A career as a research assistant, market analyst or social worker is possible with a bachelor's degree in social sciences. Research assistants collect data and then analyze it and prepare reports. Market analysts assess the preferences and responses of consumers regarding everything from a company's product to the packaging and presentation. Social workers help their clients address issues so that their quality of life will improve.
A bachelor's degree in social sciences can include majors such as anthropology, sociology, psychology, political science, geography, criminology or cultural studies. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that a master's or doctorate degree will open up many more job options in a social science area and may be a necessary step for advancement. However, not all social sciences students pursue graduate education.
|Career||Research Assistant||Market Analyst||Social Worker|
|Education Requirements||At least an associate's degree||Bachelor's degree||At least a bachelor's degree; master's degree often required for clinical positions|
|Licensure/Certification||N/A||N/A||Social workers in many states need to be licensed|
|Job Growth (2014-2024)*||6% for social science research assistants||19% for market research analysts||12%|
|Median Annual Salary (2015)*||$42,480 for social science research assistants||$62,150 for market research analysts||$45,900|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Because social science degrees relate to the study of human behavior, societies and other aspects of humanity, graduates are often suited for jobs in public service. Career options may include those of research assistants, market analyst and social workers. Job information for these options is discussed below.
Research assistants who have earned a bachelor's degree may find work with colleges and universities. Job duties include conducting studies via hands-on fieldwork and using computers to analyze the data. Research assistants may also be responsible for preparing reports for different groups about their results. Those who obtain higher levels of degrees such as master's and doctorate may qualify for promotions to research associate positions. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual wage for social science research assistants in 2015 was $42,480.
Sometimes called market research analysts, these individuals use their bachelor's degrees in social sciences to qualify for entry-level analyst positions that benefit from a knowledge of human behavior. These professionals create surveys to gauge consumer attitudes and preferences. Everything from the design of a product's packaging to how it is promoted and where it is distributed is decided based on the results of consumer surveys. The BLS notes that market research analysts earned a median of $62,150 annually as of May 2015, per BLS data.
Many large agencies require a bachelor's degree in social work for their entry-level positions, but smaller community agencies might be more lenient and allow those with degrees in sociology, psychology and related social sciences to fill these jobs. A social science major's understanding of human behavior and thought processes can prove quite valuable to a social worker. A social worker often chooses to specialize in a certain area such as children, family and school or medical and public health, but the goal of all of these professionals is to help clients improve quality of life by dealing with personal problems.
In 2015 social workers earned a median wage of $45,900 per year, while the median annual salary for social workers specializing in mental health and substance abuse was $42,170, according to the BLS. Child, family and school social workers earned a median salary of $42,350.
Individuals with a degree in social science may have opted to major in subjects including psychology, sociology, criminology or cultural studies. With a degree in social studies it may be possible to enter the job market as a research assistant, market analyst, or social worker. Some career options, such as social work, may also require a license.