Why study a masters in social science?

Written By

Think Postgrad

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Where can I find masters courses in social sciences?

Social science includes a very diverse set of subjects. Many of them lead to worthwhile careers. This short article aims to share some reasons why its great to study a masters in social science.

What is social science?

In simple terms, social science is the scientific study of humans. This is a huge topic because of the wide variety of subjects covered by the umbrella of social science. From the understanding of early civilizations though the great philosophies to the examination of culture, law, economics, politics and theology.

However, the key material that joins all the parts of the umbrella together is the use of scientific research.

Why study a masters in social science?

There can be little doubt of the importance of science to humanity. Ask anyone to name a scientist and the first one that probably comes to mind is Albert Einstein. Who would name Max Weber?

Understanding the scientific principles that cover the existence of everything is deeply profound. However, it’s the application of that knowledge on our thinking and behavior that resonates most with people’s lived experience.

It could be argued that the emergence of Game Theory in the 20th Century has probably had the most profound effect on the study of social sciences. Undoubtedly the ability to model behaviors scientifically allows researchers to consider the effects of actions and their consequences.

What’s the difference between Humanities and Social Science

Humanities includes subjects that overlap with the social sciences. In other words they include the arts and creativity, literature and language, classics and the foundations of philosophy, ethics and theology.

Subjects in the arts and humanities are often used as expressions of human society. That does not mean that the other components of social science are not representational. What generally distinguishes arts and humanities from wider social science is the techniques used in any research. Academic organisations such as the British Academy share the following definition: -

'Humanities are (mostly) interested in the unique; social sciences are (mostly) interested in the general. Social statistics cannot predict how I will vote in the next election, but they can help to predict what most people will do. In economics and psychology, the core scientific methods are no different to those used by our ‘hard’ science, engineering, or medical colleagues in the other national academies'.

What subjects does a masters in social science cover?

Anthropology and Cultures

Anthropology and Cultural studies cover the complete history of human evolution. By and large a scientific study of geology and paleontology will uncover the processes of the earth’s formation and the establishment of life on earth from the fossil record. The study of human evolution builds on these scientific principles. Migration examines how we established footholds in different continents. Over time humans triumphed as the one species to dominate every land mass.

Gender & Population

The study of population and gender has huge moral and philosophical implications. As a result they are of particular relevance to our exploitation of natural resources. These subjects resonate with our current times as we adapt to the changes to population brought about by climate change. Think of the impact of China’s One Child policy introduced in the 1980’s.

Housing & Human Rights

Where and how we create communities and our ability to live freely are fundamental freedoms. After all, social science allows us to examine and measure the impacts of decisions we take. We can plan for the future to protect and support our natural resources.

Politics & International Relations

Politics effects everything, from cradle to grave. For example, ee have all lived through the outcome of political actions in response to the Covid pandemic. Governments took decisions that continue to affect everyone, and these will be felt for generations.

Consider the global distribution of vaccines in terms of a zero-sum game. Scientific study of these processes helps us to adapt better for the future to mitigate the inevitable consequences of these global events.

Social Policy & Social Work

Governments raise taxes to redistribute wealth. Planning decisions drive government policy, so social work supports the most vulnerable.

Careers with a masters in social science

Skills in qualitative and qualitative research are in great demand across business. Expertise in these fields is a core module component in many social science masters degrees.

Graduates are well placed to consider a PhD, and this applies whether the subject is a traditional science subject or one grounded in the social sciences.

Careers in social science include a wide range of roles connected to the public sector. This is because governments redistribute wealth through local services. However, many roles related to social science exist in the structures of all businesses.

Employment sectors such as the arts and humanities as well as law, teacher training, and economics are all related to the social sciences.

Skills in business, management and economics are the drivers for the global economy. However, it’s the management of the workforce and the relationship with the customer that sets apart those organisations that are the most successful.

Research in the social sciences enables profound changes within communities. All careers are connected in some way or another to how we live and our contribution to society.

Overall, a Master's degree in social science can be a valuable investment in your future, whether you are looking to advance in your current career or explore new opportunities.

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