What is Social Science?It is more accurate to refer to the 'social sciences', as there is no single subject that can be identified as a social science.
The social sciences attempt to scientifically study human beings in their natural environment, or in situations that are set up to emulate their natural environment.
[Link to ESRC Social Science page]
From Wikipedia:"The social sciences are a group of academic disciplines that study human aspects of the world. They diverge from the arts and humanities in that the social sciences tend to emphasize the use of the scientific method in the study of humanity, including quantitative and qualitative methods.
The social sciences, in studying subjective, inter-subjective and objective or structural aspects of society, are sometimes referred to as soft sciences. This is in contrast to hard sciences, which may focus exclusively on objective aspects of nature.
Social scientists engage in research and theorize about both group and individual behaviors."
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Social Scientific DisciplinesSocial Scientific Disciplines include:
- Social Policy
* Dependent on the areas studied and the approach taken.
Applied Social ScienceA degree in Applied Social Science starts with a grounding in the main social science disciplines (usually sociology, psychology, politics, economics and social policy) and the use of social research methods.
At Level Two (second and third year), it is usual for universities to offer a range of modules / options that hone in on specific applications of social science, such as the environmental aspects of social policy, the role of politics in mental health or gender / ethnic bias in the criminal justice system.
Third year options often build on second year options (check whether there are prerequisites before choosing in the second year), going into greater depth in highly specific areas. It is also usual for students to complete a dissertation during their third year, which is an extended piece of writing / research undertaken independently (with supervision). Dissertations can be interdisciplinary, combining a number of social scientific approaches.
The wide range of subjects studied in applied social sciences means that degrees can be tailored towards different careers, for example: selecting modules which relate to social policy and politics are more appropriate to a civil service career or position in government. Conversely, studying child abuse, drug use and community care would lead more towards careers in health and social care.
It is worth noting that whilst psychology forms an integral part of a social science degree, this is unlikely to be sufficient for a career as a psychologist. The British Psychological Society provides a list of accredited psychology degrees and courses.
Social Science / Applied Social Science Degree Courses
Please note that these are in alphabetical order and that this list is not exhaustive - other universities may offer social science degree courses.
- University of Brighton
- Leeds Metropolitan University
- Liverpool Hope University
- The Open University
- Robert Gordon University
- Sheffield Hallam University
- University of Southampton
- The University of York