Rice Unconventional Wisdom

About Social Sciences

People. The School of Social Sciences focuses on how people think and act as individuals and in society. Just as scientists seek to uncover facts about the natural and physical worlds, social scientists seek to uncover facts about the social world. Across our school you will find our faculty and students are generating solutions for people, with people.

The School of Social Sciences serves the largest number of undergraduates, with over a third of Rice undergraduates choosing a major in the social sciences. One of the goals of the school is to give undergraduate students opportunities to have real life experiences so they are able to make informed decisions about what they would like to do after they graduate. To accomplish this goal, the School has created the GATEWAY program. GATEWAY allows students to participate in internships, research, and international experiences. At the graduate level, five of our six departments have Ph.D. programs. Each of these programs achieve excellence by concentrating on selected areas for education and research.

One of the reasons many students choose Rice is because of faculty who really take an interest in students and enjoy teaching. Nowhere on campus is that more evident than the School of Social Sciences, where our faculty consistently exhibit their student commitment by winning teaching awards and creating such a fascinating learning environment that students frequently change their majors to one of the Social Sciences.

Social Sciences departments, programs, institutes and centers are highlighted below:

The Anthropology Department at Rice specializes in social and cultural anthropology and archaeology.
The Economics Department at Rice specializes in microeconomic theory, marcoeconomics, applied economics, and econometrics.
The Linguistics Department at Rice adopts a functional, usage-based approach to language and linguistic theory.
Political Science
The Department of Political Science at Rice specializes in American politics, comparative politics, and international relations.
The Psychology Department at Rice specializes in cognition, neuroscience, human factors, human-computer interaction, industrial organization, social psychology, and perception.
The Department of Sociology at Rice specializes in race and ethnic stratification, gender, religion, health, and demographic change
 Sport Management
The Department of Sport Management explores basic business concepts as related to the sport industry.

Interdisciplinary Programs
 Cognitive Sciences
Researchers in this interdisciplinary field seek to understand such mental phenomena as perception, thought, memory, the acquisition and use of language, learning, concept formation, and consciousness.
   Managerial Studies
The major in Managerial Studies is an interdepartmental, nonprofessional program designed to provide undergraduates with an understanding of the environment in which businesses and other organizations exist today.
   Policy Studies
This interdisciplinary major focuses on policy issues that are of public interest. Students in policy studies evaluate and analyze both the determinants and the effects of policy decisions, gaining an understanding of the policy-making process and acquiring an intellectual base for policy-making skills.
Neuroscience (Minor)
Neuroscience is an interdisciplinary field that uses very diverse methodologies to investigate the human mind and brain and the relation between them.

Research Institutes/ Centers
Douglas S. Harlan Program in State Elections, Campaigns and Politics
The center focuses on politics and policy making in the American States.
   Hobby Center for the Study of Texas
The center seeks to advance understanding of the causes and consequences of demographic, economic, geographic, social, service, and fiscal conditions impacting the current conditions in, and future of, Texas and related areas in the Nation.
   Kinder Institute for Urban Research
The Institute engages in public outreach that advances understanding of pressing urban issues and fosters the development of more humane and sustainable cities. In addition, it is the permanent home of the annual Kinder Houston Area Survey.
Social Sciences Research Institute (SSRI)
The institute promotes the best in cutting-edge social science research. "Thinking New and Thinking Big" is the institute's mission. The Religion and Public Life program is housed in the institute.
   Shell Center for Sustainability
The Shell Center supports the efforts of Rice University’s faculty, staff and students to better our planet’s economy, society and environment.