Department of Social Sciences

Understanding social behavior can improve one’s personal and professional life

The social sciences prepare students for careers across a broad range, and build transferable skills that will serve them throughout their lives. Our majors include undergraduate degrees in Criminal Justice, Economics, History and Political Science, and a graduate degree in Cyber Investigations and Intelligence. We provide all of our students with opportunities to engage in out-of-the-classroom activities in preparation for their professional careers.  Each of our programs prepares students for the growing demand for skilled professionals in both the public and private sectors.

Our graduates work in diverse careers, including such positions as FBI Agent; police officer; attorney; Operations Manager, Delivery Operations at Amazon Logistics; Interface Analyst at UPMC; district director for a US Congressman; and Information Resources and Services Supervisor at the Penn State Law Library.  Many have continued to graduate programs or law schools.

The Department Head’s Welcome

Welcome to the website for the Social Sciences Department!  I am Kathy Dennick-Brecht, and I am very proud to be the department head.  We have an outstanding faculty, who regularly publish scholarly works and are committed to student learning.  Our professors work with every student each semester to provide academic advisement, helping students to choose elective courses, clarify career goals, and participate in student engagement opportunities.

Please explore our website to learn more about our criminal justice, economics, history and political science programs.

Hand-on Experience: All students complete a practicum/internship prior to graduation at a site that is relevant to their career expectations. This experience enhances networking, and helps students to gain practical insight into their career choice.

Multiple Open Electives: Each of our degrees includes multiple open electives, which provides students with the opportunity to create an experience that addresses both their interests and career plans, complementing their major.

Scholar and Practitioner Faculty:  Students study with professors who have strong professional and research backgrounds, and who are active publishing and presenting research or projects at local, state, and national conferences.

Academic Advisers: Students are assigned an academic adviser at the beginning of their experience at RMU.  The adviser is available throughout the semester and will meet with students at least once each semester to assist students with registration, course selections for open electives, practicum locations, etc.

 

Scholarships and Professional Opportunities

Social Sciences Endowed Scholarship
The department awards an endowed scholarship to an outstanding junior majoring in one of our programs.  The scholarship applies to tuition in their senior year.

  • Internships at The Washington Center
  • Practicum Locations
    Students fulfill their practicum requirements at locations that are relevant to their career goals.  Prior placements have included:
    • Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office
    • Allegheny County Police Department
    • Alliance for Police Accountability
    • Andrew Carnegie Free Library and Music Hall (Civil War Room/ESPY Post)
    • Beaver County Historical Research and Landmarks Foundation
    • Congressional Office of Representative Guy Reschenthaler
    • Coraopolis Community Development Corporation
    • Dauphin County Criminal Investigation Division
    • Focus on Renewal
    • Homeland Security Investigations
    • National Air and Space Museum-Garger Facility
    • Office of the Honorable Judge Daniel D. Regan, Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas
    • Office of PA Senator Pam Iovino
    • Old Economy Village
    • Peace Corps in Washington, DC
    • Pittsburgh Bureau of Police
    • Republican Committee of Allegheny County
    • Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall and Museum
    • Winklosky Law
  • RMU Scholarship Information
Student Organizations

 

  • Alpha Phi Sigma
    The Criminal Justice Honor Society This national honor society recognizes the academic excellence of undergraduate and graduate students of Criminal Justice. The guiding principles of this honor society are to honor and promote academic excellence, community service, educational leadership, and unity. National conferences are held to engage members on various criminal justice topics and to promote networking between students and leaders in the field.

  • Criminal Justice Society at RMU
    The RMU Criminal Justice Society is a student club that promotes the field of criminal justice on campus.  The club holds monthly meetings, open to all students, and invites experts in the field to discuss their profession.  In addition to the impressive speaker series, the CJS also holds a Blue Gala event at the end of the year to recognize police officers and other law enforcement who have gone above and beyond in the line of duty.

  • Economics Club at RMU
    The Economics Club provides opportunities for students to interact with economists, business leaders, policy makers and alumni through networking events and career development activities.

  • Future Business Leaders of America-Phi Beta Lambda, Inc. (FBLA-PBL) Future Business Leaders of America-Phi Beta Lambda, Inc. (FBLA-PBL) is the largest career student business organization in the world. Each year, FBLA-PBL helps over 230,000 members prepare for careers in business and economics. The organization provides the opportunity for students to attend both state and national conventions, and network with diverse professionals.
  • History Club at RMU
    The History Club offers RMU students fun and educational opportunities to experience history beyond the classroom. Each spring the club sponsors its annual trip, allowing members to gain a first person perspective into history by walking the ground where key events occurred, viewing and interpreting historical artifacts, and interacting with public history professionals at historical sites, museums, battlefields, and other organizations. The History Club meets monthly and is open to any Robert Morris University student interested in history. All majors are welcome. In addition to the annual spring trip, club activities include discussion and debate of historic topics, day trips to local historic sites, social functions, fundraisers, and sponsorship of historic activities on campus, including the History Film Series.

