The Social Studies Department and its curriculum is designed to help each student become an informed and responsible citizen. The teachers in the department will provide classroom experiences which will help the students learn about our past, democratic ideals, other cultures, and an appreciation of human dignity, justice and compassion for other people.

  1. All students are required to complete two semesters of World Studies during their freshman year, two semesters of United States History during their junior year, and one semester of Government in their senior year.
  2. Lake Zurich High School strongly recommends additional Social Studies electives to prepare students for admission to the college or university of their choice upon graduation. Many colleges and universities require three or more credits of Social Studies for admission.
  3. Students who fail a course are strongly recommended to make up the missed course in summer school in order to keep the student on pace with their graduating class.
  4. In accordance with Illinois General Assembly Compiled Statutes (105 ILCS 5/27-3) and Public Act 099-0674, all students must successfully complete a United States Government/Civics course which meets the following criteria:
  • Civics course content shall focus on government institutions, the discussion of current and controversial issues, service learning, and simulations of the democratic process (Sec. 27-22).
  • American patriotism and the principles of representative government, as enunciated in the American Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States of America and the Constitution of the State of Illinois, and the proper use and display of the American flag, shall be taught in all public schools and other educational institutions supported or maintained in whole or in part by public funds. No student shall receive a certificate of graduation without passing a satisfactory examination upon such subjects. (105 ILCS 5/27-3)


  1. All placements and level changes are subject to Department approval.
  2. Levels available within the department are: AP, Honors and College Prep (CP). These levels are based on student ability, motivation,interests, and demonstrated competence. Students will be placed by meeting established standards, prerequisites, and faculty recommendations based on the student’s individual academic needs and future plans.

Prerequisites: Successful Completion Or Concurrent Enrollment In United States History And Fulfills Consumer Ed. Requirement
Open To: 11, 12
.5 Credit

Honors Economics is a one-semester course for highly motivated students interested in developing the knowledge and skills needed to understand both the American market economy and the global economic system. Using personal economic decisions as a base of knowledge, students will learn how decisions are made by businesses, the government, and in international economics. Topics include economic concepts, personal economic choice, supply and demand, the role of consumers, businesses and the government in the market system, fiscal and monetary policy, and international trade. Successful completion of Honors Economics satisfies the Consumer Education requirement for graduation.

Prerequisites: Successful Completion Or Concurrent Enrollment In United States History Or And Fulfills Consumer Ed. Requirement
Open To: 11, 12
1 Credit

Advanced Placement Economics is designed to prepare the student to take the College Board’s AP Microeconomics and AP Macroeconomics examinations in May. The purpose of the course is to give students a thorough understanding of the principles of economics that apply to an economic system as a whole. Topics covered include: basic economic concepts, measurement of economic performance, national income and price determination, financial sector, inflation, unemployment and stabilization policies, economic growth and productivity, and international trade and finance. Successful completion of AP Economics satisfies the Consumer Education requirement for graduation.

Prerequisites: World History
Open To: 10, 11, 12
1 Credit

Advanced Placement European History is designed to prepare the student to take the College Board’s AP European History examination in May. This full year course immerses students in three main areas of study concentrating on cultural/intellectual, political/diplomatic, and economic/social aspects of European history from the Renaissance to the present. Students will read primary source material as well as text readings and engage in lecture/discussion and essay writing in preparation for the AP test. Because of the difficulty and concentration of the material covered, students should have an interest in history, and the desire to refine skills of analysis and expression on a broad range of topics related to European history.

Prerequisites: World History
Open To: 10, 11, 12
.5 Credit

Contemporary Global Issues provides students an opportunity to investigate and analyze current topics affecting the United States and the world. Over the course of the semester student swill evaluate news to determine factuality and point of view. Topics examined will fall under the themes f conflict, diplomacy, human rights, economic development, and sustainability. Students will understand how to use sources to support and defend an argument, as well as recognize opposing views. The course is taught in a project based learning community that enhances collaboration and communication.

Prerequisites: World History
Open To: 10, 11, 12
.5 Credit

Contemporary Global Issues provides students an opportunity to investigate and analyze current topics affecting the United States and the world. Over the course of the semester students will evaluate news to determine factuality and point of view. Topics examined will fall under the themes of conflict, diplomacy, human rights, economic development, and sustainability. Students will understand how to use sources to support and defend an argument, as well as recognize opposing views. The course is taught in a project based learning community that enhances collaboration and communication.
Modifications and adaptations to the course materials are created based on student need.

