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13 Best Social Science Majors For Students in 2023| Cost, And Requirements

Social science is such a vast field that you can get lost choosing the right major. It is important to consider the career path you are passionate about in the field, which pays good wages after graduation. Learn about the best social science majors to earn a degree.

According to the latest Campaign for Social Science report, almost four out of ten graduates have a social science degree. This is no surprise, considering social sciences’ integral role in today’s globalized world.

The interesting thing about the social science field is that despite these high numbers, social science graduates remain in demand worldwide.

So, this article is written as a guide to help you choose the best social science major that will suit your goals. You will also learn more about the field, the requirements, the cost, and the possible careers of each social science major.

Here is a table to guide you:

What Is Social Science?

According to Wikipedia, Social science is the branch of science devoted to the study of human societies and the relationships among individuals within those societies. 

Social sciences help to explain how society works, exploring everything from the triggers of economic growth and causes of unemployment to what makes people happy. Among other things, it helps to shape corporate strategies and government policies.

In fact, social science is considered a soft science because degrees here do not focus on the scientific method or experimental design in research. Rather they study human behaviors.

This includes a variety of ways from understanding how minds work, to how societies as a whole function.

Social sciences cover all aspects of society from past achievements and events to the nature of humans and relationships existent among groups.

What Is A Social Science Degree?

A social science degree typically builds strong analytical, research, and critical thinking skills, preparing graduates for positions in diverse industries.

What Are Social Science Majors?

Social science majors are those subjects and fields of study which examine and explain human beings. They are a group of academic disciplines dedicated to examining society.

There are over 14 majors within the social science field. The popular ones include Anthropology, Archaeology, Economics, Geography, History, Law, Linguistics, Politics, Psychology, and Sociology.

Although these social science disciplines may seem unrelated, they all help society to function and try to answer the basic and complex questions of human society.

Why Major In Social Sciences?

Basically, the social science field is important because it helps society to run smoothly. However, if you are yet to make your mind on whether you should pursue a degree in social science, here are some reasons why you should:

  • You will gain a highly valuable and transferable skill set.
  • You will possess the knowledge required to positively impact the world

Gain A Highly Valuable And Transferable Skill Set

One major benefit of getting a degree in social science is that students learn and practice many of the soft skills that employers value.

Soft skills are simply interpersonal skills. This set of skills you’ll build and foster by studying a social science degree will help you function and thrive in the modern workplace.

Below are some of the skills you can expect to gain, which will make you an attractive hire to global employers: 

  • Oral and written communication
  • Teamwork
  • Technical skills
  • Analytical skills
  • Organizational skills
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Critical thinking skills
  • Ability to formulate, present, and argue logical debates effectively.
  • Ability to understand the processes of change in society
  • Awareness and understanding of cross-cultures
  • High emotional intelligence

Possess The Knowledge Required To Positively Impact The World

Generally, social science degrees offer a fascinating insight into everyday life, while also preparing you for the challenges and opportunities that arise in contemporary society.

With this academic focus on societal issues and the relationships of individuals within society, your social science degree will be critical to challenging social problems and real-life world issues.

What Should I Study at High School if I Want to Study Social Science?

The best way to know if the social science field is best for you is by having prior knowledge about it while you’re in high school.

You can start by taking high school social science subjects. These subjects include economics, sociology, government, psychology, ancient history, family development, and so on.

Also, taking foreign language classes can prepare you too. For instance, when you take a foreign language class, you don’t just learn the language, you also learn about the culture.

And as you know, culture and language play an important role in understanding society.

You can also take a course in probability and statistics. This is because learning how to analyze data is an essential skill for aspiring social scientists to have.

In addition, joining clubs or volunteering can supplement your social science courses in high school. This may seem ordinary, but political, foreign language, or community service clubs deal with issues related to social science.

What Are The Requirements For Getting A Degree in Social Sciences?

