A social science bachelor's degree prepares learners to design, conduct, and interpret research that examines humans and their societies. Since human behavior and culture are key components in all businesses, social science graduates can use these skills in multiple fields and industries, such as government, hospitals, and education. Graduates can study groups of people for scholarly work, advise others on government policies, or guide corporations on public relations.
This page offers information on social science career paths, including a definition of social science, skills developed during an online social science degree, and potential professions for graduates.
Social science, in general, examines human nature and behavior in different regions. It encompasses many academic disciplines — e.g., archeology, cartography, politics, economics, history, communication, linguistics, global studies — with each providing insights on society.
Online social science degrees from accredited schools can lead to multiple career paths. For instance, understanding cultures can help individuals excel in politics, global business, diplomacy, or marketing. A business, for example, may hire a social science graduate for consultation when opening a company branch in another country. Individuals with social science experience can advise companies on marketing and public relations tactics when dealing with various cultures.
Understanding the significance of cultural awareness can also help individuals who work in multicultural settings within the U.S., such as classrooms and hospitals. However, some of these careers require credentials beyond a social science bachelor's degree. Likewise, candidates can use knowledge gained from their program in social work positions, but these careers require additional credentials.
Candidates who further their education with a master's degree and/or Ph.D. may serve as postsecondary social science instructors or historians, teaching students and producing scholarly work that addresses different cultures. This career involves theoretical research over practical application.
Social science bachelor's programs with proper accreditation equip learners to participate in research to understand or interpret behavior, civilizations, or political issues from the past and present. Candidates may make inferences, based on data, that organizations and individuals can use for community improvement. Alternately, they may focus on cultural explorations simply for the sake of learning. Since possible careers are so different, students should compare career goals to program curricula to find the school that offers the best educational fit.
The best online social science degree programs teach students research, communication, and problem-solving skills. Social science departments also provide students with cultural awareness for understanding and communicating with individuals from other areas, knowledge applicable to any field that includes international relations.
First, students learn to research by using existing sources and pursuing new information. Candidates determine source credibility and develop surveys and experiments that address original research questions. These research skills align with several career types: sociologists, who study current and historical cultures for insight on economies, politics, and religion; government organizations, which may conduct surveys on employment, political standpoints, or public needs; and healthcare or business professions, where candidates determine areas for improvement.
Research in social science also includes an understanding of statistics, which applies to mathematicians and staticians (candidates may also need a master's in a math-related discipline). Market research analysts — who guide organizations on product selection, promotional campaigns, and customer wants after they have researched trends, competitors, and consumer preferences — also benefit from research skills taught in a bachelor's in social science program. Notably, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that market research analyst positions will increase by 23% between 2016 and 2026.
Second, social science programs enhance students' verbal and written communication skills so they may deliver research findings through their writing and/or presentations. Such skills align closely with expectations for sociologists and historians, as detailed below.
Third, social science degrees hone learners' problem-solving skills. Geographers and political scientists, for instance, need such expertise to address policy issues and offer guidance on natural disaster recovery.
Due to the diversity of possible skills, candidates should choose programs that relate to their desired careers. For example, learners can decide on programs that offer relevant concentrations or internship opportunities at related organizations.
Candidates who graduate with online social science bachelor's degrees qualify for positions in the federal government, education, and scientific research operations. Possible careers are diverse; graduates can help families deal with financial problems, provide input for disaster relief efforts, offer insights on political policy, or write nonfiction pieces about past or present civilizations. However, certain professions may call for further credentials, such as graduate degrees, licenses, or certifications.
Median Salary: $82,050
Sociologists make observations about cultures and people by collecting data through research, observation, and experiment. These individuals may also search for explanations for human behavior and focus on particular concerns, such as criminology.
Median Salary: $80,300
Geographers learn about land allotment and cultures through research and experience. Candidates can use this information to deliver reports, construct maps, and guide businesses, governments, and individuals on matters such as land purchasing, marketing, and reacting to natural catastrophes.
Median Salary: $57,700
Survey researchers must study a provided topic to build relevant surveys. Researchers give these surveys to small groups to determine efficiency and effectiveness. After conducting surveys, candidates interpret findings for clients and may use illustrations to explain conclusions.
Median Salary: $117,570
Political scientists perform research on relevant concerns, such as international relations, and determine popular opinions of current events. Candidates also examine policies and deliver presentations on modern or future political trends.
Median Salary: $61,140
Historians deliver presentations and produce scholarly work on historical topics. This process involves reviewing primary and secondary sources and making inferences concerning past civilizations. For teaching at the postsecondary level, a master's degree or Ph.D. is required.
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