Online Social Sciences Degrees
The social sciences include a number of disciplines that describe the ways humans interact with each other in society. Psychology, sociology, economics, anthropology, geography, history, and political science are all considered social sciences. While many schools offer online programs in the individual social sciences, some schools offer degree programs in social sciences as a whole. Students in these programs complete coursework in several of the social sciences and may choose a concentration in one area of study.
What Types of Online Social Sciences Degree Programs Are Available?
- Associate Degree: Associate degree programs take two years to complete and include both general education and degree-specific coursework.
- Bachelor's Degree: Students in bachelor's degree programs also complete general education and social sciences coursework but study these topics at a greater depth. These programs take full-time students four years to complete.
- Master's Degree: Students in master's degree programs in the social sciences may choose a concentration in an area of interest. These two-year programs also focus on understanding and conducting scholarly research. Some master's degree programs can be completed fully online, while others require students to visit campus for short periods of time.
What Will I Learn in a Social Sciences Degree Program?
Social sciences degree programs are meant to be interdisciplinary. Students in these programs learn to think about social issues from the perspective of several different areas of study. Coursework may include research methods and introductory courses in the social sciences. Students also complete coursework in a set number of social sciences disciplines. This number varies by school, as some require students to complete coursework in five areas of study, while others may require two or three. Bachelor's degree programs may also require students to complete a capstone or research project.
Master's degree programs in social sciences vary by school. While these programs are interdisciplinary like associate and bachelor's degree programs, they tend to focus on one specific issue or a set of related issues. Some programs examine the criminal justice system, while others focus on human resource issues or political and cultural analysis. Students may also enroll in master's degree programs in social sciences education. These programs are intended for middle and high school teachers trying to meet state licensing requirements or enhance their knowledge of the field.
What Should I Consider When Choosing a Program?
Earning a social sciences degree may not prepare you for one specific career. Graduates of these programs can work in a number of different settings, and some programs may be more appropriate for your career goals than others. Research the curriculum requirements for different programs and choose the one that works best for you.
Also consider accreditation when choosing an online program. Look for schools and programs accredited by organizations recognized by the US Department of Education.
What Career Opportunities Can I Expect After I Complete This Program?
A degree in social sciences prepares graduates for careers in law enforcement, human services, human resources, counseling, and education.
Graduates of associate and bachelor's degree programs may become social and human service assistants or counselors and work in hospitals, shelters, and residential care facilities under the direction of social workers and psychologists. Employment of both counselors and social and human service assistants is expected to grow faster than the average for all occupations between 2010 and 2020.
Another career option for graduates of associate and bachelor's degree programs is to become a probation officer or correctional treatment specialist. People in these careers work with those who have been incarcerated or placed on parole or probation to help them successfully re-enter their communities. Job growth in this field is expected to be about as fast as the average for all occupations.
Graduates may also find work as human resources specialists. These specialists may do recruiting, hiring, and payroll for businesses and handle issues among employees or between employees and the employer. Employment in this field is expected to grow faster than the average for all occupations before 2020.
Social sciences degree programs typically do not provide students with training in any one career, so graduates may need to gain experience working in their field before they can get their desired job. Earning a master's degree in social sciences may give graduates opportunities to advance their careers and move into management or teaching roles in their field.
- ^Occupational Outlook Handbook. Bureau of Labor Statistics of the US Department of Labor. Published March 29, 2012. http://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/substance-abuse-and-behavioral-disorder-counselors.htm.
- ^Occupational Outlook Handbook. Bureau of Labor Statistics of the US Department of Labor. Published March 29, 2012. http://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/social-and-human-service-assistants.htm.
- ^Occupational Outlook Handbook. Bureau of Labor Statistics of the US Department of Labor. Published March 29, 2012. http://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/probation-officers-and-correctional-treatment-specialists.htm.
- ^Occupational Outlook Handbook. Bureau of Labor Statistics of the US Department of Labor. Published March 29, 2012. http://www.bls.gov/ooh/Business-and-Financial/Human-resources-specialists.htm.