What Are Social Sciences?: A Comprehensive Understanding.

what are social sciences

What are the social sciences?

The social sciences are as diverse as humankind’s passions, yet they all have a fascination with people and groups of people. 

Humans have used a variety of systems to structure their communities since the beginning of written history, including political, religious, economic, and social ones. 

As we examine the present and draw lessons from the past, those organizational structures as well as our understanding of human behavior develop.

According to Wikipedia, social science is one of the branches of science devoted to the study of societies and the relationships among individuals within those societies. 

The term was formerly used to refer to the field of sociology, the original “science of society,” established in the 19th century. 

Sociology now encompasses a wide array of academic disciplines, including anthropology, archaeology, economics, human geography, linguistics, management science, communication science, political science, and psychology.

In this article, we would explore the different branches of social sciences and what to get out of them. 

Table of Contents

What Are Social Sciences?

Social science is the study of human society in simple terms. 

It’s a discipline that broadens our comprehension of the world beyond our personal experiences by examining and explaining human behavior.

From studying how minds function to how societies as a whole function, the social sciences can provide important insights into society in a number of ways. 

Also, understanding critical societal processes, such as economic growth and factors causing unemployment, as well as what makes people happy, requires a strong background in social science.

Numerous government policies and practices have been impacted by social science research.

Is Social Science The Same As Sociology?

The main distinction between sociology and social science is that social science is a vast field with numerous subfields, whereas sociology is one of the fields.

Humans and society are the focus of the research fields of sociology and social science.

Why Should I Study Social Science?

You will learn many transferable skills, including problem-solving, analytical thinking, and critical thinking. 

With social science, you will discover how to swiftly interact with new concepts as well as how to apply previously gained knowledge to new circumstances.

Why Is Social Science Important?

The broad field of social science seeks to understand human society, its various structures, and how they relate to interpersonal interactions. 

Additionally, it conducts in-depth research on how individuals act, organize themselves and change the environment in which they live. 

It also aims to expose underlying societal problems that profoundly influence our experiences, which might afterward shed light on how our society functions. 

What Is The Difference Between Social Sciences And Natural Science?

The primary distinction between social science and natural science is that social science studies the interactions between people and societies, while natural science concentrates on features of the physical universe. 

The natural sciences cover disciplines including biology, chemistry, and physics while social science focuses on fields like history, psychology, sociology, etc.

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What Are The Fields Under The Social Sciences?

Social science has so many branches and some of them are highlighted below.

1. Anthropology

It is said that anthropology is the “science of humanity.” 

Anthropologists investigate human experience-related subjects. 

This covers social interactions, human behavior, and the impact of human evolution on the design of societies.

Because anthropology is frequently regarded as being both scientific and humanistic, it is a good choice for anyone who wants to explore interests in both categories of subject. 

Even while there are many opportunities to use anthropological research in contemporary settings, it also entails examining previous human experiences.

2. Economics

Economics examines how products and services are produced, distributed, and consumed. 

At the graduate level, you can choose to study economics from a narrow or a broad perspective, but in general, economics entails examining how various economic systems function around the world.

The fact that this information can be used both theoretically and practically makes the subject appropriate for everyone interested in the modern economy.

3. Education

Education seeks to understand how individuals learn and grow.

Students learn about the social, psychological, and political relationships between individuals and institutions as part of the social science and education program.

Careers in behavioral science, political science, psychology, and development are all prepared for by students.

4. History

History is a vast field of social science that involves researching specific historical eras. 

While postgraduate study allows you to focus on a particular area of history, you will still need to use the same skills to analyze sources, consider contemporary historical theories, and weigh theories against the data that is now available. 

5. Law 

When you study law, you will have the chance to examine many legal systems and narrow your attention to, for example, contract law, international law, or criminal law. 

Even while it is feasible to study law only for academic purposes, doing additional research in the field is extremely helpful if you plan to practice law professionally. 

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6. Archaeology

Archaeology is the study of humans via the physical evidence of former ways of life and behavior. 

While archaeology investigates ancient life and cultures in a manner similar to anthropology, it places a considerably greater emphasis on the evidence provided by physical remains.

7. Political Science

Politics has an impact on every aspect of life, therefore it should come as no surprise that it is a fascinating field of study. 

A postgraduate course in politics allows you to study both historical and present events because it is frequently divided into Political Philosophy, Comparative Politics, and International Relations.

