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Frequently Asked Questions

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Can I have an over-ride? I really need one.

 The answer will generally will be "No." When we say our classes are full, they really are full.

What can I do with a degree in history if I don't want to teach?
If you don't want to be a classroom teacher, there are many things you can do with a degree in history.  Our history brochure lists many options and we urge you to come by the departmental office and pick one up. But, to give you a little sneak preview, a degree in history prepares you well for careers in the legal profession, government service (FBI, CIA, Homeland Security, Border Patrol, etc.), libraries/archives/museums, publishing, military service, advertising, and many more areas.  Basically, a degree in history provides you with the analytical, research, and writing skills that many occupations seek in employees.
What should I major in if I want to go to law school?
You can major in anything you want to.  Successful law students have majored in political science, history, business. criminal justice, agriculture, art, etc.  However, the Department of Social Sciences now offers a "Legal Studies" track for both the BA and BS in Political Science.  This track was developed specifically to prepare students to do well on the LSAT exam and enter the best law schools available to them.  If you are interested in a legal career, it would be worth you while to talk to Dr. Jeff Justice, our Legal Studies advisor.
Do I really need to take a foreign language to get a degree in history?
Yes.  The history degree is a Bachelor of Arts degree and all such degrees require a foreign language.  You may earn Bachelor of Science degrees in Political Science or Sociology without having to take foreign language courses.
I probably will want to teach some day, but I don't want to take Education classes right now. Can I do this?
Yes.  You can earn a regular B.A. degree in history without teacher certification.  Then, once you graduate, you can participate in any number of alternative certification programs offered by the TEA, District Service Centers, and universities such as Tarleton in order to earn your teacher certification.
Can I major in Philosophy?
No.  The best you can do is minor in this subject.
Who are the academic advisors in the department?
Major advisors in the Department of Social Sciences are:  Dr. Richard Cruz (History graduate advisor); Dr. T. Lindsay Baker (Public History advisor); Dr. Christopher Guthrie (Advisor for all undergraduate History students, including those seeking teaching certification); Dr. Craig Clifford (Honors student advisor); Dr. Jeff Justice (Political Science advisor), Dr. Eric Morrow (Political Science advisor), Dr. Barry Price (International Studies advisor), Dr. Leslie Stanley-Stevens (Sociology advisor), and Dr. Jason Latouche (Sociology advisor).
Does the Department of Social Sciences offer online classes?
Yes.  The department offers online sections of POLS 201, POLS 202, HIST 201, HIST 202, and GEOG 110.  More classes and more sections of existing online courses will be added in the future.  Dr. Janet Schmelzer (History) and Dr. Barry Price (Political Science) offer a online graduate course every semester.  All these classes fill up very quickly; therefore if you want to take one you must register early.
I have a learning disability. How do I go about informing my teachers and receiving accommodation for it?
Students with disabilities can request appropriate accommodation by contacting the Director of Student Disability Services in the Math Building, Room 201, or at (254) 968-9400.  Formal accommodation requests cannot be made until a student has been admitted to Tarleton.  However, students are encouraged to make initial contact well in advance of this time to clarify documentation requirements and to allow time to arrange possible accommodations.
What options do I have if I want to major in Sociology?
We currently offer one degree, a B.S. in Sociology.  But students may also pursue the "Pre-Ministry" emphasis while earning this degree.  See Dr. Leslies Stanley-Stevens for more information about this emphasis.
What options to I have if I want to major in Political Science?
Students can earn a B.A. in Political Science and select one of three tracks to specialize in: American Politics, Comparative Politics/International Relations, or Legal Studies.  Students may also earn a B.S. in Political Science and select one of four tracks to specialize in: American Politics, Comparative Politics/International Relations, Legal Studies or a B.S. in Political Science, or Social Studies Composite Secondary Certification.  Students may also earn a B.A. in International Studies.  Students should see one of the Political Science advisors (Dr. Barry Price Dr. Jeff Justice, or Dr. Eric Morrow) for details of these programs.  Students seeking the B.S. in Political Science degree with Social Studies Composite Secondary Certification should see Dr. Christopher Guthrie, departmental teaching certification advisor.
What options do I have if I want to major in History?
Students can earn a B.A. in History, a B.A. in History with Secondary Certification in History, or a B.A. in History with Social Studies Composite Secondary Certification.  All History majors must see Dr. Christopher Guthrie for advising.
What is Phi Alpha Theta?

Phi Alpha Theta is the history honorary fraternity. The Alpha Beta Chi chapter of this national organization has been on the Tarleton campus since 1985.  The qualifications for membership are: (1) undergraduates must have a 3.00 or better GPA, completed 12 hours of History courses, and a 3.1 or better GPA in those courses.  You do not have to be a History major.  You can have any major or minor.  You, however, must have the 12 hours of history courses completed.  (2)  Graduate students must have completed 12 hours of graduate course work with 9 hours in history courses.  The GPA must be 3.5 or better.  You do not have to be working on a M.A. in History.  You must, however, be working toward a Master degree with at least 9 hours of history completed.

For more information, contact Dr. Janet Schmelzer at 968-9918 or schmelz@tarleton.edu.

