Social science is a broad branch of science dedicated to the study of human societies and the interactions among people within those societies. The word was originally used to describe the field of anthropology, the first science of human society, set up in the late 19th century by J. S. Frye. In recent years, social science has come to be known as a more general term for a whole array of sciences concerned with human interaction. It is now, in fact, a subfield of social science, which has grown in sophistication over time. Social science is sometimes called “social” science because it draws its concepts from the study of social behavior, culture, and institutions. These fields all have a lot in common, but they also have different areas of specialization.
Sociology is one of the most important areas of social sciences. Societies are indeed complex systems. Society is a group of individuals interacting with each other through a variety of cultural practices. A sociologist therefore focuses on analyzing these interactions and studying how people form relationships and socialize with one another. Examples of topics studied by a sociology major include why some behaviors are widespread while others are not, what drives social behavior, why certain groups of people experience prejudice, and what causes social change.
Geography is also an important area of social science disciplines. Geography combines research and analysis with the study of a specific geographic area. This can include the physical landscape of a specific region, but can also be related to its social and cultural associations. For example, in the social science fields of geography, individuals and societies consider their political boundaries and mark the borders between them. The political significance of geographical features such as coastlines, mountain ranges, and ocean beds can vary tremendously depending on the interests of the research subject.
Economics is considered to be one of the most important areas of study for all social science majors. A student must first learn how the economy produces surplus income. The knowledge of how different economic systems across the world come into being is important to understanding how to better manage these systems for the benefit of all citizens. Students learn about national income and output, market socialism and capitalism, the role of the state, the distribution of wealth and economic welfare, entrepreneurship, and why some countries fail and how others succeed.
Psychology is an important area of study for all social science majors. Students learn about the many ways that humans process information, how they remember and store it, how they make decisions based on this information, and how they interact with others. Psychology students learn about human nature, such as the strengths and weaknesses of the human brain, how we get along and interact with others, and how we reason and decide. Students in the social sciences also explore the psychological roots of discrimination, why some actions are socially acceptable while others are not, and why some people may experience a unique personality that sets them apart from everyone else.
Natural sciences are those that are the product of human thought and action, such as ecology, geology, astronomy, and microbiology. These natural sciences examine the relationship between people, their cultures, ecosystems, and other living things. They are usually associated with humanities studies, such as philosophy, sociology, psychology, and anthropology. Some of the natural sciences that are used in the social sciences include biology, physics, chemistry, and zoology.
The liberal arts education prepares students to be effective leaders and managers in modern society. It includes learning about history, literature, government, and culture. The liberal arts curriculum emphasizes basic communication skills and public speaking and how to think critically. In the United States, much of the social sciences curriculum is centered around examining American society, and how various changes have affected its people, culture, and environment over time. Students will also study global human behavior, how human actions affect the environment, and what we can do to make our world a better place.
Most universities offer limited courses focusing on the social sciences and humanities. These courses can be helpful for upperclassmen interested in pursuing a bachelor’s degree in humanities or for anyone who is not interested in taking a traditional science but is interested in learning about the natural sciences. More universities are now offering graduate degrees in the humanities and social sciences. These programs are more often than not focused on quantitative research, however, and many of them are based on natural sciences. If you are interested in a doctorate degree in either field, a thorough grounding in both will be necessary. There are several options for graduate degrees in humanities and social sciences, including: humanities and social science programs that focus on a specific area of study, such as psychology, sociology, or anthropology; a mixed program combining two disciplines (such as psychology and art history); or a doctorate program with a concentration on one discipline.