College of Letters and Science

Organization of the College

The College of Letters and Science is organized in five divisions, each led by a dean.

Humanities Division

The Humanities Division promotes — through scholarly inquiry and the transmission of ideas — sensitive, imaginative, and rigorous reflection on the human condition. Courses in literature help students understand the enduring power of texts both great and small — from cuneiform to manuscript to hypertext. Studies of nearly 100 foreign languages create a gateway to civilizations that span the globe and five millennia of human history. Philosophers offer training in the fundamental principles of logic and moral reasoning, and linguists — both theoretical and applied—illuminate the physiological, cognitive, and social aspects of human language. Art historians explore with students the forms and media through which humans have sought to express themselves and to challenge and make sense of their worlds. Programs in the humanities teach students to interpret texts with an informed sensitivity, to evaluate ideas critically, to write clearly and effectively about them, and to be able to ques­tion and discuss them with their peers.

Life Sciences Division

Faculty members and students in the Life Sciences Division play an essential role in unlocking the basic mecha­nisms of life at the most fundamental level. The geography of Southern California is conducive to life sciences research, since the diverse region is a natural laboratory for environmental biologists, plant and animal ecologists, and evolutionary biologists. Scientists in microbiology and molecular, cell, and developmental biology study embryo formation, cell signaling, and genetics. Neurochemists, neurophysiologists, psychobiologists, and behavior biologists study the underlying mechanisms of the neural basis of behavior. Physiological scientists examine the structure of muscle, hormonal control of behavior, and environmental conditions, such as weightlessness, that affect bone and muscle structure and function. Cognitive psychologists are concerned with the nature of knowledge — how people learn, remember, associate, and think; and how computers relate to human thought processes.

Physical Sciences Division

Departments in the Physical Sciences Division present the results of human efforts to understand the natural sci­ences and their physical aspects, including the properties and characteristics of matter and energy; the sc­ience of numbers and order; the origin and structure of the uni­verse, solar system, and Earth; and climatic change and its environmental impact. The bases for the physical sciences are the fundamental laws and proof of mathematics, chemistry, and physics. Studies in the physical sciences are experimental, theoretical, observational, and computational. Faculty members and students are interested in such topics as the nature and evolution of the galaxies; ozone depletion; nuclear winter; greenhouse effect; molecular recognition, interactions, design, synthesis, and structure; evolution of life and the continents; computational mathematics and symbolic logic; superconducting materials; plasma fusion, space plasmas; and high-energy accelerator physics.

Social Sciences Division

Majors in the Social Sciences Division help students make sense of the rapidly changing world around them by giving them the tools and sensibilities to appreciate the complex interplay of individuals, environment, culture, and economy that makes up their social world. They study human and animal evolution, as well as the trans­formation of human societies from small groups to states. They explore and debate the meaning of cultural, ethnic, and racial identities in historical and contemporary settings. Some majors challenge students to analyze the role of labor, markets, and exchange, as well as the dynamics of political choices, participation, and institutions. Communication, from interpersonal conversation to mass media, and its impact on personal and political behavior are studied in different fields, while the impact of place and the natural environment are examined through geography. Underlying all of these topics is a drive to capture the elusive nature of human behaviors and relationships through direct observation and the questioning of prevailing theories. In addition, students learn exciting and diverse methods of social and environmental analysis, such as archaeology, linguistics, statistics, game theory, remote sensing and imagery, textual analysis, ethnography, geographic information systems, fieldwork, and ecology.

Undergraduate Education Division

The Undergraduate Education Division serves as the campuswide advocate for undergraduate education, promoting academic success for the diverse undergraduate population at UCLA and ensuring options for all students to engage in a challenging array of educational opportunities, from foundational general education courses to advanced research and capstone projects.

Academic Advancement Program

The Academic Advancement Program (AAP) is a multiracial, multiethnic, and multicultural program that promotes academic excellence through academic counseling, learning sessions, and mentoring. Students are eligible for AAP if their academic profiles and personal backgrounds may impact their experience and their retention and graduation from UCLA.

Center for Community Learning

The Center for Community Learning serves faculty members, undergraduate students, and community partners through academic courses and programs, including credit-bearing internships, service learning courses, community-based research, AmeriCorps programs, and the Astin Scholars Program. It is home to the undergraduate minor in Civic Engagement.

Center for Educational Assessment

The Center for Educational Assessment (CEA) supplies information and analysis to support planning, program and policy development, and other decision making about undergraduate education at UCLA.

College Academic Counseling

College Academic Counseling (CAC) advises College undergraduate students on academic regulations and procedures, course selection, preparation for graduate and professional programs, selection of appropriate majors, and the options and alternatives available to enhance a UCLA education.

Honors Programs

Honors Programs offers academic programs and services designed to promote an outstanding honors education, including College honors, Honors Collegium, Departmental Scholar Program, individual majors program, honors scholarships, honors research stipends, and specialized counseling and support services for College honors students.

New Student and Transition Programs

New Student Orientation is the first introduction to UCLA for new students. During the three-day first-year student sessions; and the one- and two-day transfer student sessions, a unique set of comprehensive and engaging programs is offered to make student transitions to UCLA great ones.

Office of Instructional Development

The Office of Instructional Development (OID) supports undergraduate education by enhancing teaching and learning opportunities. Through grants, programs, and services, OID promotes the effective use of current and emerging instructional methodologies and technologies.

Scholarship Resource Center

The Scholarship Resource Center (SRC) is designed to help students in the search for private scholarships, regardless of financial aid eligibility. The center also houses the Phi Beta Kappa Office.

Transfer Alliance Program

The Transfer Alliance Program (TAP) seeks to strengthen academic ties between UCLA and honors programs in over 45 California community colleges, offering specialized transfer programs for participating students.

Undergraduate Education Initiatives

Undergraduate Education Initiatives are innovative programs designed for undergraduate students that feature best practices in undergraduate education, and attract the most distinguished faculty members from all UCLA areas. Programs include UCLA general education, Fiat Lux Freshman Seminar program, Cluster program, Undergraduate Student Initiated Education program, and Writing II program.

Undergraduate Research Centers

Undergraduate Research Centers (URC) — one for students in the arts, humanities, social sciences, and behavioral sciences; and one for students in science, engineering, and mathematics — exist as part of a continuing effort by the College to engage undergraduate students in research and creative activities at all levels.