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Social Science Research

Social science research benefits society in innumerable ways. Social science research goes beyond answering questions of academic interest, shedding light on social, cultural, racial, political, and economic issues with real-world consequences.

UMass Amherst researchers across many schools, colleges, and departments study critical societal topics, often working hand-in-hand with community members and organizations to ensure the relevance of the research questions they investigate. Challenging convention, they strive to understand where we came from, where we’re going, and how to improve quality of life for the people of Massachusetts and beyond. 


Professor of History Christian Appy

The archive of political activist Daniel Ellsberg, housed at UMass Amherst, offers researchers unparalleled access to some of the most critical episodes and issues facing American society.

Transportation and Regional Planning

Research Driving Transportation Improvements

In close partnership with the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT), the UMass Transportation Center (UMTC) advances transportation mobility and safety through research, training, and workforce development.

Research to Imagine a Better Future for Communities

Faculty and students in UMass Amherst’s Department of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning are envisioning more beautiful, healthy, livable neighborhoods and regions through community-engaged research.

Moving the Valley Forward

In partnership with the Pioneer Valley Transit Authority, UMass Amherst faculty and students are conducting community-engaged research to enhance environmental justice via access to transit.



Envisioning a Better Digital World

The Initiative for Digital Public Infrastructure (iDPI) at UMass Amherst leads research on the civic and social role of internet platforms as well as reimagines social media for the public good.

Studying the Evolution of Social Media Communities

Jasmine Mangat ’23 is a computer science and economics major at UMass Amherst who has carried out original research examining how communities, known as subreddits, evolve on the popular social media platform Reddit.

Uncovering Human Stories Behind Online Disinformation

UMass Amherst Associate Professor Jonathan Corpus Ong, one of the country’s leading scholars of online disinformation, goes behind the scenes of the business of fake news production.



Promoting Human Security Around the World

The Human Security Lab at UMass Amherst conducts research in service of protecting vulnerable populations from violence, conflict, human rights abuses, economic inequality, and other threats to human freedom, dignity, and physical safety.

Governing the Empires of the 21st Century

UMass Amherst School of Public Policy’s Alasdair Roberts explores the immense challenges of leading the world's superstates.


Business and Society

Amazon: The Ubiquitous Ultimate Service Brand

In a new book, UMass Amherst media studies scholar Emily West examines how Amazon infiltrated every aspect of life while fading into the background.

Examining 'Invisibility' Among Blue-Collar Workers

UMass Amherst sociology graduate student Brandi Perri used her distinctive background as a former janitor to study the experiences of custodial crew members within a newly corporatized educational system.

A Work Revolution?

UMass Amherst faculty share what has been learned as a result of the natural experiment in remote work prompted by COVID-19.