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The Division of Arts and Humanities includes six academic departments: history, literature, music, philosophy, theatre and dance, and visual arts. Our departments are highly rated and notably innovative and interdisciplinary—artists, writers, historians and philosophers can work with scientists, engineers, mathematicians and technicians. Our majors, minors and graduate degree programs provide a foundation for other specialties, focused as they are on the entire record of human experience—its creation, design, interpretation and evaluation.

We offer students award-winning faculty, diverse and inclusive programs and collaborative research that positions them to gain excellent career opportunities. We also offer one of the quickest graduation timelines on campus.

UC San Diego’s Division of Arts and Humanities ranks No. 23 on U.S. News & World Report’s 2017 listing of Best Global Universities. Visit our Departments and Programs webpage for details.

Meanwhile, here is some food for thought about the arts and humanities from local, regional, national and global leaders:

UC San Diego Division of Arts and Humanities Dean Cristina Della Coletta:

The arts train us to think and speak, to move and see, to hear and live, to our fullest human potential. The humanities rigorously delve into fundamental questions of value, meaning and purpose. By shaping our understanding of the human condition, the arts and humanities commit us to greater accountability over our shared experiences.

California Governor Jerry Brown:

The human spirit thrives if creativity is recognized. Those who are in the performing arts – whether painting, or singing, or dancing or other forms of creativity – that really is the motive power, the spirit, the energy, the catalyst, that enables all these other activities to flourish in the context of a community, and a state and a country that really works.

Billionaire Mark Cuban:

I personally think there’s going to be a greater demand in 10 years for liberal arts majors.

The late Steve Jobs:

Technology alone is not enough—it’s technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities, that yields us the results that make our heart sing.

Philosopher Martha Nussbaum:

The humanities prepare students to be good citizens and help them understand a complicated, interlocking world. The humanities teach us critical thinking, how to analyze arguments and how to imagine life from the point of view of someone unlike yourself.


UC San Diego Arts and Humanities helps students make sense of the world.




  • History

    The Department of History explores the human experience through study of the globe’s regions, peoples and intellectual pursuits as they developed over time. The department is known internationally for its work on the histories of the Atlantic world, East Asia, Europe, the Hellenic world, Latin America, the Middle East, science and the United States.

    Mailcode: 0104
    Address: 5005 Humanities & Social Sciences Bldg.

    Pamela Radcliff, Chair: (858) 534-3040
    Main Office: (858) 534-1996
    Susan Bernal, Chief Administrative Officer: (858) 534-3614

  • Literature

    The Department of Literature is unique both conceptually and structurally in that it combines studies of language, literature, and culture in a single department. It is celebrated for taking a comparative world-cultures approach, for its teaching of creative writing and for its synthesis of scholarship, literary arts and translation.

    Mailcode: 0410
    Address: 110 Literature Building

    Yingjin Zhang, Chair: (858) 534-4618
    Main Office: (858) 534-3210
    Nancy Ho-Wu, Chief Administrative Officer: (858) 534-3216

  • Music

    Based in the state-of-the-art Conrad Prebys Music Center, with a faculty of distinguished scholars, performers, composers and computer music researchers, the Department of Music focuses on contemporary and experimental music and fosters an atmosphere of diversity, collaboration and interdisciplinary inquiry. 

    Mailcode: 0099
    Address: Conrad Prebys Music Center

    David Borgo, Chair: (858) 534- 3230
    Main Office: (858) 534-3230
    Barbara Jackson, Chief Administrative Officer: (858) 534-3231

  • Philosophy

    The Department of Philosophy is committed to interdisciplinary work. It excels, in particular, in philosophy of science, ethics  and history of philosophy – and is known internationally for integrating the latest findings from psychology and physics into cutting-edge scholarship. 

    Mailcode: 0119
    Address: 7002 Humanities & Social Sciences Bldg.

    Jonathan Cohen, Chair: (858) 534-6802
    Main Office: (858) 534-3070
    Debra Ambrose, Chief Administrative Officer: (858) 534-3074

  • Theatre & Dance

    The Department of Theatre and Dance teaches and practices innovative, eclectic and interdisciplinary work. It is also committed to attracting and sustaining a diverse group of students. According to U.S. News & World Report, the department has been among the nation's top three for more than a decade.

    Mailcode: 0344
    Address: 2550 Galbraith Hall

    Charles Means, Chair: (858) 534-2062
    Main Office: (858) 534-3791
    Gris Arellano, Chief Administrative Officer: (858) 534-1045

  • Visual Arts

    New synergies of art practice and avant-garde research are hallmarks of the Department of Visual Arts. One of the nation’s top-ranked programs and an innovative force in the international art community for nearly half a century, the department includes artists, theorists, historians and cultural practitioners in one collaborative environment.

    Mailcode: 0327
    Address: 216 Mandeville Center

    Jack Greenstein, Chair: (858) 534-0418
    Main Office: (858) 534-2860
    Jacqueline Griffin, Chief Administrative Officer: (858) 534-3740

Institute of Arts and Humanities

The Institute of Arts and Humanities provides the consolidated, yet richly diverse, resource for improving the effectiveness of humanities studies as it impacts our fast-evolving, interconnected world.   By buttressing the numerous and richly diverse small, independent programs currently operating throughout the Division, the Institute elevates the role of arts and humanities on campus through cross-divisional and cross-campus education programs, through initiatives dedicated to specific regional or cultural studies, and through agile lab-style research collaborations focused on multidisciplinary themes.

Mailcode: 0113
Address: Humanities & Social Sciences Building, 1st Floor ─ Tower Building

Luis Alvarez, Director: (858) 822-0131
Mark Hanna, Associate Director: (858) 822-1532
Katherine Levy, Chief Administrative Officer: (858) 534-0250

Institute for Practical Ethics

As one of the signature initiatives of the Division of Arts and Humanities, the Institute for Practical Ethics (IPE) is formed as an interdisciplinary research unit within the University of California, San Diego dedicated to the goal of creating socially responsible science and policy.

Craig A. Callender, Co-Director: (858) 822-4911
John H. Evans, Co-Director: (858) 534-4972
Helen Olow, Divisional Business Officer: (858) 534-0054

Academic Programs

Academic Research Centers