University of Southern California


Social and Behavioral Sciences

To add or update a center/institute, please fill out our Research Centers & Institutes Form.

American Language Institute

The American Language Institute (ALI) provides English language instruction, assessment, and resources to support the academic and professional success of non-native speakers of English pursuing degrees at USC. The ALI offers English language courses for those students who want to improve their English as well as those who are required to take classes as a result of taking the International Student English (ISE) Exam. The ALI is also responsible for testing and providing English language instruction for the university’s international teaching assistants.

Annenberg Innovation Lab

The Annenberg Innovation Lab is a space where students, faculty, researchers and business entrepreneurs can collaborate on projects that have practical application and social impact.

Annenberg Networks Network

ANN supports a variety of efforts designed to develop social network theory, undertakes empirical research projects to test network theories, and sponsors advanced workshops focused on network theory development as well as a seminar series featuring distinguished network scholars from around the world.

Archaeology Research Center

Archaeology deepens our understanding of peoples and societies across space and time, in all parts of the world, while expanding our knowledge of issues relevant in contemporary society. Archaeologists interpret material culture and action from our shared human past using a range of tools and approaches whether the discovery occurs with trowel in hand, or through laboratory analysis, artifact study, remote sensing or by documenting heritage.

Bedrosian Center on Governance

The Bedrosian Center offers a number of discussion series open to the public focusing on pressing issues the nation faces. Each of our public programs is designed to engage attendees in dialogue on issues of governance. We practice transparency by sharing most of our events online through YouTube and our website. We practice collaborative governance through partnerships with practitioners and nonprofit institutions in public forums and in online spaces.

Brain and Creativity Institute

The design of the Brain and Creativity Institute (BCI) reflects its mission. It sits next to the modern laboratories of the Dornsife Neuroimaging Center (DNI), which are dedicated to the scientific investigation of mind and brain, and to one of the oldest instruments dedicated to the exploration of the human mind: a classical auditorium devoted to music and theater performances, literary readings, and scientific presentations.

Brittingham Social Enterprise Lab

The USC Marshall Brittingham Social Enterprise Lab (BSEL) provides opportunities for USC students, faculty, and other individuals to use business principles to alleviate poverty. Through education, programs, events, and career development, we inspire the next generation of enlightened business leaders and social entrepreneurs.

California Civic Engagement Project

The CCEP conducts research to inform policy and on-the-ground efforts for a more engaged and representative democracy, improving the social and economic quality of life in communities. The CCEP is engaging in pioneering research to identify disparities in civic participation across place and population. Its research informs and empowers a wide range of policy and organizing efforts aimed at reducing disparities in state and regional patterns of well-being and opportunity.

Casden Institute for the Study of the Jewish Role in American Life

The Casden Institute supports research that aims to spur dialogue and achieve greater understanding not only about what it means to be Jewish in America but what it means to be American in a pluralistic society.

Center for Artificial Intelligence in Society

The Center for Artificial Intelligence in Society is a joint venture between the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work and the USC Viterbi School of Engineering. The center conducts research in artificial intelligence to help solve the world’s most difficult social problems, with current efforts focused on ending homelessness, fighting substance abuse, preventing suicide, improving access to health care, and increasing social responses to climate change.

Center for Diversity and Democracy

The CDD works with faculty members, Ph.D. students, undergraduate students, and community partners to enhance, explore and develop strong connections between efforts of university-community civic engagement and the diversity of university faculty and students. In short, we are committed to making stronger a diverse set of voices at the university, while enabling a wide variety of community members and organizations to engage the university as equal partners towards equity and social justice

Center for Economic and Social Research

The Center for Economic and Social Research (CESR) is dedicated to discovering how people around the globe live, think, interact, age, invest, and make important, life-changing decisions. Our in-depth research and analysis are deepening the understanding of human behavior in a wide range of economic and social contexts.

Center for Education, Identity and Social Justice

Established in 2017, the Center for Education, Identity and Social Justice has a compelling interest in eradicating all forms of discrimination based on the intersection of an individual’s identities that include religion, gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity and disability. Using rigorous research and legal analysis, we empower educators to utilize laws and policies in order to identify and extricate bias and unequal distributions of power within educational institutions.

