College of Social Sciences, UH Mānoa
College of Social Sciences, University of Hawaii at MānoaCollege Logo
College of Social Sciences, University of Hawaii at MānoaCollege Logo


With a degree from the College, join the ranks of those who have made a difference personally, locally and globally. Become change-makers, leaders, catalysts. Impact policies, change the way societies respond to social needs, influence the way communities are developed, uncover the next big story or speak for those who have no voice. The possibilities are endless. The impact is immeasurable.


Established in 1934, the Department of Anthropology (ANTH) is committed to the study of human social, cultural and biological diversity. Specializations include applied archaeology, and ecological and medical anthropology, with a focus on Asia and the Pacific. The department’s programs encourage the development of essential skills such as critical thinking, communication, self-direction, expression, creativity, global awareness and team dynamics.

Communication and Information

The School of Communication and Information (SCI) examines communication and the flow of information among people and communities, including face-to-face conversations and dynamic interactions via media and emerging technologies. Teaching, research and practice in the SCI embraces the contemporary challenges of complex, multicultural contexts. Its programs include Communication, Communicology, Journalism, Library and Information Science, and Peace and Conflict Education.


The mission of the Department of Economics (ECON) is to discover, refine and disseminate economic knowledge, with an emphasis on policy issues involving Hawaiʻi and the exciting Asia-Pacific region. Faculty members are sought out to perform economic research, foster sound reasoning and decision-making through teaching, prepare students for careers, and provide invaluable service to the University, state, nation and the world.

Ethnic Studies

The Department of Ethnic Studies (ES), established in 1970 to teach “Our History, Our Way,” focuses on race and ethnicity in Hawaiʻi, the U.S. and Pacific. Through engaged Oceanic learning and research, students develop theoretical, methodological, ethical and participatory skills to analyze power relations and promote social justice. Students learn to think critically about society and popular culture, and to embrace multiculturalism.

Geography and Environment

Geography and Environment (GEO) is the study of places and the relationships between people and their environment. Geographers explore both the biophysical processes of the Earth’s surface and the human societies spread across it. It examines how cultural and political economic institutions interact with the natural environment, and the way that locations and places can impact people, and how these relationships change over time.

Political Science

The Department of Political Science (POLS) stands out in the fields of international relations, political theory, comparative politics, Asian politics, futures studies, indigenous politics and public policy. There is a shared preoccupation with the critique of dominant historical forces and centers of power. Classes showcase broad yet comprehensive discussions that catalyze critical thinking and promote effective communication.


The Department of Psychology (PSY) offers a broad understanding of behavior exhibited in social, developmental and environmental situations. Students may pursue either a Bachelor of Arts or Science degree, and will learn concepts that enhance an appreciation for the diversity of the human experience. A Psychology degree provides a basic liberal arts education that can be valuable in occupations including sales, advertising and market research.

Public Administration

Public Administration (PUBA) is a graduate-level master’s program dedicated to energizing public institutions and organizations, enriching civic culture and increasing leadership capacity through teaching, research and service. It is committed to building organizational and community collaborations for creative problem-solving, and fostering connections between participants and change agents. Alumni include current elected officials.

Social Science Research Institute

As the dedicated research division of the College, the Social Science Research Institute (SSRI) conducts and supports interdisciplinary, applied research that addresses critical social, behavioral, economic and environmental problems primarily in Hawaiʻi and within the Asia-Pacific region. SSRI offers a comprehensive array of extramural support services to faculty, including the identification of funding sources to proposal development.


The Department of Sociology (SOC) studies society, social interaction, social organization and the consequences of these processes by combining scientific and humanistic perspectives. Students examine a vast range of topics, from social change and class structure, to conflict and deviant behavior. Graduates are prepared to succeed as academics, researchers, service providers, leaders and good citizens in their own societies.

Urban and Regional Planning

The Department of Urban and Regional Planning (DURP) attracts a diverse faculty and student body who respond to the global need for cooperative responses to environmental crises, resource scarcity and socio-political conflicts. DURP takes a “whole society” approach to planning and works with various partners to deepen social and human understanding with the aim of increasing resilience, sustainability and quality of life for all.

Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies

The Department of Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies (WGSS) provides a rigorous and integrated academic experience for those interested in feminist scholarship and gender studies. Students investigate and learn how gender intersects with race, class and other vectors of power, and delve into an interdisciplinary approach to the study of women, gender and sexuality, and how gender functions transnationally.