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Academics & Research

Explore the links below to see the graduate degrees UC Merced offers and learn how you can become part of our growing campus community. Find more general degree information and guidelines here

Select the graduate program below to learn more about it. To request more information about any program, please fill out our Inquiry Form.

Our graduate programs are hosting various webinars and virtual information sessions to help prospective students learn more about applying for Fall 2023 admission. View the schedule and register here.

Asterisk (*) Denotes M.S./M.A. offered only along the way to Ph.D.

Academic Graduate Degrees

Professor Arnold Kim lecturing a class at the whiteboard

Applied mathematics involves the use of analytical and computational mathematics to solve real-world problems. Its core is based on modeling, analysis and scientific computing. The Applied Mathematics graduate program (M.S., Ph.D.) offers opportunities for students interested in multidisciplinary mathematics projects at the interface with life sciences, physical sciences, engineering and social sciences. Applied Math coursework provides training in the fundamental tools of applied mathematics, including ordinary and partial differential equations, asymptotic and perturbation methods, numerical analysis and scientific computing. An explicit goal of applied mathematical sciences is to contribute significantly to another discipline. Hence, the objective of applied mathematics is to foster multidisciplinary research and education.

More About Applied Mathematics

View the Applied Mathematics brochure

View the Applied Mathematics video

Applied Mathematics Policies & Procedures

Professor Victor Munoz and student pipetting in a lab

The Bioengineering graduate program at UC Merced offers individualized research-based programs of study in synergistic areas of Bioengineering, leading to the Master of Science or Doctor of Philosophy degree. Our emphasis focuses on the cellular and biomolecular aspects of Bioengineering in which our faculty has strong and vibrant research programs that enjoy national and international recognition, and in which graduate students will enjoy the unique opportunity to train in the most recent advances of this exciting area. Research projects are available on topics ranging from the more molecular aspects to studies at the cellular and organismal levels, as well as on the development of novel imaging and instrumentation techniques for biomedical research and diagnosis. 

More About Bioengineering

Our Faculty

View the Bioengineering brochure

View the Bioengineering video

Bioengineering Policies & Procedures

Students in a lab

Chemistry and Biochemistry is a research-based graduate program focused on interdisciplinary, cutting-edge research. We offer Ph.D. degrees in four emphasis tracks: physical chemistry, organic chemistry, computational chemistry and chemical biology.

More About Chemistry and Biochemistry

Check out the Chemistry and Biochemistry brochure

Check out the Chemistry and Biochemistry video

Chemistry and Biochemistry Policies & Procedures

Student in front of computer

The Cognitive and Information Sciences (CIS) Ph.D. and M.S. programs offer students interdisciplinary training in cognitive science with an emphasis on computation, technology and applications. This emphasis distinguishes it from other cognitive science graduate programs. UC Merced researchers view intelligent behaviors not just as emerging solely from neural processes, but from interactions between brain, body and environment. Thus intelligent behaviors may also emerge from group and social interactions situated in their economic and technological milieu. The word “information” in CIS denotes the program's multiscale perspective on cognition and emphases on computational approaches and applications towards developing technologies that foster, and even aspire to emulate, intelligent behavior.

More About Cognitive and Information Sciences

View the Cognitive and Information Sciences brochure

View the Cognitive and Information Sciences video

CIS Policies and Procedures

Professor Kurt Schnier  lecturing a class in front of whiteboard

The Ph.D. program in economics at UC Merced prepares students to contribute to a discipline that is increasingly problem-centered, requiring mastery of frontier quantitative methods and a new wave of economic theory incorporating insights from multiple perspectives. This spirit is embodied by our young, vibrant, and research-active faculty conducting research in a variety of areas, including development, migration, labor economics, behavioral and experimental economics, innovation and culture.

More about Economics

View the Economics brochure

View the Economics video

Economics Policies & Procedures

*M.A. offered only along the way to Ph.D.

Student with robot

Graduate studies in electrical engineering and computer science (EECS) offers individualized, strongly research-oriented courses of study. The EECS graduate emphasis area is organized to allow students to pursue cutting-edge research in modern fields of electrical engineering and computer science, emphasizing research and preparing students for leadership positions in industrial labs, government, or academia. Master of Science (M.S.) and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degrees with emphases in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science are offered. The EECS graduate emphasis area is highly cross-disciplinary with connections to faculty from all three schools at UC Merced. In particular, strong collaborations with the graduate programs in environmental engineering and cognitive sciences are possible.

