56 Jobs To Pursue With a Bachelor's Degree in Social Science
Updated June 30, 2023
If you're interested in the workings and effects of human behavior and relationships, consider earning a bachelor's degree in social science. This degree program can prepare you for careers in nearly any industry, including politics, communication, marketing, business and management. Knowing what roles you can pursue with this qualification can help you determine if it's the right path for your goals.
In this article, we explore what social science is, what's involved in earning this degree and a list of diverse roles you can work in.
What is social science?
Social science is an academic and professional field that studies human behavior and relationships in a variety of settings such as societies, cultures, groups, workplaces or organizations. The goal of social science is to examine trends related to people's interactions, motivations and choices in different settings, report on the impact of those trends and use those trends to solve problems or improve relationships.
Issues and topics studied in social science include:
Gender and sexuality
Ethnicity or race
Region- or nation-specific culture
Those in the social science field often primarily use qualitative data to study humans, though they may also use quantitative data and other methodologies common in physical sciences, like biology and chemistry.
Related: 17 Social Science Jobs
What is the path to a degree in social science?
A bachelor's degree in social science involves taking courses in different academic fields, like political science, sociology and psychology, to develop an in-depth understanding of the groups of people your major focuses on.
The most common steps in earning this degree are:
1. Select a major
Common majors within this degree include:
Middle Eastern studies
2. Start with general education requirements
Most universities and colleges require students to complete a certain number of general education credits in a variety of subjects, such as physical science, humanities and social science. You can take these credits throughout your degree program, but most institutions structure programs so that you take these requirements in the first two or three years. In some cases, these requirements may include prerequisites for major courses or even the major courses themselves.
3. Take major-related prerequisites
Some social science courses may require you to take introductory courses before others that are specialized or advanced. For example, you may need to take an introductory psychology class before taking a class on a specific facet of psychology, like child psychology.
4. Pass upper-division courses
Upper-division courses are those you typically take as a junior and senior in your program that are specialized or advanced. For example, if you're pursuing a major in African-American studies, your upper-division courses may include region-specific anthropology courses.
5. Complete senior capstone project
Your college or university may require you to take a capstone course in which you create, conduct and present a research project or paper. Other institutions may just require a specialized course and final exam. In either case, completing this requirement ensures you earn your degree and allows you to provide proof of your qualifications, including skills, base knowledge and specialized study.
Jobs you can do with a bachelor's in social science
One benefit of a social science degree is that it's exceptionally versatile. You can pursue roles that involve studying and contributing to a social science field, or you can use the information and skills you developed in your program in many other roles and industries. For some roles, you may need additional or specialized qualifications in addition to this bachelor's degree.
Here are some of the positions you can pursue with this degree:
National average salary: $41,689 per year
Primary duties: An intelligence analyst gathers, assesses and reports on qualitative information to help with decision-making or policy-making. They may work for government organizations or as business intelligence analysts for private corporations and organizations. These professionals can benefit from the qualitative research, writing and critical thinking skills developed during a social science degree program. Those who study intelligence for a particular region of the world can apply anthropological knowledge from a specialized social science degree.
National average salary: $49,330 per year
Primary duties: Also referred to as an HR specialist, this professional oversees the job advertising, hiring, interviewing and employee assessment policies and processes for an organization. In many settings, they also manage salary and benefits policies, employee grievances and regulatory documentation related to employee incidents and general compliance. HR managers may pursue a social science bachelor's degree to learn about workplace culture and employee relationships.
Related: Learn About Being an HR Manager
National average salary: $53,451 per year
Primary duties: A police officer is a public safety professional who protects their community from crime, assists during emergencies like accidents and enforces laws. Aspiring officers can pursue a social science degree before completing cadet school and training to provide a foundational understanding of community relations, criminology and culture.
Related: Learn About Being a Police Officer
National average salary: $53,791 per year
Primary duties: A lawyer provides counsel to clients on legal matters and represents them in court proceedings. They're responsible for researching other similar cases and precedents and preparing an argument on behalf of their client. Though these professionals typically need a law degree in addition to a bachelor's to practice, having a degree in social science can provide vital lawyers' research and writing practice as well as knowledge of political science, criminology and human psychology.
