2023-24 Edition

Social Science, M.A.

In addition to the departmental graduate programs, the School offers the M.A. in Social Science with concentrations in Demographic and Social Analysis and Medicine, Science and Technology Studies.


M.A. in Social Science with a Concentration in Demographic and Social Analysis


The M.A. in Social Science with a concentration in Demographic and Social Analysis offers specialized training in the research skills to address practical problems confronting society, business, government, and the nonprofit sector. The concentration emphasizes the Pacific Rim and issues defining Southern California’s population, such as immigration, changing household and family structure, racial and economic inequalities, and the impact of local and regional population growth. Informed by the interdisciplinary field of demography, the program draws on faculty and courses in the Schools of Social Sciences and Social Ecology.


Students are admitted to the program in the fall quarter. Students must hold a B.A. or B.S., normally in a social science or related field, and should have had at least four units of undergraduate statistics or equivalent mathematics courses. Students must meet the general admission requirements for graduate studies, which include official transcripts of all college course work, Graduate Record Examination scores for tests taken within the past five years, and three letters of recommendation. Applicants whose first language is not English must also take the Internet-based Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and achieve a score of at least 80 out of 120. The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) examination may be used instead, in which case a minimum overall score of 7 out of 9 is required, with a score of not less than 6 out of 9 on any individual module.


The M.A. requires 36 units of study and an oral exit examination. All students must complete 20 units of required courses which include one course in research design, one in demographic methods, one in populations, and two in statistics. In addition, students must complete 16 units of elective courses in population issues or research methods. No more than four units may be internship, independent study, directed readings, or thesis courses (to prepare for the oral examination). One or two electives may be upper-division undergraduate courses, with the remainder being graduate courses. All courses must be completed with a grade of B or better.

The M.A. in Social Science with a concentration in Demographic and Social Analysis may also be awarded to Ph.D. students who complete the necessary requirements.

View a list of the graduate courses in Social Science.

NOTE: Admission to the terminal M.A. in Medicine, Science, and Technology Concentration is currently closed. For more information, visit the program website.

The Department of Anthropology offers a Masters of Arts concentration in the School of Social Sciences focused on Medicine, Science, and Technology Studies, informally known as the M.A. in MSTS. Students who complete the program will earn an M.A. in Social Sciences (Medicine, Science, and Technology Studies).

This degree is the only terminal M.A. degree in either medical anthropology or science and technology studies in the University of California system. The program recognizes that these two fields and the social phenomena they examine are inextricably linked, and flexible course offerings provide students with an opportunity to pursue projects that focus on either field or that bridge both areas of study.
Ethnographers of medicine, science, and technology are in high demand, and the M.A. in MSTS will enable students to respond to the significant and rapidly changing impact of medicine, science, and technology upon economies and societies around the world. The program helps to prepare students for a range of employment opportunities in academia, public health, technology industries, and the nonprofit sector.

Students admitted for Fall 2014 will form the program’s first cohort and will be enrolled in courses with current Ph.D. and possibly B.A. students. The program is administered by the Department of Anthropology, but draws on the expertise of faculty across the Irvine campus.


Course Requirements

The M.A. in MSTS is a one-year program. Students will take three courses per quarter for a total of nine courses (36 units). All courses must be completed with a grade of B or better.

Required courses include:

  1. ANTHRO 204A Proseminar in Medicine, Science, and Technology (4 units)
  2. Eight elective courses (32 units) that may include:
    • Approved graduate courses in the Anthropology department
    • An internship, independent study, or directed reading (up to 4 units)
    • Up to two electives may be approved upper-division undergraduate courses in the Anthropology department
    • Up to two electives may be approved courses taken outside the Anthropology department
    • Up to two electives may be Anthropology methods courses

Comprehensive Examination

In addition to completing the required coursework, students must successfully complete a written comprehensive examination administered each year by the program committee.

Optional: Master’s with Honors Paper

In addition to the comprehensive exam, students in the program who wish to produce a written analysis larger than those created in conjunction with specific graduate courses may also complete the “Master’s with Honor’s Paper” option.

Students must declare their intention to earn a “Master’s with Honors Paper” in the fall quarter of the program. The “Master’s with Honors paper” involves combining two or three graduate seminar papers into a longer comprehensive thesis under the supervision of a program faculty member. Papers from undergraduate courses cannot be used for this option.

After completing this option, students may list the approved Honors Paper on their curricula vitae.

Course Offerings

Approved Graduate Courses in the Anthropology Department

The following Anthropology graduate courses may be counted as electives toward the M.A. in MSTS:

ANTHRO 229A Anthropology of Knowledge
ANTHRO 232B Medical Anthropology
ANTHRO 249A Humanism and Posthumanism
ANTHRO 250A The Cultural Politics of Visual Representation
ANTHRO 250B Digital Technologies, Culture, and Media
ANTHRO 253A Design, Aesthetics, and Social Life
ANTHRO 257A Natures and Environments
ANTHRO 289 Other Knowledges
ANTHRO 289 Technomethods for Language and Culture
ANTHRO 289 Engaging Contradictions: Activist Scholarship

Approved Upper-Division Undergraduate Courses in the Anthropology Department

Up to two of the following Anthropology undergraduate courses may be counted as electives toward the M.A. in MSTS:

ANTHRO 125B Ecological Anthropology
ANTHRO 125F Humans and Other Animals
ANTHRO 128B Race, Gender, and Science
ANTHRO 128C Digital Cultures  
ANTHRO 132A Psychological Anthropology
ANTHRO 134A Medical Anthropology
ANTHRO 134C Medicine, Food, and Health
ANTHRO 134G HIV/AIDS in a Global Context
ANTHRO 134F Anthropology of the Body
ANTHRO 139 Anthropology of Biomedicine and Biotechnology

Students may petition for additional courses to be counted as electives.