Social Studies

While in some circles Social Studies are seen as "softer", that is not the case at Benedictine College Preparatory. We take pride in the rigor that we apply in pursuit of excellence in studying and understanding history, geography, government and economics.

Our goal is to teach our boys how to think, not what to think, and to do so with the mind of Christ.


We enable our students to place the people, principles and events that have shaped our nation and state in perspective by teaching history chronologically, not topically, and by reading original source documents such as the Constitution. We prepare students for informed and responsible citizenship by developing students’ skills in debate, discussion, reading and writing. This foundation serves our students well as they go on to military service or higher education in preparation for careers in education, law and law enforcement, politics, and international affairs.

Our geography course offerings ensure that our Cadets garner a greater appreciation for the world around them as well as why these places and the people that populate them matter.

Social Studies Course Offerings

World Geography and Honors World Geography

The focus of these courses is the study of the world’s people. Cultural characteristics, such as language, ethnic heritage, religion, social and economic systems, and history will be explored as a framework for understanding the major regions of the world. Physical characteristics, such as landforms, climates, natural resources, migration and settlement patterns will be analyzed to illustrate how people in various cultures influence and are influenced by their physical environments. Using texts, maps, globes, graphs, slides, and computer-assisted research materials, students will consider the relationships between people and places.

Prerequisite for Honors: 8th grade Social Studies grade of 85 or above.

Credits: 1

World History and Honors World History

These courses focus on the study of history from the earliest civilizations to the present. Golden Ages of various cultures will be explored to recognize the contributions made by earlier civilizations to our civilization today. Significant attention will be given to the ways in which scientific and technological revolutions created new economic conditions which in turn produced social and political changes. The basic tenets of the world’s major religions will be studied and students will give evidence to support how these beliefs have shaped human behavior and institutions. Students will examine the ideas that have given rise to the institutions that helped to define our world – monotheism, capitalism, nationalism, imperialism, and communism. The courses will strike a balance between the broad themes of history and the probing of specific historic events, ideas, issues, persons, and documents. Using texts, maps, slides, charts, and computer-assisted research materials, students will develop competence in chronological thinking, historical comprehension, and historical analysis.

Prerequisites for Honors: Completed Geography with an 88 or above or Honors Geography with an 85 or above; English with an 88 or above Honors English with an 85 or above; and receive a teacher recommendation.

Credits: 1

Honors World History II

In this course students study the rise of the nation state in Europe, the Renaissance and the Reformation, the French Revolution, and the economic and political roots of the modern world.Additionally, students study the origins and consequences of the Industrial Revolution, 19th century political reform in Western Europe, and imperialism in Africa, Asia, and South America.Other topics of study include the causes and consequences of the great military and economy events of the past century, including World War I, the Great Depression, World War II, the Cold War, and the Russian and Chinese revolutions.

Prerequisites: 8th grade World History completed with a score of 85 or above; SSAT score in Reading and Language 85th percentile or above; recommendation of teacher.

Credits: 1

United States and Virginia History & Honors US VA History

This course covers the development of American ideas and institutions from the Age of Exploration to the present. While the course focuses on political and economic history, this course also provides the students with a basic knowledge of American culture through a chronological survey of major issues, movements, people, and events in United States and Virginia history. Using lectures, readings, and discussions, the student develops historian skills such as being able to distinguish between facts and opinions, identifying bias, making hypotheses, and drawing conclusions from evidence.

Prerequisites for Honors: Completed World History with an 88 or above or Honors World History with an 85 or above; English with an 88 or above Honors English with an 85 or above; and receive a teacher recommendation.

Credits: 1

United States and Virginia Government

This course provides an understanding of the origins and workings of the American and Virginia political systems. The United States and Virginia Constitutions, the structure and operation of the United States and Virginia governments, the process of policy-making, with emphasis on economics, foreign affairs, and civil rights issues are examined as are the impact of the general public, political parties, interest groups, and the media on policy decisions. United States political and economic systems are compared to those of other nations with emphasis on the relationships between economic and political freedoms.

Prerequisites: High School credit for United States History.

Prerequisites for Honors: Completed US/VA History with an 88 or above or Honors US/VA History with an 85 or above; English with an 88 or above Honors English with an 85 or above; and receive a teacher recommendation.

