Dear current and prospective Bruins,

I am delighted to be writing to you today to invite you to explore the wide range of undergraduate courses and opportunities available at the Luskin School.

Are you looking for interesting, intellectually-stimulating courses focused on understanding societal problems and their potential solutions? Do you want to develop the knowledge and skills that will help you make a positive difference locally, nationally, or globally? If so, I encourage you to enroll in our courses and join our major in Public Affairs.

Public Affairs is a relatively new UCLA major that provides a rigorous, multidisciplinary foundation in the social sciences. The required coursework covers theories from economics, political science, psychology, and sociology; statistical and qualitative methods; and skills in data analysis, policy analysis, and communication. Students can focus their upper-division elective coursework on topics of particular interest to them, such as homelessness, immigration, criminal justice, the environment, education, and health. We aim to prepare students to contribute effectively to a wide range of professions in the public and private sectors right after college, and to excel in the very best graduate and professional schools.

What I think you’ll find especially exciting about the Public Affairs major is its required experiential learning capstone  in the senior year. The Public Affairs capstone combines a multi-quarter internship in a community or government organization with a seminar series in which students develop a project based on what they’ve learned in their classes and their internship. Most of these capstone projects will take place in the greater Los Angeles area, providing an amazing opportunity for undergraduates to contribute to our global city in a sustained and substantial way.

The professors who teach Public Affairs courses come from a wide range of academic disciplines and the three departments—Public Policy, Social Welfare, and Urban Planning—that make up the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs. These professors are nationally and internationally renowned scholars in areas such as poverty and inequality, housing and homelessness, immigration, urban design and development, international development, transportation, climate change, environmental justice, child development and welfare, aging, health care and health policy, juvenile and criminal justice, and education policy.

If you are curious about the Public Affairs major or any of the minors in the Luskin School, please do not hesitate to reach out to our Public Affairs undergraduate advisors to learn more. I also have office hours that you can sign up for here. I’d love to chat with you about your interests and aspirations.

Also, this fall I am teaching one of the required introductory courses for the Public Affairs major (PA 60: Using Data to Learn about Society) and I hope you’ll consider enrolling in my course. Every year, I look forward to sharing my passion for applied research methods and data analysis with undergraduates (Seriously!).

On behalf of the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs, welcome to our courses, our major and minors, and to our School community. We look forward to meeting you!

My warmest wishes for a wonderful undergraduate experience at UCLA,

Meredith Phillips, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Public Policy and Sociology and Chair of Undergraduate Programs in Public Affairs

Meredith Phillips

Chair, Undergraduate Programs in Public Affairs
Associate Professor of Public Policy and Sociology


Ph.D. in Sociology, Northwestern University
M.A. in Human Development & Social Policy, Northwestern University
A.B. in Human Biology and Spanish Literature, Brown University

Areas of Interest:

Phillips studies the causes and consequences of educational inequality. She specializes in the causes of ethnic and socioeconomic disparities in educational success and how to reduce those disparities.

Phillips co-founded EdBoost, a charitable, educational non-profit whose mission is to reduce educational inequality by making high-quality supplemental educational services accessible to children from all family backgrounds.  Phillips also co-founded the Los Angeles Education Research Institute (LAERI), a Los Angeles-based research-practice partnership that collaborates with L.A. Unified.

Research & Publications



(310) 794-5475