Division of Social Science

The social science department seeks to develop student's critical thinking skills through intensive training in reading, writing, and researching. MSA students will explore a wide range of social and cultural phenomena that might challenge their previous assumptions about the world by taking courses that study both Chinese and global communities. Taking social science courses will allow MSA students to reflect on their own privileges and identify other social groups that might be invisible to them in their daily life. Thus, such a learning experience will enable students to act and live in accordance with the essence of MSA's MVV.

To achieve these goals, the social science department develops a diversity of courses from 2000 to 6000 level. 2000-level courses are compulsory courses for all students. Students need to complete the 2000-level courses before the end of the 10th grade. We place Chinese history and politics as two 2000-level courses because we firmly believe that the learning experience of the home country will be the building block for understanding global communities. In addition, we strongly recommend that 9th and 10th graders who are interested in social science enroll in 3000-level courses to further explore their academic interest in social science. 5000 and 6000-level courses are advanced courses in social science, which means that they are college-level or beyond the first-year college level. We strongly recommend that students who tend to major in social science enroll in 5000 courses in grades 10 and 11 and enroll in 6000 level in grades 11 and 12.

2000-level compulsory courses will be based on Chinese national standards, emphasizing the fundamental skills of sourcing and writing, which include: identifying credible and relevant sources, analyzing and synthesizing the sources, and composing a source-driven essay. 3000-level courses, involving more complex concepts and materials, emphasize sourcing skills to enable students to be well-prepared for the advanced courses. 5000 and 6000-level advanced courses, based on and extending from the AP standards, emphasize advanced sourcing and writing skills to equip students with the necessary skills for college.

Overall, the social science department provides students with a meaningful journey of exploring themselves and the world around them. Through this journey, we hope that our students are not only academically prepared for college but also can be empathetic individuals who endeavor to make the world a better place.

HIST2000: Chinese History (*Semester Course)

Chinese History is a semester-long course that includes two topics. Learners who take Chinese history will select either topic in the spring or fall semester.

-Topic 1: Chinese History- Chinese Politics and Economy

This course will take learners through the basics of general Chinese history chronologically. In this course, we will analyze important moments from the Shang Dynasty to the founding of New China through the lens of event studies and focus on these moments in terms of political interactions, bureaucracy, and socioeconomic changes. We hope that in the event analysis process, learners will be able to search for the place of specific people in traditional Chinese political concepts and frameworks, and how specific people lived amid socio-economic changes. In addition to the historical knowledge mentioned above, this course will focus on skills of analyzing materials and extracting and synthesizing information from them. On this basis, learners will be able to acquire basic skills in writing an argumentative essay.

-Topic 2: Chinese History - Chinese Culture

This course will take learners through the basics of general Chinese history chronologically. In this course, we will analyze important moments from the Shang Dynasty to the founding of New China through the lens of event studies and focus on these moments from the perspective of cultural and social conceptual changes. It is hoped that in the event analysis process, learners will be able to search for the cultural qualities of different periods and how specific people understood, constituted, and thought about life within these cultures. In addition to the historical knowledge mentioned above, this course will focus on skills of analyzing materials and extracting and synthesizing information from them. On this basis, learners will be able to acquire basic skills in writing an argumentative essay.

CIVI2001: Citizenship (*Semester Course)

What are we talking about when we talk about democracy and rights? Why is the People's Congress System the most appropriate political system for China? Why did Marx's claim that capitalism would eventually come to an end not happen in today's world? Why has the seemingly insignificant resident committee played an extremely important role in implementing pandemic prevention and control policies over the past three years? How are the high housing prices we are experiencing right now related to our tax policies? What is the intrinsic connection between the supply-side structural reforms we often see in news reports and procurement services?

Perhaps you are curious about some of these terms or confused about the issues mentioned above. In this session, we will explore China's political and economic system with you in a semester; in the process, we hope to make you realize that politics is not just about high-level decisions but also about life and real actions.

SOSC3900: Intermediate Social Science (*Semester Course)

Intermediate social sciences is a series of courses that offer you chances to explore a variety of disciplines of social science. If you are curious about social science in general and want a taste of the essence of the different disciplines under it, this course is the right place for you. This course allows you to select two semester-long courses per school year.

SOSC3900: Intermediate Social Science: Developmental Psychology

This high school elective course will explore the psychological changes that occur during the adolescent period, which is considered to be one of the most challenging and transformative phases of human development. The course will be designed to provide learners with an in-depth understanding of the developmental processes that shape adolescent behavior, emotions, and cognition.Through a variety of interactive activities, discussions, and readings, learners will explore topics such as identity development, peer relationships, family dynamics, brain development, emotional regulation, and the impact of culture and social media on adolescent development.

