In 2010 the Department of Political Science celebrated its 90th anniversary. It has developed over the years from a segment of the junior college division of a new branch campus of the University into a nationally ranked department of a major campus that enjoys excellent prestige among institutions of higher education in the country. The threefold mission of the department mirrors that of other departments of the entire University of California System: It is committed to excellence and diversity in teaching, academic and policy research and public service. In the process we make an invaluable contribution to the production and reproduction of knowledge designed to promote human betterment.
The Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies at UCLA supports research that (1) expands the knowledge of the history, lifestyles, and sociocultural systems of people of African descent and (2) investigates problems that have bearing on the psychological, social, and economic well being of persons of African descent. Research sponsored and conducted by the Bunche Center is multidisciplinary in scope and spans the humanities, social sciences, fine arts, and several professional schools.
While UCLA does not offer a PhD in African Studies, students can apply to and enroll in PhD programs in other disciplines and choose to focus their research on Africa. At present there are about 70 Ph.D. students enrolled in various departments with a research focus related to Africa including in Political Science.
The mission of the UCLA César E. Chávez Department of Chicana/o Studies is to train a new generation of scholars to research and analyze the life, history, and culture of Mexican-origin people within the United States, as well as of other Latino/a and indigenous populations in the Americas. Addressing local, national, and transnational contexts, the Chicana/o Studies curriculum at UCLA explores race, class, gender, and sexuality paradigms as they have shaped the history of the field, as well as new directions in the study of Chicana/os and Latina/os, including 1) Border and Transnational Studies; 2) Expressive Arts; 3) History, Language, and Culture of the Americas; 4) Labor, Law, and Policy Studies.
The most recent ranking by the highly respected National Research Council and the US New and World Report ranks the department nationally in the top ten. Among the department's many strengths, is has gained notable distinction in political economy, comparative politics including the politics of developing nations, and political theory. The department also recently introduced the new field of Race Ethnicity and Politics.
UCLA PhDs are competitive on the job market in every subfield. Our PhDs have received placements in tenure track jobs in top ten departments, including placements in the top five departments in the fields of Race Ethnicity and Politics, American, Comparative, and International Relations.
The UCLA Political Science Department is home to six members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, four Guggenheim fellows, and many other prestigious honorees. In the past ten years, members of this department have brought in over $20 million in grant money.
Political Science works hand-in-hand with numerous UCLA departments and programs, including the following: