Emily Short at summer camp

Combining religion and social science courses

Emily Short, a Bible and theology major with three minors (psychology, sociology, and peace and conflict studies), used her knowledge in all of these areas, along with a desire for social change, to create an innovative summer camp curriculum.

Social Sciences Department

Bettering the World Together.

If you are interested in sociology, psychology or criminal justice, you’re probably curious about how the world works and want to make it a better place. We want to help you do just that.

At Bluffton, professors will encourage you to think outside the box, ask the tough questions and then figure out a way to apply it to a job you’re interested in.





Criminal justice

Do you want to make the world a better place? To repair the harm caused by crime? Consider a major or minor in criminal justice.

At Bluffton, criminal justice is an academically rigorous program developed to produce leaders in the academic field, corrections, law enforcement, mediation and community organizing who embrace the philosophy of restorative justice.

Melanie Moon

Melanie Moon, a double major in criminal justice and social work, received the Outstanding Undergraduate Criminal Justice Student Award from the Ohio Council of Criminal Justice Education for 2019. ”

>>> Melanie's story


Are you fascinated by figuring out what makes people tick? Then psychology might be the right major or minor for you.

As a psychology student at Bluffton, your classes are designed to provide solid preparation for either employment upon graduation or for you to move on to graduate studies. 

Kala Jilani-Pritchett

As a senior psychology major, Kala Jilani-Pritchett spent a month at Harvard Medical School exploring the areas of neuroscience and neuropsychology, sciences involving the study of the brain.
>>>Kala's story.

Social work

Social workers are compassionate, creative problem-solvers who are employed in human service settings: family and child welfare, juvenile services, mental health, corrections, hospitals, nursing homes and in programs for the elderly, developmentally disabled and substance addictions.

Internship confirms vocation for social work major.

“This internship really has made me want to be a social worker even more, and it makes me want to look into CASA even more to be completely honest.” 
>>> Andrew's story


Sociology is a social science combining scientific and humanistic perspectives in the study of society and its organizations. The discipline of sociology includes the exploration and analysis of family patterns and relationships, group and organizational relationships, race and ethnicity, social class, social movement, and contemporary social problems and issues.

Heather McConnaughey '20

Senior Heather McConnaughey recently presented her research "Why Reading Matters for Juvenile Offenders: The Relationship Between Literacy and Recidivism" at the Midwestern Criminal Justice Association's annual meeting in Chicago.

“Sociology is looking at how people relate to other people. When you really dig deep, there's usually a reason why people commit the crimes they do," said McConnaughey. Heather's story >


The minor in political science introduces students to the systematic study of power in society. The minor builds on the state-centric models common in the field with a unique focus on individual and community-level analyses of structures, behaviors and outcomes. The core classes of the minor introduce students to the current state of the field. Further coursework, through electives, is flexible ranging from prescriptive coursework on policy and justice to descriptive coursework on systems and history. Broadly, students can focus on domestic, local or international levels of analysis with economic, policy, legislative/legal or historic emphases shaped by both the courses and research interests. Those interested in pursuing careers in political science are encouraged to pair the minor with a departmental honors project.

Supplement your major with a study of the experiences of women, including the achievements of women and the obstacles they have faced; contemporary issues that affect women’s lives; scholarly writings and creative works by women; and the theological, social, political and psychological methodologies employed to assess women’s lives.

Explore courses required for the

Find your greater purpose