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Social Science Degree

Social science is a major branch of science that deals with relationships between individuals or groups in the society. The field integrates various disciplines of political science, demography, sociology, human geography, and economics. Social science has gained popularity in recent years as cultures have become more integrated. Professionals such as social scientists have contributed to the field through research and studies. By understanding factors and their influence on human relationships, organizations and groups are working towards improving the community and lifestyles of individuals.

Why Study Social Science Courses?

Social science has become a highly sought after major, and can be pursued at bachelor, master, and PhD level. Students are opting for social science courses due to many diverse career opportunities that come with it. Social work, teaching, and research are just a few sectors that one can work in with a social science degree. If you are intrigued with how the society works, and want to help develop solutions to social problems, this field may be a suitable choice for you.


Bachelor Degree in Social Science

This is a four-year undergraduate program. It is offered by a number of traditional and online colleges and universities. The purpose of the degree is to provide students with in-depth knowledge of social science and its use in the society. The program will focus on fundamental concept development and will cover interdisciplinary areas such as psychology and sociology.
During the initial semesters, students will learn about the history and development of the field, and various social scientists who have contributed to it. Further in the program, more advanced subjects will be studied. Students will learn how to use different research methodologies for conducting social research. Here are some of the courses covered in a bachelor of social science degree:

  • Gerontology
  • Anthropology
  • Research methods in social sciences
  • Diversity awareness
  • Technology in society
  • Disabilities studies

Master Degree in Social Science

Undergraduates who wish to prepare for a career in social sciences can opt for a master’s degree in the field. This is a two year program that integrates knowledge from different social science disciplines such as economics, geography, anthropology, political science, and sociology.
Students enrolled in the program will develop strong research skills and can choose an area for specialization. They will be required to cover a set of general courses and choose a specialization track according to their career goals. Please remember that the optional tracks available will vary from college to college. Here are some common areas covered in the degree:

  • Elements of social thought
  • Philosophical problems in the society
  • Research methods
  • Social justice
  • Anthropology

PhD in Social Science

A PhD in social science is the highest level of education one can attain in this field. The program is designed for graduate students who wish to prepare for research or leadership roles in the community. Students will learn how to conduct quantitative and qualitative research in the broad context of social sciences.
The program will be divided into coursework, oral examination, research project, and dissertation. The coursework mainly comprises of theory building and concept development. Students will study:

  • Political economy
  • History
  • Economics
  • Political science
  • Law
  • Social issues

After passing an oral examination, students can begin their research project on any chosen discipline. The research project is intended to help students apply research methodologies and understand how to appropriately gather and process information. The last phase of the degree consists of writing  dissertation.  These degree requirements are covered under the supervision of a faculty member.  The average duration of the program can range anywhere between 4 to 8 years.

Study Online

Individuals who are working and cannot enroll in a full-time program can pursue an online social science degree. Online social science courses are easier to cover, without the requirement of being physically present in classrooms. This mode of learning allows students to study from any location.

Learning Outcomes of Social Science Programs:

  • Use quantitative and qualitative scientific research methods
  • Develop strong theoretical perspectives
  • Learn how economic factors affect social lives of community members
  • Develop critical thinking skills and communication skills
  • Understand the ethical principles that guide research work for social scientists
  • Learn how to gather and process information
  • Learn how to solve practical social problems

How To Enroll

The admission requirements typically vary from college to college. Students can check with prospective schools to find out more about the admission criteria. However, general requirements are:
For bachelor of social sciences:

  • High school diploma
  • Letters of recommendation

For master of social sciences:

  • Bachelor degree transcript
  • A minimum CGPA requirement
  • Letters of recommendation

For PhD in social sciences:

  • Master degree transcript
  • A minimum CGPA requirement
  • Letters of recommendation

Career Prospects

The type of career and income level you can qualify for depend upon the degree you have earned, your area of specialization, and skill set. Numerous careers fall under the category of social science. Some individuals choose to engage directly with the community as social workers, while others tend to pursue more administrative positions in government agencies.
The following statistics have been taken from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

  • Social worker – median annual income - $44,200 (2012)
  • Survey researcher – median annual income - $45,950 (2012)
  • Anthropologist – median annual income - $57,420 (2012)
  • Post-secondary sociology teacher – mean annual wage - $74,860 (2014)
  • Economist – median annual income - $91,860 (2012)

The job description and duties will vary. Choosing a career in social science can qualify you to help others, promote welfare, and improve living conditions for many. These careers can be challenging yet give you a sense of achievement.

States with the highest employment level in this occupation:



Employment per thousand jobs

Location quotient

Hourly mean wage

Annual mean wage

California 16600.111.2618.1337720
Florida 11300.141.6817.9737370
Illinois 9600.161.9217.937240
Texas 7600.070.7816.6234570
New York 6500.070.8520.1241840


Frequently Asked Question(s)

Q:Is philosophy a social science?

A:Philosophy is generally not considered as a social science. It is the study of fundamental problems that are related to our existence, reasoning, min, language, and values. It can be referred to the most basic beliefs and concepts we follow. Many popular philosophers such as Plato and Kant have contributed to the development of this field.

Q:Is political science a social science?

A:Yes, political science is a branch of social sciences. It can be described as the study of political systems in a society, politics, and political behavior. Political science is a popularly pursued academic discipline that is offered for study at all levels of post-secondary education. The field is also considered as a soft science due to its subjective interpretations.

Q:What is a social scientist?

A:Social scientists are professionals who specialize in social sciences or any one of its branches. These professionals usually work for institutions in a society, understanding and studying human behavior. Social scientists can specialize in different fields such as anthropology, history, economics, sociology, etc. the exact job description and income will vary from place to place.

Q:Is economics a social science?

A:Yes, economics is a social science. The field examines how individuals react and interact with the social structure of a society. Economics emphasizes the needs of individuals, goods, production of good, and availability of goods. It is a broad field that highlights scarce resources and economic stability achieved through various principles.

Q:Is history a social science?

A:Yes, history is a branch of social sciences. It is an aggregate of past events and their connection with the human race. History is studied as a general subject in high school, and is also offered as a major at bachelor, masters, and post-graduate level. History can include notable events, natural phenomenon, and records of other major developments that shaped our future.

Q:What can i do with a social science degree?

A:A social science degree offers individuals a wide range of career options to choose from. What you intend to do with a social science degree will be heavily influenced by factors such as the degree you have earned, your area of specialization, and the particular skill set you possess. You can seek work in your community as a social worker, survey researcher, or teacher. Alternatively, you could also seek employment in government agencies in a variety of administrative positions.

Q:What are some of the social science courses offered in social science degree programs?

A:Some of the courses that students can expect to take include gerontology, anthropology, research methods in social sciences, diversity awareness, social justice, philosophical problems in society, etc. Students may also choose courses from a wide range of electives so as to customize their degree according to their specific career aspirations.

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