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Social Studies

Social Studies at Fulbright

The Social Studies major provides a liberal arts approach to the empirical study of Society. This major provides training that is thematically broad, methodologically mixed, and analytically rigorous in its approaches. Students in this interdisciplinary major work across a variety of disciplines including anthropology, sociology and political science, to address big problems across modern societies. Graduates will be well prepared to pursue graduate study in the social sciences as well as diverse careers such as NGO work, entrepreneurship, research, consulting, leadership, and work in international organizations.


Welcome to the Social Studies Major at Fulbright!

Greetings and welcome to Social Studies! Social Studies is Vietnam’s first interdisciplinary social science major, incorporating approaches from Sociology, Anthropology, and Political Science.
We live in a single global society, and many different societies at the same time. Our world is one of complexity and connectivity. Industries and nations need people trained to understand and interpret society, to both predict and influence how people think and act. In Fulbright’s Social Studies program we prepare students to do just that.
Students learn a wide variety of research methods such as ethnography, survey design, interviewing, focus groups, quantitative analysis, and more, in order to make sense of this complex world. Students are further introduced to topics important in today’s societies, including family, money, development, sex/gender, identity, migration, technology, language. We welcome you to explore this page, and learn a little bit about what we are doing in Social Studies!

Dr. Tobias Burgers

For more information about the Social Studies major, please contact our Major coordinator at

Academic spotlight

Dr. Ian Kalman on his recently published book Framing Borders: Kindness knows no borders shared that while the topic of borders is not entirely new since it forms a fundamental part of political life, often is studied in historical or geographical terms: when, where, and how they were drawn. He, however, explores them through a perspective known as Symbolic interaction in sociology. “[It] is the theory that the realities that we live in are constantly being constructed through our conversations. The world that can be experienced is known and reproduced through dialogue, discussion, and interaction,” he explained. Framing Borders: Principle and Practicality in the Akwesasne Mohawk Territory by Ian Kalman See more
This volume explores a broad range of intimate practices in Japan in the first decades of the 2000s to trace how social change is becoming manifest through deeply personal choices. From young people making decisions about birth control to spouses struggling to connect with each other, parents worrying about stigma faced by their adopted children, and queer people creating new terms to express their identifications, Japanese intimacies are commanding a surprising amount of attention, both within and beyond Japan. Chapter 8: Manhood and the Burdens of Intimacy by Liz Miles from the book Intimate Japan Visit publisher’s site
For work, for fun, to study or stay in touch with friends and far-away family members, digital media have already fundamentally transformed our relationship to technology – and to each other. This is doubly true in a time of social distancing protocols, when the interpersonal is de facto mediated almost entirely online, as the world watches and waits for the COVID-19 crisis to abate. See more
Make a gift to Social Studies

Degree Requirements

A Bachelor of Arts in Social Studies is awarded following successful completion of:

General education:

  • 5 Core courses (20 credits) and 8 Exploratory courses (32 credits), of which up to two Exploratory courses (8 credits) can be counted towards the major.
  • Fulbright Seminar (4 credits, optional) and Experiential Learning (4 – 12 credits)

Regular Major Requirements:

  • 1 Foundational survey course – Social Inquiry (4 Credits)
  • 1 Foundational methods course (4 Credits)
  • 1 Foundational theory course (4 credits)
  • 6 Courses offered by the Social Studies Major, at least 2 of which must be at an advanced (300) level. (24 Credits)
  • 2 Additional Courses in the Major (either regular major, or major with honors) (8 credits)
  • 2 Additional courses offered by the Social Studies Major, at least 1 of which must be advanced (300) level. This can be taken in lieu of the major with capstone requirements (8 credits).

