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The Department

The Department of Humanities and Social Sciences includes the disciplinary areas of geography, geographic information science, history, humanities, political science, and social science education, thus serving a kaleidoscope of constituencies on campus. Throughout the department academic experiences that embrace broad, general, liberal education as well as applied skills encourage students to be inquisitive, creative, and imaginative as well as functional. The department strives to prepare students to be adaptable and flexible in their occupation and professional pursuits but ever cognizant of and responsible to the human and environmental conditions. The disciplines represented by the department should serve as a foundation upon which every person bases his or her professional career as well as being integral to their lives and the lives of those around them. The offerings of the department are intended to be broad, open-ended, conceptual and philosophical while also offering training in the skills necessary to succeed in discipline-specific professions.

The department has 276 students and had 57 students graduate from the program in the past year.

Degree Programs

The Department of Humanities and Social Sciences offers eleven majors, twelve minors, and certification in middle and secondary school social sciences.

Faculty Advisement

Each major and minor is assigned a personal faculty advisor to assist in the selection of courses to complete the degree requirements.


Majors are available to students in

  • Comprehensive major in Social Science (B.S.Ed.)
  • Comprehensive major in Geographic Information Science (B.S.)
  • Emergency and Disaster Management (B.S.)
  • Geography (B.A. and B.S.)
  • History (B.A. and B.S.)
  • Political Science (B.A. and B.S.)
  • Public Administration (B.S.)


Minors are available to students in the areas of

  • Criminal Justice
  • Emergency and Disaster Management
  • Geography
  • Geographic Information Science
  • History
  • Humanities
  • International Relations
  • Political Science
  • Public Administration
  • Public History and Museum Studies
  • Social Sciences

These minor programs assist students interested in a variety of careers, including: museum studies, archives, historic preservation, national park service, law enforcement, juvenile justice, theology, business and graduate studies.

Graduate Degree Programs in History and Geographic Information Science

In addition, the department offers an MA program in the field of history. The graduate faculty of the History Department is committed to providing a Master's program that is individually tailored to the student's interests and needs. Many of our graduate students are public school teachers, seeking to expand their own education, but we have also been very successful in placing our graduates in Ph.D. programs and a variety of other positions.

The department also offers an online Master of Science degree in geographic information science. The degree program focuses on applied geographic information science as used in industry and the public sector. Student may earn a certificate in geographic information science by taking a subset of courses required for the Master's degree.

Student Accomplishments

  • Philip Marley (MS-GIScience), "Using GIS to Track Black Bears (Ursus americanus) in Missouri", Outstanding Poster, 2013 MO-GIS Conference, Spring 2013.
  • Daniel Hyde (GIS), "Detecting Unregistered Buildings Using Remote Sensing", Outstanding Student Poster, 2nd place, 2013 MO-GIS Conference, Spring 2013.
  • William Platt (GIS), "The change of land cover composition in Urban area from 1972-1999", Outstanding Student Poster, 3rd place, 2013 MO-GIS Conference, Spring 2013.
  • Olivia Clark, Peace Corps Placement in Indonesia, Fall 2012.
  • Matthew Bailey (Philosophy) will deliver his paper “Heideggerian Dasein as a Hypostatic Union” at the 23rd Truman State University Philosophy and Religion Conference, Fall 2012.
  • Jacob Beard (Philosophy) will deliver his paper “The Development of Phenomenological Method under Edmund Husserl” at the 23rd Truman State University Philosophy and Religion Conference, Fall 2012.
  • Gunnerson Sumy, Intern for Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill, Summer 2012
  • Serena Euler, Intern for Missouri Congressman Sam Graves, Spring 2012.
  • Shannon Griffin (Philosophy, 2011) is pursuing graduate work at Southern Illinois University.
  • Brandon Benitz (MA History, 2008) Thesis: "German Immigrant Churches in Doniphan County, Kansas as Archetypes in Preserving German Culture".
  • Andrew Dufour (2008) has been working at a firm leasing apartments in Lawrence since his graduation in December - next fall he will be a 1 st year law student at Kansas University.
  • Amanda Gumm (2008) is working in the Prosecutor's Office in Buchanan County and has entered the MPA program at UMKC
  • Abby Stephens (MA History, 2008) Thesis: "The Women of Northwest: A Social History of Collegiate Life."
  • Emily Heidbreder (prelaw, 2007) is a first year student at St Louis Law School.
  • Taylor Railsback (political science, 2007). After completing an internship with Attorney General Jay Nixon, Taylor will be pursuing a master's degree in philosophy from Oklahoma State University.
  • Abby Stephens (2007) is pursuing a PhD in American Studies at Purdue University
  • Parke Stevens (2007), a student at UMKC Law School was deployed in January.
  • Lydia Dombrowski (political science, 2006) is pursuing a master's degree in counseling & therapy at Bellevue University in Omaha.
  • Patrick Hunt (2006) is now attending UMKC Law School.
  • Ashley Littlejohn (political science, 2005) has entered law school at the University of Kansas.
  • Janson Thomas (2004) is pursuing a MPA degree at the Truman School of Public Affairs at MU.
  • Jered Weber (public administration, 2004) has accepted a position as Sioux County Assistant Prosecutor in Orange City IA.
  • Sarah Rice Woodward (2004) and her husband, Travis, welcomed a son, Peyton, in March. Sarah continues to work as a field representative for Rep. Sam Graves.
  • Matthew Rose (Criminal Justice, 2003) graduated from UMKC Law School, passed the bar and is now in private practice in Kansas City
  • Christopher Dunn (2002) has left Missouri politics for now and is teaching history and political science courses at Linn State Technical College. He has also started an MPA program at Lincoln University.
  • Quentin Kearney (2002) is wheeling & dealing real estate out of Kearney Real Estate LLC in Blue Springs.
  • Scott Magdziak (2001) is associated with the law firm of Polsinelli & Shugart in Kansas City.
  • Corey White (2001) is coordinator for international affairs for the American Society for Microbiology in Washington DC.
  • Angel McAdams Prescott (2000) has been appointed Director of Campus Activities at Northwest.

Department News

Geography Awareness Week/GIS Day 2012 Poster Competition

To promote the awareness of geography to the public during the nation-wide Geography Awareness Week (Nov. 11 – 17, 2012) and GIS Day (Nov. 14, 2012), a poster competition has been organized by the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at Northwest Missouri State University.  Anyone in the ASPRS Saint Louis Region interested in sharing their geography experience and knowledge is encouraged to participate and submit a poster.  The subject of your poster should be geography related that demonstrates analytical application of Geographic Information Systems, Remote Sensing, Global Positioning Systems, Cartography, Physical Geography, Human Geography, or Regional Geography methods for your topic.  

Visit the Geography Awareness Week/GIS 2012 Poster Competition homepage