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What Can You Do with a Social Science Degree?

Posted by Shelly Quance on 10/20/23 6:35 AM

  October 20, 2023    

The Value of a Graduate Degree in Social Sciences.jpg

Making the decision to go to grad school is a big deal. And deciding in what area to pursue your master’s is an even BIGGER deal.

If you’re considering what field to go into, you might find the perfect fit within the social sciences. The social sciences are an interdisciplinary field of study that explores human society, social relationships, and behavior in order to understand and improve the quality of human life and social structures.

If you are intellectually curious and empathetic, have a desire to work with people, and enjoy thoughtful, engaging work, the social sciences are worth exploring for your future. 

If you're a professional looking to make a career change, check out our digital  resource page - Make the Change: A Comprehensive Guide to Graduate Programs for  Career Changers!

What are the benefits of a graduate degree in social science?

A graduate degree in social science is quite valuable because not only are you earning a master’s degree which increases your median yearly salary by $12,000 compared to just having a bachelor’s, but you’re also gaining a skill set that will lead to success and a variety of opportunities. Strong communication skills, excellent writing techniques, quality research skills, and critical thinking abilities make social science graduates extremely marketable in today’s professional landscape.

Every social science degree has its own significant merit, and here are a few that are worth checking out:

Jobs in the Social Sciences

Master’s in Political Science

Graduates in the field of political science can make a huge difference in the world, whether it’s with government policy or teaching at a university or working in lobbying. Critical thinking, research, data analysis, and problem-solving are a few skills that political science graduates have. In the next 10 years, there is an expected 7% growth in this field according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Graduates with a master’s in social science can go on to pursue careers in politics, foreign affairs, teaching, and work in nonprofit organizations.

Geography Graduate Program

This is a very unique, yet important field of study that many overlook. Graduates with a graduate degree in geography are trained in research and analysis of the environment, regions of the Earth, and human activity. 

However, they are not limited to these opportunities. Geographers work within informational science, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations. With a strong growth outlook in various areas, graduates can work as urban local planners, community activists, and cartographers.

There’s a growing need for geographers to assist in mitigating the growing effects of climate change, population shifts, and changing economic demands.

Social Work (MSW)

The field of social work is rewarding but also very challenging. Graduates work to improve the overall quality of life for individuals, whether it be on the clinical or administrative side. 

A master’s degree gives social workers a leg-up on other competitors who have only a bachelor's degree because certain jobs are only offered to those with a master's degree. Social workers pursue very fulfilling careers in nonprofit organizations, human resources, law enforcement, and child advocacy.

Public Administration (MPA)

If public service, health care administration, or management interests you, a master’s in public administration could be a good degree to pursue. A public administration professional is very versatile and can be trained in health care finance, public policy, and community development. This field is always evolving, and since industries are always in need of managers, you could have career opportunities at the local, state, and federal levels as well as in private organizations.

Master of Sociology

Job opportunities in this field vary based on your interests and careers in sociology often focus on group interaction, professional writing, and in-depth research. Graduates with a master’s in sociology are very marketable, and not to mention, they often earn more than someone with the average liberal arts degree.

The median salary for an individual with a master’s in sociology is $98,590. Sociologists can work with academic institutions, research firms, and even the FBI.

Master of Legal Studies

There are several misconceptions that go along with the term legal studies, so if you think that law school is an automatic must, you’re wrong. First and foremost, this degree does not prepare graduates to practice law! A graduate of legal studies can change the world in various areas such as criminal and juvenile justice, journalism, social work, and even in various facets of the military.

Many believe that this degree solely involves working in law, government, or the criminal justice system, but there are a variety of job opportunities that come along with a master’s in legal studies. Veteran affairs, human services, and healthcare administration are also possible careers for those with this graduate degree.

Master’s Degrees in Social Science

A graduate degree in social science, no matter what field of study, can lead to many job opportunities in many interesting sectors of the workforce. Jobs range from data analysis for the FBI to helping individuals with mental illnesses to being a community activist.

Even though these individual career paths are different, all social science graduates have an innovative spirit and well-rounded knowledge of the world, possessing marketable skill sets that go unmatched.

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Topics: WVU Graduate Programs

Posted by Shelly Quance

Shelly Quance has spent almost 20 years working in higher education marketing communications. She currently serves as Director for West Virginia University’s Office of Graduate Admissions and Recruitment where she works collaboratively with College leadership to develop, implement, and evaluate creative and effective comprehensive communication and marketing plans to increase graduate student enrollment.


About the Blog

Deciding what graduate school to attend can be daunting at times, and navigating the admissions process can be that much more difficult. We hope to make the journey from considering graduate school to enrolling in a graduate program easier by publishing content that will be helpful to you as you discern if, when, and where, to pursue your next degree.

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