African American Studies
African American studies is the systematic study of the historical, cultural, intellectual and social development of people of African descent, the societies of which they are a part, and their contribution to world civilization. Its principal geographic domains are the United States, the Caribbean, Latin America, the African continent, and increasingly Western Europe where large Africana communities reside. The field features a diversity of intellectual approaches and practical interests. Based on an interdisciplinary framework, it draws upon the humanities and the social and behavioral sciences.
Anthropology is a comparative social science that seeks to understand human behavior within the context of different cultural systems, past and present. Anthropology also seeks to understand human biological evolution and adaptation and their interaction with social and cultural behavior. Anthropology brings a cross-cultural knowledge base and unique methodological and conceptual tools to bear on understanding the transformations, problems, and interconnections of contemporary societies. The discipline is divided into the fields of cultural, biological, linguistic anthropology, archaeology, and applied anthropology.
Biological sciences studies of the intricacies and nuances of life at the cellular and microscopic levels. Students will gain knowledge across multiple science disciplines including chemistry, physics, and math/statistics. While completing a degree in biological sciences, students will have an option to receive credit from conducting research on campus with a faculty member to build experience for a professional research career or to move forward into an advanced degree.
Students earning a degree in chemistry will be prepared to think critically about important scientific problems, perform research, and communicate their findings. Chemists understand the physical world from the perspective of the smallest building blocks called atoms, and this understanding is critical to many industries including pharmaceuticals, automotive, food, plastics, and electronics. Chemists are employed in industry, academia, government, non-profits, and start their own companies. Furthermore, a chemistry degree is an outstanding platform from which to pursue further education in graduate school for chemistry or in medical school, law school, or pharmacy school.
Classical and Modern Languages, Literatures, and Cultures
A degree in languages will prepare you to communicate with people around the world and understand other cultures, key skills in a global society. Our programs are not just about learning a new language, though developing fluency is one of the goals. We teach our students to think critically about our globalized world and to see it through many different cultural, historical, and political lenses.
Asian Studies (Chinese, Japanese)
- Bachelor of Arts with a concentration in Chinese
- Bachelor of Arts with a concentration Japanese
- Minor in Asian Studies
Classics (Classical Civilization: Ancient Greek, Latin, or both)
Modern Languages (French, German or Spanish)
Near Eastern Languages (Arabic, Hebrew)
- Bachelor of Arts
- Master of Arts
- Minor in Arabic
- Minor in Israeli Studies
- Near Eastern Studies
Romance Languages and Literatures (French, Italian, Spanish)
- Bachelor of Arts (French, Italian, Spanish)
- Master of Arts (French, Italian, Spanish)
- Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D. in Modern Languages)
- Minor in French
- Minor in Italian
- Minor in Spanish
Slavic Studies (Polish, Russian)
Communication Sciences and Disorders
Specialized coursework prepares students to work with speech-language and hearing disabled children and adults in a variety of settings, including public schools, hospitals, clinics, rehabilitation centers and private practice. Undergraduate degrees are considered pre-professional as students must obtain a graduate degree to be employed as a certified speech-language pathologist (M.A.) or audiologist (Au.D.) in any work setting.
Criminology and Criminal Justice
Criminal Justice is society's primary formal means of social control. Generally, it is the practice of public and private agencies and groups that deter crime and delinquency, and that prosecute, defend, adjudicate, punish, and correct suspects and convicted offenders. The core of the criminal justice system is comprised of law enforcement agencies, prosecutors, defense attorneys, courts, and correctional agencies. This system enforces federal and state laws and is part of a larger administration of justice complex, involving court administration, juvenile justice, and private security.
The study of criminal justice begins with analysis of the entire justice system as a force for social order. Advanced study inquires into the political, organizational, social and behavioral aspects of its components. Students develop analytical and research skills that enable them to identify and assess the often conflicting objectives of criminal justice and investigate basic issues and practical problems in criminology and criminal justice. Legal courses foster an awareness of the values of due process and the limits of governmental power in a democratic society.
Digital Humanities Minor
The digital humanities minor prepares interested students to work and serve in the intersection of digital technology and humanities/social science research.
