Humanities & Social Sciences

The humanities and social sciences department — which includes U.S. and world history, philosophy and religion, contemporary global issues, economics, and psychology — emphasizes critical thinking, clear oral and written expression, and active participation in classroom discussions.


Meet Faculty Members

The Hersey Scholars Program

The Hersey Scholars Program is named in honor of Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, cultural critic, and historical novelist John Hersey, Class of 1932. Hersey graduated from Yale and went on to write some of his era's most piercing accounts of historical and contemporary events, as well as a wide range of historical novels.

Hotchkiss | The Hersey Scholars Program

The program gives selected students the opportunity to conduct archival research with a focus on history, politics, cultural studies, economics, and/or philosophy. Taking place over the course of two weeks each June, the program's participants undertake their work at Harvard University’s research libraries, in particular the Houghton, to which the Hersey Scholars have been granted unique access. The summer program is followed by a year-long Honors course in which students build their summer research into a substantial senior thesis.

Program applications are accepted each winter, and a committee of teachers reviews materials and conducts interviews. Ten students are selected for the program by early spring, and preparation for the program begins immediately upon selection.

All costs associated with the program are covered through generous grants from John Robinson Block '73, P'25, and a member of the class of 1982.

The Hersey Scholars Program Team

Train Your Brain to Think Differently: Human-Centered Research and Design

One example of Hotchkiss’s unique experiential learning opportunities comes through the elective course Human-Centered Research and Design. Here, students “train their brains” to think differently but using innovative, human-centered research and design principles—including contextual inquiry, defining actionable hypotheses, iterative prototyping and testing, and outcome metrics. See how our students work collaboratively alongside actual clients and community members to explore and solve complex real-world issues in the below video.

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