Laura Hamilton is an Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Merced. Broadly, her interests include gender, sexuality, family, education, social class, and mixed research methods. Hamilton earned her M.A. and Ph.D. in sociology from Indiana University in 2003 and 2010, respectively, and her B.A. in sociology from DePauw University in 2001.

Hamilton's first book, equally-authored with Elizabeth A. Armstrong, was recently released with Harvard University Press. Paying for the Party: How College Maintains Inequality uses an ethnographic and longitudinal case study of a moderately selective public university to gain insight into why so many students leave college with so little to show for it, and for whom this is most likely to be the case. Hamilton is also the author of More is More or More is Less? Parental Financial Investments during College in American Sociological Review (2013), Marital Name Change as a Window into Gender Attitudes in Gender & Society (2011; with Brian Powell and Claudia Geist) and Gendered Sexuality in Young Adulthood: Double Binds and Flawed Options in Gender & Society (2009; with Elizabeth A. Armstrong). Hamilton is currently working a second book based on her dissertation, Strategies for Success: Parental Funding, College Achievement, and the Transition to Adulthood, which received an honorable mention for the 2011 American Sociological Association Dissertation Award and was supported by an American Educational Research Association Dissertation Grant. It uses both qualitative and quantitative datasets to examine how, why, and to what end parents choose to deploy resources during postsecondary education.