Social Difference, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

BAAS Course Block in Social Difference, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

About the Social Difference, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion course block

Today more than ever, there is an urgent need to identify and address the social histories and contexts of structural inequities such as systemic racism, sexism, classism, queerphobia, xenophobia, and other forms of institutional discrimination. The courses in the Social Difference, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion course block are designed to equip you with the critical and analytical tools to evaluate these complex social issues, revealing the tacit norms and unconscious biases that underpin inequality and marginalization, and implement strategies to effect meaningful change in your personal and professional communities.

The material in these courses offers evidence-based approaches and critical skills to advance equality, equity, and inclusion in a variety of contexts. Students explore diverse perspectives on race, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, and class in the United States, with attention to the social and historical processes through which social hierarchies develop and impact access to resources and opportunities. In addition to the foundational knowledge of the field, students are encouraged to examine and engage with their own experiences and communities, and develop strategies for harnessing individual and collective social action to combat these biases and promote equity, inclusion, and equality across a range of spaces, organizations, and communities. Students emerge from their studies with the knowledge and insight to more readily confront the enduring real-world consequences of pervasive structural inequality in the 21st century.

Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences degree courses in the Social Difference, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion course block are offered on an accelerated (8-week) schedule. Courses in the block are largely asynchronous with some optional synchronous sessions to be scheduled by the instructors.

All Penn LPS Online courses offer academic credit.*

Please note: Students who complete the four basic courses in this course block while enrolled in the Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences (BAAS) degree are awarded a Certificate in Social Difference, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion upon completion of the degree. If you are enrolled in the BAAS program and don't complete degree the requirements to graduate, you are not eligible to receive this certificate.

*Academic credit is defined by the University of Pennsylvania as a course unit (c.u.). A course unit (c.u.) is a general measure of academic work over a period of time, typically a term (semester or summer). A c.u. (or a fraction of a c.u.) represents different types of academic work across different types of academic programs and is the basic unit of progress toward a degree. One c.u. is usually converted to a four-semester-hour course.

The Social Difference, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion course block prepares you to:

  • Grapple with systemic practices that uphold historical relationships to various forms of power in society
  • Discuss the complex intersections of race, class, sexuality, and gender using critical frameworks and materials that help learners realize social justice in specific organizations or communities
  • Explore pathways for critical change that combat the reproduction of inequality while also informing individual and collective action in society at large
  • Engage with social difference using interdisciplinary qualitative and quantitative analytical methods
  • Develop a fluency and normative comfort level with the vocabulary of social difference, diversity, equity, and inclusion
  • Contextualize difference and structural bias within mainstream professional contexts
  • Analyze the ways technologies can reinscribe historical inequities and, paradoxically, help us challenge various structural inequalities in all sectors of society
  • Develop strategies for supporting psychological safety, openness, and accountability across diverse communities
  • Understand the embeddedness of oppressive social practices and the cumulative disadvantages marginalized groups experience
  • Practice forms of civic engagement that embrace the power of coalition-building and social movements to address issues of social injustice
  • Contextualize and develop critical awareness of difference and bias in diverse professional environments

Meet the Faculty

Clayton Colmon, PhD
  • Director of Curriculum Design, Arts and Sciences Online Learning, University of Pennsylvania
Heather Moqtaderi
  • Founder and Artistic Director, Past Present Projects
Kristine Rabberman, PhD
  • Assistant Vice Dean and Director of Academic Affairs, College of Liberal and Professional Studies
Kimberly Torres, PhD
  • Affiliated Faculty, Organizational Dynamics; Center for Africana Studies


It is strongly recommended that students pursuing this course of study first complete SDEI 1100: Introduction to Social Difference in American Society.

*This course may not be offered every academic year. Check the course page or our course guide to see when upcoming terms are added.

Courses are subject to change.

See Course Tuition

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