As both scientists and strategists in the UC Irvine School of Social Sciences, the meanings merge in our bold vision for a more brilliant future for the state of California, the country, and the world. A future that gives structure to scientific breakthroughs that may one day halt brain disease and communication disorders. A future that celebrates and supports the complex human diversity of our boundaryless planet. A future that sheds light on emerging conflicts affecting citizens around the globe in hopes of bringing about peaceful exchange.

With the launch of UCI’s Brilliant Future campaign, we’re taking a cue from our beautiful state as we find inspiration in the natural brilliance of our uniquely Californian canvas – one that’s emboldened generations of mold breakers to make waves, to step up, to reach higher, to do better.

The bold, vibrant hues of the constantly churning Pacific, the myriad pathways winding throughout our beautiful Golden State landscape, and the towering height and extensive reach of our national parks’ giant sequoias offer an awe-inspiring backdrop against which to build our boundaryless vision for the coming years as we continue to push the limits in neuroscience, population science, and emerging conflict research, teaching, and outreach.

Help us see it through. 






surfer   Layla Shaikley ’07 has run a tech company, built a robot for NASA, worked for the UN, and founded TEDxBaghdad - and she still makes time for sand and surf.

The UC Irvine School of Social Sciences is the largest academic unit on campus with more than 6,000 undergraduate and graduate students and more than 170 faculty and 80 lecturers spread over nine academic departments, 16 research centers, and six outreach programs - all supported by 70 dedicated staff members.

Our mission: To create positive change in our societies, economies, and for human well-being by breaking down traditional barriers and pushing the limits in teaching, research, and service.




The human brain has much in common with the white-capped waves of the mighty Pacific. Endlessly in motion and vast beyond comparison, the brain – like the surf forming our western border – is a true force of nature. And pictures, capturing only snapshots in time, don’t do either justice. To understand the brain, we need to understand the changing brain and its relationship to behavior throughout the entire life course, from every stage of development to the environmental, social, and biological factors that help or hurt its progress.

Doing so requires a bold, boundaryless approach.

UCI’s world-renowned social scientists are conducting cognitive neuroscience research with experts in engineering, computer science, and health to help us understand the brain’s inner workings and its relationship to behavior. They are also building and experimenting with new technologies and advances in data analysis that will drive future neuroimaging research. Designing next-generation machines, computers that work and think like the human brain, computational models of psychological processes, and ways to study the brain’s function and structure in action opens up vast territories for future research.

UCI is in the enviable position of having terrific talent across the disciplines, from education to engineering, to neuroscience and neuroimaging. Where other universities are betting on one or two star players, we’re betting on the team, drawing on UCI’s proud history of breaking boundaries and reaching beyond our silos. This will fundamentally transform brain research.
- Bill Maurer, Ph.D., Dean, School of Social Sciences

Just imagine: A world without Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s. A world where communication disorders no longer limit a person’s speech, understanding, or access to the social world. Advances in brain and behavior research are allowing us to study these diseases and disorders in real time, and in their social and behavioral contexts.

With your support for our Brain & Behavior Initiative, we’ll deepen our understanding of the dynamic relationship between brain and behavior and develop new treatments for brain disorders and cognitive decline.

Help us make waves.


BRAG Institute: naming rights; named chair/director; three named cluster chairs; research, graduate, and postdoctoral fellowships; establishment of graduate program in audiology and speech pathology



students by the beach   UCI is the #1 ranked best value public university (Forbes), the #1 university for beach lovers (Money Magazine), and the #1 university doing the most for the American dream, (New York Times’ College Access Index).




The school is home to the largest undergraduate student population – more than 5,400 Anteaters - and four of the campus’s top 15 most popular majors - economics, political science, psychology/cognitive sciences, and sociology. Graduate education - encompassing more than 500 students in social sciences - is also top notch, with all school programs ranking in the top 30 among public U.S. institutions.




From boardwalks along our beaches to moving walkways connecting some of the state’s most well-known scenes, pathways line the California landscape. As the most diverse state in the nation, those who traverse these paths represent the wonderful human complexity of our planet of more than 7 billion people.

That’s particularly true on the UCI campus where students from 15 to well past 50 years of age represent every race, religion, socioeconomic background, and political belief. Their university admission often belies the difficult path many forged to get here - one intertwined with pressing issues like access to healthcare, affordable housing, adequate income, even education. Regardless of hometown, country, or continent, these issues span the whole of humanity, from first breath to last, oftentimes running generations deep. They are truly boundaryless.

Understanding these issues that impact so many relies on massive amounts of data – both qualitative and quantitative.

