Social Sciences, Religion, and Philosophy

We cannot truly understand the world without understanding its religions and philosophical systems, which is why religion and ethics are core pillars of Bay’s humanities curriculum.


The subject areas of social studies, religion, and philosophy are embedded in courses throughout our curriculum, including the core humanities series and several multidisciplinary Immersives. In addition to Humanities 1 and 2, Civics, and American Studies, one term of a social studies elective and one of religion or philosophy are graduation requirements.

A New Kind of Civics Education

What are your rights and responsibilities as citizens?

What role should government play in your lives?

How can you influence and take part in the political process?

How can you make informed decisions?

As Americans grow more polarized, The Bay School has committed to fostering civic engagement by helping our students build civic and media literacy and understand their role as civic actors in our society. All 10th graders take a one-semester Civics course wherein they apply their knowledge of our political system in a collaborative culminating project concerning a topic of social importance that is of interest to them. Recent classes have produced podcasts on gun control, reproductive justice, and climate change.

The class is structured so that students learn about political institutions and the political process through the lens of their chosen topic, Building toward their finished podcast, students explore  local, state and national policies and movements around their topic. They find experts to interview, analyze media coverage,  and conduct  extensive research. Through the script writing process, students learn the anatomy of a podcast as well as the technical aspects of producing a publishable podcast. 

Religious and Philosophical Literacy

Students at Bay acquire a grounding in the major world religions and philosophical systems. Starting in the Humanities 2 class taken in 10th grade, students are exposed to the major Abrahamic religions, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, through religious and historical texts. To more deeply understand how religion manifests and has shaped the modern world, electives in 11th and 12th grades let students dive deeper into global religions and consider the impact of religion on culture. 

Students can branch out into studies in philosophy, where they are introduced to important philosophical and ethical frameworks.

Courses give students a chance to grapple with themes as far ranging as the meaning of human existence, the role of the individual and society as well as goodness and evil. 

Our Buddhism Immersive offers textual study and direct experience of this practice. Students visit local Buddhist communities, practice mindfulness meditation, and take field trips within the city that will launch discussions about suffering—its sources, its effects, and its relief.