This degree is ideal for students interested in pursuing additional academic studies as well as those who want to work in politics or local government. 

8. Psychology

Psychology uses both theoretical and experimental methods to examine both social behavior and neurobiological mechanisms. 

You will specialize in particular areas because the human mind is such a large field of study.

These may involve social psychology, interpersonal connections, or child development.

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9. Linguistics

The study of language, or linguistics, focuses on how human language is created, processed, and used in various circumstances. 

This social science course focuses more on how language functions than on studying a specific language.

Linguistics covers a wide range of topics; common ones include syntactic analysis, language acquisition, sociolinguistics, phonology, and language evolution. 

10. Geography

Even while many of us recall geography as the subject at school that required maps, it examines population, the land itself, and their interactions, and is frequently linked to the earth sciences.

You can choose to specialize in a specific area of geography at the postgraduate level, such as oceanology, environmental management, or tourism geography.

11. Sociology

Sociology is the study of society on a structural as well as an individual level. 

There is a wide number of specializations available, including subjects like class, religion, and social mobility.

Others aim to apply their results to policy or welfare, while some sociologists only work for theoretical goals. 

You’ll have lots to learn about on a continent with as many cultures as Europe, and with the magnitude of the social changes over the past century, you’re sure to find a sociology topic that piques your interest.

What Are The Importance Of Social Science?

Without social science, we cannot understand the world fully.

There is a lot of importance to studying social science and we would look at some of them below.

1. Social science can make your neighborhood safer.

One widespread misconception is that if you take action to lessen crime in one neighborhood, the criminals would just move on, increasing crime in another. 

Police and sociologists at Nottingham Trent University collaborated closely to minimize crime by looking for trends in crime.

They were able to spot trends that routine police work had missed, saving time and guesswork. 

The police frequently employ a method known as situational crime prevention, which was created by the same team, when collaborating with the public and private sectors to prevent crime. 

Together, they make it more challenging for potential criminals.

For instance, lead theft from community building roofs was a major issue in one region. 

By collaborating with scrap metal traders and convincing them to maintain records, it eventually became risky to purchase leads that might have been stolen.

2. Social scientists help us imagine alternative futures.

Social science may spark discussion and give us a voice in determining our society’s destiny.  

It has aided in the understanding of the effects and uses of the era’s new technologies, such as steam power.

The development of railroads and factories had a profound impact on not just the economy and the nature of employment, but also on how individuals structured their personal and family lives. 

Today’s developments in nanotechnology and medical research will have a big impact on how we live.

The top medical schools are known to be excellent researchers.

They give us a dizzying array of moral, legal, and social problems. 

But relying solely on scientists is insufficient. 

Social scientists are also necessary to examine and comment on what is happening and in this manner, we can make decisions that will affect the future.

3. Social scientists contribute to our health and wellbeing.

Social scientists are working hard to ensure that our health, leisure, and social care services are as effective as possible. 

They range from sports sociologists to public health experts, from those interpreting medical statistics to those reviewing policies for our care in old age.

For instance, social geographers at the University of Sheffield have demonstrated that those of us who disregard dietary recommendations are not merely weak-willed or illiterate. 

Numerous factors can have an impact on our eating patterns and some ostensibly bad decisions may appear reasonable. 

For example, if the shopper is aware that others will not consume the healthy alternative and it will merely go to waste, they may decide not to purchase it.

Giving people a brochure on healthy eating is therefore useless. 

A person’s context and daily life must be taken into account while providing effective nutritional recommendations.

4. We need social scientists as public intellectuals.

It’s sometimes claimed that society is anti-intellectual. 

However, there is a place for the social scientist as a public intellectual in our rapidly evolving world. 

This doesn’t have to be a series of dull, gray talking heads as you would see on French television on any given night. 

That alone would be enough to get anyone to start channel hopping. 

Social scientists owe it to the rest of us to make their work compelling and fascinating.

5. Social science can change the world for the better.

We can all agree that the world needs to be safer so that everyone can enjoy their basic human rights and dignity. 

This is true even though there are times when we disagree on the best course of action. 

Social scientists who collaborate in interdisciplinary teams have earned a name for themselves in the field of human welfare and development, 

This is because they care about the overall social and economic development of humanity. 

Also, they collaborate with governmental authorities, UN agencies, social service providers, financing organizations, and the media.

