Rigorous Academics

Social Studies

The Social Studies Department supports the mission statement of Mercy High School that shares a commitment to academic excellence, social justice, and civic involvement. In order to further the development of these ideals, our courses focus on critical thinking, document analysis, research writing, argumentation, and project-based learning skills to form active and engaged global citizens.

Using various methodologies in historical study students make connections between the past, present, and future. With project-based learning, students develop deep content knowledge as well as critical thinking, creativity, and communication skills. Authentic, meaningful projects engage students in real-world issues.

View the Social Studies Department overview presentation from Fall 2018 Open House!

Classes Offered

Contemporary World Issues

Contemporary World Issues: The Sisters of Mercy have identified five critical concerns of social justice that must be addressed in the world today: Earth, Immigration, Nonviolence, Racism, and Women. This class will examine each of the five concerns through readings, discussions, documentaries, essays, and current events. The class will culminate in an action project where each student identifies a current issue within the five concerns and presents a report on solutions for building a better future.

World History

World History is designed to explore the political, social, and economic changes in the non-western nations of Asia, Africa, South America, the Indian Sub-continent, and the Middle East. Student projects include a research essay.

AP World History

AP World History compares patterns of changes among major societies from 8000 B.C.E. to the present. By the end of the course, students can discuss world events from a sophisticated perspective, and they can make thematic connections between time periods. Students learn to identify relevant historical evidence, to recognize the limitations of those sources, and to debate their arguments.

United States History

United States History highlights major historical, social, political, and economic trends from post Civil War to modern times. Student projects include historical monologues and WWII oral histories.

AP United States History

AP United States History is an Advanced Placement course with a focus on historical research, document based questions, analytical writing and an evaluation of major historical, social, economic, and political trends from colonial period to modern times.

American Government

American Government is a one semester course that provides an analysis of the organization and influence of the governmental system at the national, state, and local levels. Student projects include campaigning as well as student excursions to Sacramento to meet their representatives and to city council meetings.

AP United States Government and Politics

AP United States Government and Politics is an Advanced Placement course that provides an in-depth evaluation of the American political system and the effects on our nation and world.


Economics is a one-semester course that provides a study of micro and macro economic theory and practice with an in-depth study of the United States economic system. Student projects include Cost of Living Budgeting and the development and implementation of a company business.

AP Psychology

AP Psychology focuses on individual behavior and individual response to stimuli with emphasis on research methods, stages in childhood and adolescent behavior, brain function, altered states of consciousness, social psychology, psychological testing and psychological disorders.

The past causes the present, and so the future.
- Peter N. Stearns

Infographic describing the learning outcomes of Mercy social studies dept