SOSC3900: Intermediate Social Science: Social Psychology

Why do you and your friends like the same things? Why do you feel uncomfortable around that particular group of people? Do you think of that one classmate as “not a very smart person.” This course will attempt to answer these questions and more through the lens of social psychology. In this course, we will explore how attitudes, persuasion, and social cognition lead to prejudices, attraction, and bias that you may develop towards other people. We will then look at how social influence such as conformity within a group, compliance with a person’s suggestion, and obedience to authority impact your everyday behavior. In addition, we will investigate how group dynamics, interpersonal attraction, and self-concepts steer your behavior and thinking whether you’re on vacation with your family, riding on the metro, or developing new friendships.


This course will include two major projects. The first project will consist of breaking a social norm (e.g., facing the back of an elevator) and then writing a reflection on how you felt, other people’s reactions, and any further insights you found. The second project will consist of conducting research on one of several social psychology topics with the help of your fellow classmates. You will design questionnaires to give to other QSMS learners in order to collect data on things such as their social media habits, friendship patterns, gender stereotyping, and many more. Ultimately, you will analyse the data and present a poster presenting your findings.


To end the course, we will discuss growing topics of discussion in social psychology including: How important are interpersonal relationships to individual well-being? How do potentially destructive social attitudes, such as prejudice, form? By debating these questions, our hope will be to have a better understanding of not only ourselves but of each other. Similarly, understanding social psychology can be an advantage for navigating school, personal relationships, and mental health.

SOSC3900: Intermediate Social Science: Business Management

This course is open for G11/12 in the Fall semester and G9/10 in the Spring semester.

This course serves as a foundation for learners in terms of developing business vocabulary, introducing general business topics, and using critical/analytical thinking to contemplate and subsequently solve complex business issues. This course uses business as a very practical, tangible subject which can be explored using real-world discussions, scenarios, simulations, and experiences. Business can be viewed first by examining local, national, and global factors that influence its development and evolution, followed by an exploration of its internal organization with regard to how individual businesses, namely in the private sector, adapt to meet a globalized, evolving external environment. Learners will analyze major issues associated with marketing, strategic and operational management, finance, human resources, logistical systems, and operations such as supply-chain management.

SOSC3900: Intermediate Social Science: Fat Studies through Documentaries

I hope you're intrigued by the idea of watching films in class and discussing insecurities related to belly fat (though perhaps not necessarily your own). This class provides ample opportunities for you to explore the boundary between yourself and the world—your physical body, or rather, the physical body that exists within your imagination. Why is it that people often find themselves unfit most of the time?

Fat studies is an emerging interdisciplinary field that encompasses anthropology, health science, political science, feminist studies, and media studies. Due to the novelty and controversy surrounding fat studies, we will use documentaries—a supposedly impartial medium—for our analyses.

This course not only presents the latest research in fat studies to 9th graders but also structures the content to nurture their capacity for analyzing arguments, assumptions, and fallacies. Ultimately, the desired outcome isn't necessarily for everyone to endorse the argument that "Fat can also be beautiful," but rather to recognize and evaluate the reasoning behind such viewpoints. This course will establish the foundation for more advanced academic writing as you progress (incidentally, we may even collaborate on creating a documentary).

SOSC3900: Intermediate Social Science: Government, Public, and Online Civil Unrest

What is online civil unrest? How will the government tackle online civil unrest? What are the public supposed to do with online civil unrest? What are the possible impacts of online civil unrest?

In this course, we will be studying the definition of online civil unrest, the Chinese government’s regime of tackling online civil unrest, and how the public should treat online civil unrest. Besides, we will explore some social research methods such as qualitative research. We will study a few typical cases of online civil unrest and guide you to know the nature and impacts of these cases.

In addition, you will have a chance to improve your oral English ability by debating and discussing in class. Hence, if you have a strong curiosity about online civil unrest and information dissemination, and if you expect more discussion and brainstorming in class, don't hesitate to enroll in this course! We are pretty sure that you will gain more insights into our social world after this journey!

WHIS6001: Advanced World History

It's neither realistic nor responsible to attempt to learn modern history in just thirty-two weeks. In this course, we focus solely on addressing three essential questions: time, space, and historiography. Why do we believe that humanity is in a constant state of evolution and progress? Why do we collectively agree that the current year is 2023 in the context of human history? Furthermore, why is it that individuals born within the geographical boundaries of a rooster automatically identify as Chinese? This, in turn, raises the question of why historians themselves engage in debates regarding the definition of "Chinese."

All of these questions inevitably lead us to explore aspects such as religions, empires, and historiography. Whether we study subjects like the Silk Road or the East India Company, the Cold War, or the Hot Air Balloon Riot, our discussions will encompass not only the presentation of historical facts, but also an examination of the rationale for perceiving our shared identity as humanity.

