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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. Then check out our cutting-edge research, excellent funding opportunities, inclusive community, and extensive professional development programming for yourself and see why UC Merced is your new first choice for graduate education.

Find more general degree information and guidelines here. To request more information about any program, please fill out our Inquiry Form.

Available Graduate Degrees

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 progrma (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.
The engineering sciences are undergoing a vast and fundamental metamorphosis from isolated disciplines to more integrative and multidisciplinary topics. Master of Science (M.S.) and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degrees with emphases in Biological Engineering and Small-scale Technologies (BEST) are offered. Research projects are available on topics ranging from fundamental characterization of materials to tissue engineering, and coursework will provide a background in the tools and integration of modern materials.
Chemistry and Chemical Biology 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.
The Cognitive and Information Sciences (CIS) Ph.D. program offers 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.
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.
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.
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.
The Master of Management Professional Degree Program
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
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.
  • 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
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. 
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.
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.

Public Health graduate students at UC Merced advance their careers by pursuing a research-based Ph.D. with 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.

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Public Health Polices & Procedures

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
QSB Policies & Procedures
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.

* An emphasis within the Individual Graduate Program (IGP).


Shot of the UC Merced campus