Service Learning and Social Justice Education at Boston University

Interested in taking a class that incorporates service learning or focuses on social justice issues? Here is a list of BU classes that you can consider taking!

1. SMG: OB221 The Dynamics of Leading Organizations: Sophomore requirement. This is an experiential learning-based course that studies what people think, feel and do in organizational settings, focusing on individual, interpersonal, group and organizational processes. The primary objective is to help students understand and manage organizational dynamics as effectively as possible. This is done through: analysis of readings; reflecting on hands-on, real-time experiences in organizations and in teamwork here; practice opportunities in class sessions, creative applications and team exercises; and papers written by students and teams. The readings, discussions and lectures provide students with abstract knowledge about organizational behavior processes and structures; the semester-long “OB Team” experiences, working together as an intact team to address real-world problems, will provide skill-building opportunities to help manage one’s own and others’ behavior in teams and organizations in the future. Major topics include personality, motivation, team dynamics, leadership and organizational change. SMG students must take concurrently with SM411. 4 credits.

Prereq: SMG FE101 or SMG SM 299 or SMG SM 121/122; sophomore standing.

2. MET: SO501 Leadership through Service: This course explores theories of teamwork, leadership, and organizational behavior through a lens of New England’s history and culture. By studying the social and environmental challenges Bostonians have faced, students will gain a deeper understanding of how communities can solve issues facing the world today. Through service learning, students will work in teams and volunteer with non-profit organizations in the Boston area. By the end of the semester, students will have a deeper understanding of major social issues as well as the skills and experience to help solve them.
3. SAR HP 412 – Abnormal Behavior in Rehabilitation: Survey of theory, research, and therapeutic interventions related to the rehabilitation of persons with psychiatric disabilities. Presents an overview of maladaptive problems in living from personal, biological, social, and environmental perspectives. Emphasizes issues of special relevance to health and rehabilitation professionals. 4 credits, 1st semester

4.SED SE 250 – Disability, Education, and Public Policy: Relationships of disability to individual, educational, social, legal, and family structures and processes. Overview of educational structures, processes, and collaboration of regular and special education. Issues of social class, equity, discrimination, institutionalization, and normalization. Family-agency relationships. 4 credits, either semester

5. SAR HS 475: Disability Advocacy and the Law: Theory, Practice and Real World Challenges and Actions: This interdisciplinary course provides the student an exciting understanding of disability advocacy, integrating theory and practical coursework. It emphasizes the role of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and its supporting Amendment Act (ADAAA) as the basis for disability advocacy through theory and direct experience; how advocacy occurs among disability stakeholders (the nation’s public health leadership, elected officials, lawyers, judicial, health care, education and social service systems, and providers, family members, persons with disabilities, media, and the public). The class provides hands-on learning on the challenges of non-available disability-based accommodations along with the development of and opportunity to implement a corrective action plan. 4 credits, 2nd semester

Prereq: Senior or Junior standing or consent of instructor

6. SAR HP 252 – Health and Disability Across the Lifespan: Overview of healthy development across the lifespan followed by an examination of common conditions that typically begin in certain stages. Each condition will be examined for its individual, group and systemic impacts. 4 credits.
7. SPH LW 740- Health and Human Rights: This course is appropriate for graduate, 4+1, and undergraduate students and is taught at the Medical Campus. Health is closely linked to the realization of human rights. Preventable illness, infant mortality, and premature death, for example, are closely tied to societal discrimination and violation of human rights. This course explores the relationship between human rights and health by examining relevant international declarations in historical context, exploring the meaning of “human rights” and “health,” and analyzing specific case studies that illuminate the problems, prospects, and potential methods of promoting health by promoting human rights on the national and international levels. 4 Credits, Fall only.

8. SPH PH 150- Introduction to Public Health: Students will gain an understanding of public health as a broad, collective enterprise that seeks to extend the benefits of current biomedical, environmental, social, and behavioral knowledge in ways that maximize its impact on the health status of a population. The course will provide an overview of the public health approach including epidemiology, understanding the social determinants of health, and prevention. Through active learning, students will learn skills in identifying and addressing an ever expanding list of health problems that call for collective action to protect, promote and improve our nation’s health, primarily through preventive strategies. Specific topics will include: food safety, HIV/AIDS, vaccines, and tobacco control and prevention. PH510 is a requirement for obtaining an undergraduate minor in public health. It is appropriate for undergraduates and others who are not in an SPH degree program. It does not carry degree credit for MPH students. 4 credits, either semester.
9. CAS GE 150- Sustainable Energy: Technology, Resources, Society, and Environment: Examines the social, environmental, and technological aspects of renewable and nonrenewable energy systems. Discusses energy issues in context of globalization, climate change, and sustainable development. Explores lifestyle and policy decisions related to energy issues. Carries social science divisional credit in CAS. 4 credits. Fall Only.

10.CAS GE 597- Development and Environment in Latin America: Provides an empirically based understanding of the social and environmental aspects of economic development in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) for purposes of analyzing the numerous trade and development policies that nations in LAC are currently considering. Also offered as CAS IR 597. 4 Credits. Spring Only.

Prereq: (CASGE100 OR CASIR292 OR CASIR590) and junior standing, or consent of instructor.

11. CAS IR 242- Globalization and World Poverty: (Meets with CAS SO 242.) Globalization and world poverty; how and why over 80% of the world remains poor and inequality increases despite economic modernization and democratization. Addresses urbanization, immigration, religion, politics, development politics, foreign aid, women, drugs, environment, food security. Special attention to Latin American, African, and Asian experiences. Carries social science divisional credit in CAS. 4 credits. Fall semester.

12. CAS WS 241 – Sociology of Gender: An introduction to the social construction of sex and gender with a focus on the economic, political, social, and cultural forces that shape gender relations. Examines gender as a social structure that patterns institutional inequalities and everyday interactions on society. Also offered as CAS SO 241. 4 Credits. Fall semester.

13. CAS SO 205 – American Families: Nature of the American family and its ethnic and class variants. Social changes affecting courtship, mate selection, sexual behavior, reproduction, marital stability, and divorce through the life cycle. Social policies affecting family life. Interrelations of family with economy, state, religion, and other institutions. Carries social science divisional credit in CAS. 4 credits. Fall semester.

14. CAS AN 309- Boston: An Ethnographic Approach (area): An anthropological study of Boston using the city as a site of recovery and discovery as students develop ethnographic skills and an understanding of the interplay between geography, history, and demography in the social mapping of urban spaces.

15. CAS SO 210 – Confronting Persistent Social Inequalities in American Schools: Educational and Sociological Perspectives: Examines issues of race, culture, gender, and identity in urban elementary classrooms. Meets at Trotter Elementary School in Roxbury. Tutoring students is an integral part of the course.

16. CAS CC 204 – The Problem of Inequality: Spring. In the second Core Social Sciences course we will study contemporary approaches to the problem of inequality in American society and around the globe. Beginning with anthropological and historical perspectives, lectures and readings will bring insights, statistical data, and modes of analysis from sociology, psychology, political science, economics, international relations, and environmental science. The goal of this course is to use exemplary research in the Social Sciences to grapple with a problem that has implications for almost every aspect of our social, political, and economic life today.


More classes coming soon! If you’ve taken a course at BU that involves service learning or social justice issues, let us know by emailing!