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CS SSIH Requirement

Each Hamilton student must fulfill the college’s social, structural, and institutional hierarchies (SSIH) requirement. You can find official language about the requirement, as it applies to computer science students, in the concentration’s masthead in the college course catalogue. The text below expands on the details in the course catalogue.

The SSIH requirement focuses on the social, structural, and institutional hierarchies that impact historically disadvantaged people. In general, it must grapple with issues about people, structures, or institutions impacting people in ways that are relevant for computer science.

Students concentrating in Computer Science satisfy the SSIH requirement by completing the following three steps.

  1. The student will, in consultation with his/her academic advisor, identify a course from any department that addresses SSIH issues. The student should register for the course and CS 200: Social, Structural, and Institutional Hierarchies which is a zero credit bookkeeping course.
  2. The student must submit a one-page statement justifying the choice of course. This statement is due prior to schedule adjustment period (in Spring 2019, the due date is April 26). Students must submit the statement using the department’s SSIH essay form. Statements emailed to the chair, or any other faculty member, will be ignored. The department will approve course selections. Statements submitted after the deadline will be considered in the following semester.
  3. The student will earn credit for the proposed course. The student must write a three-page essay that demonstrates to the department his/her understanding of how the SSIH issues raised in the course relate to the ideas, theory, or practice of computer science. The essay deadline is the last day of classes of the semester the course is taken and must be submitted using the departments SSIH Final Essay form (again, essays submitted by email will be ignored). Students will have completed this requirement after the department assigns a grade of “pass” to the paper and CR (credit) to the CS 200 bookkeeping course. This requirement must be fulfilled by the end of the student’s junior year.

Common questions

  • What if I miss the proposal deadline? You may still take the course and you may submit your proposal the next semester. There is no guarantee the course will be approved by the department.
  • What if I’m already taking a course that I think applies? Submit your proposal by the deadline. After the course has been approved, add CS 200 (this can be done at any time) and write the essay at the end of the semester.
  • I’m a double concentrator. Do I have to take two different SSIH courses? Yes.
  • Can an SSIH course for another department satisfy this requirement? Maybe. You still have to write the essays and follow the procedure.