Jul 18, 2024  
2021-2022 Catalog 
2021-2022 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts


The educational mission of our School is to create a rich learning environment by looking at people and society through the lenses of the many disciplines comprising the social sciences, humanities and arts.

The School Offers the Following Majors:

The School Offers the Following Minors:

Welcome from the School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts


I would like to welcome you to the UC Merced School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts (SSHA). Our School is home to many diverse disciplines, programs, students, and faculty. We offer important courses that are the background to a liberal arts education, as well as a range of basic and advanced courses in specific disciplines.

Our campus opened-up in 2005, and in a relatively short time, SSHA has grown to be the largest School on campus. Across our 10 departments, we house 14 majors, 18 minors, the Merritt Writing Program, and 7 graduate programs. SSHA provides opportunities for students to explore subjects in depth, while embracing interdisciplinary study and research across the arts, humanities, social and STEM sciences.

Indeed, UCM has grown faster than any other UC campus, and has achieved or exceeded the timing of many of the milestones expected for a new university. I encourage you to become a SSHA student and be part of this exciting adventure.

I am a firm believer in a solid liberal arts education, no matter what your career trajectory. Having exposure to humanities, arts, and social science, will allow you to think critically and creatively. In addition, SSHA faculty have a long tradition of student-focused teaching and research opportunities. Thus, while we are a UC campus, our smaller size and philosophy towards students provides for student-faculty engagement, student research opportunities, and community connections beyond what you may find in other places.

Please explore the School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts through our website. Let us know if you would like to visit or receive more information about our School.

Jeffrey W. Gilger, PhD

Dean, School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts

Professor of Psychology

Carlston Cunningham Chair in Cognitive Development

Director, UC Merced Alliance for Child and Family Health and Development

Educational Philosophy

Our educational philosophy can be captured by the following principles which guide the way that the School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts constructs a learning foundation for our students:

Doing is the basis for learning. Students are encouraged to create the forms they are studying—whether they are plays, maps, persuasive essays or social surveys. We believe that developing writing skills leads to critical reading; being an articulate speaker leads to becoming a better listener; and establishing models of decision‐making from a holistic multidisciplinary perspective leads to a better appreciation of how policy is evolved. We invite students to participate in the research programs of our faculty, to create student‐led teams and to embark on individual, mentored research projects. Through their research, students learn to evaluate and use evidence and construct persuasive arguments based upon actual events and previous experience.

Learning is ubiquitous. Some of the best learning occurs outside of the classroom around peers and in communities. Diverse learning environments allow students to make connections between books and the world. Human beings are natural learners, and our job as educators is to provide an environment where students can engage these natural instincts. Courses are the anchors, but a lot of exciting learning depends upon students’ own discovery of the links between formal academic programs and other endeavors such as foreign travel, artistic performance, political or business internship or community service.

Citizenship is founded in community. When we develop an informed and critical engagement with our own community, we can make better sense of what is happening there, and we can begin to see how our home is related to the globe. We live in a world where we are globally interdependent. Political borders, which change over time, determine citizenship and affect life opportunities. Ideas, diseases, languages, goods and individuals have always moved around the region and the world, but they do not reach all destinations with equal ease; they do not have equivalent effects when they alight in different places; and they are transformed by their new environments. We envision our community of students as developing a zone of comfort that allows them to act simultaneously as local and global citizens.

As a new campus, UC Merced has the singular opportunity to foster an integrative environment that draws from these disciplinary research traditions, but is not limited by their boundaries. The School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts offers a broad range of undergraduate and graduate programs dedicated to preparing students for varied roles as responsible and thoughtful citizens and leaders. We offer research and academic programs in anthropology, the arts, cognitive science, economics, English, world languages, history, management, philosophy, political science, psychology, public health, sociology, world heritage and writing that:

  • prepare students for meaningful careers and professions;
  • encourage intellectual and moral growth;
  • promote sound decision-making;
  • instill the values of lifelong learning; and
  • encourage civic responsibility, public service, and understanding in a diverse, global society.

Students have the opportunity to follow personal paths of discovery in disciplinary or interdisciplinary curricula, while at the same time gaining depth and expertise in methodological domains such as social statistics, historiography, Geographic Information Systems, economics, cultural analysis and cognitive science.

Culture, society, and artistic expression differ widely on the basis of their historical era and geographical location. Individuals and their cultures are affected by diverse natural environments, the questions we ask about ourselves and the world, the changing ways in which the world has been measured and envisioned, and the legacies of contacts, migrations or isolation. As students learn to understand the ways that time and place have shaped lives, institutions and works of the imagination, they develop perspectives that enable them to better understand and shape our futures.

School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts Requirements

All students in the School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts, regardless of major, are expected to meet the minimum requirements for a degree.

At Least 120 units to include the following:

  • At least 60 semester units of upper division courses.
  • Students must complete all course prerequisites with a C- or better.
  • When a letter grade option is available for a major requirement, students must complete that requirement with a C‐ or better; a 2.0 GPA must be maintained in all major course work.
  • Students must complete all major requirements with a C- or better and maintain a 2.0 GPA in all major course work.
  • Courses graded with a pass/no pass grading option are limited to one third of the total number of units required for general education.
  • Students must obtain pre-approval through the SSHA Advising Office for all courses completed at institutions other than UC Merced.

Transfer Students

Please review the “General Education for Transfer Students ” section on the UC Merced General Education page. Transfer students are strongly encouraged to complete IGETC in order to prepare for work within the School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts. Students who do not complete IGETC before transferring are required to complete SSHA Foundations, an IGETC-like general education pattern. Please see the approved Transfer Selection Criteria under each major in the UC Merced General Catalog for required coursework, and review the Transfer
Admission Requirements at the following website: admissions.ucmerced.edu/transfer/requirements.

World Languages Placement at UC Merced

To ensure proper placement in our world languages courses, students with previous academic instruction in the language that they would like to study are encouraged to take the placement exam for that language. However, students wishing to use language proficiency to satisfy a major, minor or general education requirement must have their placement scores confirmed by the world languages program. Please contact the World Languages Program Coordinator or a UC Merced academic advisor for more information.

Note: Students may not complete placement exams after they have enrolled in a UC Merced course in that language.

School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts Programs

The School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts is pleased to offer a number of interdisciplinary programs outside of the majors. Students are encouraged to take courses within the following areas of study: