Social Sciences

General Psychology class

The Hesston College Division of Social Science provides an understanding of human social and psychological behavior, an essential component to a liberal arts education. The division promotes personal growth, responsible citizenship, and service to others in the church and the world. It offers exposure to employment settings, introduction to competent professionalism, and courses that are transferable.

Programs of Study click to expand

Criminal and Restorative Justice

What is criminal & restorative justice?

Hesston College’s Criminal and Restorative Justice program is a four-year transfer associate of arts program focused on sociology.

Criminal justice is a system of justice through practices and institutions that upholds social control, discouraging and reducing crime, or responding to those who violate laws with criminal penalties and rehabilitation efforts.

Restorative justice is a theory of justice that emphasizes repairing the harm caused by criminal behavior through healing and rehabilitation. Allows for both offender and victim to be involved in resolving the conflict.

Success factors

Criminal and restorative justice professions require candidates who possess strong oral and written communication skills, good listening skills, and the ability to work with a wide range of diverse populations. Fluency in a second language is also desirable.

Career possibilities

  • Social services
  • Judiciary and law
  • Law enforcement
  • Corrections
  • Human services for the criminal and the victim
  • Forensics
  • Paralegal
  • Public safety and disaster preparedness
  • Security studies
  • Technology and cyber crime
  • Ministry
  • Business
  • Education
“The classes at Hesston were very challenging. They helped me develop critical thinking skills that I use every day in class, and they caused me to become more organized with my schoolwork, which makes life a lot less chaotic. Also, thanks to my writing instructors, I can compose well-written essays without breaking a sweat.”
— Nick Mitchell, class of 2015, criminal justice student at Newman University (Wichita, Kan.)

Majoring in criminal and restorative justice

Students have the opportunity to gain real-world experience through volunteer practicum or internship opportunities.

  • Hesston’s Service Learning program offers students plenty of volunteer opportunities throughout the year.
  • Academic advisors and the resources in Student Success can help arrange job shadow opportunities, practicums and internships in fields of interest.
  • Opportunities to conduct observations in human services, law enforcement, courts and corrections fields.

Criminal and restorative justice curriculum

As a Criminal and Restorative Justice major, you will take a number of foundational classes that are required at most transfer institutions. Students can supplement coursework in the major with courses in business, psychology, anthropology, or sociology.

Course work related to the hard sciences (biology, chemistry, and biochemistry) is necessary for career opportunities in forensics.

Internet security is a rapidly growing area with a wide variety of career opportunities. Supplement course work with computer science and technology courses to gain entry into this field.

Sample curriculum – associate degree in criminal and restorative justice

Emergency Management – Fire/EMS

What is emergency management – fire and EMS?

Hesston College’s Fire & EMS program is a partnership between Hesston College and the City of Hesston, offering students the opportunity to pursue Fire and/or EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) training while simultaneously working part-time with the City of Hesston’s Fire and EMS squads. Students will earn an Associate of Arts degree from Hesston College that will prepare them for transfer to a bachelor’s program or work in their field of study.

With fire training, students take Firefighter I training, as well as Hazardous Materials Awareness and Hazardous Materials Operations, and are certified nationally in Fire Fighter I.

With EMT training, students will take (and pass) the EMT national boards and be certified for EMT in the State of Kansas and nationally.

Success factors

  • Those passionate about meeting the needs of people in emergency situations.
  • Those interested in careers in emergency response or long-term recovery.
  • Those interested in public service.
  • Those interested in supplementary experience for majors including Disaster Management, Nursing and Pre-Medicine.

Career possibilities

  • EMT (paid or volunteer)
  • firefighter (paid or volunteer)
  • emergency management
  • disaster management

Majoring in emergency management – fire and EMS

  • Practical experience through on-the-job training.
  • Part-time student employment.

Fire and EMS curriculum

Students in the Fire & EMS program will:

  1. Apply to Hesston College
  2. Be accepted to Hesston College
  3. Meet with the program director to outline course of study
    EMT – first semester: enroll in 10 hours of EMS training*; take an additional 6 to 7 hours
    Fire Fighter I – first semester: enroll in 5.5 hours of fire fighter training*; take an additional 10 to 11 hours
  4. Apply to the City of Hesston for a job with Hesston Fire/EMS
  5. Interview with City of Hesston for a job (not guaranteed)

*The City of Hesston pays for the course fees for EMT and fire fighter training for those students hired by the city with a one year commitment to the department once certified.


What is psychology?

Psychology is the scientific study of behavior and mental processes.

Success factors

Psychology is a great major for persons who enjoy learning about people and their experiences. It has both a practical relational side and a research side.

