When you hear the words 'social sciences,' a few ideas might come to mind: you may picture anthropologists studying remote tribes, researchers composing papers on demographics, or pundits writing about political situations overseas. But today’s top social science programs prepare students to go far beyond obvious career choices in academia and scholarship. In fact, graduates of social sciences colleges find a wide variety of career options open to them.
If you’re curious about what a social sciences education can offer you, you may be surprised. Graduates of social sciences programs can find work in Hollywood to the UN and many places in between.
Read on for examples of five unexpected career paths grads of social science colleges have pursued:
1. FBI: Applying Social Sciences Courses to the World of Law Enforcement
In a recent survey of liberal arts undergraduates across the United States, approximately 15 per cent of all respondents chose the Federal Bureau of Investigation as an ideal employer in 2015. Apart from the health and pension benefits of working for a federal agency, this popularity stems in part from how the FBI actively uses the skills social sciences grads gain in college.
Foremost among these skills is the ability to think logically and analytically. “In the FBI, this skill set allowed me to form well-founded conclusions culled from the analysis of complex fact patterns,” explains Richard DesLauriers, former Special Agent in charge of the FBI’s Boston division. DesLauriers says the strong writing skills and education in moral philosophy also helps people like him excel in all aspects of law enforcement and security services.
2. Click-Worthy Careers: Liberal Arts Grads in Social Network Analysis
Social science colleges prepare their graduates for a variety of jobs, some of which are particularly ground-breaking. The rise of social networks on the web has created a demand for individuals who can use research skills gleaned from social sciences courses to analyze trends, connections, and patterns in the online activity of millions of users to give insight on product engagement, and to manage the online presence of their market base. This ‘social network analysis' has its roots in methods developed in social science research over the past several decades, adapted to new technologies and scales.
Love computer tech? With education in the social sciences, that can take you somewhere.
Because of this, as noted by Forbes, more and more companies are creating roles for “Community Managers” and social anthropologists, to leverage their understanding of human behaviour and connectivity in order to grow their businesses. In short: social science graduates have a bright future in the social networking industry.
3. Action! Social Sciences Courses Prepare Grads for Film and TV Jobs
A key takeaway of many social sciences grads is their deep understanding of human behaviour. This insight is invaluable in the creation of compelling stories, such as those envisioned by Neal Baer, writer and executive producer of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and ER. Baer, who undertook both undergraduate and masters studies in sociology, describes himself as “the poster child” for a liberal arts education.
Social science graduates can find work in the fast-paced film and TV industry.
The survey of liberal arts undergraduates across the United States also mentioned Disney and NBC studios as popular and viable career options for social science graduates.
4. Working for Peace: Grads Practicing Diplomacy in The Peace Corps
When you take social sciences courses, you’ll gain knowledge of the social and political background required for a variety of the most challenging volunteer opportunities available—the Peace Corps. Rated sixth-highest organization on the list of most attractive organizations for liberal arts graduates, the Peace Corps works worldwide to bring stability and prosperity to areas devastated by both, natural and man-made disasters.
Many Peace Corps volunteers also go on to work in diplomacy, and the analytical skills gained from social sciences programs make them excellent candidates to work in foreign affairs.
Researcher Camille Kelly says social sciences students find these jobs attractive because “they believe that they will be challenged and be given a good amount of responsibility, which is something they are eager to experience.”
If that speaks to you, you might be a great fit for an education in the social sciences. And with so many career opportunities open to liberal arts grads, you never know where your degree might take you!
Are you interested in taking the first steps toward an exciting career, by pursuing social sciences programs?
Visit Shimer for more information or to speak with an advisor.