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Online Courses

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ASB 100  Introduction to Global Health

General Studies: SB & G; and fulfills CLAS Science and Society requirements.

What makes us sick? How can we promote health? These are big questions that are necessarily global in scope. Global health is the study of human health differences and similarities in past and present environments, and the ways in which the complex human and animal networks and activities that exist across the planet influence them.

In an increasingly complex and globalized world, the causative factors in sickness are not just disease agents. They include our evolutionary pasts and historical decisions; our current natural, social, and built environments; how we relate to each other; and what we believe.

With lessons and lectures by the entire ASU Global Health faculty, this course integrates knowledge from the social and life sciences and includes discussion of our cutting-edge research being done around the world in order to question our most basic assumptions about why we get sick and what we should do about it. It recognizes the need for a transdisciplinary and highly collaborative approach to addressing illness around the world; highlights the critical role of social perspectives in the global promotion of health; and advocates for the importance of health as a social justice issue.

Prerequisites: None; this course is intended for majors and non-majors alike.

Course Format: Online lectures, videos, discussion boards, brief written assignments and some outside class activities.

Past Student Comments:
“This was a great class. I was very interested in the topic and enjoyed it. The set-up was very easy to navigate, and there was an ample amount of resources. There were readings and videos along with the lectures that really helped to reinforce the teachings. The activities caused me to think critically and went along with the subject material nicely.”

“The most well-laid-out, organized, meticulous, detailed and thorough online course I have ever taken, and I have taken many online courses. The whole site is incredibly easy to navigate, and the modules are impeccably laid out and presented, it was very apparent that the professors involved in teaching this course specifically spent a lot of time making sure it looked and worked the way it did, and as a student I really appreciated that.”

“I liked the different formats that the ASB 100 class had, consisting of both online lectures and reading material. This has by far been the best online class I've taken here at ASU. It definitely goes to show how much attention and time was given to developing a good course for students.”

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ASB 101 
Introduction to Anthropology: Understanding Human Diversity

General Studies: SB & G; and fulfills CLAS Science and Society requirements.

Anthropology is the study of human diversity and the flip-side of diversity, human universals.

This course provides an integrated scientific understanding of biological, historical and cultural evolutionary processes that account for human variation through time and space, and provides basic explanatory models of cross-cultural variation. 

Specifically, the course examines how humans evolved and how they obtained the characteristics that make us a unique species. The course then traces human cultural history through the archaeological record to historic times and explores the ethnographic record in order to illustrate the astounding world of cultural diversity.

Using information derived from societies that range from Bushmen hunting bands to Amazonian tribes to Pacific Island chiefdoms, from ancient empires to modern nation states, students explore kinship systems and social norms and the behaviors that they regulate. Cultural and biological models of cooperation, resource acquisition and distribution, marriage, parenting, conflict and warfare, political structures, power and status, sex roles, ritual, religion and language are considered. 

Prerequisites: None; the course is intended for majors and non-majors alike.

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Culture in a Globalizing World

General Studies: SB & G.

This course introduces the basic principles of sociocultural anthropology, a discipline concerned with the origins, development and diversity of human culture and society. 

Using illustrative materials from a variety of cultures, we will explore variation in human behaviors and beliefs and consider some of the ways anthropologists have attempted to account for that variation. 

A particular concern in the course will be the manner in which global processes of economic, political and social changes intersect with the everyday lives of local people. A broader goal of the course is to introduce students to the way anthropologists think about their subject matter.

Prerequisites: None; the course is intended for majors and non-majors alike.

Course Format: Online lectures, videos, discussion boards, brief written assignments and outside class activities.

Past student comments:
“I feel like I have come away from this course a much more informed individual and able to think of things in a different light.”

“Two thumbs up!”

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Human Sexuality: Anthropological Perspectives

General Studies: SB & G; and fulfills CLAS Science and Society requirements.

