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This post is dedicated to the 17 credit hours that make up part of my 168 hour week. As a recently declared International Studies and Sociology double major, my classes this semester are very social science oriented, and I’m loving each and every one of them so far!

This blog is inspired by JHU_Amy’s class post, S/O to the social sciences 🙂

Elements of Macroeconomics

Credits: 3

Course Description:

This course introduces the basic tools of macroeconomics and teaches how they are applied to real world economic policy. Throughout the course, the main goals will be to a.) study economics aggregates such as the overall price level; the unemployment rate and the GDP; and b.)understand how they relate to each other. Attention will be given to fiscal and monetary policies. We will also analyze the recent financial crisis and its impact on the economic activity.

Grading Breakdown:

Two midterms: 50%, Final Exam 40%, Problem Sets, Section Participation: 10%

Thoughts:

This course is one of the major requirements for the GSCD dual degree, so there was no way I was getting out of taking an Econ. I had never taken an econ class in high school, so I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect. I always saw economics as some abstract body of knowledge that comprised of businessmen on Wall Street crunching numbers all day and this concept of “supply and demand”, whatever that meant. I had thought – erroneously and embarrassingly so – that my daily exposure to economics was limited to the little green and red triangles that appeared on the morning news at the bottom of the TV screen. Economics plays such an important role in our everyday lives, and I really appreciate how Professor Barbera connects everything we’re learning to current events.

Organic Chemistry

Credits: 4

Course Description:

This course introduces you to the fundamental chemistry of the compounds of carbon. It covers the methods of structure determination and synthesis, as well as the mechanisms of typical organic reactions and the relations between physical and chemical properties and structures.

Grading Breakdown:

Three midterms: 300 points (100 each), Final Exam; 200 points, Section Quizzes (60 points)

Thoughts:

Ah, Orgo. The dreaded “weeder” pre-med class that elicits a collective groan from the crowd. It’s definitely been the class that I spend the majority of my time studying for. We go through one chapter a week and have quizzes every Thursday. In my opinion, the quizzes ensure that students keep up with the reading and help us determine what topics to focus on when studying for the midterms. Once you learn to decipher the professor’s handwriting, it’s a very interesting course that has started to permeate my daily life.

Introduction to Social Policy: Baltimore and Beyond

Credits: 3 (Writing Intensive)

Course Description:

This is an interdisciplinary course that introduces students to basic concepts in economics, political science, and sociology relevant to the study of social problems and the programs designed to remedy them. We address issues of national policy importance, as well as concerns specifically relevant to Baltimore City and the metropolitan region.  Students are introduced to some of the key methodologies social scientists employ, and will learn to critically evaluate the theoretical and empirical literature in the field.

Grading Breakdown:

4 papers: 70%, Participation: 30% (includes six one-paragraph reflections)

Thoughts:

If there was one class that I was the most looking forward to this semester, it’s this one. I’ve always wondered if I’d find that one class or topic that would get me up in the morning, excited to go to class. And dear readers, this is it. Being able to study topics that affect the development, structure, and functioning of human society like income inequality, racial segregation, housing policy, urban youth, social welfare, etc. through a social policy lens is one of the reasons that I decided to pursue my double major and minor. The readings are enticing and the discussions even more so. Needless to say, I’m looking forward to the rest of the semester.

Research Tools and Technologies for the Social Sciences

Credits: 3

Course Description:

This course will introduce students to digital technologies that are critical for conducting social scientific research in the twenty-first century. Assignments are derived from Johns Hopkins faculty research projects that focus on critical issues surrounding contemporary processes of globalization and international development, including shifts in the global distribution of economic wealth and political power; consequences of globalization and financialization; changing trajectories of global inequality and uneven (spatial and temporal) distribution of economic growth, poverty and unemployment. Students will be immersed in rigorous, research oriented use of computer programs for statistical analysis, database management, the creation of maps and timelines, and the presentation of research reports.

Breakdown:

Homework: 30%, Project: 70%

Thoughts:

As mentioned above, Research Tools & Technologies allows students to conduct a research project of their choice that relates to economic growth and global inequality utilizing the tools and skills learned in class. My research proposal focuses on five member states of La Comisión Económica para América Latina (CEPAL) and the relationship between trade revitalization, GDP, unemployment, and inequality between these countries. I’ve found that this class is very applicable in my other social science classes and love how students are really able to pursue their interests through this course.

Introduction to Social Statistics

Credits: 4

Course Description:

This course will introduce students to the application of statistical techniques commonly used in sociological analysis. Topics and techniques covered in the course will include both descriptive and inferential statistics; fundamental concepts in statistics including; sampling, experimentation, variability, distribution, association, causation, confidence, hypothesis testing, and elementary causal models to critically review and analyze statistical arguments. Hands-on computer experience with statistical software and analysis of data from various fields of social research. 

Grading Breakdown:

Ten Homework Assignments: 500 points (100 each), Two Research Assignments (50 each), Two Midterms: 200 points (100 each), Final: 200 points

Thoughts:

JHU_Josh and I are also in this class together! Ironically, we were talking about having never taken a statistics class in high school on the first day of class when our Professor shared an email he received that morning about a statistical anxiety research project. This class focuses on understanding the logic of quantitative social research and analysis of social data, something that I had never given much thought. It also emphasizes the application of statistics over mathematical applications. I’ve really enjoyed this class and love how genuinely excited the Professor is about this topic.

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Coincidence?

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