To major in social science, you need to be comfortable with abstract thought and theory. You also need to have an interest in applying learned methods to real-life situations.

This is because you will need to make connections between various subjects and also spend a lot of time researching papers and analyzing data. Creativity and problem-solving skills will also be a plus for you.

Furthermore, you will need to have writing and communication skills in the social science field, as you will be doing a lot of written reports and well as person-to-person interaction.

Typically, social science majors have classes that include discussion and debate on controversial subjects. Therefore, students need to be confident in their abilities to defend their opinions, and at the same time keep an open mind.

What Are The Entry Requirements For Social Sciences Degree Program?

Generally, to major in social sciences, degree applicants must fulfil the following:

  • Applicants must have finished high school or their GED.
  • They must meet the GPA and SAT/ACT score minimums for their chosen program and school.
  • Also, after obtaining their bachelor’s degree, they must earn the required additional social sciences certifications to pursue a career in this field.

How Much Does A Degree In A Social Science Major?

There is no specific amount for the cost of social science degree programs as the cost varies among programs and schools. Nevertheless, there is an estimate of what prospective students may pay.

According to BestColleges, a Bachelor’s in Social Science at a public college or university cost about $10,000-$15,000 per year in tuition. Out-of-state students however may need to pay approximately double this rate.

On the other hand, annual tuition at private four-year universities can exceed $45,000 per year.

Which Social Science Majors Are The Best For Students?

If you have made up your mind to pursue a degree in social sciences and are confused on what to major in.

Here is a list of the 13 best social science majors for students:

  • Anthropology
  • Archaeology
  • Counseling
  • Criminology
  • Economics
  • Education
  • Geography
  • History
  • International Relations
  • Political Science
  • Psychology
  • Sociology
  • Social W

#1. Anthropology

Anthropology, which is simply the science of humanity is one of the best social science majors for students.

It is the study of humans: their beginnings, varied physical and cultural characteristics, distribution, customs, and social relationships. Basically, anthropologists analyze society and culture, explore ancient civilizations, and help bridge the gap between the past and present.

Focus areas within the discipline include the evolution of human beings, the development of early cultures, and the diversity of cultural development among peoples, as well as their political systems, religious practices, and value systems.

A degree in anthropology offers students the opportunity to learn about the evolution of the human being as well as develop critical thinking and communication skills for various careers. 

Anthropology as offered in four-year undergraduate programs is often divided into subspecialties such as physical anthropology, social, cultural anthropology, or linguistics. Anthropology may also be combined with area studies majors such as African-American or Asian studies.

Want to pursue an Anthropology degree? Then, see the 11 Best Anthropology Programs And Universities to Study Them

#2. Archaeology

Archaeology is the study of human history and prehistory. It is also one of the best social sciences you can major in. What separates it from regular history majors is that it’s more hands-on.

Archaeology is also similar to anthropology in that it is the study of humanity. The difference however is that it relies much more on the material evidence left behind by cultures.

Archaeology is most directly concerned with understanding and explaining extinct cultures and living societies through the excavation, analysis, and interpretation of their material remains.

Basically, archeologists analyze artifacts and physical remains found at excavation sites. This analysis can include bones, tools, goods, and remnants of homes and other buildings.

See the 21 Best Archaeology Schools in the World | Updated.

#3. Counseling

Counseling is significantly one of the most critical roles in modern healthcare, especially as it relates to mental health. Generally, counseling is referred to as the process that occurs when a client and counselor set aside time to explore difficulties which may include the stressful or emotional feelings of the client.

A counselor is a trained, open-minded professional with whom you can build a healing and trusting relationship. 

Counselors basically help people to overcome personal, social, and psychological difficulties. They work directly with clients to help them cope with loss, anxiety, stress, and other pressing issues in their lives.

There are different types of counselors. They include but not limited to Guidance Counselor, Marriage Counselor and Substance Abuse Counselor. Each serving its own unique purpose.