More About Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Check out the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science brochure

Check out the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science video

EECS Policies and Procedures

three photos of individual in the Sierras with snow

The Environmental Systems graduate program trains students to tackle the most challenging problems facing our planet -- water, soil, climate, energy and resources. Through understanding the Earth as an integrated system of atmosphere, hydrosphere, lithosphere and biosphere that intersects human society, ES students are uniquely poised to address critical research needs of the environment and its sustainability. Graduates are prepared for careers in academia, research, government and industry that integrate expertise from across engineering, natural sciences and social sciences.

More About Environmental Systems

View the Environmental Systems brochure

View the Environmental Systems video

Environmental Systems Policies & Procedures

Students dressed up on the lawn in the quad near Beginnings Sculpture

The Interdisciplinary Humanities M.A. and Ph.D. program offers individualized, research-based courses of study that explore cultures in both their local manifestations and in a global context. Coursework and reserach can incorporate anthropology, the arts, history, and language and literature. Students explore and apply the methods by which historians, literary scholars, anthropologists, artists, philosophers, scholars of cultural studies, and other humanists and social scientists examine societies and cultures.  Thus the program exposes students to many humanities professions and trains students to engage the public.

More About Interdisciplinary Humanitites

Check out the Interdisciplinary Humanities brochure

Check out the Interdisciplinary Humanities video

Interdisciplinary Humanities Policies & Procedures

Students study inside the Social Sciences and Management Building

The MIST Ph.D. in Management of Complex Systems (MCS) is designed to educate a new generation of management scholars with depth in analytical methods and a focus on complexity as the driving force behind issues in management of human-technology systems and in management of coupled human-natural systems.

The program draws upon the multidisciplinary composition of MIST faculty and the interdisciplinary spirit of UC Merced to deliver a distinctive educational experience – one that provides students the flexibility to cross-breed coursework and mentorship with other domains of engineering, science, and social science. Likewise, the program does not require prospective students to have any particular undergraduate degree.

More about Management of Complex Systems

View the Management of Complex Systems brochure

View the Manegement of Complex Systems video

Management of Complex Systems Policies & Procedures

Individuals at the vernal pools natural reserve

The Master of Management Professional Degree

The Master of Management (M.M.) 12-month program offered by MIST faculty will provide students with fluency in managerial thinking and practice, enhancing their readiness to fit and succeed in an organization within the private or public sector. The M.M. curriculum is designed for recent graduates looking to complement their undergraduate degree with real-world management knowledge and skills and draws on concepts from business, engineering, natural and social sciences, computing, and data analytics. 

Curriculum Topics:

  • Critical thinking for decision-making in complex systems
  • Technology-enabled services
  • Sustainability and natural resource management
  • Entrepreneurship, innovation and strategy
  • Data analytics: spatial, web, networks
  • Leadership, diversity and communication

More About Master of Management

View the Master of Management brochure

View the Master of Management video

Master of Management Policies & Procedures

Professor Christopher Viney teaching students

The Materials and Biomaterials Science and Engineering (MBSE) graduate group offers a multidisciplinary research and training program for master-level and doctoral students who want to be at the forefront of the modern revolutions in materials science technology.

The program applies the tools of nanotechnology to create transformative nano materials with exciting new properties through the implementation of nano-scale and/or bio-inspired devices for applications in human health, green energy, artificial intelligence, and environmental sensing. MBSE students will be exposed to, and benefit from, a thoroughly multidisciplinary training that synergistically incorporates elements from engineering, physics, chemistry and biology.

More about Materials and Biomaterials Science and Engineering

View the MBSE brochure

View the MBSE video

MBSE Policies & Procedures

Professor Gerardo Diaz performing plasma gasification research in a lab

The graduate program in Mechanical Engineering is dedicated to the education of a new generation of mechanicists and researchers of areas related to mechanical engineering who aim to master the fundamentals of themechanical sciences -- which include disciplines such as continuum mechanics, fluid mechanics, heat and mass transfer, energy conversion, etc. -- while being exposed to the forefront of research techniques, methodologies and equipment to solve problems that are relevant to modern society.

Mechanical Engineering Research Areas

  • Applied Controls
  • Energy Conversion and Storage
  • Fluid and Plasma Dynamics
  • Heat Transfer
  • Innovative Design
  • Mechatronics
  • Solar Energy
  • Thermal Science and Engineering
  • Tribology
  • Thermal and Electrochemical Energy

More About Mechanical Engineering

View the Mechanical Engineering brochure

View the Mechanical Engineering video

Mechanical Engineering Policies & Procedures

Professor Linda Hirst and student looking at a petri dish

Research in Physics graduate studies spans the traditional disciplines of physics, as well as related interdisciplinary areas. Emphases include atomic, molecular, and optical physics, condensed matter physics, biophysics, materials physics, nanoscience, and energy science.