Credits: 1

AP Human Geography

This course is designed for qualified students who wish to complete studies in a secondary school equivalent to an introductory college course in human geography.The purpose of the course is to introduce students to the systematic study of patterns and processes that have shaped human understanding, use, and alteration of Earth’s surface.Students learn to employ spatial concepts and landscape analysis to examine human socioeconomic organization and its environmental consequences.They also learn about the methods and tools geographers use in their research and applications.The particular topics studied in the course are based on five college-level goals that build on the National Geography Standards developed in 1994 and revised in 2012.

Prerequisites: An earned grade of 90 or better in previous social studies courses; PSAT Critical Reading score of 50 or above for sophomores; and a teacher recommendation.

Credits: 1

AP United States History

The AP program offers a course and exam in United States History to qualified students who wish to complete studies in a secondary school equivalent to an introductory college course in U.S. history. The course focus is on historical thinking skills (chronological reasoning, comparing and contextualizing, crafting historical arguments using historical evidence and interpreting and synthesizing historical narrative.)Seven themes (identity, work-exchange-technology, peopling, politics and power, America in the world, environment and geography – both human and physical, ideas-beliefs-culture) serve to create an understanding of content learning objectives which help students understand major historical issues and developments and the trends and processes that have played in role in change over time in the United States.

Prerequisites for Honors: Completed World History with a 93 or above or Honors World History with a 90 or above; English with a 93 or above or Honors English with a 90 or above; PSAT Critical Reading score of 50 or SAT Critical Reading score of 500; and a teacher recommendation.

Credits: 1

AP United States Government & Politics

This is a reading and writing course designed to challenge the superior student. The number of students is limited and the program places the student within the framework of college-level requirements. At the conclusion of the course, the Advanced Placement Examination offers the possibility of receiving college credit for the course or waiving college requirements.

Prerequisites: Completed US History with a 93 or Honors US History with a 90 or above; English 11 with a 93 or Honors English with a 90 or above; PSAT Critical Reading score of 50 or SAT Critical Reading score of 500; and teacher recommendation.

Credits: 1

AP Macroeconomics

Economics is about how we, as a society, allocate scarce resources. Macro-economics is a subset of economics that analyzes how the structure and behavior of national and regional economies allocate those scarce resources to increase performance. Students will develop an understanding of the cause- and-effect relationship between the functionality of a country’s economy and the underlying factors that can mitigate or facilitate future development. The course will emphasize the nature and functions of product markets, factor markets, and the role of government in promoting greater efficiency and equity in the economy. They will recognize the interdependency of the United States’ economy with that of the global community. Additionally, the students will prepare for successful completion of the AP Macroeconomics exam.

Prerequisites: Honors Algebra II with a 90 or above and a 510 or higher on the Math SAT (PSAT 51); and a teacher recommendation.

Credits: 1

YMCA Model General Assembly

This program brings youth from all over the state to Richmond for a three day simulation of the General Assembly. The participants are required to research topics, write bills and defend them both in committee and on the floor of the senate or house. Benedictine Cadets also compete in the annual Model Judiciary Program.

This program puts the students in the roles of attorneys and witnesses as they simulate the judicial process from the trial phase through appeals. The highlight of this program is the opportunity to argue with the best in the state before the real Virginia Supreme Court. Benedictine has competed at this level many times, winning the competition in 2006, 2010, 2012, 2014, and 2015.

We have sponsored cadet participation in the Richmond Mayoral Forum, Catholic Advocacy Day at the General Assembly and Model Government Day. In 2008, Cadets were among invited guests to see President George W. Bush when he visited Richmond.

Finally, each year in the spring the AP history and AP government classes sponsor a trip to Washington DC. The history students visit the American History Museum as review for their upcoming exam while the government class tours the US Capitol. While there, the Cadets enjoy the hospitality of Congressman Rob Wittman, the representative of the 1st District of Virginia and Benedictine Class of ’77.

WE BELIEVE THAT BOYS LEARN BEST IF THEY CAN “DO IT”, AND THE SOCIAL STUDIES DEPARTMENT PROVIDES SEVERAL EXTRACURRICULAR OPPORTUNITIES FOR OUR CADETS TO GO OUTSIDE OF THE CLASSROOM FOR HANDS-ON EXPERIENCE WITH GOVERNMENT, POLITICS AND THE LIKE.