Prerequisites: United States History
Open To: 12
.5 Credit

Government is a one-semester course that examines the principles of the United States representative democracy by studying the United States and Illinois Constitution, as well as the 3 branches of our government. Students will be using critical thinking skills to examine civic responsibility, voting and political parties. The course will fulfill the senior requirement for American government.

Prerequisites: United States History
Open To: 12
.5 Credit

Government is a one-semester course that examines the principles of the United States representative democracy by studying the United States and Illinois Constitution, as well as the 3 branches of our government. Students will be using critical thinking skills to examine civic responsibility, voting and political parties. The course will fulfill the senior requirement for American government.
Modifications and adaptations to the course materials are created based on student need.

Prerequisites: United States History
Open To: 12
.5 Credit

Honors Government is a one-semester course that demands that students be highly motivated and demonstrate reading and writing comprehension at a higher level of proficiency. In addition to the topics covered in H653, this course will explore the implementation of public policy within the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of the federal government. Students will also investigate elections, voting and the impact of the media on the political process. The course will fulfill the senior requirement for American Government.

Prerequisites: United States History
Open To: 12
1 Credit

Advanced Placement Government and Politics class is designed to prepare the student to take the College Board’s AP Government and Politics examination in May. This full-year elective Social Studies course provides students with a learning experience equivalent to that obtained in most introductory college courses in American Government. This rigorous course will fulfill the senior requirement for American Government.

Prerequisites: World History
Open To: 10, 11, 12
1 Credit

Advanced Placement Human Geography is a year-long course designed to prepare students to take the College Board’s AP Human Geography examination in May. The course focuses on the distribution, processes, and effects of human populations on the planet. Students in Human Geography address the questions of “where” and “why” and analyze the constant struggle between globalization and local diversity. Units of study include population, migration, culture, language, religion, ethnicity, political geography, development, industry, agriculture, and urban geography. Examples from around the globe are used and are compared and contrasted to the situation in both the United States and locally.

Prerequisites: World Studies
Open To: 11, 12
.5 Credit

Psychology Is A one-semester course that examines various fields and topics in the hybrid science of Psychology. Students will explore human behavior through readings, articles, and personal experiences. When appropriate, demonstrations and activities will be used to illustrate areas of study and help illuminate psychological concepts. This course is designed to introduce terms and concepts psychologists use, and to explain the significance of psychological findings for one’s own life.

Prerequisites: World Studies
Open To: 11, 12
1 Credit

Advanced Placement Psychology is designed to prepare the student to take the College Board’s AP Psychology examination in May. The purpose of the course is to introduce students to the systematic and scientific study of the behavior and mental processes of human beings and other animals. Topics covered include, but are not limited to: history, approaches, and research methods, biological bases of behavior, sensation and perception, learning and cognition, motivation and emotion, developmental psychology, abnormal behavior and treatment, and social psychology.

Prerequisites: World Studies
Open To: 11, 12
.5 Credit

Sociology is a one-semester course that examines modern man’s behavior in groups and the effects of culture and society on individuals. Contemporary topics such as the family, marriage, divorce, juvenile delinquency, crime, racial discrimination, religion, death and dying, and urban problems will be examined.

Prerequisites: World Studies
Open To: 11, 12
1 Credit

United States History provides students with a framework for studying political, social, economic, and cultural issues, and for analyzing the impact these issues have had on American society. This course goes beyond memorization of isolated facts to the development of higher level thinking skills, encouraging students to make historical assessments and evaluations. Major topics of study will include British domination of the North American continent, the American Revolution, the Civil War, the industrial development of the United States, the emergence of the United States as a world power, and the implementation of the United States strength upon the world.
Modifications and adaptations to the course materials are created based on student need.

Prerequisites: World Studies
Open To: 11
1 Credit

United States History provides students with a framework for studying political, social, economic, and cultural issues, and for analyzing the impact these issues have had on American society. This course goes beyond memorization of isolated facts to the development of higher level thinking skills, encouraging students to make historical assessments and evaluations. Major topics of study will include British domination of the North American continent, the American Revolution, the Civil War, the industrial development of the United States, the emergence of the United States as a world power, and the implementation of the United States strength upon the world.