Related: Learn About Being a Lawyer
National average salary: $56,759 per year
Primary duties: A PR manager is a media and communications professional who handles an organization's relationship with the media and community. They lead a team of PR professionals to cultivate a positive reputation for their employing organization by writing press releases, forging relationships with journalists, setting up interviews and press conferences and planning strategic communications.
National average salary: $58,449 per year
Primary duties: This political communications and campaign management professional works to get candidates elected or issues passed to government officials. They manage campaign staff, guide strategic communication plans, arrange publicity events and craft consistent messaging that gets voters or decision-makers to support the ideas of the candidate or corporation they serve. Training in psychology, political science and culture can prepare political consultants for their role.
National average salary: $60,212 per year
Primary duties: These professionals work to improve the lives and well-being of people, including children, the elderly and those with disabilities. They can work for government agencies or public organizations to coordinate resources for mental and physical health services, develop wellness programs for groups of people or communities or provide guidance to people going through life transitions. A social science degree can provide social workers with the sociology, criminology and psychology foundation they need.
Related: Learn About Being a Social Worker
National average salary: $65,314 per year
Primary duties: A professor instructs college students in a specific academic field. They give lectures, assign projects, proctor exams and provide professional guidance to students. Having a bachelor's degree in social science can prepare all professors with research, writing and analysis skills, while those who want to teach social science courses can use a bachelor's degree to begin studying this field and find their specialty of interest.
National average salary: $65,668 per year
Primary duties: A security manager assesses, develops and enforces safety procedures and policies for an organization and monitors the budget related to technology, staffing and other factors that relate to security. They often lead a team of security professionals to address potential threats, document incidents and coordinate staff during drills and actual emergencies. A degree in social science provides these professionals with knowledge of criminology, psychology and workplace culture, all of which can help them better assess threats and develop safety plans.
National average salary: $66,760 per year
Primary duties: This professional oversees the marketing efforts of an organization or a particular aspect of the organization, such as a product or service. They're responsible for creating and monitoring marketing budgets, negotiating ad publication, coordinating ad production, assessing marketing opportunities, researching marketing trends and reporting on the success of marketing efforts. Having a background in psychology, cultural studies and human behavior can help marketing managers better research and identify opportunities to attract audiences.
National average salary: $67,721 per year
Primary duties: A designer creates appealing visuals that inform, entertain or function well, and they can specialize in several fields, including graphic design, interior design, user experience design, fashion design, publication design, web design and more. The specific duties of each of these roles are unique, but many collaborate with clients or their employer to determine the organization's needs, research trends, study the audience preferences, develop mockups, revise iterations and complete final designs. Having a social science degree with the research skills and knowledge of human psychology can benefit these professionals.
12. Urban planner
National average salary: $68,954 per year
Primary duties: An urban planner creates strategies to manage land, organize the placement of structures in an area and improve the community through better transportation systems and safer and more accessible spaces. Urban planners with a bachelor's degree in social science can skillfully assess a geographical area and the impact of humans on it, as well as the impact of geography on the humans who live there.
Related: Learn About Being an Urban Planner
National average salary: $69,642 per year
Primary duties: A financial analyst gathers, assesses and reports on relevant economic data, including current or potential investment performance and market trends. Then, they use this information to make recommendations on investment strategies for individuals or organizations. Financial analysts may benefit from studying economics, political science and psychology in a social science degree.
National average salary: $83,067 per year
Primary duties: A geographer studies physical areas of the planet and the inhabitants to assess sustainability for life, new construction or conservation. With geography often studied in a social science program, this degree can provide aspiring geographers with an interdisciplinary view of geography, human behavior, culture and economics.
National average salary: $104,922 per year
Primary duties: A psychologist helps people develop healthy coping mechanisms, habits and problem-solving techniques related to acute or chronic mental health conditions. There are many specialized fields in psychology, but starting with a bachelor's in social science provides a foundation in psychology, sociology, culture and language necessary for this role.
Related: Learn About Being a Psychologist
National average salary: $112,448 per year
Primary duties: An economist gathers, assesses and draws conclusions from economic data to study how financial and other related resources are distributed in societies and how that distribution impacts individuals and communities. They can work in many settings, including government, nonprofit and corporations. Since economics is a social science, this degree prepares these professionals with the quantitative and qualitative research skills, analysis and writing abilities and economic principles needed for the role.
Other roles to pursue with a bachelor's in social science
Here are other roles to consider:
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