6. We need social science to guarantee our democracy.

Social science provides various viewpoints on society, contributes to social policy, and helps us hold media and politicians accountable.

The Center for the Study of Global Media and Democracy at Goldsmiths College in London is keeping an eye on the shift from traditional to digital media.

They’re also studying how it is examining the move away from traditional journalism and politics to where we as citizens try to be community journalists by presenting our own accounts online. 

The project brings together experts in politics, sociology, and the media and communications.

This may give some citizens a sense of empowerment, but avoiding traditional journalism has drawbacks, such as fewer opportunities for in-depth analysis and criticism of influential interests. 

Social scientists’ work is essential for preserving a contemporary, open democracy. 

7. Social science can broaden your horizons.

Social science offers each of us new views and new methods of understanding for discussions about feminism, peace, ecology, social movements, and much more. 

It gives us a fresh look at our daily activities and society, regardless of whether your notion of relaxation is going to a museum, watching soap operas, or talking online.

For example, the University of Leicester’s social scientists is influencing museums all over the world in order to improve their inclusivity, ability to confront stereotypes, ability to spark learning, and relevance to modern culture.

One illustration is their collaboration with the Gallery of Modern Art in Glasgow, which uses programs like artists’ residencies and workshops to engage both local residents and visitors from across the world with exhibitions on a variety of social justice topics, from sectarianism to LGBT rights.

8. Social science can improve our children’s lives and education.

Every society and every government wants to demonstrate that they are doing what is best for children. 

Yet far too frequently, it appears that educational reform is implemented without consideration for the interests of the students. 

According to education research, many parents, especially those of younger kids, are more anxious that their kids enjoy school than that they achieve academically.

Researchers at the universities of Cambridge and Leeds have gained fresh insights into what makes for great schools and effective school leadership by engaging with students of various ages to learn their perspectives on education.

Simply said, we must equip adults to truly listen to children, provide them with structured opportunities to express their opinions, and then listen to them. 

9. Social science might save your life.

This is true.

Let me give an instance…

Some years back, the University of Liverpool psychologists spent time in the steel industry to determine what needed to be done to establish a safer environment. 

This helped to point out unforeseen errors and the solutions, hence saving lives.

Where Can I Study Social Sciences?

You can study social science anywhere in the world.

Here’s a not-so-comprehensive list of the universities that offer social sciences.

1. Harvard University

2. University of Oxford

3. London School of Economics and Political Science

4. Stanford University

5. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

6. Columbia University

7. Yale University

8. University of Oxford

9. University of California, Los Angeles

10. Savitribai Phule Pune University, Pune

11. Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai

12. Pondicherry University, Puducherry

13. Maulana Azad National Urdu University, Hyderabad

14. Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi

15. Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani

16. St. Xavier’s College, Kolkata

17. Indian Institute of Technology

18. Indian Institute of Management 

19. Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi

20. University of Delhi, Delhi 

21. Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi

22. Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh

23. Savitribai Phule Pune University, Pune

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What Are The Career Prospects Of Social Science?

Studying social science gives a student a wide range of professional prospects in conjunction with its broad range of disciplines. 

Here are a few of the best employment opportunities in the various social science fields you can research:

  • Social Scientist
  • Lawyer
  • Judge
  • Psychologist
  • Economist
  • Banker
  • Urban Planner
  • Survey Researcher
  • Academician
  • Social and Cultural Anthropologists
  • Historian
  • Civil Servant

You can always get the best jobs on The best job platforms in the world

Frequently Asked Questions About Social Science

Why is social science important?

Social science is significant because it aims to enhance society while also enhancing individual lives. 

Research in the social sciences improves people’s lives locally and worldwide.

What are the 5 major branches of social science?

Social science is focused on studying people and society. 

The five main subfields of social science are anthropology, sociology, psychology, political science, and economics. 

Each of the main fields has subfields. Linguistics, for instance, is a branch of anthropology.

Why is it important to study social sciences?

Social sciences educate people on how to engage in social interactions, including how to shape public policy, build networks, improve government transparency, and advance democracy. 

These issues are urgent for many people worldwide, and their resolution could significantly improve people’s lives.

What is the most important social science?

One of the most significant social disciplines is education because it studies how individuals learn and grow.

Who is the father of social science?

Because of his outstanding contributions to establishing the groundwork for applicable social study, David Emile Durkheim is revered as the founder of the social sciences or sociology.

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