The Social Thought minor helps students to think better: to think more deeply and more critically, drawing on the intellectual resources of major thinkers from around the world. Emphasizing social and political thought from the 17th century to today, students will read widely to develop an original argument about social life, culminating in a thesis project that will be an original contribution to scholarship.

The minor builds on lower division introductory exposure to the history of modern ideas as embodied in a number of key texts by significant thinkers such as Descartes, Hobbes, Locke, Smith, Rousseau, Wollstonecraft, Mill, Marx, Weber, Darwin, Nietzsche, Freud, Du Bois, Said, and de Beauvoir. Building upon these foundations, students are encouraged to read widely and make connections to intellectuals who are not traditionally considered part of the “canon” of North Atlantic thought, especially thinkers from the Global South, indigenous communities, and historically marginalized groups.

Insisting that the best way to develop your thoughts is to write about them, the minor culminates in a two-term capstone project, a thesis of at least 5000 words, under the direction of a UCLA faculty mentor. Any student from any major is encouraged to join the Social Thought Minor. If you like to ask big questions about big ideas, and if you think you might want to try writing some answers to those questions, this is the minor for you.