Course Offerings List
Health economics is a growing field of applied microeconomics and is an important aspect of public policy. This course explores the health care sector and health policy issues from an economic perspective. Microeconomics tools will be used to analyze the functioning of different pieces of the health care system. Topics will range from fundamental subjects, such as the demand for health, to more recent developments, such as mental health, child health and risky health behaviors. This course teaches an economic approach to studying the various policies that affect health and health behaviors.
In the US and many other developed countries, economic inequality has risen to historic levels in recent decades. What are the causes of this trend -- "natural" market forces (e.g., globalization?) or changes in public policy (e.g., erosion of the minimum wage)? Are measures currently proposed to counteract inequality and poverty -- e.g, progressive taxation, transfer programs to low-income families, public insurance programs such as Medicare -- effective? An emphasis is placed on understanding what basic microeconomic theory as well as empirical evidence can (and cannot) tell us about these questions.
This seminar in history and documentary film explores personal narrative and how individual experience contributes to profound social change. We study 1960s youth through oral history, biography, memoir, ethnography and journalism. Trenton NJ is the case study. Themes include: civil rights & Black power; immigration & migration; student uprisings & policing; gender & sexuality; high school & college; churches & city institutions; sports & youth culture; labor, class & neighborhood; politics & government. Working with documentary narrative, the course asks how a new generation of storytellers will shape public conversations and policy.
Music and language offer unique pathways into studying the human mind. This interdisciplinary course explores the parallels and differences between music and language by investigating their functions and structures, as well as the variety found in each across the globe. We will examine how both past experiences and cognitive processes shape perception in real time. Through a variety of interdisciplinary readings, guest lecturers, and hands-on activities, the course aims to highlight current lively debates and provide students with the background and tools needed to study the relationship between music and language from multiple perspectives.
Cognitive neuroscience is a young and exciting field with many questions yet to be answered. This course surveys current knowledge about the neural basis of perception, cognition and action and will comprehensively cover topics such as high-level vision, attention, memory, language, decision making, as well as their typical and atypical development. Precepts will discuss the assigned research articles, pertaining to topics covered in class with an emphasis on developing critical reading skills of scientific literature.
Introduction to a mathematical description of how networks of neurons can represent information and compute with it. Course will survey computational modeling and data analysis methods for neuroscience. Example topics are short-term memory and decision-making, population coding, modeling behavioral and neural data, and reinforcement learning. Classes will be a mix of lectures from the professor, and presentations of research papers by the students. Two 90 minute lectures, one laboratory. Lectures in common between NEU 437/NEU 537.
An introduction to the institutions and political processes of American government and democracy. Topics will include the Constitution and American political tradition, federalism, political institutions, elections and representation, interest groups and social movements, civil rights and liberties, and the politics of public policy
This course provides a realistic introduction to how public policy is made in the United States. It examines how people and political institutions come together to create and implement public policy. The course combines cutting edge social science with cases, simulations, and role playing exercises to provide students with concrete skills and practical tools for actual policy making.
American law protects racist hate speech, pornography, and (much) lying. Other countries permit more restrictions on harmful speech, should we? Or will that undermine truth-seeking, political competition, and other values? Should speech be regulated instead by social norms, social media companies, and universities? Is "cancel culture" a problem? And what should we - as political communities and universities - honor and memorialize? How should we balance recognition of heritage and inclusion of people from diverse cultures and historically marginalized groups? Seminars will include debates. Active weekly participation required of all.
The seminar explores the political theory of international human rights. We will ask some philosophical questions about these rights. For example: Are human rights really a kind of right? How are human rights related to the "natural rights" of the Western political tradition? What is the moral basis of human rights? Are human rights best understood as points of agreement among the world's moral cultures? How should we decide which rights are properly considered human rights? We will try to answer these questions through critical discussions of contributions to the philosophical literature about human rights of the last few decades.
This course will examine the history, contemporary reality, and likely future of higher education, especially in the United States but also abroad. We will consider the changing and often conflicting ideals and aspirations of parents, students, instructors, and administrators from classical Rome to Christian institutions in the European Middle Ages to American athletic powerhouses today, seeking answers to fundamental practical, economic, and political questions that provoke vigorous contemporary debate.
An exploration of original texts in the history of thought about the workings of the human mind starting in Antiquity and leading to the development of the empirical discipline of psychology in the 19th century and some of its modern trends. Subsequent developments, including the child study movement, are explored though 20th century writings, culminating with Sartre's philosophical psychology and sources in Eastern thought to put the Western trajectory in perspective.
The scientific study of social behavior, with an emphasis on social interaction and group influence. Topics covered will include social perception, the formation of attitudes and prejudice, attraction, conformity and obedience, altruism and aggression, and group dynamics.
Principles of psychology relevant to the theory and practice of education. Through selected readings, discussion, and classroom observations, students study theories of development, learning, cognition (including literacy), and motivation, as well as individual and group differences in these areas; assessment; and the social psychology of the classroom. The course focuses on how learning by children and adolescents at the elementary, middle, and secondary school levels is influenced by their own characteristics and experiences and the various contexts in which they learn: family, school, community and culture.
