On behalf of the faculty, students, and staff in the Department of Sociology at the University of California, Irvine, I invite you to explore our website and to learn about the exciting scholarly and educational endeavors in our department.

Sociology's roots at UCI go back to the founding of the campus in 1965.  The first Dean of Social Sciences (1965-1970) was James G. March -- a seminal figure in the sociological study of organizations.  Other luminaries from the early period include Harvey Sacks and David Sudnow -- two of the field's original ethnomethodologists -- and later Linton Freeman, a pioneering analyst of social networks, and Francesca Cancian, an early feminist.

These scholars were not members of the Department of Sociology.  There was no such department.  March sought to build a faculty with "substantial disrespect for traditional disciplinary identifications" (see "Making, Breaking and Following Rules: The Irvine Case" by D. Kavanagh in Research in the Sociology of Organizations), and distinct departments emerged slowly accordingly.

But emerge they did.  Sociology achieved departmental status in 1989 and admitted its first PhD students in 1999. 

In the brief interval since, sociology at UCI has risen to the forefront of the campus and the field.  Our research, teaching, and service focus on fundamental matters, such as social order, inequality, and social change.  In pursuit of scholarly discovery, we celebrate work that is not only theoretically informed but also empirically based.  We respect multiple methods of investigation, including comparative-historical, demographic, network, statistical, and ethnographic.  Our perspectives range from the individual and community to the national and global.  In graduate and undergraduate education, we offer a curriculum that nurtures critical intellectual thinking and emphasizes basic research skills.  We pride ourselves in close faculty mentoring and faculty-student collaboration.  We also pride ourselves in maintaining a vibrant and cooperative setting that enables us to focus on learning and discovering.  Intellectual rigor, excellence, diversity, and collegiality are the hallmarks of Irvine Sociology.

In our short departmental history, our faculty has expanded to about 30 members.  Our faculty’s cutting-edge research is frequently supported by grants from the National Science Foundation and other funding agencies, with results published in the most prestigious scholarly venues and repeatedly winning national awards.

Our graduate program has more than 80 students and offers multiple opportunities for students to generate their own research agendas and collaborate with faculty.  On average, about 8 students complete their Ph.D. degrees each year, with about half taking tenure-track assistant professorships and about half taking post-doctoral fellowships.  A handful take instructor positions and move into non-profits and government agencies.  

Our undergraduate program, with more than 600 majors, is one of the largest on campus and is supported by award winning instructors.  We provide opportunities for advanced undergraduate work in honors seminars and with individual faculty.  

It is no surprise that in its 2005 debut national ranking by U.S. News and World Report, Irvine Sociology ranked 27th nationally (out of 115 sociology doctoral programs) and 15th among departments at public universities.  It has been moving up ever since.

Irvine Sociology is still young and growing.  We invite you to be part of that process.  For more information, please consult the rest of our website and don't hesitate to contact us directly.

Yours sincerely,

Matt Huffman
Professor and Chair

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