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Social Sciences

The Social Sciences explore human society, culture, and civilization. The Social Sciences are dedicated to the study of the social, cultural, political, environmental, and psychological relationship and impact human groups have on one another. The Social Sciences emphasize both qualitative and quantitative methodology and skill-sets.

The Social Science majors in the Dornsife College:

Anthropology

In USC College's Anthropology department, anthropologists study humankind through a cross-cultural, social science perspective, exploring the importance of culture in shaping human behavior and cultural relativity. Special emphasis is placed on the analysis and understanding of cultural differences, whether in human communities or among other primates. The Department of Anthropology encourages students to become involved in ethnographic research and fieldwork while gaining a firm theoretical foundation in anthropology. Special areas of emphasis in the department are provided by programs in visual anthropology and primate ethology. Undergraduates may take a number of courses in visual anthropology that focus on the analysis and understanding of human behavior and are encouraged to include visual media in their senior field methods practicum. Undergraduates may elect to complete a major with an emphasis in Visual Anthropology or a major in Urban Applied Anthropology.

Advisor: Roberto Leni
E-mail: leni@usc.edu
Phone: (213) 740-3800
Office: KAP 357

Archaeology

Archaeological survey and excavation provide critical information to fields as diverse as Classics, Art History, and Biblical Studies. As a scholarly discipline, however, archaeology is more than a way of recovering physical evidence. It is a way of understanding the rich record of past human societies through the study of their material cultures. The Archaeology major at USC combines courses in Anthropology, Classics, Art History, Linguistics, and Religion. This exciting major is ideal for the student who has an abiding interest in how the past informs the present and is looking for a broad interdisciplinary approach to understanding the world and its material history. The B.A. in Archaeology provides both academic breadth and field focus. Archaeology majors will acquire an overview of the history of the discipline, exposure to the various and evolving theoretical perspectives that inform archaeology, and hands-on experience with basic and contemporary field technologies. Students majoring in Archaeology are strongly encouraged to gain direct experience through participation in fieldwork and research projects. Our faculty can help place students in programs here in Los Angeles or in diverse parts of the world.

Advisor: Lisa Kamrany
E-mail: lkamrany@usc.edu
Phone: (213) 740-3800
Office: KAP 357

Cognitive Science

Cognitive Science is an interdisciplinary major that focuses on the mind and cognition from a variety of perspectives and approaches. The core and electives sample from courses from anthropology, computer science, linguistics, mathematics, philosophy, and psychology. The major consists of four fixed core courses, plus two tiers of flexible core courses. The first tier generally consists of more introductory courses and the second tier of more advanced courses, although there are excpetions, and some courses satisfy either tier. Students must take two courses from the first tier and three courses from the second. The purpose of the flexible tiers is to structually implement interdisciplinary breadth with some degree of flexibility. The flexible core is a subset of the electives, from which students can choose in order to complete the required number of units. Students may elect to focus their curriculum from one of three tracks, which are suggested courses of study for focusing on a particular theme in cognitive science. This may be accomplished through individual advisement: language, reasoning and decision-making, and the computational mind.

Advisor: Nakita Lea
E-mail: nakitale@usc.edu
Phone: (213) 740-2534
Office: CAS 120

Economics

From healthcare to the environment to law, economic theories help make sense of complex issues. In USC College’s Economics department, economic theory is intertwined with practical models to address concepts across many disciplinary boundaries. In this original approach to research, scholars are developing analytical models to explain broad concepts, such as human behavior. Theories like the economics of happiness and the economics of uncertainty were honed within College walls. Emphasis is placed on practical economic research, such as how economics can be used to better understand business contracts and competition within industries. The progressive degree program in Economics permits exceptional undergraduate students to receive both a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Arts in Economics within five years.

Advisor: Shannon Durbin
E-mail: sdurbin@usc.edu
Phone: (213) 740-7525
Office: KAP 300C

Advisor: Karina Chicas
E-mail: kchicas@usc.edu
Phone: (213) 740-8335
Office: KAP 300F

Advisor: Jorge Castro
E-mail: jacastro@usc.edu
Phone: (213) 740-8335
Office: KAP 300

GeoDesign

The Bachelor of Science in GeoDesign is an interdisciplinary major offered by the Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, the School of Architecture, and the Sol Price School of Public Policy. This degree prepares students for professional careers and/or graduate study by engaging them in the acquisition, representation, analysis, modeling and visualization of spatial information set in the context of the built environment and policy. The underlying spatial principles, methods and tools can be used to support sustainable planning, facility and infrastructure management, the design of livable and healthy communities, and a series of regional planning applications to address pollution, water and energy needs, and the impact of population growth on the environment. The major electives provide students with opportunities to explore one or more facets of the built environment and a series of complementary analytical and visualization tools in more detail. Finally, the major is structured to provide students with sufficient elective credits to explore minors or other programs at USC so they can broaden their education to better prepare themselves for the next stage of their lives.