In this class we will explore gender and sex diversity in humans. We will read and listen to classic medical cases and scientific studies, anthropological reports, the first-person narrative accounts of intersex and nonbinary adults, and podcasts from expert researchers. Throughout the class we will dive into deep ethical dilemmas emerging in the current cultural moment and learn what social and life scientists think about these topics to develop our own views.
Adversity is a powerful force in the human experience. From scarcity, to disasters, to marginalization, experiences of adversity play a pivotal role in how people think, feel, and act. This seminar will explore the psychological consequences of adversity, including its effects on beliefs, attitudes, decision-making, morality, self and identity, health and well-being, close relationships, and communities. We will consider not only the deleterious effects of adversity, but also how it can foster resilience, strengthen ties, and spark creativity. The course will balance psychological theories and research with personal and historic narratives.
An introduction to the social bases of American politics and the political forces in the shaping of American society. Topics include divisions of class, race, gender, and party; struggles over national identity and immigration; social movements and civic participation; changes in the media; and the uncertain future of American democracy.
An introduction to the study of elites, this course surveys the role of education, inheritance, and employment in access to high incomes, wealth, power, and status; changing patterns of wealth concentration; elites and democratic politics; conflicts among business and educational elites; elite culture and consumption; and changes in influence and celebrity in the age of the internet and social media.
This seminar focuses on the structural and institutional foundations of racial discrimination in the United States. It emphasizes the contributions of sociologists, some of whom will participate as invited guests. The course gives a historical overview followed by an investigation of key legislative actions and economic factors inhibiting racial equality. Subsequent topics include migration and immigration; urban development; and residential segregation. The end of the course reviews resistance movements and policies aimed at addressing systemic racism, including restorative justice and reparations.
This course will examine our individual and collective identities -- especially as they relate to sexuality, race, gender, and class. We will specifically focus on the social processes that produce these identities, how identities change over time, and the individual and collective anxieties that occur when identities become destabilized. This course will also focus on how power, privilege, and oppression intersect with our identities.
This course covers selected topics in the sociology of organizations. We first undertake a brief introduction to organizational theories. We then consider empirical applications across an array of domains and sub-fields, including work and labor markets, politics and social movements, education, and social stratification.
This course explores three questions in the economics of education: What are the economic returns to education? How do people's valuations of education relate to economists' measures of returns? how are individuals' choices and educational outcomes mediated by information? We pay special attention to higher education policy and to choice-based reforms in K-12 education. Do these reforms 'work?' If not, why not? Topics include signaling and human capital theories, valuation of school quality, charter/magnet schools, and informational and financial frictions in higher education.
A study of essential methods of learning and teaching, including learner characteristics and needs, organization and structure of educational institutions, development of curriculum and instructional goals, preparation of evaluation and assessment, and design of subject/level specific methodologies and classroom management techniques. Required course work includes 22 hours of site-based field experience and evening laboratory sessions. Students should have one morning of unscheduled time available each week to allow for school visits. The course is open to any student who has an interest in teaching.
TPP 403 is designed to complement TPP 404, Clinical Practice. The course is structured by four themes: The Learner and Learning, Content Knowledge: Planning Instruction and Assessment, Instructional Practice and Pedagogy, and Professional Responsibilities. Major course assignments address these themes through a focus on the research and practice of meeting the needs of exceptional learners. The course is designed to help students connect theory and practice, become self-reflective practitioners, use data from formative and summative assessments to inform instruction, and to prepare them for full-time student teaching.
TPP 404 (complements TPP 403) is a 175-hour assignment as a student teacher in a local middle or high school, w/approximately 20 hours of clinical work per week over 12 weeks. Students assume increasing control of instruction with support of a host teacher, and the experience culminates with the design and delivery of a small unit of instruction. Assignments include research on the classroom and school context and an analysis of the unit of instruction taught in the final weeks of the semester. The course objectives focus on the role of classroom context in the teaching and learning process; instructional planning; and teacher reflection.
The Seminar on Education-Theory and Practice is designed to intersect with and compliment Practice Teaching (TPP 406). Students will read and reflect on educational research and reflect on how to best integrate theory and practice in the reality of their school setting. Students investigate the processes of curriculum development and implementation, develop learning goals and lesson plans, and learn strategies for measuring student learning by applying both formative and summative assessments. Prerequisite: permission from the Director of Teacher Certification. Students enroll in the seminar concurrently with TPP 406.
Supervised practice teaching (a minimum of 12 weeks) in a local school. Teaching is done under the supervision of an accomplished teacher and a program staff member who regularly observes and discusses the student's practice teaching. Students gain firsthand experience in developing teaching strategies, planning and differentiating instruction, assessing student learning, and classroom management. Must be taken concurrently with TPP 405.