Fields in the social sciences include economics, geography, and history. Students who major in these areas receive a well-rounded liberal arts education and develop transferable skills. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that professionals in life, physical, and social science occupations earn a median salary of $69,760 per year.
The BLS projects employment for these professionals to grow 5% from 2019-2029, slightly faster than the median projected growth rate for all occupations. Students at the top social science schools prepare to enter the growing job market.
Frequently Asked Questions About Social Science
A student's major impacts their future career opportunities. Some graduates of online social science degrees pursue entry-level positions, while others enroll in graduate school.
Social science schools typically offer majors in accounting, global health studies, and linguistics and cognitive science. Learners can also pursue degrees in political science and public relations.
Sociologists generally need a master's degree or Ph.D. Undergraduate students can prepare for graduate school admissions through volunteer work and internships.
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Why Get a Degree in Social Science?
Learners attending a social science school online can choose from dozens of programs to attain a customized educational experience. Degrees in the social sciences deliver a liberal arts education and help learners strengthen their communication, writing, and analytical skills. These abilities translate to graduate studies and professional roles.
According to BLS data, college graduates enjoy a lower unemployment rate and higher median salary than individuals with less education. These figures suggest that a college education remains a wise financial investment, even with rising tuition costs. Learners can make the most of their college experience by exploring their school's career preparation resources.
Most colleges charge online degree-seekers and on-campus students the same tuition rates. Learners often save money on tuition by choosing in-state social science schools. However, some public colleges and universities offer the same tuition rate for all online students, which can save out-of-state learners thousands of dollars.
Students pursuing an online social science degree typically save on costs such as commuting, on-campus housing, and meal plans. Degree-seekers with a full-time job or children often benefit the most from online programs, many of which offer flexible asynchronous curricula.
Social science degrees may require fees, depending on the major. Students should speak with an academic or admissions advisor for details about fees and additional costs. Fortunately, many online learners qualify for institutional and departmental financial aid.
Additional Online Student Fees for Social Science
Students pursuing a degree online should budget for costs including high-speed internet and reliable devices. Many social science schools set minimum technology requirements for online learners. Additionally, students must typically pay for textbooks and other learning materials. Some programs also require on-campus seminars or intensives, which require learners to budget for commuting, housing, and meals.
Students approaching graduation should expect to pay a one-time graduation fee. Graduates may also need to obtain professional certifications and licensure. Learners can work with a career advisor to research license and certification fees.
How Much Do Social Science Majors Make?
Earning potential for social science professionals varies by field. For example, bachelor's degree-holders can pursue roles as geographers, who earn a median annual salary of $85,430, according to the BLS. An individual's employer also impacts their salary. Geographers working for federal government agencies earn a significantly higher median salary than their peers.
Professionals can also increase their salary potential by moving to a state offering high earning potential for workers in their field. For example, geographers in California, Colorado, and Maryland earn $92,200-$96,810 annually. However, these states each feature a higher cost of living than the national average.
Social science professionals may qualify for a raise or promotion by earning a license or certification. Many employers reserve management positions for individuals with these credentials. Graduates can speak to a work supervisor to determine whether professional credentials can lead to career advancement in their field.
Courses in Social Science
Learners attending social science school online generally take general education courses in areas including mathematics, humanities, and natural sciences. Students typically complete the majority of these courses during their first two years of study. General education courses help students gain transferable skills that apply to nearly all career paths.
Curricula for online social science degrees vary by major. The sample curriculum below highlights three courses that social science schools commonly require of sociology majors. Some programs feature a capstone course in the final semester. Students should contact their prospective institution's admissions office for details about social science majors and graduation requirements.[tabs] [tab-item title="Marriage and Family"]
This course explores marriage as a social construction, related psychological underpinnings, and marriage and family's place in American culture. Learners analyze how men and women select life partners and examine typical obstacles married couples face. Other course topics include nontraditional family structures. Professors at Christian schools may teach this course from a religious viewpoint.[/tab-item] [tab-item title="Deviant Behavior"]
Each society regards specific behaviors as antisocial or deviant. Learners examine how societies make this determination and explore differences among cultures. Coursework covers how mental disorders and different forms of abuse cause deviant behavior. Students typically take this course after completing an introductory sociology class.[/tab-item] [tab-item title="Sociology of Gender"]
Degree-seekers in this class consider how society affects gender norms, along with gender's influence on identity. Students reflect on their personal experiences and analyze contemporary sexual politics. Learners also examine how sexual violence can impede gender equality. This course does not typically require prerequisites.[/tab-item] [/tabs]
Sociologists need a master's degree or Ph.D. Graduate students can pursue a professional track to prepare for careers outside of academia. For example, graduate degree-holders can become survey researchers and statisticians. Degree-seekers can also focus on research to train for careers as postsecondary teachers and academic researchers. Master's programs typically require 2-3 years, and students may need up to five years to earn a Ph.D.
In addition to an advanced degree, sociologists need advanced analytical, communication, and critical thinking skills. Professionals use these skills to create research projects, perform interviews, and communicate with policymakers and other stakeholders.
Certifications and Licensure for Social Science
Professionals with a social science degree can earn a license or certification to qualify for additional career opportunities. Candidates for these credentials typically need to hold a bachelor's or master's degree, pass one or more exams, and submit to a background check. To qualify for renewal, individuals must usually complete professional development or continuing education courses.
Certified Public Accountant
Accounting programs at social science schools typically prepare learners to pass the CPA exam and meet state-specific requirements. CPA candidates may need to hold a master's degree in accounting and pay a fee to a state licensure board. CPAs complete continuing education to qualify for credential renewal.
Licensed Clinical Social Worker
LCSWs provide mental health support to patients in need. These professionals must hold a master's degree in social work, complete supervised experience, and pass their state's licensing exam. Licensed professionals complete continuing education to qualify for renewal. Some states maintain licensure reciprocity agreements that allow LCSWs to work across state lines without fulfilling additional requirements.
After earning an online social science degree, graduates can complete a state-approved teacher education program to qualify for a teaching license. These programs feature instruction in pedagogy and require student-teaching hours. Candidates for a teaching license must also pass one or more exams. Teachers take professional development courses to maintain licensure.
Online Social Science Schools 2021
Thomas Broderick is a freelance writer and the owner of Broderick Writer LLC. He creates study guides, informational websites, and blog posts for clients in the education field. Thomas is also a published author of over 20 short stories and a member of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America.
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