Center for Effective Organizations

The Center for Effective Organization’s pioneering research in the areas of organizational design and effectiveness has earned it an international reputation for research that bridges the gap between academic theory and management practice.

Center for Empowered Learning and Development with Technology (CELDTECH)

Established in 2017, CELDTECH is a transdisciplinary research center that promotes equity in digital learning and development among urban populations in formal and informal contexts. CELDTECH takes an intersectional approach to the study of learning with technology and foregrounds the nexus between students’ histories, cultural assets and developmental needs.

Center for Engagement-Driven Global Education

Center EDGE fuels interdisciplinary partnerships to bring relevant, sustainable innovation to scale in the crucial area of educational engagement – the activities and techniques used to improve teaching and learning outcomes. The programs and activities fall into three broad and overlapping engagement categories, Engagement Through Arts and Entertainment, Engagement Through Science and Technology and Rapid Cycle Research, Product and Service Development/Implementation and Communications.

Center for Engineering in Education

CEE is dedicated to mining the vast array of engineering techniques, ideas and practices to enhance learning across all disciplines.

Center for Enrollment Research, Policy and Practice

CERPP analyzes enrollment issues through the critical perspectives of social science researchers, policymakers and college and university practitioners. As the only independent research center in the U.S. serving admissions and enrollment specialists, CERPP is committed to fostering equity in college access, admission and outcomes.

Center for Feminist Research

CFR has worked together with Gender and Sexuality Studies to create research opportunities for the study of women, gender, and feminism. Our seminars, workshops, conferences, and informal gatherings have brought together scholars, students, and members of the greater Los Angeles community who share interests and concerns about the operations of gender in our neighborhoods, our society, and our world.

Center for Global Innovation

Innovation – the use of new technology to create new products and services – is crucial to the welfare of consumers, the success of firms, and the wealth of nations. The Center for Global Innovation researches the causes and effects of innovation of firms and consumers across nations over time. Research from the center helps the education of students and managers on the importance of and the means to commercialize radical innovations. The center also helps select firms commercialize radical innovations through direct consulting and student projects.

Center for Global Supply Chain Management

The USC Marshall Center for Global Supply Chain Management will be a leading center for Global Supply Chain Management, with over 100 companies across the globe working in conjunction with the center to facilitate growth in the industry as well as sustaining a flow of education to meet growing demands for jobs in the industry.

Center for Health Financing, Policy, and Management

The Center’s vision is to meaningfully contribute to improving health and healthcare in local communities, California, in the U.S. and internationally.

Center for Homelessness, Housing, and Health Equity Research

The Center seeks to conduct research with the overarching goal of discovering and promoting evidence-based solutions to reduce homelessness and health disparities.

Center for International Studies

The Center for International Studies (CIS) was established in 1986 to promote advanced research and critical debate of theoretical and policy issues in world affairs. The Center supports the research of faculty and students; hosts scholars from the United States and abroad; organizes public seminars, workshops and conferences; promotes collaborative research projects; and contributes to public understanding of international affairs.

Center for Investment Studies (CIS)

The Center for Investment Studies fosters learning and cutting edge research on investments and the underlying workings of financial markets. The Center provides a forum for experiential student learning, access to industry experts, and resources and funds for academic scholarship on critical investment related topics. The Center strives to produce graduates equipped with the necessary financial analytical skills required for succeeding in global commerce and to support research that has critical real world impact.

Center for Law, History and Culture (CLHC)

The center brings together faculty from the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences and USC Gould to encourage the study of law as an historical and cultural institution. In addition to supporting emerging scholars, the center sponsors activities including faculty workshops, book talks, seminars and conferences.

Center for Law and Social Science (CLASS)

The center leverages USC’s excellence in legal scholarship and across the social sciences — spanning economics, political science, psychology, sociology and other fields — to develop sound policies for a fairer society and more productive economy. The center coordinates a wide variety of scholarly work and events promoting cross-disciplinary communication of ideas and practices to achieve these goals.

Center for LGBT Health Equity

The Center for LGBT Health Equity was created to lead scientific inquiry into the physical, emotional and social health of LGBT youth, adults and families, and guide best practices for achieving health equity for this population.

Center for Occupation and Lifestyle Redesign

The Center for Occupation and Lifestyle Redesign is the world’s first center dedicated to the study of how everyday activities, or “occupations,” shape human health and well-being.

Center for Research on Crime

The current program of research aims to apply principles of social identity and social categorization theories to the pernicious problem of street gang affiliation among urban youth in the United States and Central America. Parts of this research take place in the context of regional efforts to prevent or suppress gang membership, delinquency and criminal offending. Applied contexts included in this work vary from neighborhood gang injunction policies to local gang prevention and gang intervention programs.

Center for Risk and Economic Analysis of Threats and Emergencies (CREATE)

CREATE, the first university center of excellence funded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, evaluates the risks, costs and consequences of threats to human livelihood through assessment of strategies to mitigate risks and respond to emergencies.

Center for Sustainability Solutions

The Center for Sustainability Solutions develops policy, technological, and behavioral solutions to the most pressing sustainability problems of the Southern California region and the world. It brings together scholars and stakeholders from sustainability organizations around the world to collaborate on basic and applied research aimed at making a real-world impact.

Center for Sustainable Cities

The USC Center for Sustainable Cities (CSC) conducts multi-disciplinary research, education and community engagement on the sustainability challenges of metropolitan areas. The Center seeks to develop and propose policies and strategies that make our cities and metropolitan areas more sustainable, just, and economically vibrant.

Center for the Digital Future

The CDF is a research and policy institute committed to doing work that has a real and beneficial effect on people’s lives, while seeking to maximize the positive potential of the mass media and our rapidly evolving communication technologies.

Center for the Political Future

The Center for the Political Future (CPF) combines rigorous intellectual inquiry, teaching, and practical politics to advance civil dialogue and research that transcends partisan divisions and finds solutions to pressing national and global challenges. Our events, programs, scholarships, and internships inspire and train students for careers in public service and lifetimes of civic engagement.

Center for Transnational Law and Business (CTLB)

The center provides a scholarly home for debate on what can and should be demanded of global businesses, which face regulation by numerous and varied legal regimes. The center produces scholarly research and policy proposals on transnational business activity and regulation; facilitates discussion among thought leaders by convening conferences and policy forums; and trains a new generation of attorneys and policymakers for leadership in the field.

Center for Urban Education

Established in 1999, CUE leads socially conscious research and develops tools needed for institutions of higher education to produce equity in student outcomes.

Center on Education Policy, Equity and Governance

To conduct rigorous, practice-relevant research that advances educational equity for California K-12 students – with an emphasis on greater Los Angeles – and to create partnerships that ensure education policies, practices, and governance structures are guided by evidence and careful analysis.

Center on Philanthropy and Public Policy

The Center on Philanthropy and Public Policy promotes more effective philanthropy and strengthens the nonprofit sector through research that informs philanthropic decision-making and public policy to advance community problem solving.

Center on Public Diplomacy

The USC Center on Public Diplomacy (CPD) was established in 2003 as a partnership between the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism and the School of International Relations at the University of Southern California. It is a research, analysis and professional education organization dedicated to furthering the study and practice of global public engagement and cultural relations.

Creative Media & Behavioral Health Center

The vision of CM&BHC builds on USC’s existing academic strengths and unique reputation within the creative and technology industries to develop an incubator for innovation in the use of entertainment applications at the intersection of behavioral science, medicine and public health.

Civic Paths

Civic Paths explores continuities between online participatory culture and civic engagement. Premised on a dynamic understanding of citizenship, we analyze how participatory culture interactions encourage young people to create, discuss and organize to engage with specific civic issues and events.

Critical Media Project

Critical Media Project (CMP) is a free media literacy web resource for educators and students (ages 8-21) that enhances young people’s critical thinking and empathy, and builds on their capacities to advocate for change around questions of identity and representation.

Equity Research Institute

ERI (a merger of the USC Program for Environmental and Regional Equity and the Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration) uses data and analysis to contribute to a more powerful, well-resourced, intersectional, and intersectoral movement for equity. ERI produces data-driven analysis and rigorous research, leads convenings, engages strategic collaborations, and models effective, sustainable, racially-just research center.

Family Caregiver Support Center

Welcome to the USC Family Caregiver Support Program (FCSP). If you live in LA county and help a relative or friend (age 60 and older) with one or more of the following tasks: physical care (getting in and out of bed), making health care decisions, cooking, cleaning, yard work, managing medications and going to doctor visits, making important decisions, Shopping for groceries and other items, legal issues, helping with bill paying, Bathing and dressing, Providing transportation, Long-distance, caregiving.

Homelessness Policy Research Institute

The Homelessness Policy Research Institute (HPRI) convenes researchers and policymakers to help design and coordinate timely, relevant, and actionable research to end homelessness in Los Angeles County. HPRI is a partnership between the USC Price Center for Social Innovation and the United Way of Greater Los Angeles’ Home for Good Initiative.

Initiative and Referendum Institute (IRI)

The nonpartisan institute focuses on the two most important processes of direct democracy: initiatives and referenda. The institute is a preeminent resource for information about these procedures, producing updated guides of how they function in each state. Continually working to educate the public about direct democracy, the institute is frequently relied on by media outlets from ABC News and NPR to The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.

Institute for Advanced Catholic Studies

The Institute is dedicated to developing a distinctive intellectual capital through the study and application of the long and rich Catholic intellectual tradition — a tradition that includes not only brilliant theologians and philosophers, but also scientists, social scientists, historians, poets, writers, artists, architects and musicians. The Institute promotes understanding, critiquing, and developing Catholic intellectual life for the service not only of the Church, but all religions, especially as it dedicates itself to the common good.

Institute for British and Irish Studies

The Institute for British and Irish Studies is a resource for faculty, graduate students, and undergraduates from across the USC campus. It is part of a growing community of area resources in British and Irish Studies.

Institute for Communication Technology Management (CTM)

CTM provides cutting-edge research, educational programs and forums focused on the rapidly evolving communications, technology, business and entertainment sectors. CTM is known by business leaders as a forward-looking source of thought leadership that seeks to provide a clear understanding of business issues that must be at the core of any successful technology driven advancement.

Institute of Armenian Studies

The mission of the USC Institute of Armenian studies is to advance and promote multidisciplinary scholarship and collaboration that probes the social, cultural, educational, and political challenges impacting Armenian communities in the Diaspora and the Republic of Armenia. In an effort to re-define and study the complex issues that make up the diverse contemporary Armenian experience, the Institute encourages research, public service, and relationships among global Armenian communities.

Jane Goodall Research Center

Since then, JGRC personnel have been engaged in a variety of activities connected to understanding the behavior of great apes and evolutionary approaches to explaining the human condition. The core faculty of the center are appointed in either the Department of Anthropology, the Department of Biological Sciences, or both.

Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics

Integral to the Center for the Political Future, the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics is dedicated to bridging the academic study of politics with practical experience in the field. The Unruh Institute serves students by giving them the opportunity to be politically active and civically engaged through internships, scholarships, and professional development.

Lloyd Greif Center for Entrepreneurial Studies

The Lloyd Greif Center for Entrepreneurial Studies is among the nation’s leaders in entrepreneurship education and research. Its faculty – a diverse mix of academics and entrepreneur practitioners – together offer undergraduate and graduate programs designed to help students acquire the tools, develop the skills, and cultivate the mindset central to organizing, launching, and managing successful new ventures.

Los Angeles County Elder Abuse Forensic Center

The Los Angeles County Elder Abuse Forensic Center has been in operation for 11 years providing interagency collaboration to help resolve complex cases of alleged elder abuse in LA County. Members include representatives from Adult Protective Services, Keck School of Medicine, USC Davis School of Gerontology, Los Angeles County District Attorney, Los Angeles County Office of the Public Guardian, Genesis Program (LA County Dept of Mental Health), the Ombudsman Office, and a number of law enforcement agencies.

Lusk Center for Real Estate

The USC Lusk Center for Real Estate seeks to advance real estate knowledge, inform business practice, and address timely issues that affect the real estate industry, the urban economy, and public policy.

