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Social Relations and Policy

A large group of social policy majors smile in front of the United States Supreme Court Building.

The social relations and policy major explores the domain of public issues that are especially affected by relations among groups. The field is explicitly historical and comparative, looking at social relations in the United States and internationally over time. 

Courses focus on the sociology, history and politics of intergroup relations, paying close attention to the interplay of such factors as class, race, ethnicity, sex/gender, religious belief and national identity. The program uses the study of social relations as a way to cultivate reasoning, methodological and analytical skills, and the capacities for empathetic observation, normative judgment and effective problem solving. 

Social relations and policy is housed in James Madison College, MSU’s residential college for international and public affairs, which is a limited-enrollment program.


Graduates in social relations and policy pursue careers in a range of industries, excelling in jobs that demand deep knowledge of sociology, intercultural communication and government systems.

Alumni work at: 

  • U.S. government 
  • Non-profit organizations
  • High schools and middle schools
  • Cultural organizations 
  • Media organizations
  • Private businesses

Alumni work as: 

  • Attorneys
  • Journalists
  • Analysts
  • Social workers

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