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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 alumna Xinghang Lu

Recent International Alumna Studies Emerging Field at Columbia

LuXinghang Lu (BA '16, economics) had never been to Colorado, let alone America, when she arrived on campus at DU in 2012. Originally from China, Lu made the decision to relocate to Denver to pursue her interest in studying economics.

The National Higher Education Entrance Examination (commonly known as Gaokao), is a prerequisite exam for admission into the majority of higher education institutions in China. Most Chinese universities use the exam to assign majors to students. In many cases, students cannot choose for themselves. Lu was assigned food science at Jinan University, Guangzhou, despite her desire to study economics.

"I love economics, ever since high school. I wanted to study economics and I could not change my major since the university already assigned me one," Lu said. "I heard from my friends who studied in the U.S. that they could choose every major they wanted to learn in the U.S. Under consideration, I decided to quit my university in China and transfer to the U.S."  Read more...

our faculty are in the news

Soldiers Who Defied Orders at Sand Creek

In 1864, an estimated 200 Arapaho and Cheyenne people were killed at the Sand Creek Massacre near Eads, CO. In an Op-Ed published in the Independent , Billy Stratton, associate professor of English, writes about the U.S. soldiers who refused orders and did not carry out the murders. Captain Silas Soule and Lt. Joseph Cramer "were men who rejected the violence and genocide inherent in the 'conquest of the West,'" writes Stratton. "The story of Soule's and Cramer's actions and their courage to say 'no' to the killing of peaceful people at Sand Creek is an important chapter of U.S. history."

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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.