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Social Change Courses @ Northeastern

Northeastern is a leader in experiential teaching, scholarship and activism that advance the solving of real-world problems. The following is a list of Spring 2023 courses that address social change and social justice.

For information about course requirements, please contact the college. Click on “filter” to sort by college or topic. For more about institutes and centers that address public problem solving, click here. To register for one of these courses, please visit the Northeastern Student Hub.


The following is a partial list that will be regularly updated. Notice something missing? Let us know at [email protected]


Courses: Social Change @ Northeastern

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  • Theatre & Society

    Course Number: THTR

    Department: Theatre (THTR)

    Covers several great practitioners of theatre. Focuses on how social behavior influenced the thought and craft of playwrights, actors, directors, designers, and theorists as well as how society was influenced by drama and theatre. Emphasizes how the play’s ideas are translated into performance. Uses video, discussion, and live performance, when possible, as integral elements to the course.

  • Topics in Architectural History – “Extraction Landscapes”

    Course Number: ARCH 2370

    Department: Architecture (ARCH)

    Focus will be on “Extraction Landscapes” that historicizes the extraction capital from the eighteenth century to the present. The class would look at commodities (oil, sugar, gold, etc.) and examine their extraction and refinement methods, systems of exchange, and waste streams. A significant focus from a social justice standpoint would be labor politics of extraction, geopolitics of exchange, and environmental pollutants. The class will be a combination of reading seminar looking at scholarship on resource histories, and a design-research seminar (where groups of students research a specific commodity and produce visual data regarding extraction, refinement, and waste), or some combination.

  • Topics in Architectural History – “Indigenous Landscapes”

    Course Number: ARCH 2370

    Department: Architecture (ARCH)

    Covers a variety of topics in architectural history and theory. Taught by faculty according to their interests and expertise.

  • Transportation Analysis and Planning

    Course Number: CIVE 5373

    Department: Civil and Environmental Engineering (CIVE)

    Discusses urban transportation planning and engineering for modes other than highway. Covers travel demand forecasting for both the short and long term including impact analysis methods, simple elasticity models, and the four-step model system of trip generation, trip distribution, modal split, and network assignment. Introduces transit service analysis and design. Other topics include capacity, service, and engineering design basics for different travel modes, such as bus, airport, rail, and bicycle. Considers the environmental impact, economic evaluation, and financial impact of different modes of transportation.

  • Understanding Design

    Course Number: ARCH 1450

    Department: Architecture (ARCH)

    Introduces undergraduates at all levels to the importance of design thinking as a method of critical inquiry and creative expression. Class meetings include lectures and discussions on the power of design thinking to shape diverse facets of the natural and built environment—from cities and landscapes, to buildings and interiors, to the scale of the human body. In addition to class presentations, hands-on workshops introduce students to a range of tools and tactics for working creatively and iteratively through design and prototyping.

  • Urban Community Health Assessment

    Course Number: PHTH 6208

    Department: Public Health (PHTH)

    Offers students an opportunity to develop a basic understanding of the complex public health issues confronting urban communities across the nation. Uses a community organization and development framework for public health practice. Seeks to provide skills, tools, and experiential learning opportunities that result in community assessments that may be used in public health planning, programming, and policy. Covers key principles and methods for conducting community health assessments utilizing a range of quantitative and qualitative methods, including community epidemiology, major data sets, surveillance data, behavioral risk and other population-based surveys, as well as other primary and secondary data sources. Includes collaborative and interactive exercises, including self- and group reflection, Internet and contemporary media exploration, and in-class discussions. Requires permission of instructor for students outside designated programs.

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