History & Mission

The UC Irvine School of Social Ecology strives to develop future leaders equipped with solid communication, critical thinking, analytical, technological, and interpersonal skills through experiential field study opportunities.  These opportunities prepare students to tackle the pressing issues confronting business and community leaders locally, regionally, nationally, and globally.   Since 1970, Field Study has been a requirement for students seeking a baccalaureate degree from Social Ecology and is an element of the school’s commitment to training future leaders.   

Field Study is designed to provide students with the opportunity to

  • examine social problems
  • evaluate the merit of ideas presented in the classroom
  • learn and practice methods of naturalistic field research, data collection, theory testing, or program evaluation, and social intervention
  • develop interpersonal and professional skills and technical competencies
  • participate in the ongoing activities of an organization

Through field study, upper-division students and faculty engage with our community to study issues, build capacity and impact social change.  Community partners gain valuable insight and fresh perspectives through engaging with the students they place in their organization, while building organizational capacity at the same time.  They impact the students’ learning by sharing their organization’s mission, history and objectives.  Many field study students continue to volunteer with the organization after their field study is completed.