As a field of study, counseling is taught mainly at the graduate level. Although you can pursue an undergraduate counseling degree program, you’ll also need further education and/or a license to attain most counseling jobs.

Check out the 13 Best Counseling Schools in the World

#4. Criminology

Criminology is the scientific study of the causes of crime, the criminals involved, and its social impact. 

It is one of the best social science majors and is often confused with criminal justice. However, these two-degree programs have distinctly different purposes. The difference is that instead of examining the components of the criminal justice system, criminology programs examine why crime occurs.

Also, criminology degrees are closely linked to sociology, and typically prepare students for different types of careers than criminal justice degrees.

Typically, in a criminology major, students take courses such as the economics of crime and social problems, crime analysis, victimology, drugs and crime, and culture and crime.

Students can also further their education by obtaining a master’s degree or a doctorate in criminology.

There also several career options for students who major in criminology. For instance, graduates with a bachelor’s degree in criminology can work as forensic investigators, law enforcement officers, private investigators, and other law enforcement-related fields.

Furthermore, graduates who go on to obtain additional criminology degrees, more career options may be available, such as working as a criminologist for the government, working in academia as a professor or researcher, or becoming a forensic psychologist.

Learn how to become a Criminologist: The Work Description, Skillset, Salary, and Career Tips Here.

#5. Economics

Economics is one of the best and most popular majors in the social sciences field. Basically, economics looks at the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services.

In a broader sense, Economics is the study of how individuals, businesses, governments, and societies choose to spend their time and money and otherwise allocate their resources. That is, it can be sen to be a study of choices.

You can choose to take it from a close view or a broad one, but in general, it comes down to looking at how the economic systems of the world work.

An economics major is a degree option (available to students) that examines issues related to resource allocation, incentives, and wealth, among others. 

The knowledge of Economics can be applied both theoretically and practically. This means that the subject is well suited for anyone interested in the current economic world.

You may like to see the 21 Best Schools for Economics Majors and their Requirements.

#6. Education

Education is another popular and one of the best majors in social science. Basically, studying in the field of education will help prepare you to be an effective and inspirational teacher.

Here, you will learn skills on how to manage a classroom while still providing an interesting lesson. In this field, you will influence children, teenagers, or adults in a way that can change their lives.

Typically, a teacher is much more than an educator, you will act as a counselor, disciplinarian, friend, and confidant. So, the roles you will play in the lives of your students are limitless.

However, it is important to note that teaching is not the only career available in the field of education. You can also become a principal or administrator. 

You can also get a certificate online for an education course. See these 30 Free Online Education Courses With Certificates

#7. Geography

Geography is another popular major in social sciences and also one of the best. Most of us may remember geography as the subject at school that involved maps however, it goes beyond that.

Geography involves analyzing population, the land itself, the relationship between the two and often linking to the earth sciences (such as geology).

Also, most people think of geography as the process of simply memorizing the names and locations of cities, countries, mountains, deserts, and other geographical features.

Contrary to that, geography is more concerned about: “What makes this place unique?”

Geographers basically help us understand how people relate to the places they live, how they use the space around them, and how human settlement and activity impact natural environments.

At the postgraduate level, students can specialize in a particular branch of Geography. Such as oceanology, environmental management, or tourism geography.

Check out these scholarships available for Geography majors on our platform.

#8. History

History is a broad field, encompassing large areas and time periods of the world. Through the use of secondary and primary documents and other artifacts, history students gain an active appreciation of the past in order to better understand present events and conditions.

The study of history helps students to develop the ability to think critically, evaluate evidence objectively, and express knowledge clearly to others.

Although a postgraduate level study gives you a chance to specialize, you’ll still be using similar skills – interpreting sources, looking at current theories of the past, and assessing ideas against the available evidence.

So if you are interested in studying, preserving, and learning from the past, History is an ideal field of study.

Many students either major in General History or choose a concentration in an area of interest. This allows the student to explore in-depth the history of a particular time period, region, or subject.

