Deepen your understanding of human behavior, social groups and society by earning one of SNHU's on campus social science majors or online degrees. We offer undergraduate and graduate programs in a range of fields, including criminal justice, human services, political science, psychology, public administration and sociology.
With a degree in one of SNHU's social science programs, you'll gain a thorough understanding of the forces working behind the scenes of society and be exposed to a systems-level approach to analyzing the issues we face today. We'll also help broaden your knowledge and gain the communication, analytical and research skills that employers demand.
Explore our social science degrees today.
Frequently Asked Questions
What does "social sciences" mean?
Social sciences refers to the scientific study of human society and social relationships. The field of study can encompass many facets of the human experience – individual and group behavior, differing world cultures, politics, economics, history and anything else that drives people to live, act and believe the ways they do.
Understanding where we’ve come from as a society, as a culture and as a world population can be a fascinating and enlightening course of study. Knowing why people think and act as they do can offer a valuable perspective when you’re out in the world of business, and can even possibly help you forge stronger relationships with all facets of your community.
As the definitions and statistics of community, population, beliefs and values, and industry and technology evolve and change, their priority in the lives of people in different social environments also continues to evolve and change. The strength of impact these different social factors wield is constantly changing and will have far-reaching effects on where the world population is heading. By studying the social sciences, we can be better prepared to anticipate and predict trends and challenges society will face.
What's the difference between social sciences and liberal arts?
Social science programs focus on specific topics relating to human behavior, like psychology, sociology, anthropology, political science and more. Sometimes these courses overlap with a liberal arts program, and indeed are complementary to that education. But there is often an entire social sciences curriculum all its own.
Liberal arts hones your critical thinking and comprehension, among other “soft skills,” seeking to create a well-rounded individual with broad-reaching general knowledge. This is accomplished by presenting courses on the creative arts of communication in all forms, and the understanding of foundational elements of history, literature, business, the English language and more.
Liberal arts skills are transferable to many professions and to other majors, and would be beneficial to those pursuing the social sciences. The SNHU social science program offers more BS degrees than liberal arts, which are primarily BA degrees.
What are some social science degrees?
Because social science encompasses so many facets of how the world and its people think and function, many degrees are offered in a social science program. Nearly any subject which offers the learner a better understanding of how and why people behave a certain way can be part of the program.
For instance, at SNHU, there are undergraduate and graduate programs that include criminal justice, history, human services, political science, psychology, public administration and sociology. Several offer many career tracks, as well as valuable knowledge applicable to many others.
There is also an extensive online business degree program at SNHU under the social science umbrella; it offers more than a dozen concentrations that can lead you toward a successful future – concentrations include entrepreneurship, finance, healthcare administration, human resources management, industrial organizational psychology, international business, nonprofit management and more.
Of course, the best social science degree is the one that ignites your passion for learning more about the topic, and one that will enhance your personal and professional life. With so many specific degrees and concentrations, you’ll find one that’s right for you and your goals.
Some popular social science degrees include:
- Political science: Political science broadly refers to the study of governments, public policies and political behavior in the United States and abroad.1 Careers can include becoming a political scientist, policy analyst, legislative assistant, public relations specialist, market research analyst and more.
- Psychology: With an understanding of human behavior and mental processes, you can explore many avenues of psychology. Concentrations can include child and adolescent development, forensic and industrial-organizational psychology, but non-traditional applications of your psychology degree can lead you into market research, training and development, and other business positions, in addition to a traditional path of an interpersonal client psychologist.
- Anthropology: There are several opportunities to utilize a degree in anthropology. You’ll learn about world cultures by exploring the similarities and differences in society, in regards to biology, linguistics and archaeological finds. In addition to these classic takeaways, our modern world incorporates anthropology in the fields of environmental sustainability and market research.
- Sociology: Sociology explores human and group behavior, as well as society's historical, economic and political issues – all of which can lead you to be employed in varied fields like communications, human resources, management, marketing, public relations, public safety and even urban planning. Some other jobs could include community health worker, social and community service manager, health policy lobbyist and consumer advocate.
How long does it take to earn a social science degree?
