What Can You Do With a Social Science Degree? [2021 Guide]

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What can you do with a social science degree? The social sciences are more than just one branch of science. They are a core part of a liberal arts education.

Social Science Degree

If you pursue a degree in social science, you’ll likely study the economy, human behavior, social institutions, or politics. Most careers in social science involve working with others. With a degree in social science, you may learn a variety of skills that can apply to many careers.

If you are good at communicating with others or writing and presenting your findings, then a social science degree might be a good fit for you.

What Can You Do with a Social Science Degree?

Social Science major

A social science degree can open up numerous career paths in a variety of industries. Social science majors dive deep into society’s institutions to explore how people interact with one another and with their environment.

A social science major can equip you with skills that can be applied in a variety of fields. Depending on your interests, you can explore health and human services or political professions, just to name a few.

A social science degree can open the door to a wide range of entry-level jobs in both the public and private sectors. Graduates may seek jobs as government economists, or they may want to work in data analytics or in an office of public service.

You could pursue a job in sales or management, or you could pursue a role providing consulting services. Social science majors have been known to find employment with the federal, local, and state governments, with colleges and universities, with secondary schools, and with scientific research and development services.

5 Things You Can Do with a Social Science Degree

degree in social science

A degree in social science can help you develop a strong foundation that you can build on.

The following are common careers that social science majors can work toward. Some of these popular social science careers require additional education as well as specialized training.

1. Social Worker

Social Workers

Social workers help people overcome their personal struggles by connecting them with resources that can help.

They perform a needs assessment with their clients and then create a plan to address those needs. They track case histories, prepare case reports, and provide case management.

Social workers typically need a masters a degree, and they generally have excellent interpersonal communication skills and an understanding of human behavior.

2. Economist

Economists

Economists study how societies use resources, especially financial resources. They work with economic policy by analyzing employment data, productivity, and wages. They can use their findings to influence economic policy or to determine consumer demand.

Economists often need a graduate degree and usually have strong reasoning skills, a strong mathematical background, and an uncanny ability to logically come to a conclusion.

3. Sociologist

Sociologists

Sociologists study how people interact in a society. They perform research, often through surveys, and then analyze the data.

They can use their research to influence policy decisions, and their goal is typically to fix society’s problems, such as health, poverty, and crime. A masters degree is often required for this role, and sociologists generally possess excellent critical thinking skills and can utilize statistical processes to test their theories.

4. Political Scientist

Political Scientists

Political scientists research and analyze political ideas, policies, trends, and related issues. They monitor current events and policy decisions, using their research to forecast political, social, and economic trends.

Like sociologists, they typically have excellent critical thinking skills and rely on their analytical skills to collect, evaluate, and interpret data. Political scientists are required to have a masters, but a social science degree can lay down a solid foundation for further education.

5. Probation Officer

There are many different career opportunities available in criminal justice, but becoming a probation officer is a popular pathway for social science majors. Probation officers work with offenders to help them build new lives after being released from jail.

A probation officer typically provides random drug testing, offers substance abuse counseling, and often testifies in court. Probation officers generally have great interpersonal communication skills and strong emotional stability.

Social Science Careers & Salaries

Social Science Careers & Salaries

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for life, physical, and social science occupations is $69,760. A number of the following social science careers require additional education or training.

Careers Annual Median Salaries
Political Scientists $125,350
Economists $108,350
Sociologists $86,110
Social and Community Service Managers $69,600
Compensation, Benefits, and Job Analysis Specialists $67,190
Human Resources Specialists $63,490
Public Relations Specialists $62,810
Training and Development Specialists $62,700
Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists $55,690
Social Workers $51,760

There are many career options that fall under the broad category of social sciences. A degree in social science can help you either enter the workforce or build a foundation for higher education, depending on your career goals.

Is Financial Aid Available?

Social Science degree financial aid

Financial aid is generally available for undergraduate students who qualify. Both federal and state governments offer aid, most commonly through grants and loans. To see if you qualify, you can fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Many social science majors apply for scholarships as well. Analytical thinking and persuasive writing skills can be great assets when it comes to scholarship applications. It can be beneficial to do your research and talk to your school. Many major-specific scholarships are available for a variety of disciplines within the social sciences.

What Is Social Science?

Social science interdisciplinary

Social science is an interdisciplinary field of study that explores how people interact with one another and their environment.

Social science studies a society’s structure, theoretical foundation, and evolution. It also studies how societies are interrelated and how they affect and are affected by human nature.

The social sciences include:

  • Anthropology
  • Geography
  • Economics
  • History
  • Political science
  • Psychology
  • Sociology
  • American ethnic studies
  • Women’s studies
  • Mass communications

Social science majors study the traditions, cultures, and heritage of a society as well.

Is Social Science a Good Degree?

social science degree employment opportunities

A social science degree is highly versatile. Employment opportunities for social science majors exist in nearly every industry.

For example, you could pursue a career path in education, human resources, insurance, psychology, social work, or even public relations, depending on your degree concentration.

A number of specialized areas, such as psychology and social work, require additional education and training. A social science degree can help you build a solid foundation for graduate studies down the road.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for life, physical, and social science occupations is projected to grow by 5% over the next ten years, which is faster than the average for all jobs.

What Do You Learn in Social Science?

Degrees in social science

Degrees in social science cover general education courses, such as English and math, but they also require foundational courses in your chosen area of study. These courses introduce you to the theories and concepts of your specialization.