This course examines the sexual nature and behavior of humans from both a biological and an anthropological point of view. Students will study how sexuality and human uniqueness and human variation are connected to each other, with particular emphasis on the cross-cultural record. Furthermore, students will explore how sex research is situated within and beyond anthropology and be able to explain how anthropological approaches can contribute to contemporary debates about sexuality and sexual behavior.

Prerequisites: None; the course is intended for majors and non-majors alike.

Course Format: Online lectures, videos, discussion boards and brief written assignments.

Past Student Comments:
“GREAT CLASS! I love that the lecture videos summarize the readings in a way that's easy to understand. Also, what was expected was very straightforward.”

“I really loved how this course was laid out. It was extremely clear and easy to follow, and it allowed for great success and learning as long as you stayed on task. If all of my online courses were like this, it would be amazing, and I feel like I would be very successful in my semester!”

“This was my favorite class this semester; the content was engaging and interesting. I looked forward to each module, and the structure of the online course was easy to follow and organized.”

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ASB 222
Buried Cities & Lost Tribes: Our Human Heritage

General Studies: (HU or SB) G & H.

This course offers an introduction to archaeology through an overview of great discoveries, a profile of how archaeologists study the past scientifically and an exploration of the most notable early civilizations.

We begin with discussion of selected instances of early antiquarian and archaeological discoveries that opened the eyes of the western world to the chronological depth of human existence as manifested in the material remains of the past.

We consider how archaeologists view and interpret the material remains of the past and present to elucidate human behavior and culture. We conclude with comparative discussions of a variety of civilizations; their commonalities and contrasts; and the social, political and environmental legacies they have bequeathed to the modern world.

Subjects covered will include Pompeii, Troy, Crete, cities and civilizations, the origin of agriculture, the Mediterranean Basin, Meso­potamia, Egypt and the Holy Land.

Prerequisites: None; the course is intended for majors and non-majors alike.

Course Format: Online lectures, videos, 3 exams.

Past Student Comments:
"I took this course with curiosity and some interest. But after going for classes, I love archaeology now. It is my favorite subject."

"Great class!"

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ASB 300
Food and Culture

General Studies: (L or SB) & C.

Food represents the most basic of human needs, and yet its very pervasiveness in our everyday lives often prevents us from seeing how extensively it defines us socially and culturally.

This course examines the relationships between humans and food across cultures and through time using perspectives from both anthropology and related fields. Topics to be addressed include evolution and nutrition; food and ethnicity; and food production/ distribution. This cross-cultural and historical focus provides a framework for understanding current national and global issues, including obesity and food insecurity. 

Examples of some of the questions we will address include: What are the defining elements of a cuisine? How did certain foods gain cultural and symbolic importance? How does food define a human sense of belonging and the boundaries between class and ethnic groups? What political and economic factors affect both urban and rural food systems? How has migration and globalization affected the way we eat? What changing factors in our diets (ritual, symbolic, cultural, social) lead to better or worse health?

Taught by top faculty in the School of Human Evolution and Social Change, this hands-on course encourages students from a wide range of backgrounds and majors to examine, discuss, work (and eat!) in discovering the complicated relationship between humans and food.

Prerequisites: None; the course is intended for majors and non-majors alike.

Course Format: Online lectures, written assignments, quizzes and outside-class activities.

Past student comments:
"The class was well moderated; the depth of the covered material was impressive. The professor used many teaching methods and was timely in updating us as to our grade in the course, as well as communicating on other subjects. The user interface was highly improved over Blackboard, and I am looking forward to taking more online courses.”

“The content of this class was very interesting, and the variety of ways in which the material was presented (lectures, videos, readings, websites, etc.) allowed for a very complete understanding of that week's central themes and ideas. The quiz questions were all based on required material, and the writing assignments were all relevant and thought provoking. The readings helped to supply real-world examples of the anthropological concepts being discussed. The required discussion board posts promoted conversation with other students and provided yet another resource for better understanding the material. The course was very clearly organized and easy to navigate.”

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ASB 316
Money and Culture

General Studies: L or SB.

