College of Social Science: Celebrating 60 Years!

August 19, 2022 - Emily Jodway

We hope you will join us this school year in celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Michigan State University College of Social Science! 

To honor this milestone, we are selling college gear ! All proceeds go to our student emergency fund, which helps students in financial need.


Get Involved and Support the College


History of the College

Since its inception in 1962, the College of Social Science has developed 14 degree granting programs with several more learning opportunities available through graduate degrees, minors and certificates. Students of the college have traveled far and wide conducting world-class research in an effort to make the world a better place.

The College originally began as just a handful of classes, starting with the addition of sociology courses in 1906 through the economics department. Sociology soon became its own department and formed an anthropology branch, which went on to also become its own department in 1964.

Berkey Hall 1960sThe Department of Social Science was initially formed as part of the Basic College in September 1944, which went on to become the University College in 1961. The Basic College was the predecessor to the College of Social Science, among other departments and colleges. Parallel to this Department, the Division of Social Science also existed within the College of Science and Arts (1944). At the time, President John Hannah, one of MSU’s most momentous presidents, helped oversee the expansion of MSU into the campus it is today. Academically, the Fall semester of 1962 saw the break of the College of Science and Art into three separate colleges: the College of Social Science, Natural Science, and Arts and Letters. 

The offices of the College were eventually designated to Berkey Hall, built in 1945 on the north end of campus. Several other buildings across campus are home to different departments within the College. Marshall-Adams Hall, named after professor of bacteriology and farm hygiene, Dr. Charles E. Marshall and former economics professor and President of MSU Dr. Walter Adams, houses the Economics Department. The Political Science Department is housed within Kedzie Hall, originally built as a chemistry lab and named after Dr. Robert C. Kedzie, the first professor of chemistry.


Then and Now

The College of Social Science currently has more  than 6700  students in addition to faculty, research associates and graduate students. The largest department within the College, the department of Psychology, has a graduate program ranked No. 2 in the nation in its Organizational Psychology program. Students are able to study around the globe in intensive experiential learning opportunities, with more than 95 study abroad and study away programs available to choose from. 

In the first academic semester that the College of Social Science was established, there were 3,083 undergraduates and graduates enrolled in the department. College of Social Science students made up 10.6% of college enrollment at the time in 1962 and was the third largest college at MSU. In comparison, in the Spring of 2021, there were 6,757 students that comprised 14.2% of enrollment.

The cost of attending MSU according to the 1962 new student handbook.

The 1962 student handbook given to students provided directions around campus and what to expect as a MSU student, as this was a time before the internet became easily accessible forms of entertainment. In the breakdown of costs for students, a budget for ‘dates,’ including movies, cokes and coffee, encouraged students to expect to pay around $38 per term for such events. Tuition and room and board at the time for an in-state freshman, according to the State News, was $371.25, about $3,511.05 in today's dollars!


What’s Next

The sky’s the limit for Spartans at the College of Social Science, with more social scientists graduating year–round than any other college at Michigan State University. We hope you will join us in celebrating our 60th anniversary by reflecting on the success of the College both past and present, and helping our students by supporting the Student Emergency Fund.