Apr 23, 2024  
2016-2017 Catalog 
2016-2017 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Individual Graduate Program, Social Sciences Emphasis, Ph.D.

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Program Description

Contact: Mitch Ylarregui, Graduate Program Coordinator, mylarregui@ucmerced.edu

The graduate emphasis in Social Sciences offers individualized, research-based training in two tracks (described in detail below): economics and public health. Students are educated in a particular discipline, but have the opportunity to engage in interdisciplinary research and collaboration if they so desire.

The deadline for applications is January 15th. Normally applications are accepted for Fall semester only. Applicants are encouraged to contact SS faculty before applying as fit with existing research programs is integral for admission. Applicants must provide evidence of an undergraduate grade point average no lower than 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. Additionally, GRE scores, letters of recommendation, and a statement of purpose will be evaluated by the admissions committee as determinants of an applicant’s potential for success in graduate education. Foreign students from non-English speaking counties must also take the TOEFL and TSE exams. Students are admitted to SS to work toward a Ph.D. degree. However, a Ph.D. student who has been in residence for at least two semesters, has pursued graduate‐level coursework for at least two semesters, and is in good academic standing, may apply for a Terminal Master’s Degree.


The economics track provides training in four fields highly relevant to the advancement of modern economics: economic geography and trade; environmental and resource economics; health economics; and international development.


The public health track is a multidisciplinary area of research and study that focuses on measuring, understanding and improving the health of the population, including assessing the health needs of vulnerable populations, understanding the causes and determinants of health challenges and problems, and identifying ways to improve the public health system and the health of the population.

Program Learning Outcomes

The Social Sciences graduate group has established the following program learning outcomes:

  1. A comprehensive, graduate-level understanding of processes, theories, and empirical regularities in the student’s chosen track.
  2. Competency with contemporary social science methods used to conduct rigorous social scientific research.
  3. Effective scientific communication skills, especially the ability to convey complex concepts and information in a clear and concise manner.
  4. The ability to initiate and conduct independent research that makes an original contribution to knowledge of a quality that can be published in a peer reviewed outlet.

Program Learning Outcomes, Ph.D.

Upon completion of a Ph.D. in one of three Social Sciences disciplinary tracks, graduates will be able to:

  • Synthesize, critique, apply, and extend specific track discipline theories.
  • Critique and evaluate specific track discipline research methods.
  • Design and conduct independent research that makes an original contribution to specific track discipline knowledge.
  • Synthesize, critique, and identify extensions to previous empirical and theoretical work in at least one substantive area of the specific track discipline
  • Communicate effectively, both orally and in writing, about specific track discipline theories, arguments, methods, and concepts.
  • Demonstrate proficiency in the professional skills needed to participate in the intellectual and organizational aspects of specific track discipline careers.

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