Types of Social Science Degree Programs

The number of social science degree programs continues to rise, as more universities are offering bachelor’s and master’s programs that examine the challenges of human society and social relationships.

Social science degrees generally aim to develop professionals and human beings who understand the complexities and problems of communities, families, institutions and societies.

The term ‘social science’ first was use in the later part of the 19th century. It focuses largely on the behavior of human beings. People who have bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in social sciences often work in psychology, economics, social work, teaching, human services, sales and marketing, criminal justice and others.

Where a Social Science Degree Graduate Works

The social sciences field is broad, and where you will work with your degree depends upon the exact degree you earn. Employment of social sciences professionals overall will grow by 7% by 2024, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Below are the most common social science degree programs and where they may work:

  • Economists: They tend to work for state, local and federal government organizations as well as nonprofits, and study the production and distribution of resources, goods and services by analyzing and collecting economic data.
  • Political scientists: They work for government organizations and nonprofits as they study the development, origin and operation of many political systems. They also research and analyze government systems, political trends and policies.
  • Psychologists: These mental health professionals may work in private practice or for public or private organizations as they study how people relate to each other and their environment.
  • Sociologists: They work for universities and colleges as well as government organizations, studying society and social behavior as they look at groups, cultures and organizations and how people interact and work together.
  • Social workers: They often work with state and local government, individual and family services, hospitals, and nursing and residential care facilities. They focus on helping people to solve their problems in their daily lives, and they direct them to community resources to help them.

Licensing and Certification

Whether you need licensing and certification or not will depend upon the exact career path you choose. Social workers and psychologists, for example, must be licensed and certified in the states in which they work. Political scientists and sociologists, on the other hand, do not need a license or certification to work.

After you have graduated from your bachelor’s or master’s program, you need to determine if you must have a license or certification to legally work in your state.

Types of Degrees in Social Sciences

There are many types of social science degrees at the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels. Below is a brief sampling of social science degrees that you can earn online.

Bachelor’s Degree in Economics

Earning a bachelor’s degree in economics online from Penn State World Campus will provide you with the strong economics and analytical skills that you need to make public and private organizations more efficient.

This degree in economics will give you the skills to be able to view organizations from a proper financial and analytical point of view. This degree program helps you to understand how humans behave and interact by using mathematics and statistics. The curriculum in this online program will teach you to be able to think in a critical fashion so that you can allocate resources and solve complex economic issues.

This social science degree in economics will offer you the knowledge in mathematical models and statistical tools to understand how various incentives can change behavior, markets and economies.

Required courses include:

  • Introductory Microeconomic Analysis and Policy
  • Introductory Macroeconomic Analysis and Policy
  • Statistical Foundations for Econometrics
  • Intermediate Microeconomic Analysis
  • Intermediate Macroeconomic Analysis
  • Introduction to Econometrics

Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work

Earn an online Bachelor of Science in Social Work from the University of Utah that will educate and train you to be an agent of change to work to improve society and the plight of your fellow human beings.

This BSW degree may be completed online in four years and will teach you how to establish respectful and supportive relationships with needy and marginalized communities. In doing so, you will be able to assist in the proper development of new community leaders and programs so that social justice can be achieved.

Required courses include:

  • SW 2100 – Human Behavior and Social Environment I
  • SW 3102 – Human Behavior and Social Environment II
  • SW 3000 – Applied Social Work Statistics
  • SW 3110 – Social Work Practice I
  • SW 3550 – Social Diversity and Cultural Understanding
  • SW 4100 – International Community Based Research
  • SW 4220 – Social Work Practice II- Couples & Families
  • SW 4330 – Social Work Practice III: Groups
  • SW 4301 – Social Welfare Policy/Service
  • SW 4401 – Social Work Research and Evaluation

Master’s Degree in Psychology

If you want to work as a psychologist, you would benefit from earning this master’s degree in psychology from Southern New Hampshire University. You will be prepared to be a vital part of the solution and diagnosis for employers who want to maximize the performance of an organization, or to help your clients to better deal with their problems and challenges.

You will deepen your grasp of research methods, social psychology, cognitive psychology, learning theory and ethical practice as you focus on real world uses for psychological research.

If you want to work in a particular branch of psychology, you can choose from these concentrations:

  • Child and Adolescent Development Psychology
  • Forensic Psychology
  • Industrial Organizational Psychology

Your required coursework includes:

  • Research Methods in Psychology I and II
  • Social Psychology
  • Cognitive Processes
  • Measurement and Assessment
  • Theories of Personality
  • Ethical Practice in Psychology
  • Capstone in Psychology

Master’s Degree in Political Science

For those who want to pursue a career in political science and government, we recommend the online master’s degree at the University of Illinois-Springfield. This program has been designed to join the theory of political science with the practical and current knowledge that is needed by public officials and political practitioners to be at their most effective.

The fact that this program and university are located in the state capital offers an excellent opportunity for students to thrive.

This political science degree offers excellent academic instruction in American and national politics, law, international relations, comparative politics, and various political philosophies.

The curriculum has been designed to meet many diverse needs, and it offers you the chance to take courses that delve into both the academic and practical parts of politics.

Required courses include:

  • PSC 402: Legislative Politics
  • PSC 403: Public Opinion
  • PSC 404: ECCE: African Americans and American Politics
  • PSC 405: Illinois Government and Politics
  • PSC 406: The American Presidency
  • PSC 408: American Political Behavior
  • PSC 409: Political Parties and Interest Groups
  • PSC 410: Public Policy Processes
  • PSC 412: Political Psychology
  • PSC 420: National Security Issues and the U.S. Constitution
  • PSC 423: Women and Politics
  • PSC 510: Current and Emerging Public Policy
  • PSC 511: Seminar in American Politics


Depending upon the type of social science degree you earn, you will want to ensure that the program has been properly accredited by a respected accreditation body. Accreditation ensures that you are earning a degree that has great value.

For example, in the field of social work, you should verify that your program has been accredited by the Council on Social Work Education or CSWE.