Departmental Philosophy

The Social Studies curriculum at Hunter College High School is designed to achieve four major goals. By the time Hunter students graduate, they should have an understanding of the history of different areas of the world, and of the cultural, religious, and philosophical traditions of those regions. Students should be able to trace the historical roots of contemporary controversies, debates, and events. They should have an understanding of the foundations, philosophy, and traditions of a liberal democratic society. They should have a thorough knowledge of the history and government of the United States, enabling them to function as citizens of this nation, and citizens of the world. The curriculum is designed to develop critical thinking, and to foster discussion and debate. All courses offered by the Social Studies Department are aimed at developing research and writing skills.
The seventh grade course introduces students to a variety of disciplines: geography, economics, government, and history. For the next five semesters, students study global history, from the development of ancient civilizations through the 20th century. The required program in Social Studies is completed with three semesters of American history. The department offers juniors and seniors an opportunity to take advanced electives in African-American Studies, American Constitutional Law, Modern Asian History, International Relations, Western Philosophy, AP Economics, AP Psychology, and AP US Government.

Co-Curricular Activities

List of 3 items.

  • The Washington Seminar on Government-in-Action

    The Washington Seminar is a co-curricular activity that has been sponsored by the Hunter Social Studies Department for over half a century. It offers a unique opportunity for Hunter students to learn first-hand how the United States government works. Students who are selected to participate in the Seminar meet each week, on Fridays during Activities and 5th periods. They choose public policy topics to research, and spend the next several months briefing one another on major issues confronting the federal government. During the first semester they write letters to Washington, seeking appointments with administration officials, members of Congress, federal judges, journalists, diplomats, lobbyists, and academics working at think tanks. In the third week in May, members of the seminar travel to Washington to meet with these officials, representatives, and commentators. As the above description suggests, the Seminar requires a significant commitment on the part of students. Students should weigh carefully whether they have time to participate.

    Over the last decade, Hunter students have had the opportunity to meet with figures such as Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Antonin Scalia, New York Times reporters Adam Liptak and David Sanger, Senators Schumer and Clinton, the directors of Common Cause and the NRA, the Secretaries of Education and Health and Human Services, several Governors of the Federal Reserve, the Solicitor General, the British Ambassador, and the heads of NASA and the AFL-CIO.

    Juniors and seniors may apply to participate. Members of the seminar are selected on the basis of demonstrated maturity and responsibility, evidence of interest in government and politics, and a strong record in Social Studies classes. The department carefully considers students’ application during the selection process. The cost of the Seminar in 2014 was $550, with scholarships available for those requiring fee waivers.
  • Mock Trial Program

    For the last ten years, a Hunter team has competed in the New York State Bar Association’s Mock Trial tournament. The competition includes over one hundred teams from across the City of New York. Students work with attorneys from leading New York law firms to build a case from the case materials provided by the Bar Association. They then compete in a series of trials at the federal courthouse in downtown Manhattan. Students are judged by Assistant District Attorneys who put the students’ feet to the fire. In this way, students learn comportment, professionalism, and analytical thinking.

    Twelve Hunter students compete in the actual competition, but other students provide support in research, practice sessions, and as substitutes. Students try out to become members of the team; they earn leading roles through positive participation during team practices. Between practice sessions and trials, participation on the Mock Trial requires a significant time commitment from students.
  • Hunter United Nations Society (HUNS)

    Open to students from 7th to 12th grades, the Hunter United Nations Society attracts students interested in international relations, current events, and history. Over the course of the school year, students learn about the history and structure of the United Nations; they discuss global politics, and engage in research in preparation for Model United Nations conferences. Senior students take an active role in training younger members of the organization. At the conferences, students play the role of diplomats, attempting to negotiate solutions to political conflicts and economic problems. The activity offers an opportunity for students to develop problem-solving skills and learn the art of diplomacy.
Hunter College Campus Schools
71 East 94th Street 
New York, NY 10128

Elementary School: 212-860-1292
High School: 212-860-1267
Professional Photography © Laura Dwight