Economics is the study of how individuals and societies allocate limited resources to try to satisfy unlimited wants; it is, therefore, a study of choices. Households and business firms must decide what and how much to consume or produce and how much labor, land, and capital to supply. Governments make decisions affecting inflation and unemployment, taxation and expenditures, the monetary system and international trade. Together these public and private choices determine the nation's prosperity and shape the distribution of its wealth. Since every social relationship has economic aspects, an understanding of economic principles and systems is an integral part of a liberal education.
Employment and Labor Relations (Labor Studies)
The Employment and Labor Relations major provides students with the opportunity to develop the critical skills necessary to analyze employment and workplace issues. An interdepartmental program, employment and labor relations examines the social, political and economic dimensions of these issues in the context of a broad liberal arts education.
Bachelor of Arts (BAELR)
Master of Arts (MAELR)
A degree in English prepares students with the intellectual knowledge and practical tools to thrive in an increasingly diverse and interconnected world by understanding the power and influence of literature and other forms of textual and media production, circulation, and interpretation; and by imparting skill and fluency in close reading, critical thinking, rhetorical analysis, and writing in multiple genres.
Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies
The gender, sexuality, and women's studies interdisciplinary undergraduate curriculum is designed to give students the theoretical bases and methodological skills for analyzing gender, sexuality, and women from the perspective of the humanities, historical studies, and the social sciences. Students will gain an understanding of the various contexts and constructs including literary, social, cultural, economic, psychological, philosophical, and political that shape our perceptions of these issues in different geographical locations and across time.
Environmental Science and Geology
Geology is the scientific study of planet Earth and involves the observation and interpretation of processes that form and change our world. Some of these processes, such as earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanic eruptions, proceed rapidly, often with catastrophic consequences. Others, such as erosion or mountain building can progress so slowly that their results are scarcely noticeable over a human lifetime. Each of these processes, however, can exert a profound influence on human activities and can, in turn, be influenced intentionally or unintentionally by human activities.
History is central to our understanding of the human experience. The study of the past allows us to place our world in context, whether we want to understand international crises, the significance of a national election, or social relations within our own community. The skills of the historian – the ability to do research in original sources, to think critically, and to write clearly and persuasively – are highly valued in our changing world. We teach undergraduate students fundamental research, analytical, and writing skills and train graduate students as professional historians, equipped with the skills to produce original, publishable research in their field of specialization.
Jewish Studies Minor
The Jewish Studies minor engages students who are interested in exploring the history, culture, language, and politics of the Jewish communities from Biblical times through the modern period. Students learn how Jewish thought has influenced the modern world and how it has been influenced in turn by the societies and cultures in which Jews have lived over the past four thousand years.
The co-major degree program in Latino/a and Latin American studies strengthens students in all majors who plan to work in national and international multicultural environments through the study of Latin America, Caribbean, Latino/a studies, and multicultural diversity.
Wayne State University undergraduate students can now earn a minor in law through Wayne Law. There are three different tracks by which students can complete the minor—one track is offered by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, one by the Mike Ilitch School of Business, and one by the School of Social Work. Each track for the minor involves the same three courses in law (which will all be taught by faculty from the Law School) but has other requirements that vary depending on the track.
LawStart allows highly-motivated students in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences to earn both a bachelor’s and a law degree from Wayne State in just six years of study.
A degree in mathematics prepares students to specialize in the physical, life or social sciences, business administration, engineering, and education. It provides a route by which students may achieve a level of competence to do research in any of several special mathematical areas. Math degrees allow students to prepare themselves for work as mathematicians and statisticians in industry and government; they give an opportunity to all inquisitive students to learn something about modern mathematical ideas.
Neuroscience is an interdisciplinary science dedicated to discovering how the brain produces thought, emotion, and behavior on the levels of systems, cells, and molecules. The goal of the neuroscience major is to provide students with a strong background in fundamental basic sciences and exposure to the integrative nature of neuroscience to allow students to understand nervous system function from a variety of perspectives.
Nutrition and Food Science
Students earning a degree in nutrition and food science will be prepared to enter the nutrition or food science profession, dietetics field, or positions in a variety of food businesses, research, and development. Graduates are employed by public health and regulatory agencies (e.g., FDA and USDA), industries relating to food processing, manufacturing, quality control, and food safety and security; food service management (industry, schools or hospitals), government and community agencies, health departments and wellness programs, nutrition counseling offices, food businesses and sports nutrition as well as clinical nutrition (hospitals or extended care facilities).