In an engaging look at money and decision-making, this course will teach students to use tools from economic anthropology to help us understand the economic world around us. Economic anthropology gives us a lens to understand the relationships between culture and decision-making through which we can investigate both western and non-western and informal and formal economies. Students will analyze how the values, cognitive structures and social pressures of various American subcultures influence decision-making.

Prerequisites: ENG 101, ENG 105, or ENG 107 with a "C" or better.

Course Format: Online lectures, videos, discussion boards, writing assignments, debates and video presentations.

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ASB 327 

General Studies: (L or SB) or C.

The goal of this course is for students to understand the causes of disasters, how humans respond and how we can appropriately prevent and respond to disasters. Students will examine the causes of disasters, such as droughts and volcano eruptions, with a focus on the U.S. Students will explore cases in which social responses to disaster have helped people survive or led to their demise. Through hands-on activities, students will gain a theoretical understanding of disasters and a practical toolkit for evaluating how we prevent and respond to disasters.

Prerequisites: ENG 101, ENG 105, or ENG 107 with C or better

Course Format: Online lectures, videos, discussion boards and writing assignments.

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ASB 335
Ancient Southwest: Pueblos, Petroglyphs and Pottery (Archaeology of the Southwest)

General Studies: SB & H & C.

What do we know about how people lived in the Southwest prior to the Spanish invasion of 1539? How do we understand the great diversity of human adaptations in light of the constraints imposed by the arid environment? How do archaeologists move from the fragmentary remains of the past actions to arguments explaining cultural change and stability?

This course offers a probing view of prehistoric social history for all interested students, and provides majors with essential background necessary for further study.  While it covers the broad outlines of the Southwestern past, it focuses on cutting-edge research being done by ASU faculty. 

Our examination begins with the Paleo-Indian hunter-gatherers who entered the Southwest 11,500 years ago, and ends with the Pueblo Revolt in AD 1680. We focus on later developments, including the cultural fluorescence in areas such as Chaco Canyon, the Mimbres Valley, Mesa Verde and the Phoenix area and the unexplained collapse of the late prehistoric Pueblo and Hohokam cultural systems.

The course highlights the need for a transdisciplinary and highly collaborative approach to understanding the past and exhibits a concern with the relevance of the past to the present and future.

Prerequisites: None; the course is intended for majors and non-majors alike.

Course Format: Online lectures, quizzes, written assignments.

Past Student Comments:
“Great class. As someone who invested most of my time in physical anthropology courses with only minimum degree requirements for archaeologically focused courses, I was worried that I would feel disengaged from the material covered in this course when I first started. However, the professors covered the topics in a manner that kept me engaged in the material without imposing lofty requirements for assignments. I took this course to fulfill my last degree requirement and ended up thoroughly enjoying it.”

“This has been by far the most engaging and interesting class I've taken so far at ASU, and I'm not even an anthro major.”

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ASB 337
Pyramids and Hieroglyphs

General Studies: (HU or SB) & G & H.

This course is an introduction to the archaeology of Mesoamerica, one of the great regions of world civilization and home to some of the most intriguing native peoples of the Americas. They included hunters, farmers, merchants, seafarers, priests, metallurgists, astronomers, politicians and warriors, living in small camps and huge cities and speaking a bewildering array of languages.

Concepts as familiar to us as rank and as strange as human sacrifice were integral to these cultures. Most of the course is devoted to developments prior to European contact.

The course concentrates on the major processes of change witnessed archaeologically through four time periods (the Archaic, Formative, Classic and Postclassic) and across four major regions (the Maya area, central Mexico, the Valley of Oaxaca and West Mexico). At the very end of this 8,000-year sequence, the Aztecs and other groups emerged in a time of social, political and linguistic upheaval. We will look at competing explanations of certain important developments, such as the origins of agriculture and the formation of the earliest cities, states and empires.

Prerequisites: None; the course is intended for majors and non-majors alike.

Course Format: Online lectures, written assignments, online class activities.