How long before you achieve your social science degree depends on your current credits and status, how many courses you can comfortably take and the level of degree you wish to pursue. Consider: Do you have the time to commit to being a full-time college student? Can you embrace the full campus experience, or will you need to take online classes? Will you be juggling your education, your career, a family and other responsibilities – or perhaps all of the above as you figure out how to balance school and work?
Most associate degrees are considered 2-year degrees, but at SNHU, you're encouraged to complete your degree at your own pace. Similarly, bachelor's degrees are often referred to as 4-year degrees.
Of course, if you are transferring credits from another institution or can get credit for work/life experience, the time it takes you to get your degree could be further reduced. But basically, you will need 120 credits to earn your bachelor's degree. If the average course is three credits, then taking 30 credits a year breaks out into a four-year period of time.
You may also be a candidate for one of SNHU’s accelerated online degrees. Ask your advisor for more information.
If it's a master's degree you seek, we accept up to 12 transfer credits, but graduate programs may vary in length. Our online MBA, as an example, is one of many 36-credit graduate programs, but there are exceptions, such as the online MFA in Creative Writing, which requires 48 credits to complete. Since graduate advisors typically recommend a maximum of two 3-credit courses per term, and SNHU offers five 10-week graduate terms per year, most master's students can earn their diploma in less than two years. Of course, many learners prefer to take one course per term, or take an occasional term off, to better balance life's competing priorities. In those cases, it may take 3-4 years to complete a graduate degree.
Is a social science degree worth it?
A social science degree gives you the opportunity to really delve into what makes people tick – and those insights can be valuable in whatever career you pursue. With so many topics to choose from in the program, you can explore the history, motivations and consequences of human behavior, as it applies to many interesting fields of study and profession.
Your degree in social science allows you to consider many career paths, fortified with not only a highly applicable knowledge of human behavior, but also with the communication, analytical and research skills that are highly valued by employers – and extremely helpful for you.
What are some social science careers?
The career directions you can pursue with a social science degree are nearly limitless. Your understanding of human behavior and the myriad factors affecting how a society runs can be applied to almost any career. Everywhere you go, you will interact with people on some level; your knowledge of what motivates them and what internal and external factors cause them to behave in certain ways will be an invaluable skill set, no matter what you choose to do for a career.
There are a few jobs clearly related to a social science degree, like psychologist, sociologist, anthropologist and the human services field. But a social science degree can also enhance your career goals in the fields of criminal justice, political science, economics, environmental and geosciences, as well as many facets of the business world.
Here’s a sample of some top social science-related careers, with median salaries shown2:
- Political scientist ($122,000)
- Economist ($105,000)
- Industrial-organizational psychologist ($93,000)
- Geoscientist ($92,000)
- Sociologist ($83,000)
- Psychologist ($80,000)
- Anthropologist and archaeologist ($64,000)
- Historian ($64,000)
Many of these concentrations have additional branches of employment that can be explored and advanced into; some may require an advanced social science degree, for positions in leadership or management or those requiring licensure.
You can also consider a career in academia, sharing your knowledge and education on any of these careers and topics with the next generation of students of social science.
Sources & Citations (1, 2)
1 American Political Science Association, on the internet, at https://www.apsanet.org/RESOURCES/For-Students (viewed June 30, 2020)
2 Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, on the internet, at:
- https://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/political-scientists.htm (viewed June 30, 2020)
- https://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/economists.htm (viewed June 30, 2020)
- https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes193032.htm (viewed June 30, 2020)
- https://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/sociologists.htm (viewed June 30, 2020)
- https://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/geoscientists.htm (viewed June 30, 2020)
- https://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/Psychologists.htm (viewed June 30, 2020)
- https://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/urban-and-regional-planners.htm (viewed June 30, 2020)
- https://www.bls.gov/OOH/life-physical-and-social-science/anthropologists-and-archeologists.htm (viewed June 30, 2020)
- https://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/historians.htm (viewed June 30, 2020)
- https://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/survey-researchers.htm (viewed June 30, 2020)
Cited projections may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions and do not guarantee actual job growth.