Some examples are American History, European History, Military History, Women’s History, or Modern World History.

With Europe’s long, well-documented history, there’s the chance to get to look at the places you’re studying first hand if it’s your concentration.

There are few career possibilities for history majors who are interested in teaching at the college level.

However, there are many other avenues that a history major may explore, making it among the most popular college major programs.

You may also like to know more about Best History Schools in the World

#9. International Relations

International relations is basically the study of nations and communities throughout the world. It is a multi-disciplinary major that draws from politics, history, economics, law, sociology, psychology, philosophy, ethics, and geography.

In a typical international relations major, students study global societies along with the interactions between them. As a student, you’ll be dealing with foreign cultures, languages, worldviews, and values. Basically, the study of foreign languages is a necessity, as is a sense of empathy, compassion, and goodwill.

Also, over the course of a degree program, students who study international relations develop knowledge of foreign policy and the ability to engage in diplomacy.

In schools, an international relations major is a liberal arts degree and typically involves a broad, multidisciplinary approach.

Courseworks here cover a range of subjects, including history, politics, economics, foreign language, and geography. Students can also specialize as they study international relations, choosing to focus on one particular area of global relations, such as Latin American relations or Middle Eastern relations.

Students who want to further specialize can pursue a Master’s degree or a Ph.D. in international relations after obtaining a bachelor’s degree.

After graduation, students with a degree in international relations can work in a variety of career fields using the knowledge that they have acquired over their course of study.

These jobs may include working in the foreign service, as a CIA agent, as a foreign affairs analyst or specialist, as a diplomat, as an archivist, as a journalist, as a lobbyist, as an attorney, as a market research analyst, as a research analyst, as an international marketing specialist, or as an intelligence specialist.

Some of these jobs, however, require additional education. For example working as an attorney.

Check out these 15 Top International Relations Graduate Programs

#10. Political Science

Political science is one of the most popular and best majors in social sciences. It is a field that deals with the state and its systems, governments, and its policies or processes. In fact, it is the scientific analysis of political activity and behavior. 

Often broken up into Political Philosophy, Comparative Politics, and International Relations, this social science major allows for studying both historical and current events.

So, if the world of politics fascinates you, a political science degree can help you achieve a career in this field.

In a typical political science program, students learn how the government works. They also discover how to develop policy, conduct political research, and also analyze data.

Political science students also gain a versatile set of skills that can be applied in a wide range of exciting careers in federal, state, and local governments, in international and nonprofit organizations and in the professional fields of law, business, management, journalism.

So, with a political science degree, graduates can work in government, either as elected officials or in numerous other capacities.

A person with a political science degree can pursue a career in journalism, covering important political issues, in the legal field, or may choose to teach political science.

Although many entry-level jobs are available to political scientists, many political science degree holders decide to attend a political science graduate program to further their careers.

In nutshell, Political Science is a degree perfect for both those aiming for a career in the area or looking at it academically. Also, an EU country will be a fantastic place to study as the EU contains so many different systems.

Check out these 15 Best Political Science Schools in the World

#11. Psychology

This another popular and one of the best social science majors. Sometimes referred to as the science of personality, psychology is simply the study of mind and behavior.

Psychology is the science of behavior and the mind, in which conscious and unconscious phenomena are included, as well as emotions and thoughts.

Both theoretical and experimental, psychology makes use of studying both social behavior and neurobiological processes. Being a broad area of study that deals with the human mind, you’ll specialize in particular areas. These concentrations include child development, interpersonal relationships, or social psychology.

Coursework here involves work in the lab and the library conducting research, as well as group project assignments and time spent in the field interacting with clients and patients.

Psychologists basically, attempt to understand individuals and groups through research and counseling efforts. For more practical training, students may want to choose to study Clinical, Counseling, and Applied Psychology.

In a nutshell, a major in psychology is a great choice for those who wish to pursue careers as counselors.