Past Student Comments:
“I liked the online lectures and not because it provided flexibility to my schedule, though that's a plus, but because they allowed me to go back and re-listen to the material. I liked the in class activities too. They encouraged thought and developed analytical skills. There is a lot of information to manage between the lectures, the online lectures, the assignments and the readings.”

“Fun class. I really enjoyed the content of this course.”

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ASB 353
Death & Dying: Cross-Cultural Perspective

General Studies: (HU or SB) & G. 
(4 credits)

This course introduces the student to some responses to dying and death found in a variety of cultures, and the reasons for them. Both theoretical and compassionate approaches are taken.

It is hoped that through learning about the death ways of other cultures, the student will find a greater range of choices for interpreting the possible meanings of his or her own death and death in general, and also a means for accepting these.

Some topics considered in this course include world views and beliefs about death and the human spirit; care for the aged; preparing to die; the moment of death; funeral practices; grief; suicide; death and time; and death beliefs as ecological regulators – each considered in non-Western societies compared to the United States. Some peoples and geographic areas that are discussed include Australian Aborigines, Eskimos, American Indians, Southern Blacks, New Guinea, Madagascar, India, Tibet, China, Yugoslavia, Medieval Europe and Colonial America.

Prerequisites: None; the course is intended for majors and non-majors alike.

Course Format: Online lectures, brief written assignments.

Past Student Comments:
“Professor likes what she does, and it shows!"

"The professor made my first online class a wonderful experience. I will certainly recommend her class."

"She presented very interesting and stimulating info in a very organized fashion. I'm also grateful that she responded promptly to e-mail."

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ASB 378
McGlobalization: Migration, Mass Media and McDonald's

General Studies: SB & C

This course explores the impact of globalization on local societies and cultures by focusing on the international migration of peoples, the global expansion of capitalism and global mass media and popular culture. We will examine both the socioeconomic causes and consequences of globalization, as well as how local peoples around the world have been affected by, participated in and resisted the forces of globalization. 

Prerequisites: 45 credits taken.

Course Format: Online lectures, videos, discussion boards, writing assignments.

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ASB 410
Poverty, Social Justice and Global Health

General Studies: (L or SB) & G; and fulfills CLAS Science and Society requirements.

The goal of this 3-credit, 400-level course is to explore social justice and ethical issues related to the health of communities in the U.S. and globally.

In Part I, we will explore the relationships between social forces and disease, with a special focus on the complicated interactions between poverty and health disparities at both global and local levels.

In Part II, the focus is on debating ethics in health research and intervention, with particular focus on case studies related to indigenous, migrant and other vulnerable populations.

In Part III, students take a lead in exploring and defining their own personal and professional values related to global health, particularly related to action and advocacy.

To succeed in this course, students must be prepared to engage in critical thinking, self-reflection and oral/written argumentation.

Prerequisites: ASB 100 (or SSH 100) or ASB 102 with a "D" or better.

Course Format: Online lectures, discussion boards, written assignments, online activities.

Past Student Comments:
“This is one of the best classes I have taken. The structure encouraged interaction with all of the assigned material, and it was an excellent mix of reading, writing, discussion and quizzes.”

“Dr. Wutich is clearly dedicated to anthropology, particularly the issues of poverty, social justice and global health. I did not expect to learn so much in this course. The material presented in reading textbooks and in Dr. Wutich's lectures forced me to apply my personal ethical and moral standards to a broader, global scale, and this caused me to deeply reflect on issues of humanity and human rights. This is a power-packed course. If there was a 'part two,' I'd take it!”

"Professor Wutich was extremely knowledgeable on the course material, and she and the TA were very willing to share their experiences.This life knowledge blends the course material in such a way that it creates a real and almost palpable feeling of learning. Very good course. Truthfully I believe EVERYONE should be required to take such a course.”

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ASB 462
Medical Anthropology: Culture and Health

General Studies: C; and fulfills CLAS Science and Society requirements.

This course examines how people from different cultural backgrounds define health and illness; how cultural practices play a role in prevention and treatment; and how culture influences population health at many levels – from the way people seek care for illnesses to current policy debates about the provision of healthcare. The course focuses on the role that culture plays both at the global level and also in the U.S. in particular.

