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Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences (AHSS)

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Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

The Heart of DU

When you take classes in Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences (AHSS), you join the University of Denver's largest and most diverse academic unit, and gain the education and skills necessary to succeed at nearly any career in today's global, communication-based society.

AHSS is where all DU undergraduate students build the foundation of their higher education. All undergraduate students take liberal arts courses with us, and one-third of these students declare an AHSS major. Plus, the majority of our departments and schools offer graduate or PhD programs. 

meet timothy sweeny

sweenyHuman perception is keen. We can appraise an individual in the blink of an eye, and discern a group or a crowd at a glance. Our visual perception often guides our behavior, whether we know it or not.

Timothy Sweeny, assistant professor of psychology, studies visual perception, and in particular how neural and cognitive mechanisms shape what people see and hear. His goal is to understand how basic perceptual processes shape complex social and emotional behavior.

Sweeny and students in his Visual Perception, Emotion and Cognition Lab use behavioral and imaging methods to understand how the brain allows people to recognize faces and emotions quickly and how people subtly mimic the expressions of others in social interactions. Some of their current work focuses on how people see groups and how groups change the way people behave. Read more...

our faculty are in the news

Bosnian Muslims in Southern California
Andrea Stanton, assistant professor in the department of religious studies, talks about stereotypes of Islam, including the belief that Muslims mostly live in the Middle East, in this story for the Los Angeles Times .

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study within AHSS

 classroom
An AHSS classroom, inside Sturm Hall

AHSS faculty, staff and students come together in a shared quest for knowledge of the human condition. Students from around the world join us to study the many ways in which humans live in time and in space, as individuals and in groups. Our award-winning faculty members incorporate their national and international research and creative endeavors into the classroom to enhance your learning experience.

As an AHSS student, you will learn the theories and techniques of your field as well as the skills to:

Think critically

Omar Gudino, assistant professor of psychology, is working to understand and meet the needs of children and adolescents who are at high risk of developing emotional and behavioral problems due to exposure to trauma or other forms of adversity. Gudino and his colleagues in the Services for At-Risk Youth and Families (SAYF) research lab at the University of Denver work in partnership with local human services agencies to develop treatment options that meet the mental health needs of high risk youth.

Communicate effectively

Mark Dodge (MA '00, anthropology) has loved museums since he was a kid, and today he has found a career to match this passion as the Exhibit & Collections Curator for Golden History Museums. He enjoys getting out into the community and speaking with residents, documenting their stories and building the museum collection of artifacts and photos. "Everyone has a story to tell or something to share and museums may be one of the few places still willing to listen," said Dodge.

Gain knowledge to forge new ideas

Two DU students have used their past experiences and academic interests to develop a research project that has allowed them to study different cultures on multiple continents. Sam Estenson and Hannah Parkes have conducted their research for over a year. "The research we have completed so far has given me deeper insights into the global atmosphere through the lenses of languages and the cultures of these countries, which is fascinating," Parkes said.

Adapt to different cultures and increase intercultural skills

As an undergrad studying abroad in Ecuador, Alison Krögel, associate professor of Spanish, learned quickly that if she wanted to communicate with Ecuadorians throughout the region, she needed to learn the most commonly spoken indigenous language. Not Spanish, but Quechua, a language spoken by 10-12 million people throughout the Andes of South America. Krögel began studying Quechua both in graduate school and at the Centro Bartolomé de las Casas in Cusco, Peru. Her interest in the Quechua language and culture has led to a career focus on the Andean region.

Contribute meaningfully

Wendy Low is a proponent for social justice. It's not a passing interest, but a lifelong passion that was ignited when she joined her first cause at the age of ten. Today, Low continues to advocate for social justice as president of Never Again!, a student group that promotes awareness of the Holocaust and atrocities of genocide to the DU community.