The UCI Sociology Department is a vibrant and distinguished collection of faculty, students, and staff seeking to better understand social relations. We invite you to explore our website to learn about our exciting scholarly and educational endeavors. Please inquire about joining us!

While the Department was formally established in 1989 and admitted its first PhD students in 1999, its roots are entwined with the founding of the campus in 1965. UCI Social Sciences' founding Dean James G. March (1965-1970), himself a seminal figure in the sociological study of organizations, 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). His department-less experiment endured 25 years, until sociology was the last to departmentalize. March hired several sociologists, including luminaries Harvey Sacks and David Sudnow (pioneers of ethnomethodology), and later Linton Freeman, (an early and innovative social networks analyst), and Francesca Cancian (an early feminist).

Once formally established, UCI's Sociology faculty quickly expanded to over 30 members who collectively have a high profile in distinguished publications, grant funding, and professional awards and leadership. Our research, teaching, and service focus on fundamental sociological matters, with vibrant research clusters in Culture; Economy, Inequality, Labor, and Organizations; Education; Gender and Family; Global Inequality and Change; Population; and Race and Ethnicity; with particular strengths in Social Movements and Political Sociology; Social Networks; and Immigration. In pursuit of scholarly discovery, we celebrate work that is not only theoretically informed but also empirically based and we respect multiple methods of investigation, including comparative-historical, demographic, network, statistical, and ethnographic. Our foci range from the individual and community to the national and global.

In graduate and undergraduate education, we offer curricula that nurture critical intellectual thinking and emphasize basic research skills. We strive towards close faculty mentoring and faculty-student collaboration. Our respectful, vibrant, and cooperative setting makes the department a fun place to work and enables us to collectively focus on learning and discovering. Intellectual rigor, excellence, diversity, and collegiality are the hallmarks of Irvine Sociology.

Our graduate program, which offers multiple opportunities for students to generate their own research agendas as well as to collaborate with faculty, has nearly 100 students. In an average year, 8 students complete their Ph.D. degrees, with many of them entering tenure-track assistant professorships or post-doctoral fellowships. Some of our Ph.D. graduates also take instructor positions and move into non-profits and government agencies (please see more information on the sociology graduate program at:

Our undergraduate program, with more than 700 majors, is one of the largest on campus and is supported by award winning instructors. We provide opportunities for Certificates in Business, Economy, and Organizations; Diversity & Inequality; Global & International Sociology; and Social Problems & Public Policy. All sociology majors participate in a capstone experience and the department also offers an advanced Undergraduate Honors Program in which students take two Honors Seminars, work directly with individual faculty members, and write a thesis.

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. Today the department ranks 23rd overall and 12th among publics.

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

Yours sincerely,
Judy Stepan-Norris
Professor and Chair


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