ECON5003: Advanced Economics (Macro & Micro)

Advanced Economics is a college-level course which introduces learners to the principles that apply to an economic system as well as functions of individual economic decision-makers. The course places particular emphasis on the study of national income and price-level determination. It also develops learners’ familiarity with economic performance measures, the financial sector, stabilization policies, economic growth, and international economics. The course also develops learners’ familiarity with the operation of product and factor markets, distributions of income, market failure, and the role of government in promoting greater efficiency and equity in the economy.

Learners learn to use graphs, charts, and data to analyze, describe, and explain economic concepts. It is important to note that “college-level” should be taken literally, as learners will earn the equivalent of college credit after a satisfactory score on the end-of-year exams. The first half of the course concerns macroeconomics, and the second half concerns microeconomics. As a result, learners should be prepared for a rigorous, demanding class similar to what can be expected at the tertiary level in order to be equipped to take the AP exam for both, separate subjects, equivalent to 2 college courses spread out over an academic year instead of the typical college semester, which is typically half a year.

The instruction style of the class will be composed of lectures, group discussions, textbook reading, case studies, and project-based simulations.

ECON5004: Advanced Microeconomics

Advanced Microeconomics is designed to follow the curriculum from Advanced Placement (AP). Advanced Microeconomics differs from advanced Macroeconomics as microeconomics is the part of economics concerned with single factors and considers the effects of individual decisions, whereas macroeconomics is concerned with economic aggregates such as gross domestic product. There are six units for advanced Microeconomics; each unit aligns with the primary textbook, Krugman’s Economics for AP, Third Edition. All topics can also be seen and explained on the AP Classroom website, which has lecture videos and practice problems. Throughout the course, learners will be instructed in economic theory and the creation, interpretation, and application of proper economic models and graphs. Successful completion of all course components should result in learners being prepared to complete the Advanced Placement Exam for advanced Microeconomics in May.

PSYC5001: Advanced Psychology

To what extent can we trust our own memory? Can people be entirely shaped by environmental factors beyond their control? How do psychologists draw the boundary between normal and abnormal behavior, and how valid is this boundary? Are people inherently egotistic or altruistic? How do we know the answers to these questions, and how valid are those answers?

If you ever found yourself wondering about these questions (and hoping to prove the extent of your knowledge on a high-stake, standardized exam), then this course is made just for you. AP Psychology prepares learners interested in taking advanced Psychology and/or college level courses and research studies in psychology. In the fall semester, we will explore concepts in motivation, emotion, and personality, clinical and developmental psychology, learning, memory, and more. You will learn to understand, interpret and predict human behavior by applying theories and concepts in psychology. The year-long course culminates in the AP Exam on May, 2024 and in an independent research project and defense conducted on the learners' topic of interest. Periodic performance assessments, including 2 complex projects, are designed to assess your knowledge and skills in the discipline and draw connections between psychology and everyday life.

In the spring semester, we will dive deeper into lower levels of explanation for human behavior, covering the full range of topics from the history of psychology, biological bases of behaviors and sensation and perception. What are the explanations for visual illusions? Why do we dream? What are the origins and nature of consciousness? Can your subjective experience be constructed solely as the interactions amongst your 80 million neurons? More importantly, you will learn about how scientists discover truths about human functioning through experiments and research. You will also be guided through designing, implementing, analyzing and interpreting your own study and data on a topic of your choice.

POLI6001: Advanced Comparative Politics

What does it mean when the supreme court overturns Roe v. Wade? Why is Afghanistan not only known as the "graveyard of Empire" but also the "graveyard of the political institution"? Why do the policies initiated by IMF/World Bank have mixed effects in different countries? How does the political culture impact the implementation of the policy?

Those questions are studied by comparativists and will be incorporated into our course this semester. In this course, we will explore the history of political science and comparative politics, the differences between the political regimes and their changes, interaction between the central government and local government, the interaction between the state and the market, and the role of culture in the political realm. Since this course will not prepare you for the AP exam, we will dive really deep into those topics and give you chances to research the relevant topic that you are interested in.

In addition, this course will "overwhelm" you with tons of readings, which will give you a taste of the college-level course and college way of learning. Thus, if you are interested in political science or social science in general and want to pursue them in the future, this course is definitely the right place for you!

MSAF4001: Western Philosophy

This course is an introduction to the periods, thinkers and main ideas of Western Civilization. The major themes in the development of the West of rationality, freedom, and progress will be explored. Units will focus on close reading of major texts within their cultural context. The emphasis in the course will be on developing an understanding of the modern Western world through knowledge of its history, philosophy, and literature.

This course will inform learners of the culture and core ideas of the Western Tradition by teaching primary texts (Gilgamesh, Plato’s Republic, Descartes’ Meditations) in the context of culture and history. Philosophy as a discipline broadens the mind by seeing ourselves and the world from a higher perspective.

Note: As an MSA Honored Course, this course is required for graduation.