Social Science

Central's social science program encourages you to develop knowledge and skills in several disciplines. If you desire a broadly based experience in the social sciences, this major may be where you belong! A critical element of the program is recognizing relationships among the disciplines, including history, economics, political science, sociology and psychology.

A social science major gives you a solid background for many career options. Graduates have become social studies teachers, deputy sheriffs and youth leaders. The major offers you the opportunity to take courses across a number of areas, creating a customized plan of study that best suits your academic needs. It is particularly appropriate for prospective social studies teachers at the secondary level.

The Central Difference

Off-Campus Experiences

Central students can study off-campus — both internationally or domestically in the United States. These opportunities give students the chance to prepare to be global citizens, equipped to compete in the global job market. Students can check out experiences led by Central faculty or attend select academic programs across the world that provide opportunities for study, service, internships and other types of experiential learning. Options include experiences in Chicago, Washington, D.C., Central America, Ghana, England, the Scottish Highlands and more.

The Art of STEM

Abigail Lowry ’22 is an ambitious student with a passion for the arts and STEM.


Central College is one of the most beautiful college campuses you'll find. A perfect mix of old and new, our buildings reflect our history and our future. Central's distinctive library is a spacious and popular haven with more than 230,000 volumes, computer stations, a multimedia collection and extensive online catalog.

Beyond Central

Putting the “Hire” in Higher Education

  • Danielle Neu ’21, Legal Assistant, Rieper Law
  • Joseph Roberts ’21, Social Studies Teacher, Ottumwa Community School District
  • Dillon Maass ’20, High School History Teacher, Sigourney High School
  • Jeremy Caracci ’18, Social Studies and At-Risk Teacher, West Des Moines Community Schools
  • Joseph Flaherty ’14, Assistant Sports Information Director, Central College

Calvin Wilner ’24 Sworn in as New Police Officer

Cal Wilner ’24 joins Pella Police force after graduation.


  • History Club
  • Sociology and Anthropology Club
  • Economics Club
  • Culture Club
  • Phi Alpha Theta (history)
  • Pi Sigma Alpha (political science)
  • Mock trial
  • Political Science Club
  • Pre-law Club
  • Psi Chi (psychology)
  • Psychology Club

Graduate Placement

Majors go on to graduate school in a number of fields, studying education, sociology and more.


Social science students also gain experience through internships that prepare them for future employment or entrance into graduate school.

Central College student

Courses & Faculty

The social science program offers you the opportunity to take courses in a variety of disciplines. You will select courses in areas including history, politics, economics, psychology and sociology.

Learn more about this discipline in the course catalog.

Meet the Faculty

  • Anya Butt, B.A., M.S., Ph.D., Professor of Biology
  • Shelby Messerschmitt-Coen, B.A., M.C., Ph.D., Adjunct Faculty
  • Andrew Green, B.A., M.A., Ph.D., Institutional Research Director
  • Keith Jones, B.A., M.A., Ph.D., Mark and Kay De Cook Endowed Chair in Character & Leadership Development and Professor of Psychology
  • Tuan Nguyen, B.B.A., M.S., Ph.D., Associate Professor of Economics
  • George Nwaogu, B.A., M.A., Ph.D., Associate Professor of Economics
  • Tim Olin, B.A., M.A., Ph.D., Associate Professor of History
  • Dawn Reece, B.A., M.S., Ph.D., Associate Professor of Sociology
  • Randall Renstrom, B.S., M.A., Ph.D., Associate Professor of Psychology
  • Ashley Scolaro, B.S., M.S., Ph.D., Associate Professor of Psychology
  • Elena Vishnevskaya, B.A., M. Div., Ph.D., Associate Professor of Religion
  • Shawn Wick, B.A., M.S., Ph.D., Associate Professor of Sociology
  • Jon Witt, B.A., M.A., Ph.D., Professor of Sociology
  • Lori Witt, B.A., M.A., Ph.D., Kenneth J. Weller Distinguished Professorship of the Liberal Arts and Associate Professor of History
  • Keith Yanner, B.A., Ph.D., Professor of Political Science
  • Jim Zaffiro, B.A., M.A., Ph.D., Professor of Political Science


Learn More

Want to find out more about Social Science at Central? Contact us to learn more about this discipline and our other strong academic programs.

Visit campus to observe classes and experience The Central Difference firsthand.


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