Department Listing and Descriptions

Our Social Sciences and Humanities Division includes eleven departments, including Administration of Justice, Anthropology, Economics, Geography, History, Humanities, Paralegal Studies, Philosophy, Political Sciences, Psychology and Sociology.

Read brief descriptions of each below. Click on a department's name to visit its Web site to learn more about courses, programs, degrees and certificates offered.

Police lights

Administration of Justice

The Administration of Justice program is a career program that has been taught at De Anza College since its beginning in 1967. The program prepares students for careers in Law Enforcement, Probation and Parole, Corrections, and Private Security. Our graduates are found in agencies, public and private, throughout the Bay Area and beyond.

cave paintings


Anthropology is a comprehensive study of humankind, from its beginnings millions of years ago to the present day. It seeks to understand all aspects of humans, biological and cultural, over geographic space and evolutionary time. Its subject matter is both exotic (e.g., star lore of the Australian aborigines) and commonplace (evolving microbes and human health). And its focus is both sweeping (the evolution of language) and microscopic (the use-wear of obsidian tools). Anthropologists may study ancient Mayan hieroglyphics, the music of African Pygmies, and the corporate culture of a U.S. car manufacturer. In this global community today, anthropology is both meaningful and relevant, with applications to current world problems. It gives us a better understanding of who we are, how we came to be that way, and where we may go in the future.

a teacher and preschoolers

Child Development and Education

Our faculty is committed to the highest standards of teaching and learning for all students. We are proud of the many special programs and grants we are able to offer you as you pursue your academic, professional, or personal goals. Our goal is your success. Let us know how we can support you in achieving your goals. In children lies the future of each person, our communities, and the world. This is the core belief of our teacher preparation program. Since children rely on the community of caring adults to ensure their physical well-being, provide optimum learning experiences, and support their social and emotional needs, we work to produce teachers who are intentional, responsive, ethical, celebrate differences, are agents of change, and collaborators who can translate these principles into action.



Economics, also known as the "Science of Scarcity," is the study of how resources are used to satisfy human wants. Because economics blends quantitative analysis characteristic of physical sciences with the more qualitative methods associated with the social sciences, students of economics develop a unique reasoning ability that provides a vital perspective on social issues. Our students bring their valued skills to business, government and community endeavors, and so provide service and vision in the pursuit of our shared interests. Our students work in the banking sector, health care management, actuarial work, public utilities, elementary and secondary education. Other career options include law, brokerage firms, private research, consulting firms, federal government service and teaching. We are now offering an AA-T Degree in Economics.

old map


Geography stimulates curiosity about the world’s diverse inhabitants and places because it involves the study of the earth as created by natural forces and as modified by human action. Geographers synthesize knowledge from many disciplines as they explore the linkages and interdependencies between physical and cultural landscapes to offer insights into the spatial organization of the earth’s surface. A geographically informed student has a deeper understanding of the web of relationships between people, places and the environment at local, regional and global scales.

colosseum in rome


History is the study of past individuals and societies viewed from every possible angle: biographical, social, political, economic, religious and other. Historical research is a form of critical reasoning by which historians mentally reconstruct past reality from careful examination and study of primary evidence such as historical documents and artifacts. Students of history learn to “think historically” and see themselves and society developing across time, thus attaining deeper and richer self-understanding.



The Humanities engage students in critical analysis of how they know what they know, and promote recognition of the rich human plurality of histories, truths and worldviews. A strong multidisciplinary foundation draws connections between and among academic and intellectual domains of the arts and sciences, as well as the philosophies and religions of the world. A multicultural approach encourages broad synthesis of human issues and a discussion of the relationship between an individual and historical, cultural and social milieu. Students are compelled to recognize themselves as active creators of cultural change in a diverse and increasingly global context.

gavel and scales of justice

Paralegal Studies

Since its inception over 20 years ago, the De Anza Paralegal Program has graduated hundreds of paralegals who work in government agencies, corporate legal departments and private law firms. The program was the first paralegal program in the South Bay to be approved by the American Bar Association.

thinker statue


The Philosophy Department provides an academically rich, multicultural learning environment that challenges students of every background to develop their intellect, character and abilities. Our curriculum is designed to help students realize their goals, think critically about their social responsibilities and roles in political life, and pursue a more robust understanding of knowledge, reality, ethics and reasong. 

California State Capitol

Political Science

By increasing the knowledge and learning base of students in the areas of government and political phenomena, the Political Science Department fosters and promotes civic awareness and participation, as well as individual and group political empowerment.

two overlapping heads


Psychology is the science that seeks to understand behavior and mental processes and apply this understanding in the service of human welfare. The De Anza Psychology Department provides the finest undergraduate transfer preparation in Psychology of any community college anywhere.

various colored squares with people


Sociology begins with the assumption that no one is an island; we are not simply individuals with complete autonomy and self-determination, but rather social beings. The sociological perspective asks us to explore a central paradox—that we both shape and are shaped by the social world in which we live. Sociologists use the tools of social science to understand how our location within multiple webs of social relationship influences both our worldview and our access to valuable resources.

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