What are the Social Sciences?

In general, the social sciences include any field that studies society and human behavior. When you were in high school, you probably covered more of these topics in a social studies class.  The social sciences can be broadly grouped into ten areas, each of which you can consider as your college major.


Described as the study of man, anthropology takes a holistic approach to learning about humans. In this field, you’ll study culture, language, history, and more to understand mankind.


Economics is a great social science field to study if you’re also interested in math. Students in economics programs learn about product distribution, wealth, and more. This field can be further divided into microeconomics (the economics of an individual or small group) or macroeconomics (economics on a world-wide scale).


If you want to work as a teacher, education is the best social sciences field for you. In this kind of program, you’ll study how people learn and ways to teach them concepts like reading and math. Education also draws from fields like psychology and philosophy, and most education students specialize in early childhood, special, elementary, or secondary.


Geography is the study of places. Broadly, this field is split into human geography (how we occupy space) and physical geography (the natural environment). This social science field has strong ties to other sciences, such as biology, environmental science, chemistry, and meteorology.


You’ve probably taken history lessons since you were in elementary school. As a college study, your study of history will likely focus on a specific country over even a specific era, such as World War II or the ancient Greece.


Law students study the rules society has created to maintain order. Most students interested in this field first enter pre-law programs or programs in another area of social science. You can then go on to enter law school or complete training to become a paralegal.


Linguistics is the study of language, but this field goes far beyond learning how to speak other languages. Students in linguistics programs also study how language is used in a culture, how words change over time, how languages are structured, and more.

Political Science and Public Administration

Political science and public administration students study politics, government, policy, leadership, international relations, and related fields. This discipline has strong ties to both law and history.


Psychology students are in a field closely related to biological sciences as well. In this field, you’ll study the mind, learning about biology, behavior, and mental processes.


Lastly, social science students can study in the area of sociology. In this field, you’ll work to understand social action in a culture, so there are deep ties to most other areas of social sciences as well.

Guide to Online Social Science Degrees

Ashford University — Ashford University offers numerous social science programs, including the BA Social Science/Political Science, Social Science/Sociology, Social Science/Criminal Justice, and Social Science - History. Students interested in these programs usually have a passion for reading and exploring pressing issues in today's economy and culture. Graduates work in a variety of fields, from teaching to government.
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Kaplan University — Kaplan University offers a BS in Criminal Justice. The curriculum examines white-collar crime, juvenile delinquency, police operations, criminal investigation, and criminal evidence. For those students interested in working in government, a BS in Public Administration and Policy is also offered. The school is also known for its MS and BS in Psychology.
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Walden University — The online MS in Education degree at Walden University connects students with education experts, researchers and scholars. The MPA Law/Public Policy is designed to prepare you for careers in government, while the MPA and BS in Criminal Justice feature courses that explore crime, criminal theory, and ethics.
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