What are Religion Studies courses?
The Department of Social Sciences offers three Religion Studies courses: R S 101 (Survey of the Old Testament), R S 102 (Survey of the New Testament), and R S 304 (World Religions).  These are not Sunday School classes.  They are rigorous academic courses designed to investigate the historical background and basic teachings of Christianity (without arguing that these teachings are necessarily "the truth") and to understand the philosophical, ethical, and social dimensions of the other religions of the world.  These classes make excellent electives for those students who are interested in expanding their intellectual horizons.
What is "Study Abroad?"

The Study Abroad program allows students to travel to foreign countries to study and receive credit at Tarleton.  Dr. Jeff Justice currently takes students to Scotland every summer where they earn six hours credit in Political Science and/or History.  See Dr. Justice for more information about this program.

What is the Writing Intensive Program?
It is a program in which individual academic departments do the job that the English Department should have done.  In order to satisfy this requirement (and it must be satisfied in order to graduate), students must have credit for four writing intensive (WI) courses.  Two of these four course must be upper level WI courses within the major or designed for the degree plan.  The remaining WI requirement should be met through general education courses and should be Freshman Composition.
What can I do if I feel I was unfairly treated by an instructor from the Department of Social Sciences?

If a student feels that he or she has been unfairly evaluated in a test, he or she should follow the following steps:

1. The student will first appeal to the instructor

2. If necessary, the student will then petition the head of the department for a committee to be appointed to evaluate the exam in question

3. The Department Head will appoint a departmental committee, consisting of a senior professor and one other from the instructor's discipline

4. The test and the student's essay (or essays) will be typed by the departmental secretary.  All identification of the student and the instructor will be omitted

5. The committee will review the situation and make a written recommendation to the instructor.  The criterion for their recommendation will be the defensibility of the instructor's original grade.  The instructor may then accept or reject the committee's recommendation; the reasons for this decision should be put in writing.  If a student is not satisfied by this decision, he or she may then follow the procedures outlined in the Student Handbook.

Other Grievances

If a grievance should develop between a student and faculty member (over semester grades, accusations of academic dishonesty, or other matters not elsewhere addressed), the student must first attempt to confer with the instructor to resolve their differences.

If a resolution is not possible with the instructor, the student or faculty member may bring the matter, in writing, to the Department Head.  The Department Head will investigate the matter, confer as he/she deems appropriate, appoint any committee that may be advisable, and arrive at a judgement.  In any event, both the involved student and instructor will be required to state their case in writing.

Should the Department Head's judgement not be acceptable to one party or the other, either may request that the matter be forwarded to the Dean of the College of Liberal and Fine Arts, who will approach the situation according to his or her established procedures.

Why do I have to take General Education (Core Curriculum) classes?
Because it is mandated by the state and the university for the purpose of providing students with a well-rounded education.
How can I change my major to History, Sociology, or Political Science?
Visit the appropriate advisor for the major you want to change to (Dr. Barry Price Dr. Jeff Justice, or Dr. Eric Morrow for Political Science , Dr. Jason Latouche or Dr. Leslie Stanley-Stevens for Sociology, or Dr. Christopher Guthrie for History) and have them help you fill out a revised Degree Plan. They will then send it to the Registrar's Office and the deed is done!
Can I have a minor in History, Sociology, or Political Science. If so, what are the requirements?
Yes.  The requirements are simple: just take 18 hours in either History or Political Science (6 of which must be advanced hours).  Notify your major advisor that you intend to minor in either History, Sociology, or Political Science so that he or she can indicate your minor on your degree plan.
When I have completed all my courses, how do I apply for graduation?
First of all, check with your academic advisor to make sure that you have indeed completed all the courses required for graduation.  If everything is o.k. in this regard, obtain the following two forms from the Registrar's Office: "Application for Graduation" and "Graduation Checkout Form."  Complete the "Application for Graduation" yourself and complete the "Graduation Checkout Form" with your academic advisor.  Hand the completed forms into the Registrar's Office by the appropriate deadline. 
Does the Department of Social Sciences offer internships for History, Sociology, and Political Science majors?
Yes, but it is not a requirement for graduation for either discipline.  Political Science majors have served as interns for state political leaders and local government offices.  History interns have worked in museums throughout the state.  If you want an internship, work closely with your academic advisor to find a position.  Sociology students have also served as interns over the years.  Political Science majors also need to consult with Dr. Barry Price for possible positions and History majors need to talk to Dr. T. Lindsay Baker for similar information. Sociology majors should talk to Drs Jason Latouche, Carol Key, or Leslie Stanley-Stevens.
I came to talk to my teacher and he (or she) was not in their office. Shouldn't they be there?
Not necessarily.  Try coming during their posted office hours.  If these times are not good for you, contact your teacher before or after class for a meeting time that is good for both of you.
I want to drop a class offered by the Department of Social Sciences. What do I have to do?
Obtain a drop form from the Registrar's Office and then meet with your academic advisor to discuss your action.  Once your advisor has approved your action and signed your drop form, return the form to the Registrar's Office.  Make sure to drop classes before the "Drop Deadline" (listed in the catalog).
I'm thinking about getting a Masters degree in History (or Political Science) from Tarleton. What do I do to get started?
Students interested in earning a M.A. degree need to start by setting an appointment to talk to Dr. Richard Cruz, History Graduate advisor. Dr. Cruz fill you in on the requirements for the MA in History, tell you about available courses, and advise you on how to apply for admittance.  He will also be able to answer any other questions you may have.  We no longer offer a MA degree in Political Science.
Did John Tarleton really have a duck named Oscar P?
No.