Advisor: Katherine Kelsey
E-mail: kkelsey@usc.edu
Phone: (213) 740-8298
Office: AHF B55

International Relations

Future leaders in business, government, and law need to understand how global developments affect their lives and work. International Relations provides the conceptual tools you will need to thrive in the rapidly changing world of tomorrow. It is an ideal major for those interested in entering the business world or the public policy realm. It is an excellent stepping stone toward graduate programs in business, law, public administration, urban planning, public policy or political science. International Relations majors must declare two concentrations from among the following areas: Culture, Gender, and Global Society; Foreign Policy and Analysis; International Political Economy; International Politics and Security Studies; or Regional Studies (Europe; Russia; Eastern Europe and Eurasia; Latin America; the Middle East and Africa; or Pacific Rim). Students often complete an advanced level of foreign language instruction. Many spend a semester or summer studying abroad, obtain an internship in Washington, D.C., or work in global organizations like the Foreign Trade Association, CARE, the World Affairs Council, and the United States-Mexico Chamber of Commerce. In the classroom, students examine how governments interact and the impact that other organizations, corporations, social and workers’ groups bring to bear on trade and policy. Rigorous analysis, stimulations, practice negotiations, and problem solving prepare students to thrive in the global marketplace of ideas, commerce, and foreign affairs. The School of International Relations encourages undergraduate double majors, especially with Economics, Environmental Studies, Geography, History, Journalism, foreign languages, Political Science, and Sociology. The progressive degree program in International Relations permits exceptional undergraduate students to receive both a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Arts in International Relations within five years.

Advisor: Annie Lam
E-mail: annielam@usc.edu
Phone: (213) 740-8630
Office: VKC 301

Advisor: Katrina Miranda
E-mail: kcmirand@usc.edu
Phone: (213) 740-0772
Office: VKC 301

Advisor: Luda Spilewsky
E-mail: ludas@usc.edu
Phone: (213) 740-8629
Office: VKC 300

International Relations/Global Business

The major in International Relations (Global Business) is a joint program consisting of courses offered by the School of International Relations and the Marshall School of Business. Majors in International Relations with an emphasis in Global Business will explore the analytical concepts of the relations between states and other international actors with in the context of the global economy through a combination of International Relations courses and foreign language study. Students will also choose a global business specialization in International Finance, International Financial Management, Global Marketing, or Global Management and complete a specific sequence of courses in the Marshall School of Business. In the classroom, students examine how governments interact and the impact that other organizations, corporations, social and workers’ groups bring to bear on trade and policy. Rigorous analysis, stimulations, practice negotiations, and problem solving prepare students to thrive in the global marketplace of ideas, commerce, and foreign affairs. This is an ideal major for students interested in combining the skills acquired in business courses with the breadth offered by International Relations coursework. Students will be prepared to enter the public or private sector or graduate programs in business, law, political economy, public policy, and international relations among others.

Advisor: Annie Lam
E-mail: annielam@usc.edu
Phone: (213) 740-8630
Office: VKC 301

Advisor: Katrina Miranda
E-mail: kcmirand@usc.edu
Phone: (213) 740-0772
Office: VKC 301

Advisor: Luda Spilewsky
E-mail: ludas@usc.edu
Phone: (213) 740-8629
Office: VKC 300

Linguistics

Linguistics emphasizes the study of language both as an abstract system and in its psychological and social contexts. Linguistics focuses on how the human mind structures, processes, and acquires language as well as how similar communication goals are met by diverse means in the languages of the world. It is a broad field, embracing such diverse subjects as comparative grammar and the search for universals among the world's languages, language development of children, language learning and language processing in adults, the evolution of languages, and how language varies with socioeconomic class and with different social settings. The study of Linguistics develops the ability to analyze and work with formal systems, not unlike those found in mathematics and computer science, while at the same time addressing psychological and social issues, such as language teaching and acquisition, and language and culture. In addition to introductory linguistics and courses in linguistic analysis, students take courses in psycholinguistics (language acquisition, processing, and language disorders) and/or sociolinguistics (language and society). Interdisciplinary research in Linguistics and other areas such as Neuroscience or Computer Science is also available. An undergraduate major in Linguistics provides a strong foundation in analytic skills and a highly respected preparation for professional schools, for careers that are either scientific or humanistic in orientation, and for graduate study in a wide range of fields. Graduate programs in Education respect a background in Linguistics, and the students wishing to pursue graduate study in English or a foreign language will find their application enhanced by a Linguistics major. Schools of business, law, and medicine looking for applicants with a broad intellectual background recognize the analytical skills and scientific rigor which a major in Linguistics represents. To graduate schools and respective employers in computer science, a Linguistics background will be especially attractive. The Bachelor of Arts in Linguistics can thus be the starting point not only for careers in Linguistics, but also in a number of diverse areas, such as education, law, government, business, and computer science.

