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An interdisciplinary liberal arts department, History, Philosophy and the Social Sciences (HPSS) offers a wide variety of courses on the nature of human life—past and present—in its psychological, social, political, intellectual, philosophical and cultural contexts and manifestations. Courses in Western and world history, philosophy, psychology, anthropology, political science, sociology, religion and American and cultural studies are designed to help students broaden their knowledge while developing stronger critical thinking, reading and writing skills.

History, Philosophy + the Social Sciences Concentration

HPSS
a focused liberal arts "minor"

In (and out of) the Classroom

RISD’s Kyobo Fund supports the development of innovative new courses that are team-taught by liberal arts and studio faculty. As a result, HPSS continues to offer an ever-evolving array of interesting interdisciplinary courses such as The Art of Scientific Communication (with Illustration), The Witness Tree Project (with Furniture Design), Aqua Incognita (with Photography), Representing the “Real” (with FAV) and Producing Meaning: Theories of Technology Since 1850 (with Architecture).

12/20/2019

Continuing the Climate Conversation

Presenters at RISD’s second annual Climate Futures symposium renewed an inspiring dialogue about design and the Green New Deal.

04/02/2020

Bearing Witness Down Under

Students traveled to Australia over Wintersession for an intensive variation on RISD’s long-running Witness Tree course.

10/10/2017

New Grad Programs Address 21st-Century Needs

Beginning in fall 2018, students in two new graduate programs in Liberal Arts will grapple with the complexities of globalization and urgent ecological challenges.

HPSS also offers a growing curriculum of science courses available as Liberal Arts electives. Developed for art and design students interested in biology, ecology, cognitive science, mathematics, physics, geology and the natural world in general, each course emphasizes science literacy and encourages connections to studio work where possible. Increasing numbers of students now welcome classes such as Concepts of Math for the Visual Artist, Investigating the Botanical World, Urban Ecology and Visual Perception