School of Social Sciences

School of Social Sciences

The School of Social Sciences at UC Irvine has achieved national prominence and top rankings for its outside-the-box methodological and theoretical advances. The school maintains a tradition of excellence in building robust measures, innovative models and powerful methodologies for understanding the human condition in a diverse and digital age.

Almost 50 years ago, the school’s founders had a vision to bring together scholars whose different approaches—from quantitative to qualitative, formal to interpretative—tackled fundamental research questions and pressing social problems.

Today, UC Irvine social sciences is forging connections to computer science, engineering, the arts and the humanities. Interdisciplinary connections to law, medicine and environmental science help researchers and policy makers understand the social, cultural and psychological factors impacting regulation and policy adoption, health and human behavior. Social scientists at UC Irvine explore how human and environmental interaction impact climate, energy and ecology.

The School of Social Sciences is big—the largest academic unit on campus, it has over 5,000 students and awards 40% of all UCI degrees each year. It houses some of the most popular majors on campus, including psychology, business economics and international studies. It enhances undergraduate education with hands-on experience in labs, seminars and award-winning programs like Mock Trial, Global Connect and the Summer Academic Enrichment Program.

The school is intellectually diverse, with six doctoral programs ranging from logic and philosophy of science, ranked number one in the field, to economics, recognized for its impactful scholarship. These departments, like the others, boast members of prestigious national academies on the faculty.

Multidisciplinary in scope and open to unexpected explorations—from cognitive robotics to social computing and behavioral economics—research in social sciences at UCI encompasses all of humanity’s increasing diversity and makes a difference in our everyday lives.

The school is home to nationally recognized departments and programs in:

  • Anthropology
  • Chicano/Latino Studies
  • Cognitive Sciences
  • Economics
  • International Studies
  • Logic & Philosophy of Science
  • Political Science
  • Sociology

The school also hosts research centers which include:

  • California Census Research Data Center
  • Center for the Advancement of Logic, its Philosophy, History & Applications
  • Center for Asian Studies
  • Center for Citizen Peacebuilding
  • Center for Cognitive Neuroscience and Engineering
  • Center for Demographic & Social Analysis
  • Center for Economics & Public Policy
  • Center for Ethnography
  • Center for Global Peace & Conflict Studies
  • Center for Language Science
  • Center for Research on Immigration, Population & Public Policy
  • Center for the Study of Democracy
  • Experimental Social Sciences Laboratory
  • Institute for International, Global and Regional Studies
  • Institute for Mathematical Behavioral Sciences
  • Institute for Money, Technology & Financial Inclusion
  • Intel Science & Technology Center for Social Computing
  • UCI Interdisciplinary Center for the Scientific Study of Ethics & Morality

Faculty also collaborate with campus colleagues through the Center for Hearing Research; Center for Organizational Research; Center in Law, Society & Culture; and others.

The school’s 139 faculty experts are widely published in areas concerned with population, migration and diversity; international politics, markets, economies, cultures and societies; game and decision theory; and cognition and perception. Their research is frequently featured in top academic journals and their highly relevant, topical expertise is often sought by national media for comments appearing in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Los Angeles Times, to name a few. Faculty in the School of Social Sciences ensure students undergo a rigorous, interdisciplinary exploration of major social sciences issues both inside and outside the classrooms and labs of UCI. Students and faculty alike can be found within the local Orange County community and in places such as China, India, Sudan, Mexico and others putting theoretical and classroom knowledge to practice in real-world situations around the globe.

School-sponsored community outreach programs take a global approach to solving global community issues. On the local and state levels, programs including Global Connect and Jumpstart aim to increase knowledge and literacy in K-12 classrooms in areas concerned with current international events and English language and reading skills, while research centers provide community members an opportunity to hear professional public presentations by recognized political and social figures as well as public intellects and scholarly experts. At the national level, social sciences scholarship contributes to public policy developments in issues of great relevance to California and the nation. On a global scale, social sciences faculty and students spend many hours each year contributing their expertise to improvement of local, state, national and international communities and institutions.

Bill Maurer, Dean

Named dean in 2013, Bill Maurer is known widely for his research in the anthropology of law and the anthropology of money and finance, the latter a field which he is credited with founding. He has served in a number of administrative roles at UC Irvine, including anthropology department chair and social sciences associate dean of graduate studies and research, while founding two major research centers – the Institute for Money, Technology & Financial Inclusion and the Intel Science and Technology Center for Social Computing – with multi-million dollar grants in external funding from the Gates Foundation and Intel. He is a regular voice in the international media, regulatory community, and payments industry on innovation in digital payments, mobile phone enabled financial services, and their implications for poverty and consumer protection. In 2011, he was named the UCI Lauds & Laurels Faculty Achievement award winner.


  • Five faculty members are elected members of the National Academy of Sciences
  • Nine faculty members are elected fellows of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences
  • Nine faculty members are UCI distinguished professors, five are UCI chancellor’s professors, and four are UCI endowed chairs


  • Anthropology 8th (Center for Public Anthropology)
  • Economics 42nd (U.S. News & World Report)
  • Logic & Philosophy of Science 23rd (Philosophical Gourmet Report); 1st in the decision, rational choice & game theory specialty area (Philosophical Gourmet Report)
  • Political science 36th (U.S. News & World Report)
  • Psychology 29th (U.S. News & World Report)
  • Sociology 27th (U.S. News & World Report)