Prerequisites: None; the course is intended for majors and non-majors alike.

Course Format: Online lectures, slides and discussions, 3 exams, occasional brief assignments.

Past Student Comments:
“This class was the best class I have taken. At first, I was nervous that this class would be too difficult. However, the professor guides you through the class, and he is very passionate about the class. Overall, the content of the class was very interesting, and I would recommend other students to take this class.”

“Even though medical anthropology has pretty much nothing to do with my major, I found myself really enjoying this course! Both our teacher and TA seemed to be really passionate about the topic; I really like how they both incorporated their own experiences and fields of study into their lectures. The instructor definitely encourages participation, and I think the class overall was a really great and interesting experience (even for an engineer !).”

“This class was probably the most interesting class I took this summer. The class held my attention and was very eye opening. I enjoyed the fact that this was a very interactive class despite the point that is sounds like a very textbook-lecture kind of class when judging by its name. The projects assigned were very interesting because each student was able to explore a topic they were interested in.”

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ASM 104
Bones, Stones and Human Evolution

General Studies: SB or SG.

This introduction to physical anthropology explores the biological basis of human origins and variation. Through an understanding of genetics and mechanisms of evolution, students are provided with a background to examine primate adaptations, our hominid ancestors and modern human variation. The bones and teeth of – as well as the tools used by – living primates and ancient hominids are keys to unlocking their life ways.

Prerequisites: None; the course is intended for majors and non-majors alike.

Course Format: Lectures and online labs are required components of this course. The lectures introduce key concepts and incorporate slides and videos throughout the semester. Lab exercises provide “hands-on” application in an online environment of concepts covered in lectures and reading assignments. Online exercises include demonstration of genetic mechanisms and viewing of 3-D images of fossil casts and skeletal material. 

Past Student Comments:
“This class is one of the best I've taken. The professor is *very* clear about the distinction between prevailing scientific theory and the reality of how evolution works and how humanity evolved. (I mean that he presents the evidence from the fossil record and from species' genomes, and then shows how different scientific arguments have made use of this evidence to present narratives of human evolution each supported by certain pieces of evidence and contradicted by others. Basically, we can't yet know how it happened in full detail and our understanding of it continues to move forward.) This helped me to gain some clarity about the process of evolution (which was also explained well) and the natural history behind the emergence of Homo sapiens. I would recommend this class to anyone.”

“I am usually not interested in subjects like this and dread having to take these classes, but the professor made the subject so interesting it ended up being my favorite class from this semester, and I always enjoyed the lectures.”

“The class is informative but at the same time wildly entertaining making it the perfect combination for an online class. I find myself looking forward to listening to these lectures because I know that I will enjoy myself and have a good time while learning rather than counting down the minutes until the lecture is over. I wish that all classes could be taught with the same vigor and excitement.”

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ASM 246
Human Origins

General Studies: SB and fulfills CLAS Science and Society requirements.

This is a lower-division course that is intended to guide you through an exploration of the scientific evidence for the evolution of humans and our fossil relatives and humankind’s place in the natural world. The course includes, though is not limited to, an introduction to evolutionary theory; an overview of the hominin fossil record and what that record has taught us about our natural history; and an exciting in-depth exploration of paleoanthropological field research from the perspective of Dr. Johanson, a world-renowned paleoanthropologist who discovered the fossil of the first known hominid australopithecine, otherwise famously known as “Lucy.”

Prerequisites: None; the course is intended for majors and non-majors alike.

Course Format: audio/video lecture presentations by the instructor, textbook and supplemental readings, interactive website exercises, films, quizzes and a final exam.

Past Student Comments:
“Dr. Johanson seems to be one of the most knowledgeable and experienced in his field. His accomplishments and first-hand knowledge of the subjects covered in class really helped me understand the material and keep my interest. Very interesting course, actually enjoyed logging on doing my classwork!”