  • Pi Gamma Mu
    Pi Gamma Mu is the oldest and preeminent interdisciplinary social science honor society.  Its mission is to encourage and promote excellence in the Social Sciences and to uphold and nurture scholarship, leadership, and service.

  • Political Science Club
    The political science club invites students of all backgrounds and majors. The club focuses on intelligent conversations around contemporary politics. The club often sponsors speakers and campus wide debates.

Centers and Special Programs
  • Municipal Police Academy
    The Criminal Justice Honor Society This national honor society recognizes the academic excellence of undergraduate and graduate students of Criminal Justice. The guiding principles of this honor society are to honor and promote academic excellence, community service, educational leadership, and unity. National conferences are held to engage members on various criminal justice topics and to promote networking between students and leaders in the field.

Meet the Faculty
  • Meet the Faculty
    The School of Informatics, Humanities and Social Sciences faculty is a team of dedicated teacher-scholars, award-winning artists, practitioners, and academics who are committed to your long-term success.

News and Events

School of Informatics, Humanities and Social Sciences News

Our Graduates Work at
  • Jaclyn Aldworth, Director of Recruitment at Drexel University School of Education

  • Brian Ashton, Interface Analyst at UPMC

  • Josh Caskey, Operations Manager, Delivery Operations at Amazon Logistics

  • Julie Miller, FBI Agent

  • Jessica Olin, Instructional Designer at Wiley Education Services

  • Ashleigh Presnar, District Director for a US Congressman

  • Alison Ruckert, Information Resources and Services Supervisor at the Penn State Law Library

Meet Our Alumni
  • “Definitely the professors, Dr. O'Roark, Dr. Lu, and Dr. Yang exuded passion for the subject and helped me grow as a student. I also thought the variety of courses was great. Public policy, Behavioral Econ and free market were my favorites.”

    Katherine Martin, B.A. in Economics, Class of 2021

  • “By learning and being able to analyze and identify the problems of the past, you are able to identify and analyze problems of the present. This ability leads to success in everyday life and work. “

    Gabe Dachille, Project Manager for Fiserv, B.A. in History, Class of 2015

  • “Being able to speak to professors without being just a number. Professors notice your hard work and dedication, and work with those who need extra help. Truly one of the biggest reasons I chose RMU was to not be just a number at another university.”

    Megan Garfinkel, B.S. in Criminal Justice Class of 2021

  • “Definitely the professors, Dr. O'Roark, Dr. Lu, and Dr. Yang exuded passion for the subject and helped me grow as a student. I also thought the variety of courses was great. Public policy, Behavioral Econ and free market were my favorites.”

    Katherine Martin, B.A. in Economics, Class of 2021

  • “Diversity of topics. Neutral presentation of all facets of political science. Friendly and engaging professors.”

    Jarrett Brown, B.A. in Political Science, Class of 2021

Testimonials from Employers

 

Advisory Board

 

  • David Abbate, Homeland Security Investigations, Assistant Special Agent in Charge

  • Brian Ashton, UPMC, Interface Analyst-Senior, CRENER and EPIC Interfaces

  • Lawrence Barger, CliftonLarsonAllen (CLA), Principal, Manufacturing and Distribution

  • Thomas Boss, Webco International, Senior Commercial Analyst

  • Joshua Caskey, Amazon Logistics, Operations Manager, Delivery Operations

  • Dennis Logan, Allegheny County District Attorney, Chief of Investigation

  • Aaron Lotis, Social Security Administration, District Manager

  • Shawn P. Reed, Coraopolis, Mayor

  • Devlin Robinson, Pennsylvania Senate, Senator

  • Soo Song, United States Attorney’s Office/Western District of Pennsylvania, Head of 

    National Security, Assistant U.S. Attorney

  • Benjamin Stahl, Veteran’s Leadership Program, Chief Executive Officer

  • Daniel Taylor, African American Chamber of Commerce of Western Pennsylvania, 

    Executive Vice President

Contact

Kathryn Dennick-Brecht, Ed.D.
Department Head, Social Sciences
Professor of Sociology
Email brecht@rmu.edu

Francis X. Hartle, D.Sc.
Director, Criminal Justice Program
Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice
Email: hartle@rmu.edu

Program Title Degree Availability
Academic Program - Undergraduate
Criminal Justice B.S. B.S. Available - On Campus
Economics B.A. B.A. Available - On Campus
History B.A. B.A. Available - On Campus
Political Science B.A. B.A. Available - On Campus
Academic Program - Graduate
Cyber Investigations and Intelligence M.S. M.S. Available - On Campus

Department Head

Dennick-Brecht, Kathryn
Kathryn Dennick-Brecht, Ed.D.

Professor of Sociology
Specialties: Social problems, deviant behavior