Social science majors can acquire a diverse skill set that is often applicable across all industries. This may include:

  • Effective communication skills
  • Strong emotional intelligence
  • The ability to debate successfully
  • Problem solving skills
  • Critical and analytical thinking skills

The social sciences differ from the natural sciences in that they study the human world rather than the natural world.

What Are Some Social Science Majors?

There are many branches of social science. Some of the main branches include:

  • History
  • Political Science
  • Geography
  • Economics
  • Psychology
  • Sociology
  • Anthropology
  • Linguistics

There are many possible majors and concentrations when considering a degree in social science. You can choose to specialize in just one area, or you may combine majors in social science for a more customized approach.

It’s beneficial to speak with an academic advisor when planning your social sciences major. A few other common social science majors include criminology and international relations. Fields like social work, public administration, and education are popular undergraduate majors as well.

How Much Money Can You Make with a Degree in Social Science?

salaries of social science careers

The salaries of social science careers are just as diverse as the social science majors. Your salary can depend on which industry you work in as well as your educational level, employer, and geographic location.

Political scientists, economists, and sociologists have some of the highest earning potentials, and they all require a specialized master’s degree. Political scientists have the highest median salary at $125,350 (Bureau of Labor Statistics). If earning a high salary is a goal, you may want to consider a master’s degree.

Common careers for social science graduates with bachelors degrees include social and community service managers, compensation, benefits, and job analysis specialists, and human resources specialists and managers. Social and community service managers make an annual median salary of $69,600, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

What Jobs Can You Get with a Social Science Degree?

Social Science Degree jobs

There are many jobs you may qualify for with a social science degree. Job availability, though, can depend on your geography, industry, experience, and educational level.

A bachelor’s in social science can help you apply for entry-level jobs in various fields. Some graduates go on to become HR specialists, social and community service managers, training and development specialists, or probation officers.

Further education and specialized training may qualify you for more job opportunities in the field of social science. Specialized social science positions include:

  • Economist
  • Political scientist
  • Sociologist
  • Survey researcher
  • Social worker

The industry and graduate program you choose can affect your career choices as well.

What’s the Difference Between Humanities vs. Social Science?

Humanities and social science are similar, but there are some overlying differences between the two. They both deal with politics, law, linguistics, economics, and psychology.

Humanities Social Science
  • Studies heritage and what makes us human
  • Employs a critical, analytical approach
  • Is subjective
  • Is concerned with distinctive elements of human behavior
  • Pursues in-depth understanding of specific cases or events
  • Studies human behavior and the impact of human nature on the environment
  • Employs a scientific approach
  • Is objective
  • Is concerned with basic elements of human behavior
  • Studies patterned behavior

One of the main differences is that social science uses more of a scientific approach while the humanities use an analytical approach. Humanities is considered more philosophical than social science.

What’s the Difference Between Sociology vs. Social Science?

Sociology is one of the social sciences. The social sciences study how humans interact with the world, and sociology studies society.

Sociology Social Science
  • Studies social life, social change, and the social causes and consequences of human behavior
  • Is one of the fields of social science
  • Studies how humans interact with the world
  • Encompasses sociology, psychology, history, geography, economics, and political science

Since sociology is a subfield of social science, there is quite the overlap between the two. They are both considered more objective since they employ a scientific approach. They both also deal with the study of patterned behavior and are concerned with basic elements of human behavior.

What’s the Difference Between Social Science vs. Social Studies?

With a social science major, you study human society and social relationships. Social studies, on the other hand, studies both social science and humanities.

Social Studies Social Science
  • Studies multiple social sciences and the humanities
  • Employs an integrated approach to the study of people
  • Is both objective and subjective
  • Is concerned with both the basic and distinctive elements of human behavior
  • Both studies patterned behavior and pursues in-depth understanding of specific cases or events
  • Encompasses sociology, psychology, history, geography, economics, and political science
  • Employs a scientific approach
  • Is objective
  • Is concerned with basic elements of human behavior
  • Studies patterned behavior

The purpose of social studies is to promote effective citizenship. The purpose of social science is to learn about the society and social life of human groups.

Is a Social Science Degree Worth It?

social science majors

Yes, a social science degree is worth it for many students. Social science majors can graduate with a wide variety of distinct skills that are sought after by many employers.

These skills can make social science majors highly employable, so graduates tend to find entry-level employment across nearly all industries. With increased demands for science experts, The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that life, physical, and social science careers will grow by 5% over the next ten years.

A degree in social science can open doors to many opportunities in various fields. A social scientist can even be needed for biomedical research, energy management, psychology, and environmental protection.

Getting Your Social Science Degree Online

Social Science Degree Online

A degree in social science involves one or more fields of science, such as psychology, history, political science, economics, anthropology, or geography. You can choose to specialize in just one field, or you may customize your degree with more than one focus.

Graduates with a social science degree can find employment opportunities across nearly every sector of society. A bachelor’s degree can help you pursue entry-level jobs while a masters degree can help you qualify for specialized employment with higher wage potential.

You may be interested in pursuing a versatile social science major, whether it’s an online associates degree in social science program, or one leading to a bachelors or masters degree.

You can start your educational journey today by exploring online social science degree programs from accredited universities.

Shannon Lambert
WRITTEN BY
Shannon Lambert
Shannon has a Bachelor of Science in Social Work, from Bemidji State University, along with a minor in both Psychology and Sociology. Shannon loves motivating and empowering people to dream big and go after what they want in life.