UCI’s School of Social Sciences is home to some of the world’s leading experts, brightest up-and-coming minds, and top notch research facilities – including one of only 29 Census Research Data Centers in the country and the newly established Center for Population, Inequality, and Policy – dedicated to understanding these critical areas.

We’re seeking your help to forge new pathways for our students, their families, and the billions of people in our world whose trajectories don’t have to be set in stone.

Help us build tracks.


Population Science Initiative: endowed chairs, endowed research funds, and naming opportunities in Anthropology, Chicano/Latino Studies, Economics, Global and International Studies, Language Science, Political Science, Sociology, and Experimental Social Science Laboratory

Big Data and Mathematics: establish new institute and support its staff, programming, and research; endowed chairs, endowed research funds, and naming opportunities for work in Economics and Sociology, the Institute for Mathematical Behavioral Sciences, the Center for Population, Inequality, & Policy, and the California Census Research Data Center

Area Studies Initiative: endowed chairs, endowed research funds, and naming opportunities for China Studies, Israel Studies, Sikh Studies, and the Center for Asian Studies

Student Programs: endowed funds for the Summer Academic Enrichment Program, UCDC, First-Gen First Quarter Challenge, and Summer Undergraduate Research Program




The roots of California’s giant sequoias have been known to cover more than an acre of land in an effort to support the iconic Golden State tree. Their resiliency to thrive, weathering thousands of years of natural and man-made elements, is truly miraculous.

The same can be said for the human spirit.

In the midst of global conflict and chaos created by power and political struggles, economic and racial inequality, resource scarcity, and religious strife - the sheer magnitude of which affect us all - humanity perseveres. Understanding these roots of conflict and identifying ways to alleviate them while elevating those who are most impacted requires a boundaryless approach.

The UCI School of Social Sciences is home to some of the foremost experts on topics like population, policy, and politics in China, global threats posed by misinformation campaigns, warfare and human rights, pollution, economic turmoil in the European Union, and humanitarianism, development, and AIDS in Africa, to name a few. Their research pursuits extend far and wide to understand the volume, causes, and consequences of some of the heaviest global topics. The school’s dynamic student programs – from the Diversity, Inclusion, and Racial Healing Ambassador Program to the Deconstructing Diversity Initiative – then take this information and spread it through experiential learning programs that reach populations from local OC high schools to diverse regions around the country.

We’re seeking your help in extending the reach of our work that gets to the heart of the human spirit that thrives in every single one of us.

Help us reach higher.


Experiential Learning: naming opportunities, endowed faculty chairs, endowed scholarships, and research funds for DDI & DIRHA

Emerging Conflict Initiative: endowed chairs and endowed research funds for pressing global issues




From climate legislation to technological innovation, California leads the charge in making the world a better place for all. That sentiment is echoed in our Dean’s Challenge to see things in a new way, to change perspective, to build a bold strategy for the future of the school and our complex, interconnected, rapidly changing world. To meet the challenge, we’re seeking an endowment that will name the deanship in perpetuity and provide funding and flexibility for strategic investments and new initiatives in programs, faculty, and students.

The school relies on key leaders
from our community to be our ambassadors and advocates.

With help from our community friends in the Dean’s Leadership Society and Alumni Network, the dean supports additional award-winning programs that are part of our three key initiatives, including Mock Trial, which consistently ranks among the top teams in the nation; the highly successful five-week Summer Academic Enrichment Program for first-gen undergrads aspiring to graduate school; the Summer Undergraduate Research Program which provides funding for UCI undergrads to pursue research; and UCDC, which affords many first-gen students an incredible, lifechanging opportunity to visit and work in our nation’s capital on policy-relevant projects.

As a first-generation, low-income, Asian-American, female college student, I was empowered by UCI to explore all the possibilities...sometimes even beyond the scope of what I thought I could achieve.
– Crystal Ho, ’19 business economics & UCDC alumna
Since 2013, with support from DLS, UCI social sciences has nearly doubled the number of Pell Grant recipients participating in UCDC by offering $1,000 need-based scholarships.

Whether they earn a bachelor’s, master’s, or Ph.D., our alumni - numbering more than 60,000 Anteaters strong - take their world-class education across the globe as they make their mark in courtrooms, boardrooms, classrooms, and entrepreneurial endeavors. With your support for our Dean’s Challenge, we can fund the educational experience of tomorrow’s leaders today.

Help us change lives.


Named Social Sciences Deanship

Alumni #50for50: $50 from every social sciences alumnus

Dean’s Leadership Society: membership levels $1.5K-25K+

Student Support: undergraduate scholarships and internships and graduate fellowships; endowment opportunities $25K+





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