What Are the Social Sciences?

The social sciences cover many different academic disciplines that focus on humanity. The study of the social sciences goes back as far as ancient Greece. The social sciences include anthropology, archaeology, education, geography, history, political science, psychology, social issues and social welfare and sociology. Schools offering Social Science degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Overview of the Social Sciences

The social sciences are a broad field of study that examines society and the relationships among people. Each of the various divisions of the social sciences offers some insight into humanity. The social sciences essentially analyze all aspects of our existence to determine what brought us to this point. Common sub-areas are anthropology, archaeology, political science, psychology and sociology.

Important Facts About The Social Sciences

Possible Careers Anthropologists; historians; sociologists; survey researchers; political scientists
Required Education Master's or doctoral degree (for sociologists)
Median Salary (2014) $72,810 per year (for sociologists)
Key Skills Analysis; communication; understand complex issues; question assumptions; make reasoned arguments; solve problems; communication

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Anthropology

Anthropology is the study of humankind. Anthropologists study the beginnings of humanity and human growth physically, culturally and socially. They study and identify cultural issues such as:

  • Eating habits
  • Habitat
  • Marriage customs
  • Nutrition
  • Disease

Archaeology

Archaeology involves collecting, recovering and studying materials used by earlier cultures. Ruins from buildings, pieces of pottery, tools and weapons are all used to analyze cultures and make observations about how they lived. Archaeologists then learn about earlier civilizations' living habits, history and customs.

Political Science

Political science studies politics in history and around the world. This can include analyzing governments, political systems and behavior. Political science also studies intercultural relationships and political structures that affect one another.

Psychology

Psychology is the study of emotional, social, cognitive and physical aspects of human behavior and the mind. Issues addressed by psychologists may include:

  • Addictions
  • Eating disorders
  • Suicide
  • Violence
  • Trauma
  • Depression
  • Sexuality
  • Marriage and divorce
  • Abortion

Sociology

Sociology is the study of human behavior through the examination of social life, change, causes and consequences within groups. Sociologists study ethnic groups, religious groups, genders, families and others to see how they respond to:

  • Technology
  • Health
  • Crime
  • Social movements

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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