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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. 


Professor Leads Debate Team for 18th Year

DARRIN HICKSDarrin Hicks is convinced there is no better way to become a truly critical thinker than debate. As director of the DU debate team for 18 years, he has helped students employ the fine skills of argumentation and persuasion on the debate floor. He has also seen how those skills prepare students for successful careers after college.

"Our students learn an incredible amount from debating. Besides the vast content knowledge about current affairs, political and moral philosophy and economics they have from debating, they learn how to really think critically," said Hicks, professor of communication studies. "They learn how to construct logically valid arguments, how to formulate those arguments in vivid and persuasive terms, and how to sift through competing arguments to invent a compelling framework for making decisions."

This year's team consists of 40 undergraduate students. "Our debaters do the same kind of reading than a PhD student; they do the same kind of persuasive speaking as a lawyer or politician. This is what makes our debaters so successful after college," said Hicks, who has taught at DU since 1993.  Read more...

our faculty are in the news

Why Do Married People Pay Most of the Taxes in the U.S.?

Though the percentage of married adults in the United States is decreasing, married couples still pay the majority of the nation's income taxes. Scott Stanley, research professor of psychology and co-director of the Center for Marital and Family Studies, offered a few explanations for the disparity in an article for Deseret News . "Those with more resources and education are those most likely to marry," he explains. "They feel more confident about marriage and they have more resources to reduce stressors that make marriage harder."

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study within AHSS

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.