Social Science Jobs: Studying Human Behavior for a Living

social science jobsDiscovering your dream job takes some serious persistence. Working in the social science field gives you an array of work opportunities from counselor to professor to lawyer to anthropologist.  Focusing on an area within the social sciences is what most undergraduate students  do at the beginning of their career in the social sciences.  Social science jobs come in many interesting flavors to satisfy the urge to know how individuals and society operates.

Jobs that involve understanding how people work individually, as a community, and against particular forces are popular among those who are interested in the interplay between humans. Udemy has just the course for the people watcher/observer: “How to ‘get’ People: Practical Psychology.” This intensely practical course will show you how deal with different personalities and show you how to maximize your own impact and potential using real life scenarios.

Discover your dream job with a little guidance here.

The Social Science Academic Discipline

Entering college at the age of 18 years old is hard enough because you are in this awkward transition phase from child to adult, and then you’re somehow expected to pick a career path too? That’s a whole different article all by itself but a brief acknowledgement here is necessary. The general major in the social sciences is a survey of the many fields within the discipline.  This is perfect  for many young adults fresh from high school because they have a plethora of choices.  The purpose of the major is to understand more clearly the attributes and difficulties of human beings in cultural, intercultural, personal, and interpersonal contexts. Students examine the psycho-social forces operating in contemporary life and evaluate these forces historically.

Social science is an academic discipline concerned with society and the relationships among individuals within a society. It includes anthropology, economics, political science, psychology and sociology. In a wider sense, it may often include some fields in the humanities such as archaeology, history, law, and linguistics. The term may however be used in the specific context of referring to the original science of society, established in 19th century, sociology. Émile Durkheim, Karl Marx and Max Weber are typically cited as the principal architects of modern social science by this definition.

Positivist social scientists use methods resembling those of the natural sciences as tools for understanding society, and so define science in its stricter modern sense. Interpretivist social scientists, by contrast, may use social critique or symbolic interpretation rather than constructing empirically falsifiable theories, and thus treat science in its broader sense. In modern academic practice, researchers are often eclectic, using multiple methodologies (for instance, by combining the quantitative and qualitative techniques). The term social research has also acquired a degree of autonomy as practitioners from various disciplines share in its aims and methods The plan of study includes introductory courses in a variety of social science fields such as economics, history, political science, sociology, and psychology. In addition, methodology and research tools are taught for use in scholarly analysis of local, national, and international topics of current concern. Some schools coordinate this major with teacher education, leading to certification in social studies. Classes include introductory and advanced history, sociology, economics, government, statistics, and research methodology (source: Wikipedia .org)

The Most Popular Social Science Jobs

Below is a handful of the most popular jobs found within the social science discipline.

  • Anthropologist

Anthropology is the holistic “science of man”, a science of the totality of human existence. The discipline deals with the integration of different aspects of the social sciences, humanities, and human biology. In the twentieth century, academic disciplines have often been institutionally divided into three broad domains. The natural sciences seek to derive general laws through reproducible and verifiable experiments. The humanities generally study local traditions, through their history, literature, music, and arts, with an emphasis on understanding particular individuals, events, or eras. The social sciences have generally attempted to develop scientific methods to understand social phenomena in a generalized way, though usually with methods distinct from those of the natural sciences.

  • College Professor

College professors are qualified experts who generally perform the following tasks:

  • Manage the teaching, research and publications in their departments (in countries where a professor is head of a department),
  • conduct lectures and seminars in their specialties (i.e., they “profess”), such as the fields of mathematics, science, humanities, social sciences, education, literature, music or the applied fields of engineering, design, medicine, law, or business;
  • perform advanced research in their fields.
  • provide pro bono community service, including consulting functions (such as advising government and nonprofit organizations);
  • teach campus-based or online courses adopting instructional technology;
  • mentor graduate students in their academic training;
  • conduct administrative or managerial functions, usually at a high level (e.g. deans, heads of departments, librarians, etc.);
  • assess students in their fields of expertise

Becoming a college professor in the United States requires completing a PhD program in your field.

  • Lawyer

Working as a lawyer involves the practical application of abstract legal theories and knowledge to solve specific individualized problems, or to advance the interests of those who retain (i.e., hire) lawyers to perform legal services. The role of the lawyer varies significantly across legal jurisdictions but also shares some generalities germane to the legal profession. Lawyers are hired to advocate on behalf of their client in the most efficient and morally adequate manner.

  • Social worker

Social work is a professional and academic discipline that seeks to improve the quality of life and subjective well-being of individuals, groups, and communities through research, policy, community organizing, direct practice, crisis intervention, and teaching for the benefit of those affected by social disadvantages such as poverty, mental and physical illness or disability, and social injustice, including violations of their civil liberties and human rights. Research and the practice of social worker focused on areas such as: human development, sociolegal, psychosocial, psychotherapy, counselling, social policy, public administration, social program evaluation, and community development. Social workers are organized into local, national, continental, and international professional bodies. It is an interdisciplinary field that incorporates theoretical bases from economics, education, sociology, law, medicine, philosophy, politics, anthropology, and psychology.

Try Udemy’s course on Social Psychology for more information!