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Social Sciences Major

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Social Sciences

$85,750 Median Salary

Types of Degrees Social Sciences Majors Are Getting

The following table lists how many social sciences graduations there were in 2017-2018 for each degree level.

Education Level Number of Grads
Bachelor’s Degree 153,581
Associate’s Degree 21,572
Master’s Degree 16,941
Doctor’s Degree 3,783
Graduate Certificate 1,676
Basic Certificate 1,538
Undergraduate Certificate 485

What Social Sciences Majors Need to Know

O*NET surveyed people in occupations related to social sciences and asked them what knowledge areas, skills, and abilities were important for their jobs. The responses were rated on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being most important.

Knowledge Areas for Social Sciences Majors

According to O*NET survey takers, a major in social sciences should prepare you for careers in which you will need to be knowledgeable in the following areas:

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  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Education and Training - Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
  • Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
  • Computers and Electronics - Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
  • Law and Government - Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.

Skills for Social Sciences Majors

When studying social sciences, you’ll learn many skills that will help you be successful in a wide range of jobs - even those that do not require a degree in the field. The following is a list of some of the most common skills needed for careers associated with this major:

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  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

Abilities for Social Sciences Majors

As you progress with your social sciences degree, there are several abilities you should pick up that will help you in whatever related career you choose. These abilities include:

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  • Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Written Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
  • Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.

What Can You Do With a Social Sciences Major?

People with a social sciences degree often go into the following careers:

Job Title Job Growth Rate Median Salary
Anthropologists 3.9% $62,410
Anthropology and Archeology Professors 9.9% $83,940
Archeologists 3.9% $62,410
Cartographers and Photogrammetrists 19.0% $64,430
City and Regional Planning Aides 4.4% $46,640
Clinical Data Managers 33.9% $87,780
Compliance Managers 8.0% $107,480
Economics Professors 10.9% $101,480
Economists 6.1% $104,340
Environmental Economists 6.1% $104,340
Geographers 13.3% $80,300
Geography Professors 8.0% $80,350
Investment Fund Managers 8.0% $107,480
Market Research Analysts and Marketing Specialists 23.2% $63,120
Political Science Professors 10.4% $83,370
Political Scientists 2.7% $117,570
Regulatory Affairs Managers 8.0% $107,480
Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education 7.5% $60,320
Security Managers 8.0% $107,480
Social Science Research Assistants 4.4% $46,640
Social Sciences Professors 9.8% $71,600
Sociology Professors 9.5% $74,140
Statisticians 33.9% $87,780
Supply Chain Managers 8.0% $107,480
Survey Researchers 2.1% $57,700
Transportation Planners 6.7% $81,340
Urban and Regional Planners 12.8% $73,050
Wind Energy Project Managers 8.0% $107,480

Who Is Getting a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Sciences?

153,581 Bachelor's Degrees Annually
52% Percent Women
37% Percent Racial-Ethnic Minorities
According to recent stats this major attracts about equal numbers of men and women. Roughly 52% of the graduates are women, and 48% are men.

Racial-Ethnic Diversity

At the countrywide level, the racial-ethnic distribution of social sciences majors is as follows:

Racial-Ethnic Diversity of Social Sciences Students with Bachelor's Degrees
Race/Ethnicity Number of Grads
Asian 11,569
Black or African American 14,106
Hispanic or Latino 24,765
White 79,997
International Students 11,958
Other Races/Ethnicities 11,186

Geographic Diversity

Social Sciences appeals to people across the globe. About 7.8% of those with this major are international students.

How Much Do Social Sciences Majors Make?

Bachelor’s Degree Starting Salary

Data from the U.S. Department of Education shows that social sciences students who graduated in 2015-2017 with a bachelor’s degree made a median starting salary of $32,000 per year. During this timeframe, most salaries fell between $27,900 (25th percentile) and $37,500 (75th percentile).

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It’s important to note that just because the people reporting these salaries have a degree in social sciences, it does not mean that they are working in a job related to their degree.

Salaries According to BLS

Social Sciences majors often go into careers where salaries can range from $68,340 to $94,080 (25th to 75th percentile). This range includes all degree levels, so the salary for a person with just a bachelor’s degree may be a little less and the one for a person with an advanced degree may be a little more.

To put that into context, according to BLS data from the first quarter of 2020, the typical high school graduate makes between $30,000 and $57,900 a year (25th through 75th percentile). The average person with a bachelor’s degree (any field) makes between $45,600 and $99,000. Advanced degree holders make the most with salaries between $55,600 and $125,400.

Median Salary for a Social Sciences Major  ( 68340 to 94080 )
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250K
Median Salary for a High School Graduate  ( 30000 to 57900 )
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250K
Median Salary for a Bachelor's Degree Holder  ( 45600 to 99000 )
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250K
Median Salary for an Advanced Degree Holder  ( 55600 to 125400 )
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250K

Some careers associated with social sciences require an advanced degree while some may not even require a bachelor’s. In general, the more advanced your degree the more career options will open up to you. However, there is significant time and money that needs to be invested into your education so weigh the pros and cons.

How much schooling do you really need to compete in today’s job market? People currently working in careers related to social sciences have obtained the following education levels.

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Education Level Percentage of Workers
High School Diploma - or the equivalent (for example, GED) 0.3%
Post-Secondary Certificate - awarded for training completed after high school (for example, in agriculture or natural resources, computer services, personal or culinary services, engineering technologies, healthcare, construction trades, mechanic and repair technologies, or precision production) 1.4%
Some College Courses 0.9%
Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree) 1.9%
Bachelor’s Degree 27.4%
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Baccalaureate degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees carrying the title of Master. 1.6%
Master’s Degree 27.0%
Post-Master’s Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Master’s degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees at the doctoral level. 1.8%
First Professional Degree - awarded for completion of a program that: requires at least 2 years of college work before entrance into the program, includes a total of at least 6 academic years of work to complete, and provides all remaining academic requirements to begin practice in a profession. 0.9%
Doctoral Degree 33.7%
Post-Doctoral Training 0.9%

Online Social Sciences Programs

In 2017-2018, 1,714 schools offered a social sciences program of some type. The following table lists the number of programs by degree level, along with how many schools offered online courses in the field.

Degree Level Colleges Offering Programs Colleges Offering Online Classes
Certificate (Less Than 1 Year) 260 27
Certificate (1-2 years) 87 5
Certificate (2-4 Years) 9 1
Associate’s Degree 955 148
Bachelor’s Degree 285 46
Post-Baccalaureate 260 27
Master’s Degree 1,472 117
Post-Master’s 66 0
Doctor’s Degree (Research) 668 3
Doctor’s Degree (Professional Practice) 1 0
Doctor’s Degree (Other) 0 0

Is a Degree in Social Sciences Worth It?

The median salary for a social sciences grad is $85,750 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.

This is 115% more than the average salary for an individual holding a high school degree. This adds up to a gain of about $917,000 after 20 years!

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You may also be interested in one of the following majors related to social sciences.

Major Number of Grads
Education 306,214
Psychology 175,257
Communication & Journalism 120,570
Family, Consumer & Human Sciences 60,305
History 32,644
Area, Ethnic, Culture, & Gender Studies 14,883
Library Science 5,996

References

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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