Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified a large number of gene variants associated with schizophrenia, but these variants explain only a small portion of the heritability. It is becoming increasingly clear that schizophrenia is influenced by many genes, most of which have effects too small to be identified using traditional GWAS statistical methods. By applying recently developed Empirical Bayes statistical approaches, we have demonstrated that functional genic elements show differential contribution to phenotypic variance, with some elements (regulatory regions and exons) showing strong enrichment for association with schizophrenia. Applying related methods, we also showed abundant genetic overlap (pleiotropy) between schizophrenia and other phenotypes, including bipolar disorder, cardiovascular disease risk factors, and multiple sclerosis. We estimated the number of gene variants with effects in schizophrenia and bipolar disorder to be approximately 1.2%. By applying our novel statistical framework, we dramatically improved gene discovery and detected a large number of new gene loci associated with schizophrenia that have not yet been identified with standard GWAS methods. Utilizing independent schizophrenia substudies, we showed that these new loci have high replication rates in de novo samples, indicating that they likely represent true schizophrenia risk genes. The new statistical tools provide a powerful approach for uncovering more of the missing heritability of schizophrenia and other complex disorders. In conclusion, the highly polygenic architecture of schizophrenia strongly suggests the utility of research approaches that recognize schizophrenia neuropathology as a complex dynamic system, with many small gene effects integrated in functional networks. © 2013 The Author.