Peace and Conflict Studies
The peace and conflict studies (PCS) co-major program integrates a variety of practical courses and interdisciplinary research to allow students to combine their own majors with training, study, and experience in peace studies and the emerging field of conflict resolution, at the inter-personal, national and international levels. The curriculum deals with the most fundamental of human concerns: how to manage or resolve conflict constructively. Students are introduced to the causes of human conflict and violence, as well as approaches to conflict management ranging from diplomacy, law and negotiation, to mediation and arbitration.
Philosophy is one of the most versatile majors a student can choose. Because philosophy teaches individuals how to think, problem-solve, write, and communicate effectively, it provides skills that are useful in any field, including law, business, medicine, and technology.
Philosophy majors have the highest average score of any major on the LSAT, the verbal section of GRE, and the analytical writing section of GRE. They have the highest acceptance rate of any major to medical school – at almost fifty percent.
Physics and Astronomy
Physics is the science that describes the behavior of the physical world. It is the most basic of all sciences and as such is responsible for the interpretation of fundamental physical processes which support many other scientific disciplines. The study of physics involves many of the significant ideas that have shaped Western civilization and the excitement of ongoing scientific challenges. Currently, physicists conduct research into the basic laws of nature and also make use of these ideas to design and develop new technologies. Thus, training in physics offers a variety of opportunities. Careers are possible in research laboratories, in academic teaching capacities, in hospitals, the military, power plants, museums, patent law firms, computer companies, and in a host of other areas.
The study of political science is focused on understanding the nature and problems of government and the role of politics in contemporary society. This is accomplished through the systematic exploration of the structure and processes of government at different levels and across nations, through the study of individual and collective political behavior, and through analyses of policy problems and the processes through which public policies are formulated and administered. Political science contributes to the goals of general education by promoting civic literacy and cultivating an awareness of the opportunities and obligations of citizenship at local, state, and national levels.
The possibilities for careers in psychology are more varied than ever. The range of work available to psychology graduates goes beyond laboratory researcher or individual therapist. Although a bachelor's degree in psychology will not prepare you to become a professional psychologist (students interested in a career as a therapist must complete a graduate program), an undergraduate major can mean that a student graduates with both a strong liberal arts/science education and adequate preparation for entry-level employment in one of many career paths.
Wayne State's bachelor of science in public health program offers training in public health issues and policies to students interested in a broad range of health careers.
Being committed to improving the health and vitality of Detroit, graduates of this major and minor will have the ability to assess and prevent health disparities across Detroit, Michigan, and beyond, as well as diagnose and research public health problems, improve public health through human and environmental interventions, promote individual well-being, and educate the public regarding healthful choices in life.
Students will learn to ask questions, challenge assumptions, and explore answers to promote the health and well-being of communities locally, nationally and globally.
Religious Studies Minor
Religious studies, or the academic study of religion, allows you to better understand religion in its many dimensions. In order to accomplish this feat, the study of religion is a truly interdisciplinary field drawing from fields as diverse as anthropology, history, philosophy, classics, near eastern studies, Asian studies, literature, art history, political science, and sociology.
Sociology is the study of society and social relationships and is an excellent major for anyone interested in social issues or the dynamics of social interaction. Training in sociology allows students to look beyond individuals and consider and analyze how social and historical forces shape human interactions. Sociology is a very broad field; students can study topics such as race and ethnicity, health, gender, international development, the economy, politics, labor, sexuality, and religion. Sociology is relevant for any career that involves social interactions.
Urban Studies and Planning
The field of urban studies explores contemporary cities and urban trends and addresses some of today's most pressing problems. Globally, complex systems of urban settlement house the overwhelming majority of the population and dominate their residents' social, economic, cultural, and intellectual lives. In the U.S., in particular, exploring the development and transformation of metropolitan regions is essential to understanding some of the most significant dynamics affecting the nation.
Especially pertinent are the powerful forces of suburbanization, political fragmentation, and residential segregation along lines of race and class that reshaped our society in the latter half of the 20th century. These forces structure the resources, activities, and opportunities that unite and divide Americans. Wayne State's Detroit location offers a powerful vantage point from which students may gain valuable insight into these complex dynamics.