Social Sciences Options

The study of social sciences at Caltech is a highly interdisciplinary endeavor, bringing together scholars in anthropology, economics, finance, law, psychology, and political science. Their work is connected by an underlying belief in the importance of rigorous theoretical, empirical, and experimental analysis in the study of economic and political institutions, and of how individuals behave in them. In particular, HSS's social scientists work to increase our understanding of the relationships between individual incentives, political institutions, and public policy—and to pass that understanding along to the next generation of great thinkers.

Undergraduate students who choose an option or minor in HSS can pursue their studies in any of the following areas. (For information on HSS's graduate degree programs, visit our graduate studies page.)

  • The Economics option provides students with an understanding of how economic institutions function. It offers an analytical and quantitative approach to economics that is seldom found at the undergraduate level; this emphasis on economic principles and modern methodologies prepares students for graduate study in economics or professional study in the fields of business, law, or economics.
  • The Business, Economics, and Management (BEM) option is one of just a few undergraduate business programs of its kind in the nation. The BEM curriculum exposes students to core ideas and concepts from many fields—including economics, political science, psychology, finance, and strategy—while providing them with the analytical tools needed to excel in graduate programs and the modern business environment. Particular emphasis is placed on strategy, finance, and law (in both free-market and highly politicized environments), as well as in the design of markets, organizations, and networks.
  • The Political Science option focuses on the substance and methods of modern political science, providing students with the tools to analyze, understand, and think critically about how representative democracies work, how electoral institutions are—and should be—run, how we choose to allocate public goods, and how societies regulate governments, private enterprises, and economies. The option emphasizes the understanding and use of formal tools like game theory, social choice theory, and political theory to probe all facets of modern political science.

For more information about the undergraduate social science options, contact: