The Veterans Studies Certificate Program

In 2019, UCI’s School of Social Sciences launched an undergraduate, multidisciplinary Veterans Studies Certificate Program that critically analyzes the diversity and complexity of veterans’ experiences, past and present. The certificate is open to both student veterans and non-veterans desiring to develop a deeper understanding of veterans’ issues and experiences, as well as students aspiring to careers working with veterans.

There are currently only three such programs in the U.S.; but despite the high military presence in our state, ours is the first to be offered by a California university.
The certificate includes three courses:

Soc Sci 132: Veterans in History and Society

In this seminar-style class, students gain a deep understanding of the wide range of historical experiences, changing social roles, and the unique cultures, identities, and worldviews of the diverse community of U.S. military veterans, as well as to the meanings that have been attributed by others to veterans and their service. Students will compare the experiences of veterans from a wide range of backgrounds, identifying the historical, political, economic and sociocultural factors, including race, class, gender, sexuality and national origin, that have differently (and inequitably) structured their experiences of military service from the early republic to the present day. They will analyze the different ways that diverse groups of veterans have made sense of their military service and how it has shaped their varied interactions with one another, their families, communities, and the nation, over time. They will also trace shifting perceptions of diverse veterans and their roles in civilian society during different moments in U.S. history.


Soc Sci 134W: Veterans’ Voices

Students in this upper division ‘W’ (writing) course use the medium of academic writing to develop a broad understanding of the wide range of worldviews, priorities and values embodied in the creative production and activism of diverse U.S. military veterans. Students explore how veterans have made their voices heard as authors and artists; as individual political actors and leaders/participants in social movements; through powerful veterans’ and “patriotic” societies like the VFW, the G.I. Forum, AMVETS, and the American Legion; and through veteran-activism in activities like the Bonus March, the founding of the VA, the building of the Vietnam Memorial, as well as anti-war and international de-mining campaigns. While exploring the changing political and social contexts that have informed varied forms of expressions across different historical moments, students will also consider how veterans’ complex and multifaceted intersectional identities, including their race, class, gender, sexuality, national origin and citizenship status, political ideologies and spiritual beliefs, have shaped the ways they have used their voices.


Soc Sci 133: Veterans’ Transitions

This course provides students with a comprehensive overview of the complex and multi-faceted transition from active military service into civilian life. Emphasizing the generational and conflict-specific contexts of veterans’ transitions, and recognizing the ways that factors including race, class, gender, sexuality and national origin have shaped these processes, the class consider how diverse veterans have negotiated the employment, educational, familial and interpersonal, as well as mental and physical health-related transitions that are part of adapting to life after military service. Focused primarily on the experiences of veterans from the Vietnam era to present day, the course pays special attention to “present-day” veterans of Iraq, Afghanistan, and other current theaters of military operations.
All courses are taught by military veteran scholars or faculty with close personal or professional ties to the military.
Classes are open to all undergraduate students (and, with special permission, to graduates students) across campus. Students may enroll in one or more of the classes, or to complete all three classes in order to earn the certificate. Since many of our student veterans are community college transfer students, the three courses are offered in a two year cycle, so that the certificate can be completed during any given two year time period.


Apply Now

For more information about the Veterans Studies Certificate Program, please contact:

Anita Casavantes-Bradford
Director, Veteran Studies Certificate Program

Jasmine Esquivias
Academic Coordinator,
Associate Dean's Office for Undergraduate Studies


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