Social Sciences and Education Pathway

If you are interested in why people do what they do or elementary/early education and child development, you can choose this pathway; it offers methods of study to understand human origins, motivations, and to describe human behavior.

This pathway offers degrees and certificates in the science of understanding people — anthropology, psychology, political and social sciences, criminal justice, substance use disorder  — but also degrees and certificates leading to work in elementary and pre-school education. An expert from this pathway can help you to choose which degree or certificate will best lead to your ultimate goal.

As with all pathways, you may choose to move to a different pathway at any time. If you so choose, an advisor can help you.

Areas of Interest​

Students choosing to study anthropology as a major or minor would normally choose to follow a program leading to the Associate of Arts Degree at YVC, and then transfer to a college or university that offers anthropology as a major. Anthropology courses taught at YVC offer students a solid introductory foundation.

People have always been curious about their origins and in the cultural diversity of the past and present. The discipline of anthropology attempts to describe and explain human uniqueness in an integrated way. Physical/Biological anthropologists focus on the biological development of our species. Cultural anthropologists seek to describe and understand each present day culture within its own context and from a comparative perspective. Archaeology uses scientific field and laboratory work to investigate past societies and the processes of cultural change through the study of artifacts and other material remains. It is the “cultural anthropology” of the human past. Anthropological linguistics focuses on how humans use language.

Yakima Valley College Chican@ Studies Program promotes a critical understanding of the roles of Chican@s in the history, culture, and politics of the United States. Developing and strengthening critical thinking, writing, and verbal communication skills are a focus of the program.

The Chican@ Studies courses address contemporary and historical issues that arise in response to political, economic, and cultural realities of Chican@s in the United States. Courses critically engage in themes and methods of study about:

  • Race & Ethnicity
  • Culture
  • Power
  • Sexuality
  • Gender
  • Class
  • Social Transformation

* Please note that the symbol “@” represents the Education Industry Standard, replacing “a/o.”

The Associate of Applied Science Degree in Criminal Justice is designed for students who intend to enter the job market upon completion of the two-year degree.

Courses within the program assist students in the development of occupationally specific abilities with emphasis on interpersonal skills, group dynamics, problem solving, and critical thinking. The purpose of the program is to prepare students for the challenges of working in this dynamic profession.

Associate of Applied Science in Criminal Justice students who are continuing on to a 4-year degree, should get YVC’s Associate of Arts Degree with Criminal Justice courses being utilized to fulfill AA degree requirements.

Four certificates are also available:  Communications/Call Taker Certificate, Correctional Certificate, Crime Scene Investigation Certificate, Police Clerk/Support Specialist Certificate.

Economics is the study of how individuals and groups, including companies and governments, make decisions about using limited resources to produce and distribute goods and services in order to best satisfy their needs and wants. Economics uses unique methods to analyze and predict individual behavior based on past decisions and the range of possible courses of action under different circumstances. Most simply stated, Economics is the study of making choices.

An understanding of basic terminology and concepts of economics is a foundation for further study in most business courses. Also, knowledge of the fundamentals of economics is becoming more important for programs of study outside the field of business, such as education and medicine. The classes at Yakima Valley College are designed to provide introductory-level study for transfer students and to provide business/community members with information that can be used in daily decision making.

The Education Department recommends that a student planning to transfer to a four-year university or college to pursue a degree in K-12 education, early childhood education, or children studies earn an Associate in Arts degree. While earning the associate in arts degree, the student should take required coursework for teacher preparation and/or basic studies.

The intent of our ECE course work is to address the content and skill development required to work with children Birth to Age 8 and meet the required Washington State Core competencies and the NAEYC National standards.

  • Administration
  • Early Childhood Education
  • Family Child Care
  • Infant-Toddler Care
  • Paraeduc​ator Preparation Training
  • Preschool Special Education
  • School Age Care
  • State ECE
  • State Initial ECE

Ethnic studies focuses on the historical and contemporary experiences of people of color in the United States including Native Americans, African Americans, Hispanic/Latin@s, and Asian Americans. Emphasis is placed on their achievements and contributions to American society as well as on their roles within the complex dynamics of racial and ethnic relations.

Introductory Ethnic Studies courses are offered as are more specialized courses focusing on one ethnic group or a specific topic. In addition, students of all levels are encouraged to pursue independent study and research under the guidance of the Ethnic Studies faculty. Ethnic Studies courses provide new and different perspectives on American society making them an appropriate and necessary addition to any course of study.

Students choosing to pursue a degree in Ethnic Studies should follow a program leading to the Associate in Arts degree (AA-DTA) and then transfer to a college or university that offers Ethnic Studies as a major.

Geography is an integrative discipline that unites the physical and social sciences in the study of people, places, and the environment. Major themes geographers explore are the interaction of human and natural environments, movement, and regions. Geography studies the where-and-why factors that shape our world and our lives in spatial terms.

Students choosing to pursue a degree in Geography should follow a program leading to the Associate in Arts degree (AA-DTA) and then transfer to a college or university that offers Geography as a major.

The historian analyzes human events and social/political organizations, attempting to establish an accurate perspective of the past. History provides us with an identity. It allows us to place current events into a perspective which gives us a sense of context and sequence. The patterns of civilizations can be discerned. History courses are taught at YVC by instructors who are known for their knowledge and provocative presentations.

Students choosing to pursue a degree in History should follow a program leading to the Associate in Arts degree (AA-DTA) and then transfer to a college or university that offers History as a major.

Political Science is the study of government and public policy and of the political behavior of individuals and groups. Political Science uses both humanistic and scientific methods of analysis to examine individual and group behaviors and outcomes at the local, state, national, and international levels of politics (source: American Political Science Association). The Political Science program at YVC offers most of the fundamental courses in the discipline that prepare students for a declared major or minor in political science at a four-year college or university. Political Science courses at YVC also contribute toward general education requirements necessary for a bachelor’s degree in any Liberal Arts discipline.

Students choosing to pursue a degree in Political Science should follow a program leading to the Associate in Arts degree (AADTA) and then transfer to a college or university that offers Political Science as a major.

YVC offers a core of basic psychology courses which will provide a sound introduction to the discipline. Psychology is the science of human behavior and experience and includes perspectives examining abnormal behavior, the biological bases of behavior, social interaction, and cognitive processes. These psychology courses are offered for general education, personal enrichment, and for students pursuing a career in Psychology or related fields. They serve as prerequisites for several campus programs.

Students choosing to pursue a degree in Psychology should follow a program leading to the Associate in Arts degree (AA-DTA) and then transfer to a college or university that offers Psychology as a major.

Sociology is the systematic analysis of the social causes and consequences of human behavior. Sociologists study social interaction, social structure, and social change. Contemporary American society is the focus but comparative and historical perspectives are included. The college offers basic courses that introduce the student to the fundamental principles, theories, and approaches of the discipline.

Students choosing to pursue a degree in Sociology should follow a program leading to the Associate in Arts degree (AA-DTA) and then transfer to a college or university that offers Sociology as a major.

The Associate of Applied Science Degree in Substance Use Disorder  Studies prepares students to work in the field of substance use disorder counseling. Graduates will meet Washington State’s educational requirements for Department of Health certification as a Substance Use Disorder  Professional.

For students who have a minimum of a two-year degree or have earned 35 college-level credits, the certificate-only program may be appropriate for you.