Singapore University of Social Sciences

Understanding Contemporary Society: The Social and Behavioural Sciences

Understanding Contemporary Society: The Social and Behavioural Sciences (HBC101)


The terms “behavioural sciences” and “social sciences” have been used to describe the scientific study of human behaviour and social relations among human beings. This course provides a concise overview of the historical origins and developments of selected disciplines; for example, anthropology, psychology and sociology. In the process, students will be introduced to concepts such as personality, socialisation and social stratification, which are often examined in these disciplines. To round off this introduction, the overlapping areas that the selected disciplines investigate will be highlighted to students via case studies to show how each discipline approaches the study of a particular social issue, and why an integrated approach is, by far, the most effective.

Level: 1
Credit Units: 5
Presentation Pattern: EVERY REGULAR SEMESTER
E-Learning: BLENDED - Learning is done ENTIRELY online using interactive study materials in Canvas. Students receive guidance and support from online instructors via discussion forums and emails. There are no face-to-face sessions. If the course has an exam component, this will be administered on-campus.


  • Understanding Contemporary Society
  • Studying the Human Condition
  • An Introduction to the Disciplines
  • The Science in the Social & Behavioural Sciences (I)
  • The Science in the Social & Behavioural Sciences (II)
  • Psychology
  • Anthropology & Sociology
  • Political Science & Economics
  • Integrating Different Disciplines for Research & Inquiry
  • Case Study 1: Psychology
  • Case Study 2: Sociology
  • Case Study 3: Political Science

Learning Outcome

  • Discuss the key historical and philosophical tenets of the social and behavioural sciences.
  • Explain the development of the major social and behavioural science disciplines in relation to their historical origins.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of terms and concepts in the social and behavioural sciences when discussing social phenomena.
  • Use suitable social and behavioural science approaches to address social and behavioural science issues and research questions.
  • Present a social and behavioural science explanation for common social phenomena.
  • Identify a suitable research method that can be used to address a social or business problem.
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