Applying to CSS

June 9, 2016


Dear First-year Student:

If you have an interest in the social sciences, we would like to invite you to consider the College of Social Studies.  Shortly after the spring semester begins, information regarding the dates in which the college will be accepting applications will be announced and posted at the bottom of this letter.  Students wishing to apply to CSS must fulfill an economics prerequisite.  Please follow the "Economics Requirement"  link above for details.

The CSS offers a distinct approach to the social sciences.  First, and most obviously, it is a multidisciplinary program of study in government, history, economics, and philosophy.  Because social reality does not come carved up into neat compartments corresponding to academic disciplines, we believe that students will develop a better understanding of the subject matter and the nature of each discipline by considering it in relation to the others.

Perhaps more important, the College also offers a distinctive pedagogy that centers on the weekly tutorial.  We place great emphasis on writing and discussion, so our classes are very small.  During your sophomore year, your work in the College would consist of three small (no more than 10 students), intensive tutorials in government, history, and economics, and one larger (30 students) colloquium in modern social theory.  You probably know how hard it is to find classes of this size in the social sciences at Wesleyan.  We keep our classes small to make it possible for you to work closely with each other and with your professors, and to develop your writing and analytical skills.

Our pedagogy is also distinctive in its emphasis on students' responsibility for their own education.  In the CSS, you will write papers on a subject before you have heard your professor discuss it, so you will be given the opportunity to develop your own approach to it, your own synthesis of the materials you have read.  You will receive ample support from participating in small, informal groups with other students, from the teaching assistants assigned to each class, and from your professors.  But the final product will be yours.

Finally, the CSS as a College represents an intellectual community. It is for people dedicated to a life of ongoing learning. We believe our intellect and curiosity does not end at the classroom door. Outside the classroom our students are as likely to talk about the current economic state of the world or the relevance of Marxist theory as they would their plans for evening dinner. As a community we are dedicated to learning and to each other. This is what makes us different from every other major at the university.

Applications for the CSS Class of 2021 will be made available early in the Spring Semester, 2018. At that time, applications are downloaded and then submitted electronically following the instructions on the application form.

There's a lot more to learn about the College, so consider attending one of our information sessions, or join us for any of our regular Monday lunches or Friday social hours: 

  • Information Sessions:  CSS Lounge (4th floor, PAC), one session during the Fall Semester and one session during the Spring Semester -- exact dates to be determined.
  • CSS Monday Lunch:  Woodhead Lounge (1st floor, Exley Science Center), Mondays, 12:00 noon.
  • CSS Social Hour:  CSS Lounge (4th floor, PAC), Fridays, 4:00 p.m.



Cecilia Miller

Giulio Gallarotti