“Very knowledgeable and brings enthusiasm to every class. He makes listening to lectures interesting and fun, clearly explains everything he teaches, and (if the student is accountable) makes it very easy for his students to succeed and learn in this class.”

“The instructor was extremely knowledgeable. I took this class on a whim and thought that I might be able to apply what I learn in the future as a teacher. This course awakened in me a strong curiosity and desire to learn more about anthropology. Dr. Johanson is very capable in delivering lively, informing and entertaining online lectures.”

“I really appreciated Professor Johanson's enthusiasm for what he was teaching us. I could just hear it in his voice! Also, I am very honored to have had Professor Johanson teach me about Human Origins; he discovered LUCY! It's so cool!! I had the utmost respect for everything he had to say in his lectures."

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ASM 275
Forensic Anthropology

General Studies: SB; and fulfills CLAS Science and Society requirements.

This course will discuss the application of anthropological techniques for the purposes of crime scene investigation. We will discuss the full range of details about a person that can be gleaned from analyses of human skeletons. We will also discuss different types of trauma, dismemberment, bite marks and animal scavenging. 

The course presents information from actual cases and how those cases were solved using forensic anthropology. Human rights, genocides, mass disaster accidents and the recovery of MIA soldiers are also detailed. 

NOTE: Visuals can be mildly disturbing in their graphic content.

Prerequisites: None; the course is intended for majors and non-majors alike.

Course Format: Online lectures, videos, 4 multiple-choice exams.

Past Student Comments:
“This has to be one of my favorite classes! I learned so much, and it is on a topic that I find most interesting. I hope to get into a field like this. I love that you provided the classes online because I am working full time, but am determined to get my degree, and classes like these will help me to achieve that.”

“Awesome class. It was really interesting, and I learned a lot.”

“Some of the best online lectures I've seen in an online course. I love his format and the shorter lectures. Watching several 25–30 minute lectures is easier then watching 3 or 4 long ones.”

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ASM 345
Disease and Human Evolution

General Studies: fulfills CLAS Science and Society requirements.

This course examines the role played by disease in human existence, from the beginnings of humanity to the present. Conditions discussed include inherited and congenital abnormalities, infectious diseases, malnutrition, trauma, degenerative problems, etc.

Infectious diseases will include those carried by animal parasites (malaria, schistosomiasis), bacteria (bubonic plague, leprosy, tuberculosis, syphilis, lyme disease, typhus), viruses (smallpox, influenza, AIDS), prions (kuru) and fungi (coccidiodomycosis).

The course also deals with efforts to understand, define and deal with sickness by different human groups, and with the specific role of medical practitioners in these groups.

Prerequisites: ASM 104 or BIO 100 or BIO 187 or BIO 188 with a "D" or better.

Course Format: Lectures, slides, films, videotapes, discussion.

Past Student Comments:
“I loved this class. This was honestly the first online class that has actually made me keep up with the material. I wanted to learn and read everything that was posted. This class online was perfect, and the assignments were perfect as well.”

“The class covered extremely interesting material at a very appropriate pace, and the assignments obviously reflected and paralleled the material. The instructor was most helpful when the students needed it, and what was expected from the students was made very clear.”

“I really enjoyed this course. The material was very interesting and extremely applicable towards a degree in biology and further careers in the medical field. The instructor was great because her expectations were clear and concise, and she was always encouraging people to ask questions.”

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ASM 414
Urban and Environmental Health

General Studies: SB

This course uses a combination of discussions, lectures, laboratories and fieldwork to explore and integrate theoretical and practical application of social sciences approaches to the transdisciplinary understandings of the environmental contexts of health, particularly in urban contexts. The course emphasizes the fundamentals of the research process that takes place between idea and publication. The main theoretical approaches we apply that allow us to consider “what makes people in cities healthy or unhealthy” across different levels of analysis are drawn from the approaches in biocultural anthropology, environmental justice and political ecology/economy. We apply a range of research methods, as appropriate to the questions we ask.

Prerequisites: 45 credits taken.

Course Format: Online lectures, videos, discussion boards, writing assignments and outside class activities

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