Social Ecology Department At UC Irvine

The Social Ecology Department at the University of California, Irvine is one of the country’s leading social ecology academic departments.

The program was established in 1970 and became a school in 1992. Since then the department has seen notable staff pass through its doors such as Professor Salvatore Maddi – receiver of the 2012 Gold Medal Lifetime Achievements in Psychology award; Dr. Stephanie McEwan, 2013 Psychoanalytic Fellowship winner, and Professor Valerie Jenness, 2014/2015 President’s Award winner.

Studying Social Ecology at UC Irvine

There are currently three main academic departments at the School of Social Ecology, Irvine. These are:

  • Department of Criminology, Law and Society
  • Department of Planning, Policy, and Design
  • Department of Psychology and Social Behavior

Each year, there are at least 3,000 students enrolled in the School of Social Ecology. The school receives more than its fair share of applications. The program is notorious for being difficult to get into and is highly competitive. This is because UCI is ranked in the top 10 best public universities in the country, being number nine to be precise.

That’s not all. The school has been on the top 10 most sustainable campuses list for seven years in a row.

There are at the moment 70 members of staff teaching in the respective departments.

Degrees attainable from the School of Social Ecology

There are currently four bachelor’s degree options you can apply for. These are:

  • Bachelor of Arts in Criminology, Law, and Society
  • Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Social Behavior
  • Bachelor of Arts in Social Ecology
  • Bachelor of Arts in Urban Studies

There are four post-graduate options at the master’s level, two of which can be pursued online. The master’s programs are:

  • Master’s in Legal and Forensic Psychology
  • Master’s in Public Policy (Professional Degree) (MPP)
  • Master’s in Urban and Regional Planning (MURP)
  • Master of Advanced Study in Criminology, Law, and Society

The School of Social Ecology has four doctoral programs. These are:

  • Ph.D. in Criminology, Law, and Society
  • Ph.D. in Planning, Policy, and Design
  • Ph.D. in Psychology and Social Behavior
  • Ph.D. in Social Ecology

Benefits of Studying Social Ecology at UC Irvine

There are many benefits when it comes to studying social ecology at UC Irvine. At the top of the list is probably the world-class teaching staff. The School’s professors, lecturers and other members of the faculty have won individual and collective awards thanks to their groundbreaking research, papers, and standard of teaching.

Professor Valerie Jenness is a stellar example of the caliber of teachers found at the school. She is a renowned author, researcher, professor as well as public policy advisor who has been teaching at the school since 1997. She has taught at some of America’s best universities and even served as the University of California, Irvine’s dean of the School of Social Ecology for six years.

Her name precedes her and she is credited with being one of the forerunners of systematically studying transgender women in America’s men’s prisons.

Another notable benefit is that you obtain a degree from one of the best social ecology schools in the country. When it comes to going into the job field, having a degree from a highly esteemed school goes a long way in setting you apart from your peers.

Having excellent grades will also help you land a good job post-graduation. Hence studying at UC, Irvine is a great investment for your future. It’s a decision that will set you up for success. All you have to do is take a look at some of the school’s alumni and you will realize that you are headed in the right direction by choosing to study at UC, Irvine’s School of Social Ecology.

The Importance of Social Ecologists in Today’s World and Career Outlook

Studying social ecology is important as it teaches you to appreciate the interaction and harmony that exists between society and the environment. The delicate balance between these two entities needs to be studied carefully in order to be preserved. This is why you find that social ecologists are needed almost everywhere.

The career prospects of social ecologists are promising. Qualified social ecologists often find work in schools, colleges, and universities. Some work for non-governmental organizations whose main aim is promoting sustainable development between society and the environment.

People who have studied social ecology can find work in almost any field you can think of. Some go into business; others branch off into the health sphere, while others go into public service and others law.

For those who wish to progress with research, there are many options as well. However, this often entails going back to school to conduct research and oversee projects.

Applying to University of California, Irvine School of Social Ecology


Applying to the School of Social Ecology for an undergraduate program is not complex. There are four majors to choose from. After you have passed your first year with a GPA of at least 2.0, you can then select the minor that you wish to proceed with. There are five minors you can choose from. Minors offered by the School of Social Ecology are:

  • Social Ecology
  • Urban Studies
  • Criminology, Law, and Society
  • Urban and Regional Planning
  • Psychology and Social Behavior


For those wishing to continue with their studies and pursue graduate training, the School of Social Ecology requires you to submit a complete application which includes an application form, undergraduate transcripts, three recommendation letters as well as your Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores. Deadlines vary throughout the year. You can visit the school’s website or contact the department for further information.

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