology, counseling psychology, developmental psychology, physiological psychology, educational psychology and more. Study of psychology is helpful for many fields –business, education, the arts, and more. Those interested in a career relating to psychology may pursue further education to become a counselor, psychologist or mental health nurse, to name a few.

    Psychology Program Information
  • Sociology


    Sociology investigates through research the ever changing world of human behavior, social organization, and processes of individual and institutional change.  The discipline encompasses principles of society with reference to culture, population, social stratification, institutions, socialization of the child, group dynamics, personality, social change, gender and behavior, social roles and communities; rational interpretation of man/woman and the culture in which he/she lives.

    Sociology involves: (1)  an understanding of the sociological imagination; (2) a demonstration of competency in manipulating data and social situations that are appropriate to the questions asked; (3) a demonstration of knowledge of and the ability to use and apply theory to social data; (4) a demonstration of competency using the basic elements of sociological research;  (5) the use of sociological concepts and theories to interpret social situations;  and (6) research that advances our understanding of social processes and/or social structures.

    Course # Course Name Credits Prerequisites Notes
    SOC 112 Service Exploration and Social Issues 1

    Students will learn about the service learning design and prepare for travel during JC’s spring break by engaging in local service experiences. Students will develop team-building and communication skills, in addition to first aid response. Students will complete reflective essays related to local community service activities. Fundraising activities will be explored and implemented. A minimum of 16 hours of local service is required.

    SOC 117 Criminology 3 ENG 085* and ENG 090*

    (SAME AS CRJ 117) Provides an understanding of the cultural nature, origin, and development of criminal behavior with attention given to the psychological and sociological factors involved.

    SOC 122 Service in Action 2

    Students will travel during JC’s spring break to a pre-determined site to perform a minimum of 45 hours of service learning. Students will demonstrate team-building and communication skills. Understanding of cultural and geographic issues will be assessed through reflective writings. Must be enrolled in six credits at the time of the service trip.

    SOC 152 Social Psychology 3 PSY 140 or SOC 231

    (SAME AS PSY 152) Theoretical synthesis of social influences, including attitude formation, social and cognitive development, aggression, prosocial behavior, prejudice, conformity, culture and gender differences/influences, group processes and interpersonal attraction.

    SOC 203 Field Studies 3 (26 or more credit hours), a minimum 2.5 GPA and permission of the department. An opportunity for students to work for one semester in a law enforcement agency.

    (SAME AS CRJ 203) Only open to students who have reached sophomore level

    SOC 231 Principles of Sociology 3 ENG 085* and ENG 090*

    The discipline and its contributions to understanding the fundamental processes of social interaction. Includes development of self, socialization process, groups and social structure. Application of sociological principles to our society by examination of relevant research.

    SOC 236 Women in a Changing Society 3 ENG 085* and ENG 131

    (SAME AS ENG 236) Inquiry into historical and changing roles of women, looking at causes of these changes and their effects on women and society through literature, sociology, biology and history.

    SOC 246 Marriage and Family 3 ENG 085* and ENG 090*

    The position and significance of marriage and the family in contemporary society are examined. Issues are examined within the larger political, historical and social context, including marriage and family values within diverse ethnic, minority and gender identity groups. SOC 231 recommended before enrolling in this course.