In addition to the major in Linguistics, the Linguistics department offers three combined programs: Linguistics and Philosophy; Linguistics and Psychology; and Linguistics and East Asian Languages and Cultures.

Advisor: Brandon Washington
Email: bwashing@usc.edu
Phone: (213) 740-3891
Office: GFS 301

Middle East Studies

The Middle East Studies major is an interdisciplinary program which draws on courses from Anthropology, Classics, Economics, History, International Relations, Judaic Studies, Linguistics, Political Science, and Religion. It offers students interested in exploring the richness and complexity of the Middle East, broadly defined as extending from Morocco through Iran, a framework for developing both expertise and wide-ranging critical perspectives on the region’s past, present, and future. Two options are also available regarding language study. The first, which is strongly recommended for all students, but especially for those who seek to pursue a career using Middle East studies, stresses the importance of a regional language (at this point, Arabic or Hebrew), along with other disciplinary offerings. The second allows students to gain an in-depth understanding of the region, but without the requirement of a regional language.

Advisor: Cynthia Mata-Flores
E-mail: cmflores@usc.edu
Phone: (213) 740-3800
Office: KAP 450B

Political Economy

The Bachelor of Arts in Political Economy (PECN) explores the intersection of economics with politics in domestic and international contexts. It prepares students for engagement with global and regional questions that require analysis of economic and political causes and consequences and provides a useful background for a wide variety of entry positions in the public and private sectors. The major requires 16 lower-division units and 32 upper-division units for a total of 48 units.

Advisor: Shannon Durbin
E-mail: sdurbin@usc.edu
Phone: (213) 740-7525
Office: KAP 300C

Advisor: Karina Chicas
E-mail: kchicas@usc.edu
Phone: (213) 740-8335
Office: KAP 300F

Advisor: Jorge Castro
E-mail: jacastro@usc.edu
Phone: (213) 740-8335
Office: KAP 300

Political Science

American politics, political thought, comparative politics, law, and public policy – these are just a few of the fields that inspire lively discussions and hone critical-thinking skills in USC College’s Political Science department. As students study political processes and institutions alongside distinguished faculty, they make the transition from informed citizen to political scholar. Faculty and student interaction make the Political Science department a stimulating community. Professors provide undergraduate students with first-rate professional training in traditional and innovative areas of political science. The Political Science honors program gives students the opportunity to conduct and publish independent research. To prepare students for future success, the department offers extensive academic advisement, career counseling, and graduate-school advising. Providing students with a competitive edge, the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics serves as a clearinghouse for internships with government offices, campaigns, political media, and activist organizations. It bridges the academic study of political science and the real world of practical politics by sponsoring classes taught by practitioners and a variety of special campus-wide programs. Undergraduates in Political Science will find a program that trains them to think seriously and rigorously about politics. It ensures all of the benefits of a great liberal arts education but also provides an excellent background for graduate study and careers in politics, law, administration, and business.

Advisor: Fanny Cisneros
E-mail: fcisnero@usc.edu
Phone: (213) 740-3445
Office: VKC 214B

Advisor: Paul Kovich
E-mail: kovich@usc.edu
Phone: (213) 740-3621
Office: VKC 214A

Psychology

The Department of Psychology offers five topic areas: cognitive, developmental, clinical, biological, and social. By focusing on these five areas, students develop a variety of skills that apply to educational, work, and community environments. Students learn about human thought and behavior, including developing research about memory, social interaction, deviant behavior, mental illness, clinical practice, and animal behavior. Pursuing a degree in Psychology requires students to investigate how human beings learn, remember, communicate, and interact; how they develop over the life span; how they adjust to change; and how they solve problems. The Psychology department provides internships, research opportunities, and an honors program. Students are encouraged to work with faculty on laboratory and field research. The progressive degree program in Psychology permits exceptional undergraduate students to receive both a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Arts in Psychology within five years. Psychology graduates may pursue careers in management, human resources, marketing, advertising, education, or survey research. The discipline is also an excellent way to prepare for law, medicine, business, social work, education, and other graduate programs.

Advisor: Vivian Hsu-Tran
E-mail: vhsu@usc.edu
Phone: (213) 740-6163
Office: SGM 501

Advisor: Ingrid Popper
E-mail: popper@usc.edu
Phone: (213) 740-2203
Office: SGM 501

Advisor: Jorge Castro
E-mail: jacastro@usc.edu
Phone: (213) 740-3380
Office: SGM 530

Advisor: Daniel Paris
E-mail: dparis@usc.edu
Phone: (213) 740-7561
Office: SGM 532

Social Sciences (Economics Emphasis)

For students who have thematic interests that span several traditional social science disciplines, the Psychology department offers a Social Science major with an emphasis in Psychology, and the Economics department offers a Social Science major with an emphasis in Economics. Students majoring in Social Sciences take the majority of their upper-division coursework in their area of emphasis, and a number of other social science courses selected from among the disciplines of Anthropology, Economics, Geography, History, International Relations, Political Science, Psychology, or Sociology.

Advisor: Shannon Durbin
E-mail: sdurbin@usc.edu
Phone: (213) 740-7525
Office: KAP 300C

Advisor: Karina Chicas
E-mail: kchicas@usc.edu
Phone: (213) 740-8335
Office: KAP 300F

Advisor: Jorge Castro
E-mail: jacastro@usc.edu
Phone: (213) 740-8335
Office: KAP 300

Social Sciences (Psychology Emphasis)

For students who have thematic interests that span several traditional social science disciplines, the Psychology department offers a Social Science major with an emphasis in Psychology, and the Economics department offers a Social Science major with an emphasis in Economics. Students majoring in Social Sciences take the majority of their upper-division coursework in their area of emphasis, and a number of other social science courses selected from among the disciplines of Anthropology, Economics, Geography, History, International Relations, Political Science, Psychology, or Sociology.

Advisor: Vivian Hsu-Tran
E-mail: vhsu@usc.edu
Phone: (213) 740-6163
Office: SGM 501

Advisor: Ingrid Popper
E-mail: popper@usc.edu
Phone: (213) 740-2203
Office: SGM 501

Advisor: Jorge Castro
E-mail: jacastro@usc.edu
Phone: (213) 740-3380
Office: SGM 530

Sociology

USC College’s Sociology department has played an important role in the history of the discipline. USC was the first university west of the Mississippi to establish a Sociology department. Since then, the department has flourished. Continuing to enjoy national and international recognition, the department excels in the sociological study of families, immigration and social inequality. The greater Los Angeles area provides a natural laboratory for studying such sociological themes as race relations, work and the workplace, the family in a changing society, population trends and crime. Students can base their course of study on two of four theme areas leading to a B.A. in Sociology: deviance, social inequality, social organization, or population and family studies. Some of the undergraduate courses involve field research in the urban environment. Courses examine Sociology’s historical foundations as well as contemporary theory and research. Professors are actively engaged in timely demographic and policy research. At the Social Science Research Institute, faculty research social problems, such as crime and drug abuse, and broader social issues. Many of these projects have led to direct social policy interventions.

Advisor: Stachelle Overland
E-mail: overland@usc.edu
Phone: (213) 740-8851
Office: HSH 314

Advisor: Lisa Losorelli
E-mail: llosorel@dornsife.usc.edu
Phone: (213) 740-3535
Office: HSH 314

Notable Alumni

Ellen Hunter Mai
B.A. Political Science, Class of ‘91
International Journalist, Producer (primarily of Documentaries)

Bart Kosko
B.A. Philosophy and Economics, Class of ‘82
Science Fiction Writer, Professor of Electrical Engineering at USC

Dick Cook
B.A. Political Science, Class of ‘72
Former Chairman of Walt Disney Studios

Brian Scalabrine
B.A. Social Sciences with an emphasis in History, Class of ‘01
NBA Forward for the Chicago Bulls

Kaitlin Sandeno
B.A. Social Sciences with an emphasis in History, Class of ‘06
Olympic Champion, Swimming

Scott Cook
B.A. Economics and Mathematics, Class of ‘74
Co-Founder and Chairman of Intuit, Inc.

Taylor Hackford
B.A. International Relations, Class of ‘66
Film Director, President of the Directors Guild of America

Mark Krouse
B.A. International Relations, Class of ‘74
Former Corporate VP, Human Resources, Fluor Corp.