The University of Massachusetts Amherst

SBS Departments

The College of Social and Behavioral Sciences (SBS) maintains disciplinary excellence and embraces interdisciplinary opportunities in multiple arenas. Our commitment to excellence is grounded in our diverse academic departments, which educate students to think broadly, incisively, and creatively; to engage within and beyond the campus; and to develop themselves for success over their lifetimes and throughout society. SBS teaches students modern skills including creativity, problem-solving, intercultural competence, and oral and written communication in order to meet the needs of the innovation economy. SBS is also dedicated to positioning students for success in the knowledge economy, and we continually look to update and improve our students’ educational experiences inside and outside the classroom. The SBS community believes that social science matters, and effectively engaging with and improving society requires a deep appreciation of the social, political, economic, and cultural underpinnings of the contemporary world.


Anthropology is the study of people of the past and present in their cultural, biological and material contexts. From human evolution to endangered languages, cultural diversity to health disparities, Anthropology seeks answers to some of today’s most complex questions. How are we alike?  What makes us different? Where are we headed? Our students and faculty are engaged in cutting-edge education and research to further our understanding of the world around us.

Department of Anthropology

217 Machmer Hall
240 Hicks Way
Amherst, MA, 01003
(413) 545-2221

Visit the Anthropology website


Communication is a fundamental social and cultural process, one that’s essential to human interaction and learning. The UMass Amherst Department of Communication emphasizes theories of communication and critical thinking. As a Communication major, you’ll develop analytical abilities that help you understand how communication works, whether in an argument between friends, a political speech, communication through social media or the web, cross-cultural interactions, or a film or television program. The department also offers a certificate in Media Literacy.

Department of Communication

N308 Integrative Learning Center
650 N. Pleasant St.
Amherst, MA 01003
(413) 545-1311

Visit the Communication website


Economics is the study of human energy - how we organize our efforts to get what we want. Economics contains two broad sub-disciplines.  Microeconomics analyzes the individual behavior of households, business firms, and governmental entities.  Macroeconomics focuses upon aggregate economic performance of nations and their interdependencies in the global economy. The Economics department at UMass Amherst has also gained a reputation for being the single most important heterodox economics department in the country.

Department of Economics

Crotty Hall
412 N. Pleasant St
Amherst, MA 01003
(413) 545-2590

Visit the Economics website


The Journalism major is based on the premise that journalists are essential in a democratic society because they inform its citizens, give voice to the voiceless and hold the powerful accountable.

The major emphasizes both the academic heart of journalism and its practice through its courses in history, law, ethics, philosophy and media criticism, as well as newswriting, reporting and multimedia journalism.

The Journalism Department has a distinguished faculty, including winners of the Pulitzer Prize and the Freedom Forum Journalism Teacher of the Year Award. Our alumni work at dozens of media outlets around the world, such as The New York Times, The Boston Globe, National Public Radio, The Associated Press and NBC News

Department of Journalism

S414 Integrative Learning Center
650 North Pleasant Street
Amherst, MA 01003
(413) 545-1376

Visit the Journalism website

Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning

The Department of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning (LARP) educates students on sustainable solutions to complex problems. It focuses on visual, physical, ecological and cultural problems encountered in the urbanizing landscape. Its primary objective is to educate and train professionals who are prepared to engage future design problems and advance the state of the art. A diverse and internationally recognized faculty is involved with education and research activities in Landscape Planning, Design, and Computer Applications.

LARP also offers graduate certificates and a variety of dual degree programs.

Department of Landscape Architecture & Regional Planning

210 Design Building
Amherst, MA 01003
(413) 545-2255

Visit the Landscape Architecture website

Political Science

Political Science majors study political life in the varied contexts in which it occurs - institutions, social movements, power relations, elections, political culture, ideas, war, and more. The major and minor emphasize issues central to public life. The curriculum develops skills in comprehension and in analysis of complex arguments and phenomena. 

The Department of Political Science is the largest in the College with more than 35 faculty and two majors. Many undergraduates have the opportunity to work with faculty on research projects through the department's research fellowship program. 

In addition to a traditional Master's program, the department offers an accelerated (4+1) master's option.

Department of Political Science

Thompson Hall
200 Hicks Way
Amherst, MA 01003
(413) 545-2438

Visit the Political Science website

Public Policy and Administration

Part of the School of Public Policy, the hub of interdisciplinary public policy research, teaching, and engagement at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. SPP attracts high-caliber national and international students to its programs. Home to a growing number of research initiatives, SPP houses the National Center for Digital Government, Science & Technology in Society and the Public Engagement Project.

In addition to a traditional master's program, the department offers an accelerated (4+1) master's option.

School of Public Policy

Thompson Hall 2nd Floor
200 Hicks Way
Amherst MA 01003
(413) 545-3940

Visit the Public Policy and Administration website

Resource Economics

The Department of Resource Economics tackles complex questions about how to use environmental, natural and human resources. By researching important societal problems and gathering and analyzing data, the major offers policy solutions that move the needle on today's most pressing issues. Resource Economics examines how firms and consumers make production, consumption, and investment choices. The department is renowned for its rigorous nature, team-based learning, impassioned faculty, and flexibility. Both graduate and undergraduate students are invited to choose a focus that fits their interests and career goals. 

Department of Resource Economics

Stockbridge Hall
80 Campus Center Way
Amherst, MA 01003
(413) 545-5732

Visit the Resource Economics website

Social Thought and Political Economy

The Social Thought and Political Economy Program (STPEC) is an interdisciplinary undergraduate program that encourages students to engage in a critical examination of society and to develop their own capacities for critical reading, writing, and thinking. STPEC students cross disciplinary lines to confront fundamental questions often ignored or neglected by traditional academic thought. 

STPEC courses may deal with issues such as freedom and the state, structural inequality in the economy, work and work relations, the relationship of Western to non-Western cultures, the interrelationship of racism, sexism, and class oppression, the psychodynamics of politics, and theories of social change.

Social Thought and Political Economy

301 Machmer Hall
240 Hicks Way
Amherst, MA 01003
(413) 545-0043

Visit the Social Thought and Political Economy website


Sociology encompasses studies of the self and the intersection of personal biography with social forces, of social institutions like the family and workplaces, of collective behavior and social movements, and of world systems such as globalization. Sociology examines theoretical arguments with empirical data.

The Department of Sociology at UMass is among the highest ranked in the country by U.S. News and World Report, and is renowned for its applied curriculum, groundbreaking research, and outstanding advising. 

Department of Sociology

Thompspon Hall
200 Hicks Way
Amherst, MA 01003
(413) 545-0577

Visit the Sociology website