You can also get a certificate from studying Psychology online for free. See these 12 Free Online Courses in Psychology with Certificates.

#12. Sociology

Sociology is also one of the best and most popular majors in social sciences. It is simply the study of society, both on the individual and structural levels.

Sociology is the study of human society and social behavior. In other words, it focuses on the social causes and consequences of human behavior.

During a four-year undergraduate sociology program, students research and examine groups, cultures, institutions, and other issues. They also engage in research projects, using statistical and other research methods, such as interviews, surveys, and field observations, to reach their conclusions.

Coursework covers topics such as class, religion, and social mobility, classic sociological literature, current sociological methods, statistical and research methods. Students also take particular courses on sociological themes, such as poverty, gender, cultural and ethnic relations, population, and families. In fact, there’s a broad range to choose to specialize in.

Sociology can be said to be closely related to social work, however, it is different in several key aspects. Although they both deal with similar issues, but they differ in how they address it.

While sociology is more research-oriented, social work is more hands-on, with graduates working directly with clients.

After graduation, a student with a sociology degree can work in various fields, such as working in community and youth organizations, as a counselor or therapist, in education, in public services, in business or marketing, in politics or activism, or in the charity sector. Check out these 15 Highest Paying Jobs with A Sociology Degree

Furthermore, graduates can work as sociologists if they have a Ph.D. degree in sociology.

See the 10 Best Sociology Schools in the World Here

#13. Social Work

Social work is also a very popular major and one of the best in social sciences. It is basically, the study of the techniques, skills, and processes that help people manage their personal and family relationships and learn how to cope with community issues that they encounter.

According to the International Federation of Social Workers, social work is “an interrelated system of values, theory, and practice.” Social work is a profession in the broad sense as it includes many types of professionals who serve people in need.

A major in social work prepares students for a career as a counselor, working with individuals or family units to overcome problems or concerns and find solutions. Some common issues include the treatment of mental disturbance, marital problems, sexual dysfunction, and alcohol/drug abuse. Gerontology is also a common area of specialization.

So, if you are interested in a career that aims to help people overcome the biggest challenges in life, such as poverty, addiction, mental illness, and family crises, going to a social work school may be your first option.

You may also like to know more about the Top 17 Social Work Programs BothOffline & Online

Best Social Science Majors For Students FAQs

What Is Social Science?

According to Wikipedia, Social science is the branch of science devoted to the study of human societies and the relationships among individuals within those societies.

What Is A Social Science Degree?

A social science degree typically builds strong analytical, research, and critical thinking skills, preparing graduates for positions in diverse industries.

What Are Social Science Majors?

Social science majors are those subjects and fields of study which examine and explain human beings.

Why Major In Social Sciences?

1. Social science is a field that helps society to run smoothly.
2. You will gain a highly valuable and transferable skill set.
3. You will possess the knowledge required to positively impact the world

What Are The Best Social Science Majors For Students?

The best social science majors for students include:
1. Anthropology
2. Archaeology
3. Counseling
4. Criminology
5. Economics
6. Education
7. Geography
8. History
9. International Relations
10. Political Science
11. Psychology
12. Sociology
13. Social Work


The Social Science field is a vast and lucrative one. Studies have it that graduates in this field are always in demand.

So, if you need a better understanding of society and human behaviour, do well to go through any of the majors listed above and pursue the one that best suits your goals.

I hope this article helps you in your decision making.

Good Luck And Success!!!


  • Investopedia – Social Sciences
  • CollegeFactual – Social Sciences Degree Guide
  • Plexuss – Major in Social Sciences| Social Sciences Degree Programs
  • PostGrad – Postgraduate Programs in Social Sciences
  • CollegeXpress – Social Sciences and Humanities Majors and Potential Jobs
  • WorldwideLearn – Guide To Majors – Social Science


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Mbagwu Amarachi Chilaka
Mbagwu Amarachi Chilaka
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