Max Kade Institute for Austrian, Swiss and German Studies

The USC Max Kade Institute is a research center devoted to German and European studies. Located several blocks north of the USC campus, the institute hosts lectures, conferences, and performances for students, faculty and the general public. Institute programs cover German and European studies broadly defined, but its main areas of emphasis include: exile studies, Cold War studies; German history, film, and aesthetics; and contemporary German and European affairs.

METRANS Transportation Center

The METRANS Transportation Center was established in 1998 through the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21) as the first University Transportation Center in Southern California. METRANS is a joint partnership of the University of Southern California (USC) and California State University, Long Beach (CSULB)

Media, Economics & Entrepreneurship (M{2e})

The M{2e} program examines the evolution of business models in industries such as journalism, music, and television as they are reshaped by technology. Through courses, research, and collaboration with firms at the vanguard of this new wave of disruption, students receive hands-on experience in the communications field that pushes them to innovate and lead.


The Metamorphosis Project is an in-depth examination of the transformations of urban community under the forces of globalization, new communication technologies, and population diversity.

Mind and Society Center

The USC Dornsife Mind & Society Center addresses the interface of individual and society by investigating how people think about societal issues and how societal context shapes individuals’ thoughts and actions. Understanding this interface requires insight into the context sensitivity of basic cognitive and affective processes, which we study in laboratory experiments and social surveys, and their real-world implications, which we study through field experiments and controlled interventions.

Neely Center for Ethical Leadership and Decision Making

The Center was founded in 2015 thanks to a generous endowment provided by USC Trustee Jerry Neely and his wife Nancy. The Center’s mission is to advance the practice of ethical business leadership though research, educational programs, curriculum development, seminars, and community outreach.

Pacific Center for Health Policy and Ethics

The Pacific Center examines diverse perspectives concerning the ethical dimensions of healthcare, biomedical research and medical education to advance better health for everyone. The center’s research informs policymakers at all levels, builds consensus and coalitions, and serves as a vital educational resource on such issues as control over dying, use of biotechnology and access to care.

Pacific Council on International Policy

The Pacific Council on International Policy inspires commitment to global engagement across Los Angeles and California.

Population Dynamics Research Group

The Population Dynamics Research Group uncovers demographic trends that drive major changes in society, providing insights that lead to effective policies. These population patterns underlie areas as diverse as housing, immigration, education, health, labor, transportation, the environment, and urban growth.

Pullias Center for Higher Education

Established in 1996, Pullias is an interdisciplinary research center established to improve access and outcomes for underserved students and enhance the performance of postsecondary institutions by assessing the role of faculty, emerging organizational forms and the educational trajectories of community college students.

Safe Communities Institute

The Safe Communities Institute (SCI) at the University of Southern California Sol Price School of Public Policy engages in research, interdisciplinary education, and collaboration to advance sustainable public safety strategies, policies, and programs. The Institute’s mission is three-fold: reaching people with a new understanding of public safety that hinges on education, awareness and research, and community engagement; advancing violence prevention strategies, policies and research; and contributing to global security in a time of increasing threats.

Saks Institute for Mental Health Law, Policy, and Ethics

The Saks Institute fosters interdisciplinary, collaborative research among scholars and policymakers into issues of mental illness and mental health. Studies explore the intersections of law, mental health and ethics to influence public policy and advocate for improved treatment of people with mental illness.

Schwarzenegger Institute for State and Global Policy

The USC Schwarzenegger Institute for State and Global Policy is committed to advancing post-partisanship, where leaders put people over political parties and work together to find the best ideas and solutions to benefit the people they serve. The Institute seeks to influence public policy and public debate in finding solutions to the serious challenges we face.

Sol Price Center for Social Innovation

The mission of the Sol Price Center for Social Innovation is to develop ideas and illuminate strategies to improve the quality of life for people in low-income urban communities. Together with the Price School’s academic rigor and practice-based expertise, the Sol Price Center for Social Innovation works to advance new models of equity and opportunity for low-income children and families, as well as advance the field of social innovation through scholarship and rigorous academic inquiry.

Spatial Analysis Lab (SLAB)

SLAB, the Spatial Analysis Lab at USC Price, aims to advance the visualization of trans-disciplinary knowledge for public service through research, public engagement, and teaching.

