Area of Focus
  • Behavioral & Social Sciences
Degrees Offered
  • B.A.
Academic Division
  • Social Sciences
  • Community Studies

Program overview

Founded in 1969, community studies was a national pioneer in the field of experiential education, and its community-focused learning model has been copied widely by other colleges and universities. Community studies was also a pioneer in addressing principles of social justice, specifically inequities arising from race, class, and gender dynamics in society.

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Learning Experience

The major offers students the opportunity to combine on- and off-campus learning. On campus, students complete topical courses and a core curriculum enabling them to identify, analyze, and help construct sites for social justice movements, nonprofit sector advocacy, public policy making, and social enterprise. Off campus, students spend six months participating in and analyzing the work of a social justice organization. This intensive immersion is a distinguishing feature of the community studies major.

For more details, see the Community Studies website.

Study and Research Opportunities
  • B.A. in community studies
  • The full time field study represents a significant opportunity for individual research on a social justice issue involving theory and practice.

First-Year (Freshman) Requirements

High school students who plan to major in community studies at UC Santa Cruz should complete courses required for UC admission. Prospective majors are encouraged to become involved in their own communities, for example through neighborhood, church, or school-based projects.

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Transfer Requirements

This is a non-screening major. The community studies major easily accommodates students transferring to UCSC during the fall quarter.  Transfer students should complete general education requirements before arriving. Those planning the community studies major will find it useful to obtain a background in politics, sociology, psychology, history, anthropology, economics, health, geography, or community action. Transfer students interested in the major should meet with the Commun¬≠ity Studies Program Advisor as early as possible to develop their academic plan of study incorporating topical courses and the core curriculum.

Transfer course agreements and articulation between the University of California and California community colleges can be accessed on the ASSIST website.

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Internships and Career Opportunities

  • Community development
  • Affordable housing
  • Community organizing
  • Economics
  • Education
  • Journalism
  • Labor organizing
  • Law
  • Medicine
  • Mental health
  • Non-profit advocacy
  • Nursing
  • Public administration
  • Public health
  • Social entrepreneurship
  • Social work
  • Sociology
  • Urban planning

Program Contact



apartment 213 Oakes College 
phone (831) 459-2371