Career possibilities

Students interested in psychology can go into research or many fields that relate directly to people, such as business, counseling or education. A four-year psychology degree can provide you with the skills to work in an entry-level job in the mental health field or other careers directly related to people. A four-year degree will prepare the student for graduate studies in psychology.

“Hesston College prepared me for my major in psychology by giving me fundamental psychology courses and helping me to solidify what subject I wanted to study. Hesston also helped me to recognize the value I place in a Christ-centered community.”
— Heidi Zehr, class of 2011

Majoring in psychology

  • Classroom instructors are trained in counseling and approach the content as a way for you to learn about yourself and those around you.
  • Courses are practical with hands-on assignments that help you understand the concepts and our world.
  • Focus on learning about the complexity of the human experience and empathy or other people’s perspectives.
  • Many assignments get you out in the community meeting people, such as visits to local retirement community Schowalter Villa, school visits or connecting psychology to current events, research and your everyday life.

Psychology curriculum

The psychology curriculum will provide you with the strong educational foundation you will need for upper-level studies and a psychology degree. Three core courses – General Psychology, Developmental Psychology and Social Psychology – focus on case study and observational research. Academic advisors work one-on-one with students to ensure requirements are met for a seamless transition to continuing education and professional careers.

Sample curriculum – associate degree in psychology

Social Work

What is social work?

The field of social work utilizes social theories to understand human problems, to help improve people’s lives and to improve society as a whole.

Success factors

Since social work involves many disciplines, students that do well in social work are curious about people, have broad interests and want to make a difference in the world.

Career possibilities

Persons who opt for careers in social work can choose from a wide variety of challenging kinds of work. Opportunities include traditional counseling services, crisis intervention, helping the underprivileged, organizational development, research in human behavior, teaching, and serving as behavior specialists in many other fields.

“By providing me with incredible instructors and an environment focused not solely on academics but also building a community of caring, responsible, Christ-like individuals, Hesston College prepared me to be successful academically in my social work major as well as flourish on a practical level in my career. I attribute much of what I have achieved in my career working in the mental health field to the guidance, teachings and support I had and continue to receive from Hesston College.”
— Jodi Stutzman, class of 2011

Majoring in social work

Hesston College provides many opportunities for service and leadership in the first two years that helps prepare students for a career in social work and further education. Students get a strong theory base through a variety of introductory courses, and our behavioral science department is diverse in their experience with both research and application.

Social work curriculum

At Hesston College, you will be introduced to basic ideas of social work. This introduction will provide you with time to test your skills and interests in these areas while helping you understand many kinds of people. As part of this introduction, you will have the opportunity to work with people ranging from young children to older adults who experience a variety of problems.

Sample curriculum – associate degree in social work


What is sociology?

Sociology is a systematic study of the human society and social interaction. It focuses on how relationships develop and influence social behavior; and how societies develop and change.

Success factors

Sociology helps us to understand who we are, how our behavior and our life chances are shaped by the groups we belong to and the larger society we live in. If you are a curious person, interested in:

  • human diversity
  • exploring the relationship between individual experiences and the larger society
  • searching for solutions to today’s social problems, you will find this area of study not only intrinsically rewarding but also one with great opportunities and prospects.

Career possibilities

Sociology is a dynamic field that will give you a foundation and intellectual tools needed in many different career paths such as policy analysis, city planning, data analysis, public relations, social work, case management, corrections, law enforcement, advocacy, market research, and programming.

“Hesston College shaped me profoundly in my journey toward a career in social work. The instruction I got from instructors went way beyond the technical matters of the subjects. I learned much about the profoundness and beauty of humanity. I learned valuable methods for critical examination of complicated matters. Faculty members took personal interest in me and helped me recognize my gifts. What I learned at Hesston gives me an edge for helping others: a rich deepening in my understanding that human uniqueness passes our measurements, that a person can learn from any situation, that there is depth in the human spirit that surpasses the circumstantial and much more.”
— Sam Foxvog, class of 2013

Majoring in sociology

At Hesston College, the courses in our department are offered in a unique student centered learning environment. Classes are small and encourage discussions about current societal trends. Students are taught how to:

  • think like social scientists
  • collect and use empirical data and sociological theory
  • analyze, understand and engage our globalizing world.

Sociology curriculum

At Hesston College, you will be introduced to basic ideas, research methods and sociological theories. This introduction will provide you with time to test your learned skills and interests in these areas while helping you understand how social life is structured and organized. As part of this introduction, you will have the opportunity to do research and to work with people ranging from young children to older adults who experience a variety of social problems.

Sample curriculum – associate degree in sociology

Division Goals

  1. To help students develop a philosophy of service that has real life implications.
  2. To help students understand power and privilege as a social construct in the United States and the world.
  3. To encourage ongoing development and assessment of innovative, cutting edge curriculum.
  4. To create an environment on campus that supports, respects and celebrates diversity.