Social Studies Courses

World History

45.08307 | 10th grade | full year | 1 credit

World History 

(10th grade) 2 semesters, 1 credit 

World History is a course that explores various cultures throughout time and places to investigate what constitutes a well-functioning human culture. Similarities and differences between cultures are explored in an effort to retrace developing traditions within many cultures. This course will focus primarily on two developing traditions know colloquially as “the west” and “the east”.  This course will take note of distinctive cultures, but also look at grander themes that unite such cultures beyond borders. This course will provide students with a broader understanding of who they are, where they come from, and how history applies to today’s world. 

AP World History


(10th grade) 2 semesters, 1 credit (Prerequisite: Ancient World History and Geography)

AP World History is a rigorous, college-level course designed to explore human history from 8000 B.C.E. to the present. The course emphasizes the development of analytical/critical thinking and composition skills necessary for success at the collegiate level. To this end, the course devotes considerable time to the critical evaluation of primary and secondary sources, analysis of historiography (the principles, theories, or methodology of scholarly historical research and presentation) and inquiry into global connections that have shaped our present world. A special emphasis will be given to preparation for the National AP Exam, including historical writing through essay and document-based questions.

US History

45.08107 (11th grade) 2 semesters, 1 credit

US History explores the history of this land – our people, our institutions, and our actions. We will take a chronological approach to the study of US History, and explore each time period by looking at intellectual/cultural history, social/economic history, and political/diplomatic history. The course will balance a “birds-eye view” perspective (through the use of current scholarship on major themes in US History) with an “up close and personal” look at historical documents (letters, transcripts) and cultural products (paintings, photographs, and excerpts from literature). Additionally, students should expect to revisit and further develop understanding and mastery of key social studies concepts and skills from their 11th grade year.

AP US History

45.28207 (11th grade) 2 semesters, 1 credit

AP US History is designed to be the equivalent of a college-level freshman US History course and prepare students for the AP Examination in May. An emphasis is placed on analytical skills, the acquisition of factual knowledge, interpretation of documents, and writing critical essays. Students who do what is required of them will become better writers and more sophisticated critical thinkers. As a bonus, students who pass the AP US History exam will be recognized by nearly every university in the country as worthy of being awarded college credit. This is a college course in every way.

U.S. Government and Civics

45.05707 (12th grade) 1 semester, .5 credit

This one semester course will explore American government and students will learn how to become active citizens in our democratic republic. The course is designed around three “dimensions” of citizenship: (1) Studying Government, (2) Observing Government and Political Behavior, and (3) Ongoing Civic Action and Participation. All of our readings, activities, research, and action will be geared toward developing these dimensions of citizenship. As a senior-level, culminating Social Studies course, students will also need to demonstrate mastery and understanding of key Social Studies concepts and skills.

AP U.S. Government and Politics

45.05707 (12th grade) 1 semester, .5 credit

In AP U.S. Government and Politics, students examine the key concepts and institutions of the political system and culture of the United States. This curriculum includes reading, analyzing, and discussing the U.S. Constitution and other documents as well as completing a research or applied civics project. Students develop skills that allow them to connect political concepts to real-life situations, explain the impact and implications of certain U.S. Supreme Court decisions, analyze data to find patterns and trends and draw conclusions, read and analyze text and visual sources, and develop a claim or thesis and support it in an essay.

Economics and Catholic Social Teaching

46.06107 (12th grade) 1 semester, .5 credit

Drawn from courses at Harvard and Columbia and research on Catholic economics education, this course introduces students to key concepts in economics framed by a Catholic understanding of economic justice as expressed by the U.S. Catholic Bishops’ letter on the topic. Key economic concepts that students will explore include supply and demand, choice, macro- and microeconomics, the time value of money, and economic indicators. Students will also think proactively about solving some of the world’s biggest economic problems while probing how profitability and social justice might intersect and at times come into conflict. As Carrithers & Peterson (2013) discussed, a Catholic economics education requires helping students investigate the “disconnected messages about the effects of markets and the promotion of social justice” (p. 415).