Careers in the Social Sciences: Typical Courses & Degrees

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  • 0:02 What Is a Social…
  • 1:44 Popular Majors
  • 3:28 Career Options
  • 5:00 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Maria Airth

Maria has a Doctorate of Education and over 20 years of experience teaching psychology and math related courses at the university level.

Students interested in pursuing social sciences degrees will benefit from this lesson. We define social science, discuss typical courses, and identify common majors and possible careers related to the degree.

What Is a Social Science Degree?

So, you think you might want a degree in social sciences? Yes, that's great! Do you know what a degree in social sciences is? No? Well, come with me, and we will learn all about the degree and what types of jobs you might be able to get after your education.

In a nutshell, a degree in social sciences is a degree that focuses on human society or the human condition in general. It is considered an academic degree because it provides for a broad range of career options after graduation instead of locking a student into a specific career path.

Many degrees focus on a single career path and train students to meet the requirements of that specific path. Academic degrees, such as social science degrees, allow students to learn about a broad range of cultural and political aspects of society. As a soft science, social science degrees do not focus on the scientific method or experimental design in research.

So, why get a social sciences degree? One major positives of a social science degree is that students learn and practice many of the soft skills that employers value. Soft skills are interpersonal skills such as oral and written communication, teamwork, as well as technical, analytical, organizational, problem-solving and critical-thinking skills.

While other degree programs may give students practice in these areas, academic programs such as social science degrees are very strong in these areas due to their broad spectrum of courses and focus on expanding general knowledge of the social world.

Popular Majors

Okay, so now you know what a social science degree is; now you need to understand what types of majors are within the degree.

As you can imagine, because the degree program is so broad, your major choices will also be very broad. Here is a list of just some of the more popular (and well-known) major choices you have under the social science umbrella:

  • Criminal justice
  • Sociology
  • Social work
  • Law
  • Political science
  • Social services

You see, there are many different directions to take when considering a social science degree. Interestingly, many of the degrees intersect, such as criminal justice and law sharing courses with politics and sociology. This is why the degree programs are considered so broad in nature. They cover many areas of the human condition.

Each school is different, so you will need to check the requirements at your school to be sure, but normally, each major will have a set of core courses within the major that you must take and then a generous number of elective courses that allow you to customize your degree program with items you are interested in. This furthers the ability to broaden your educational horizon and graduate with a wide range of knowledge to use at any of a number of careers.

Some core courses may include: Ethics in Social Sciences, Applied Social Research, and Contemporary Debates in Social Sciences. The courses offered at your school may not match these titles exactly, but their concepts will most likely be similar in their introduction to social sciences and focus on current issues and how to conduct social research.

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