Prerequisites: World Studies
Open To: 11
1 Credit

Honors United States History demands that students be highly motivated and demonstrate reading and writing comprehension at a higher level of proficiency. The course provides students with a framework for studying political, social, economic, and cultural issues, and for analyzing the impact these issues have had on American society. This rigorous and challenging course goes beyond memorization of isolated facts to the development of higher level thinking skills, encouraging students to make historical assessments and evaluations. Major topics of study will include British domination of the North American continent, the American Revolution, the Civil War, the industrial development of the United States, the emergence of the United States as a world power, and the implementation of the United States strength upon the world.

Prerequisites: World Studies
Open To: 11, 12
1 Credit

Advanced Placement United States History is designed to prepare the student to take the College Board’s AP United States History examination in May. The course examines the nation’s political, diplomatic, intellectual, cultural, social, and economic history from the Pre-Columbian period to the present. A variety of instructional approaches are employed and a college level textbook is supplemented by primary and secondary sources. Because of the rigor and concentration of material covered, interested students must have both an interest in U.S. History and the desire to refine skills of analysis and expression of a broad range of related topics.

Prerequisites: See Freshman Guidelines On Webpage
Open To: 9
1 Credit

World Studies is a year-long course that takes a regional approach to examining historical topics. In this course, students will examine questions such as: How have ancient civilizations influenced modern society? Why has there been so much cultural division in Africa? Was global conflict in the early 20th century inevitable? The course is designed to engage students in an inquiry-based process, where students will use historical thinking skills to address major questions about the world’s past and determine how the past has impacted modern day.
Modifications and adaptations to the course materials are created based on student need.

Prerequisites: See Freshman Guidelines On Webpage
Open To: 9
1 Credit

World Studies is a year long course that takes a regional approach to examining historical topics. In this course, students will examine questions such as: How have ancient civilizations influenced modern society? Why has there been so much cultural division in Africa? Was global conflict in the early 20th century inevitable? The course is designed to engage students in an inquiry-based process, where students will use historical thinking skills to address major questions about the world’s past and determine how the past has impacted modern day.

Prerequisites: See Freshman Guidelines On Webpage
Open To: 9
1 Credit

Honors World Studies demands that students be highly motivated and demonstrate reading and writing comprehension at a higher level of proficiency. World Studies is a yearlong course that takes a regional approach to examining historical topics. In this course, students will examine questions such as: How have ancient civilizations influenced modern society? Why has there been so much cultural division in Africa? Was global conflict in the early 20th century inevitable? The course is designed to engage students in an inquiry-based process, where students will use historical thinking skills to address major questions about the world’s past and determine how the past has impacted modern day.

Prerequisites: See Freshman Guidelines On Webpage
Open To: 9, 10, 11, 12
1 Credit

Advanced Placement World History is designed to prepare the student to take the College Board’s AP World History examination in May. The purpose of the course is to develop greater understanding of the evolution of global processes and contacts in different types of human societies. The course is a combination of selective factual knowledge and appropriate analytical skills. The time periods covered are 8000 B.C.E. to the present. Themes covered include: interactions between humans and the environment, development and interaction of cultures, state building, expansion, and conflict, creation, expansion, and interaction of economic systems, development and transformation of social structures.

Prerequisites: None
Open To: 10, 11, 12
.5 Credit

Conflict and Controversy of the 20th Century is a one-semester course that examines events and actions that occurred between the years of the 20th century (1900-1999) that shaped the modern world. Units of study include Global Conflict: Creating Order and Disorder, Internal Hostility and the Struggle for Independence.

Prerequisites: None
Open to: 10, 11, 12
1 Credit

Human Geography is a year-long course designed to help students understand the complexities of the world through a multitude of different lenses. The course begins by addressing the core concept of human geography, “The Why of Where.” For example, “Why does China discourage large families, while Niger encourages them?” Through units of study including: Population, Migration, Culture, Ethnicity, Political Geography, and Economic Development, students will examine human interactions on a local and global scale. Students will use a variety of geo-technologies, digital platforms, and internet-based learning resources in order to display their learning.