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Social Sciences Division at a Glance

The Science of Society:
Research, Teaching and Service in the Public Interest

A vibrant collection of departments, programs and research units that focus on some of the most pressing and important social issues of our time.

Did you know?

At A Glance Chart

Nearly half of all undergraduate degrees awarded at UC San Diego in 2015 were in the Social Sciences.

Faculty members have included three Nobel Laureates and six MacArthur “Genius Grant” winners.

Our students and faculty have connections to almost 500 community programs in Southern California and beyond.

Our Department of Cognitive Science was the first of its kind in the world.

The Department of Ethnic Studies was the first in the country to study race and ethnicity comparatively,
relationally and globally.

In the San Diego region, 14 current and former school district superintendents are UC San Diego alumni.

An alumnus of Linguistics created the languages on the hit TV series “Game of Thrones.”

One of the longest-running primate studies on record, focused on baboon society in Kenya, is headed by a professor in the Department of Anthropology.

By the numbers

217 Faculty  217 Faculty

675+ Graduate Students  675+ Graduate Students

800+ Undergraduate Courses Taught per Year  800+ Unique Undergraduate Courses Taught per Year

7,300 Undergraduate Majors 7,300+ Undergraduate Majors

67,000+ Alumni  67,000+ Alumni

77,000+ Undergraduate Course Enrollments per Year  77,000+ Undergraduate Course Enrollments per Year

Social Sciences faculty and students make a difference in the world by:

  • Increasing civic engagement and electoral representation
  • Improving educational outcomes
  • Discovering secrets of the brain
  • Preserving endangered languages and cultural sites
  • Helping reduce harmful social practices
  • Harnessing the power of technology and social networks
  • Removing barriers to upward mobility
  • Reinventing policy solutions
  • Addressing disparities
  • Leveraging community partnerships

Graduate program rankings

Cognitive Science

  • Ranked among top 5 percent of programs in the field (National Academics)


  • Ranked 2nd among U.S. programs in the area of Critical Cultural/Media Studies (National Communication Association)
  • Ranked 5th in diversity and 12th in research output (National Communication Association)


  • Ranked 15th best program (U.S. News and World Report)
  • Econometrics, Public Finance, and Microeconomics are ranked 4th, 9th and 12th, respectively (U.S. News and World Report)

Education Studies

  • Secondary M.Ed./Credential program ranked 8th in the country (U.S. News and World Report)


  • Behavioral Neuroscience ranked 1st and Cognitive Psychology ranked 3rd (U.S. News and World Report)
  • Ranked 4th for institutional research productivity (Association for Psychological Science)

Political Science

  • Ranked 8th (U.S. News and World Report) and 11th (National Research Council) in the nation
  • Ranked 6th in the world (London School of Economics and Political Sciences)


  • Sociology of Culture program ranked 6th in the field (U.S. News and World Report)

Social Sciences at UC San Diego

Ten Academic Departments

  • Anthropology
  • Cognitive Science
  • Communication
  • Economics
  • Education Studies
  • Ethnic Studies
  • Linguistics
  • Political Science
  • Psychology
  • Sociology

Interdisciplinary Degree Programs include:

  • Critical Gender Studies
  • Global Health
  • Human Development
  • Urban Studies and Planning

Research Centers include:

  • African and African-American Research Center
  • American Politics and Institutions Project
  • Black Studies Project
  • Center for African Political Economy
  • Center for Comparative Immigration Studies
  • Center for Environmental Economics
  • Center for Human Development
  • Center for Iberian and Latin American Studies
  • Center for Research in Language
  • Center for Research on Educational Equity, Assessment and Teaching Excellence
  • Center for Research on Gender in STEMM
  • Center for Tomorrow’s California
  • Center for Urban Economics
  • Center on Global Justice
  • Institute for Applied Economics
  • Institute for Neural Computation (with the Jacobs School of Engineering)
  • Kavli Institute for Brain and Mind (with the Division of Biological Sciences)
  • Laboratory of Comparative Human Cognition
  • Project in Cognitive and Neural Development
  • San Diego Education Research Alliance
  • Yankelovich Center for Social Science Research

Learn more about all our departments, programs and research centers.