Spatial Sciences Institute

The power and importance of spatial thinking and digital geography is what the USC Spatial Sciences Institute is all about. As front-line researchers and educators, we are dedicated to deploying the power of: people, place, and time; information as maps; environmental sustainability and human well-being; and actionable research and informed decision-making.

The Global Branding Center

The Global Branding Center aims to develop, execute and disseminate path-breaking global branding research on traditional and entertainment brands. The center serves the needs of practicing marketers by developing innovative and cost-efficient branding solutions on cutting edge-strategic topics related to brand growth, brand attachment, brand hierarchies, brand fortification and equity maximization, brand and line extensions, brand equity measurement and brand alliances and co-branding efforts.

The New Normal

Mobile devices are rewiring daily life for teens and their parents. The New Normal: Parents, Teens, and Mobile Devices Around the World is a comparative global mapping project designed to advance cross-cultural exploration of family digital media engagement.

The Norman Lear Center

The Norman Lear Center is a multidisciplinary research and public policy center exploring implications of the convergence of entertainment, commerce, and society.

The University of Southern California Race and Equity Center

Established in 2017, the Race and Equity Center is the epicenter for interdisciplinary scholarship, resources and meaningful activities on racial equity that significantly benefit the University, other institutions of higher education and the broader society.

Tomas Rivera Policy Institute

The Tomás Rivera Policy Institute works to address the challenges and opportunities of demographic diversity in the 21st century global city. The Institute is a special initiative of the Price Center for Social Innovation and produces original research, student activities, and policy solutions. Policy focus areas include: Latinos and the criminal justice system, civic engagement and capacity building among immigrant-serving organizations, and demographic change in major metropolitan regions of the United States.

USC Annenberg Institute of Sports, Media & Society

The USC Annenberg Institute of Sports, Media, & Society studies the intersection of sports and society in the media.

USC Center for Economic Development

The USC Center for Economic Development (CED) serves as a leader in facilitating sustainable economic development opportunities throughout Southern and Central California. An applied research center of the USC Price School of Public Policy, CED partners with community-based organizations, public agencies and private entities to enhance their functional capacity by tapping the energy, enthusiasm and talent of the school’s faculty, staff and students.

USC Center for Innovation and Research on Veterans & Military Families

The USC Center for Innovation and Research on Veterans & Military Families (CIR) offers innovative education and training platforms, leading research and partnerships that improve the capacity and competency of mental health providers to effectively address the needs of wounded warriors and their families. The center is actively engaged in research initiatives that can be readily adapted by community organizations serving veterans and military families, as well as developing continuing education opportunities through online certificate programs.

USC Center for the Changing Family

USC-CCF is an interdisciplinary research hub for faculty and trainees studying families and close relationships across the lifespan, from infancy through older adulthood.

USC International Museum Studies Institute (IMI)

The USC Dana and David Dornsife College of Letter, Arts & Sciences International Museum Institute (IMI) is dedicated to the study of museums and their changing roles in society. IMI fulfills its mission by bringing together scholars, students and museum professionals from around the globe to address the most pressing museological matters of the day. USC partners with UNAM (MUAC) on IMI activities.

USC Shoah Foundation – The Institute for Visual History and Education

The Institute currently has more than 55,000 video testimonies, each one a unique source of insight and knowledge that offers powerful stories from history that demand to be explored and shared. The vast majority of the testimonies contain a complete personal history of life before, during, and after the interviewee’s firsthand experience with genocide.

USC U.S.-China Institute

The USC U.S.-China Institute informs public discussion of the evolving and multidimensional U.S.-China relationship through policy-relevant research, graduate and undergraduate training, and professional development programs for teachers, journalists, and officials.

USC/UCLA Center on Biodemography and Population Health

The USC/UCLA Center on Biodemography and Population Health (CBPH) is a multisite center located at the Andrus Gerontology Center of the University of Southern California and the Program in Geriatric Medicine in the School of Medicine of the University of California at Los Angeles. It is one of 14 centers in the Demography and Economics of Aging Centers Program sponsored by the National Institute on Aging (NIA).

Research Calendar

Submit an Event

How to submit your event

See all events in the USC Research Calendar.