Sample Student Journey:

Year 1
  • Core Courses
  • Exploratory Courses
  • Foundation (Survey)
  • Foundation (Methods)
Year 2
  • Core Courses
  • Exploratory Courses
  • Intermediate Courses
  • Foundation (Theory)
  • Electives
Year 3
  • Seminar Fulbright
  • Experiential Learning
  • Intermediate Courses
  • Advanced Courses
  • Electives
Year 4
  • Advanced Course
  • Capstone I
  • Capstone II
  • Electives

Minor Requirements

A Minor in Social Studies is awarded following successful completion of:

  • 1 Foundational Survey course – Social Inquiry
  • 1 Foundational Methods course
  • 1 Foundational Theory course
  • 3 Courses offered by the Social Studies Major, at least 1 of which must be at advanced (300) level

Requirements for Declaring the Social Studies Major and Minor

In order to formally declare Social Studies as your major, you must complete Social Inquiry, and at least two courses at the 100 or 200 level. In order to formally declare Social Studies minor, you must complete Social Inquiry and at least one course in the Social Studies Program.

Graduation with Honors Requirements

  • Student must complete Capstone I and Capstone II
  • The Capstone must be graded as Honors pass

Sample course list

  • Foundational Survey Course – Social Inquiry (SOCI 102): This course provides a survey of topics studied across the social sciences through an investigation of major challenges we face today. Themes include social issues related to governance, equality, health, gender and sexuality, race, environment, development, family, everyday life, and technology. This course will discuss the different branches of the social sciences in order to give students insights into how to orient their future program of study.
  • Foundational Methods Course: In addition to Social Inquiry, students are required to take one introductory methods-intensive course. While many intermediate and advanced courses will contain a methodological component, these courses provide practical experience for students in the diverse empirical approaches taken by social sciences. Students will be exposed to both qualitative and quantitative approaches to research. These offerings will be expanded in the future.
    Research Methods in Social and Behavioral Sciences (SOCI 105)
    Ethnographic Research Methods (SOCI 109)
  • Foundational Theory Course: The social sciences emerged as a distinct form of intellectual inquiry alongside the industrialization of the late 19th century in Europe. Students will take a theory course that looks at core theoretical approaches which are shared across social scientific disciplines. Though many of contemporary social science’s theoretical antecedents originated in the west, we also examine how they have migrated to, been translated in, and influenced Asia. While students can complete foundational courses in any sequence, it is recommended that they complete their theory requirement in year 2.
    • These offerings will be expanded in the future.
    • Ethics and Moral Philosophy (SOCI 214)
    • Introduction to Science and Technology Studies (SOCI 211)
    • History of International Relations Theory (HIS 203)

Intermediate Courses: Intermediate courses examine key topics across the Social Sciences. Courses introduce students to methodological, theoretical, and thematic facets of a wide variety of topics. Students may take up to 4 intermediate courses as part of their completion of the major. Foundation courses are not a prerequisite for intermediate courses, though it is recommended students complete those courses as early as possible.

  • Foundations of Political Economy (SOCI 201)
  • Introduction to Political Science (SOCI 213)
  • Disability and Culture (SOCI 215)
  • Digital Anthropology (SOCI 202)
  • Youth and Society in Asia (SOCI 204)
  • Development from Below: Indigenous Paths to Modernity in Vietnam (SOCI 207)
  • Culture and the Economy in Developing Asia (SOCI 208)

Advanced Courses: Advanced courses are small seminar-style courses that allow for in-depth discussion of specialized thematic and theoretical areas. Advanced courses can also be independent studies co-designed by the student and their advisor. Students must take at least 2 advanced courses to complete major requirements. Foundation courses are a prerequisite for advanced courses.

  • Women and Politics in Asia (SOCI 301)
  • Language, Culture, and Thought (SOCI 305)
  • Global Political Economy (SOCI 307)
  • The Anthropology of Sex (SOCI 309)
  • Technology, Innovation and Conflict (SOCI 308)

Capstone Project (for Honors): Those students who wish to graduate with honors must complete a capstone seminar and capstone project as the culmination of their journey through the Social Studies major. They must also receive a grade of “honors” on their capstone. Capstones provide students with the opportunity to work closely with an advisor to dive deeply into a topic of their interest with an emphasis on ethics, the application of theory to methods, and communication of their ideas. While typical capstones will be research projects employing methods students have developed over the course of their studies, alternative projects such as films, social enterprises, policy reports, and digital media may also be developed in coordination with a supervisor.

