Psychology should be considered a science class


Rebecca Wright, Reporter

While working on scheduling for next year, I asked my counselor if I could count AP psychology as one of the three years required of science classes for my chosen diploma, and I was told that it is not recognized as a science class. This perplexed me because psychology is the study of human behavior and how the mind works. I thought that it would be categorized with classes like biology and anatomy, but instead it is in the same category as government and economics.

Psychology should be considered a science class and not a social studies class. When thinking of a solution to this, I stumbled upon a bigger issue. Many high school level classes were not organized in the same manner as college classes.

According to the 1965 National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities Act, humanities are defined as “those aspects of social sciences which have humanistic content and employ humanistic methods and the study and application of the humanities to the human environment with particular attention to reflecting our diverse heritage, traditions, and history and to the relevance of the humanities to the current conditions of national life.”

This would include all aspects of language, philosophy and religion, history, archaeology, as well as the arts.

In Indiana, classes like world language, social studies and linguistics fall under the umbrella of humanities due to their connection to culture and society. Classes like science, mathematics and engineering fall under the scope of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). One can see why the classes would be organized in this way, but some classes under social studies, like psychology and sociology, are studied using scientific methods which makes their class vacations all the stranger because the sheer volume of studying required to participate in that field best mirrors other sciences. So why is it classified under the scope of humanities when it best relates to STEM?

The document for student scheduling assumes that social studies is the study of the social sciences, but according to the Humanities Commission, they are separate entities. Classes like economics, psychology and sociology are defined as social sciences because they are studied using scientific principles. Humanities are defined as cultural aspects which include the arts, history and philosophy because they have humanistic content and require humanistic methods of study.

The sections under which classes are defined may be black and white when dealing with STEM classes, but when dealing with humanities, departments are much harder to define.

Other humanity classes like world language classes are somehow a separate entity to English classes and EL classes, as well as other culture based classes like arts and history. These should be combined under the spectrum of social studies and classes that employ the scientific method while still remaining humanities such as government, economics, sociology and psychology, should be defined as the social sciences.

Social sciences might technically be a humanity, but their tendency to be studied similarly to the other more traditional sciences should make students eligible to count them toward their science credits to graduate.