A Letter from the Associate Dean

Where does social science fit within the College of Letters & Science at UW-Madison? Right in the center of everything! 

Social science involves the systematic and evidence-based study of the social world — encompassing all of the political, economic, legal, technological and cultural ideas, structures and processes that we create to live together as a society. Put simply, social scientists want to understand how social life works, in order to help social life work better

Chances are, you’re a budding social scientist but just don’t know it yet. Are you interested in the world around you? Are you drawn to figuring out what makes individuals, systems and societies tick? Do you ponder not only the “how” but also the “why”? And do you dream of making a difference to improve the quality of life for all? If so, a social science major or certificate might be for you.

Our social science departments and schools within the College of Letters & Science are ranked among the best in the world, no matter which aspect of social sciences most interests you: 

  • Are you interested in the way human behavior is studied in both theory and practice? Try some classes from our award-winning Economics, Psychology and Sociology departments. 

If you study the social sciences, you won’t be alone — four out of the five most popular majors at UW-Madison are social science fields: Economics, Political Science, Psychology and Communication Arts. Our students are broad, interdisciplinary thinkers who combine what they learn in their social science classes with insights from the arts and humanities and natural and mathematical sciences as well. They "learn how to learn" through careful study, exploration, research and experiment. And they carry their curiosity and knowledge with them after they graduate, whether to the business world, the nonprofit sector or graduate school. 

Consider becoming a social scientist at UW-Madison — a world of opportunity awaits!

– Greg Downey, Associate Dean for Social Sciences