  • dropdown dot Foundation Courses (3 required)

    Foundation Courses:
    (one in each area: Survey, Methods, Theory)
    Foundational Survey Course:

    • Social Inquiry

    Foundational Methods Courses Sample:

    • Research Methods in Social and Behavioral Sciences
    • Ethnographic Research Methods
      Foundational Theory Courses


    • Ethics and Moral Philosophy
    • History of International Relations
    • Theory Introduction to Science and Technology Studies
  • dropdown dot Intermediate Courses (4 required)

    Intermediate Courses (200-level):

    • Foundations of Political Economy
    • Introduction to Political Science
    • Disability and Culture
    • Digital Anthropology
    • Youth and Society in Asia
    • Development from Below: Indigenous Paths to Modernity in Vietnam
    • Culture and the Economy in Developing Asia

    Foundation courses are not a prerequisite for intermediate courses, though it is recommended students complete those courses as early as possible

  • dropdown dot Advanced Courses (2 required)

    Advanced Courses (300-level):

    • Women and Politics in Asia 13. Language, Culture, and Thought
    • Global Political Economy
    • The Anthropology of Sex
    • Technology, Innovation and Conflict

    Foundation courses are a prerequisite for advanced courses.

  • dropdown dot Major Courses (2 required)***
  • dropdown dot Major Courses (2 required)*

    Major Courses:
    Any courses offered by the Social Studies Major, at least one of which must be 300-level.

  • dropdown dot Capstone I & Capstone II (2 required)**

*Regular major requirements
**Major with Honor requirements
***Any courses within the major

Meet our faculty

Our faculty combines global experience and local insight, driving our commitment to providing you with academic excellence.

Featured faculty

My name is Ian Kalman, and I am the coordinator and founder of Fulbright’s Social Studies Program. My own background as a researcher involves feet in both political science and anthropology, with my work trying to use analysis of culture to help guide government policies. I hold a PhD in Anthropology from McGill University, and have worked at both Western University’s Department of Political Science, and the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology’s Department of Law and Anthropology. As a result, when I had the chance to work at Fulbright, I was eager to share my interdisciplinary perspective and help build a program that focuses on applied social sciences, training students to be flexible in choosing the right tool for the right job in whatever career they choose. I recently published a book with the University of Toronto Press entitled, Framing Borders: Principle and Practice in the Akwesasne Mohawk Territory. My book looks at the complex situations of Indigenous peoples living at borders, and the ways in which law, language, and technology interact. At Fulbright, I teach several classes: Global Humanities, Digital Anthropology, Language, Culture and Thought, The Anthropology of Law, and Ethics and Moral Philosophy. My team and I welcome you to Fulbright, and the exciting study of society!
Ian Kalman, Faculty Member in Social Studies See more

Meet our Fulbrighters

Come and learn how Fulbright has impacted the lives of our current students and graduates.

Featured student

“Initially, I didn't have any particular interest, and since I'd always enjoyed working with words, I would think Social Studies was the best choice. After 3 years studying it, my biggest takeaways from this major are the way it shapes my logical and creative thinking as well as my enhanced sensitivity to different perspectives when looking at any social phenomenon. I enjoy working on essays and research papers in Social Sciences since they really help me improve my criticalness, expressiveness and connections with my own life. Although my interest hasn’t always met the contents provided in this major, Social Sciences has a lot of freedom and provides me with many powerful tools (theories) to tackle my own questions. For example, theories on being good or bad in my Ethics & Moral Philosophy course enabled me with an interesting lens to look at the distinction of taste consumed in our society. Currently, I’ve been preparing for my capstone which investigates the identity construction of Fulbright students living in Phu My Hung. This capstone was inspired by one of my essays that discussed the concept of “The stranger” in urban area that I really like. That’s when I realized I could do a lot of meaningful and practical research with diverse theories I studied in Social Sciences.”
Tran Thao Linh, Class of 2024 Collapse
Class of 2025
  • Nguyễn Thị Kim Anh
  • Nguyễn Ngọc Anh
  • Nguyễn Việt Đức
  • Phạm Minh Hiếu
  • Nguyen Huy Hoang
  • Nguyễn Minh Huyền
  • Pham Nguyen Phuong Khanh
  • Nguyen Ngoc Linh
  • Nguyễn Thị Thanh
  • Nguyễn Văn Thanh
  • Đỗ Nguyễn Hà Vy
  • Luong Ngoc Chung
  • Lại Minh Ngọc
  • Nguyễn Quang Tuệ
  • Truong Thuy Lam Anh
Class of 2024
  • Tạ Thị Thùy Duyên
  • Võ Thị Quỳnh Hương
  • Lê Ngọc Khánh Linh
  • Trần Thảo Linh
  • Vũ Ngọc Kim Ngân
  • Trần Thảo Nguyên
  • Roãn Hồng Anh Thư
  • Lê Minh Tú
  • Nguyễn Thị Huyền
  • Trần Thị Thu Thảo
  • Nguyễn Kim Minh
  • Tôn Thị Diệu Hà
  • Phan Thị Minh Anh
  • Võ Linh Đan
  • Nguyễn Quang Minh

Meet our Alumni

Come and learn how Fulbright has impacted the lives of our current students and graduates.

Featured alumni

“Aside from the pain of explaining to my parents (and my Tinder dates) about the worth of a social science degree, my experience with Social Studies (SS) at Fulbright was truly enlightening. Sharing the same umbrella with Psychology and Economics, SS is distinctive for its boldness in inviting different disciplines to rethink contemporary society both holistically and empirically. Besides, I was rarely bored with SS as it basically covers everything, from human evolution and language structure to the politics of representation and gender norms. While such a broad focus might appear overwhelming, it equipped me with a critical lens through which I attempted and continue to comprehend the complexity of the social world.  To those who are about to choose your major, I understand that this decision sometimes has to reflect other stakeholders’ interests, including your parents (who pay the tuition fee). However, I encourage you to view college not only in terms of the majors that these stakeholders like but also in terms of the core questions you want to explore. And your major will then serve as a toolkit that help you tackle these questions.  If you decide to major in SS, the next time when someone asks you what you can do with SS, ask them what the world can otherwise do without it!”
Le Anh Vu, Class os 2023, Research Analyst at Bayer Pharmaceuticals Collapse

Selected Faculty Publications

Ian Kalman

2018. Ian Kalman. ‘Proofing Exemption: Documenting Indigeneity at the Canada/US Border,’ Anthropologica: Journal of the Canadian Anthropological Association. Vol 60 Issue 1.

2021. Ian Kalman. Framing Borders: Principle and Practice in the Akwesasne Mohawk Territory. The University of Toronto Press

Tobias Burgers

Burgers, T., & Robinson, D. R. (2018). Keep dreaming: Cyber arms control is not a viable policy option. Sicherheit & Frieden, 36(3), 140–145.

Burgers, T., & Robinson, D. R. S. (2016). Networked Authoritarianism Is on the Rise. Sicherheit Und Frieden (S+F) / Security and Peace, 34(4), 248–252.

Liz Miles

Miles, Elizabeth. The Man Who Can’t Do: Contemporary Japanese Manhood and the Value of Intimacy. In preparation

Miles, Elizabeth. 2019. “Manhood and the Burdens of Intimacy”, In Intimate Japan: Ethnographies of Closeness and Conflict, Allison Alexy and Emma E. Cook, eds., 148- 163.

Miles, Elizabeth. “Protesting Desirability, Critiquing Masculinity: A Study of Japan’s Himote (Undesirable Men) Men & Masculinities. Submitted June 2023

Capstone projects

Class of 2023
How do kinship networks shape, and how are they shaped by, transnational labor migration in Nghe An?
Dang Thi Hoai Linh
An ethnography of Thao Cam Vien Sai Gon (Saigon Zoo and Botanical Garden).
Nguyen Le Khoa
The phenomenology of space in Saigon's Cho Lon Chinatown
Le Anh Vu

Events and News

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(English below) ASEAN SOCIAL IMPACT PROGRAM 2023 - VÌ MỘT “HÀNH TINH” KHỎE MẠNH HƠN Chương trình ASEAN Social Impact Program 2023 - ASIP (Tác động xã hội ASEAN) đã chính thức khép lại với phần trình bày ý tưởng của các đội thi. Trước ban giám khảo và các nhà tài trợ tài năng...


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