Physics graduate students are trained in 1) a broad foundation in the fundamentals of physics, 2) experimental, theoretical, and/or computational skills necessary to conduct independent research, 3) new, interdisciplinary research areas, and 4) communication of physics concepts and scientific results for expert and non-expert audiences.

More About Physics

View the Physics brochure

View the Physics video

Physics Policies & Procedures

Professor Nate Monroe and other individual standing at doorway

UC Merced’s Ph.D. program in Political Science is distinctive in a number of ways. Rather than traditional subfields, our program offers two concentrations for training and research: Political Institutions/Political Economy and Political Cognition & Behavior. This structure encourages interdisciplinary research and our graduate students frequently interact with faculty and researchers from a variety of disciplines during their training. The small size of our program guarantees that students have unparalleled one-on-one faculty mentoring with respect to research, training and professional development.  

recent study of political science in the University of California system found that UC Merced's political science faculty have the highest average rate of research productivity in the entire UC system. Our faculty regularly publish their cutting-edge research in the very best journals and book presses in the discipline.  

All of our graduate students are offered funding in the form of teaching or research assistantships as well as summer support.

More About Political Science

View the Political Science brochure

View the Political Science video

Political Science Policies & Procedures

*M.A. offered only along the way to Ph.D.

Professor Anna Song holding a cigarette

The Psychological Sciences graduate program emphasizes a strong base of coursework, including methods, statistics and a one year professional seminar covering the breadth of psychology; this base is then supplemented by more specialized work in one or more of these three areas: developmental psychology, health psychology and quantitative psychology.

Students are actively engaged in research from the start of their graduate training through to the end of their doctoral work. This research emphasizes close work with a faculty mentor, with increasing independence over the years of training.

More About Psychological Sciences

View the Psychological Sciences brochure

View the Psychological Sciences video

Psychological Sciences Policies & Procedures

*M.A.offered only along the way to Ph.D.

Professor lecturing a class

Public Health graduate students at UC Merced advance their careers by pursuing a research-based Ph.D. Our diverse faculty training students to conduct transdisciplinary, community-based research to address health issues that areimportant to vulnerable populations in rural areas. 

Some examples of current research areas include chronic disease prevention, reducing health disparities, environmental health, Latino health, cancer, and health promotion and behavior change. These areas of study are part of our emphasis in Prevention Sciences, a transdisciplinary course of study that gives students the skills and training they need to address pressing public health problems.

More About Public Health

View the Public Health brochure

View the Public Health video

Public Health Policies and Procedures

Three students in a lab

Advances in techniques and theory that bridge molecular and ecosystems scales have greatly enabled the potential for integration across the life sciences. Biologists' ability to gather and process large amounts of quantitative data in field and laboratory settings is advancing hand-in-hand with theory and modeling that better explain the diversity of life on Earth. Master of Science (M.S.) and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degrees are offered.

The QSB doctoral degree at UC Merced provides individualized, research-based courses of study. Research projects are available on diverse topics including:

  • Biomolecular interactions
  • Genomics and proteomics
  • Cellular interactions and signal transduction
  • Organ systems and whole animals (both vertebrate and invertebrate)
  • Comparative ecology, evolution and organismal biology
  • Computational biology

More About Quantitative and Systems Biology

View the QSB brochure

View the QSB video

QSB Policies & Procedures

Students sitting in class

UC Merced offers world class graduate training in Sociology, with nationally recognized faculty studying topics at the cutting edge of the discipline.

The UC Merced graduate program in Sociology is distinctive in several ways. First, it provides intensive mentoring to graduate students, with personalized attention given to small cohorts of accepted students. Second, our program offers a unique set of substantive foci within an interdisciplinary environment. Our faculty study a unique combination of topics, including social inequality (race, class, gender, sexuality), political participation and social movements, health, immigration and education, that are synergistic and relevant to contemporary issues facing the nation and beyond.

The program is designed to train students in research careers in both higher education and public and private agencies outside of academia, with training on a range of substantive topics and research methodologies that will provide an excellent foundation for a variety of careers.

More About Sociology

View the Sociology brochure

View the Sociology video

Sociology Policies & Procedures

*M.A. offered only along the way to Ph.D.