A range of academic disciplines known as social science is focused on studying human behavior, particularly how people interact, conduct, form cultures, and affect the world. This wide and diverse field of science includes disciplines like anthropology, economics, political science, psychology, and sociology. Social science investigates everything from the drivers of economic growth and unemployment to what makes people happy to better understand how society functions. This knowledge is essential and useful in a variety of ways. It influences corporate plans and governmental policies, among other things. The online Social Science master’s emphasizes integrating knowledge across and beyond conventional disciplinary boundaries, which is ideal for students who want freedom in designing their program of study in the social sciences. However, courses may also be integrated with other disciplines and programs, such as English, philosophy, education, health sciences, public affairs, fine arts, and architecture. Social science disciplines like anthropology, economics, geography, history, political science, psychology, and sociology make up most of the subjects covered in these courses. In fields like public policy, gender and identity studies, educational reform, cross-cultural studies, or politics, students who enroll in the Master of Social Science online degree frequently develop interdisciplinary viewpoints. 

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Best Masters in Social Science Online Programs

One of the hardest decisions to make while selecting a master’s program is determining which program to pursue, which school to attend, and which university to enroll in. Cost, placements, starting pay, employment rates, acceptance rates, and other aspects should also be considered. There is no such thing as the best online master’s in social science programs since there are no such absolutes as the finest or best programs; instead, it all relies on what qualities a student decides are most important and how they choose a school. These elements may include travel time, annual fees, or even an appealing asynchronous program for the student. 

To create a rating of the best online master’s in social science degree programs, we at OMC studied all these matrices and came up with the list below: 

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College Name & AddressTuitionGraduation Rate
University at Buffalo
12 Capen Hall, Buffalo, New York 14260
Drew University
36 Madison Ave, Madison, New Jersey 07940
University of Missouri-Columbia
105 Jesse Hall, Columbia, Missouri 65211
Citadel Military College of South Carolina
171 Moultrie St, Charleston, South Carolina 29409
The University of Alabama
739 University Blvd, Tuscaloosa, Alabama 35487
Seton Hall University
400 S Orange Ave, South Orange, New Jersey 07079
University of San Diego
5998 Alcala Park, San Diego, California 92110
University of Northern Iowa
1227 W 27th St, Cedar Falls, Iowa 50614
Ohio University
020 Chubb Hall, Athens, Ohio 45701
SUNY Brockport
350 New Campus Dr, Brockport, New York 14420
Nova Southeastern University
3301 College Ave, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33314
University of Memphis
Southern Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee 38152
Troy University
University Avenue, Troy, Alabama 36082
Eastern Kentucky University
521 Lancaster Ave, Richmond, Kentucky 40475
Arizona State University
1365 N Scottsdale Rd, Scottsdale, Arizona 85257

Source – Integrated Post Secondary Education Data System & University Data
*Tuition rates are for in-state and per year. Program specific rates may apply.
**NA – data not available

Understanding Masters in Social Science Programs

Social science investigates everything from the drivers of economic growth and unemployment to what makes people happy to better understand how society functions. This knowledge is essential and useful in a variety of ways. It influences corporate plans and governmental policies, among other things. 

The study of social science is distinct from the natural sciences, including subjects like physics, biology, and chemistry. Instead of focusing on the physical world, social science studies how people and communities interact as well as how societies grow and function. These academic fields rely more on qualitative research techniques and interpretation. 

There are seven social sciences, according to some, while others assert there are four, five, six, or something else altogether. Although there are differing views on what should be included, most experts concur that the following five fields categorically come within this category: 

  • Anthropology
  • Economics 
  • Political science 
  • Sociology 
  • Social psychology 

Masters in Social Science Degree Types

Generally, a master’s in social science online would typically have a MA social science online or an MS social science online option. MA programs usually take a historical approach to study, what has happened in the discipline in the past, and how it was connected to the area of study. In contrast, the MS programs take a more technical approach to study, learning from the past and experimenting, and seeing to predict the future concerning what has happened in the past. 

Depending on the amount of time and credits needed to complete the degree, programs for a master’s in social sciences may vary substantially. They typically last between one and two years and have between 30 and 45 credits. Students in these degrees must research a variety of social issues, movements, and developments in addition to various settings and group dynamics. 

Master of Arts in Social Science

The MA program prepares graduates for professional research careers. The curriculum combines rigorous academic training with the opportunity to conduct community-engaged research. Students who choose the MA Social Science program often develop interdisciplinary perspectives in areas like public policy, gender and identity studies, educational reform, cross-cultural studies, or politics. 

Master of Science in Social Science

An MS program introduces research methodologies in its graduate program. It places a strong emphasis on theoretical and practical knowledge in the fields of sociology, anthropology, and criminal justice. It strongly focuses on learning social science research techniques, applying theory, and gaining practical experience. The curriculum equips students with the skills necessary to carry out evaluation studies of organizational policies and programs as well as research initiatives that are theoretically sound and empirically sophisticated. 

Read more about the differences and similarities between MA vs. MS

Specializations in Masters in Social Science Programs

There are various reasons to seek a graduate degree in education, and selecting the appropriate concentration will help students tailor their program to their specific professional objectives. Whether teaching, working in administration, or as a professional, as well as the kind of pupils one works with, the role in education might vary drastically. Because of this, the specialization must equip students with the necessary skills for the type of employment they want to pursue. Although there aren’t any hard-and-fast guidelines, choosing an education specialty ultimately comes down to the student’s interests, which are occasionally influenced by the needs and demands of the market. Below we discuss a few of them: 

Area of Specialization Description Career Options 
MA in Social Science The MA in Social Science is a versatile, interdisciplinary program that enables students to customize their studies to meet their unique academic or professional objectives by utilizing the curricula of various College of Behavioral and Social Sciences departments as well as historical studies and other university programs. Focusing on higher education administration, cultural and gender studies or career development counseling are a few examples, among many others. Criminal justice, research, and data analysis, historical or cultural resource management, service or policy practice, or nonprofit program management 
MS in Social Science The MS in social sciences program emphasizes practical and theoretical knowledge in the areas of sociology, anthropology, and criminal justice and focuses on the acquisition of social science research skills, theory application, and field experience. The curriculum equips students with the skills necessary to carry out evaluation studies of organizational policies and programs as well as research initiatives that are theoretically sound and empirically sophisticated. Data analysts, evaluation researchers, policy analysts, statisticians, and management consultants 
Master of Science in Clinical Psychology An online MS in Clinical Psychology program emphasizes a competency-based, scientific study of mental disorders. Students will explore how assessments work and delve into the important theories and practical applications of psychotherapy. Coursework will get students ready for work in research, clinical practice, consulting, or government settings or prepare them for a doctoral-level program. Research, clinical practice, consulting, or government setting, or prepare students for a doctoral-level program 
Master of Arts in Intercultural Studies Students enrolled in the Master of Arts in Intercultural Studies program will be prepared for a range of jobs in multicultural and cross-cultural workplaces and ministries. The dynamics of residing in, working in, and sharing the gospel in cultures other than their own will be clearly understood by students, as well as how to apply that understanding to their ministries and careers. Intercultural or multicultural business leader, missionary, cross-cultural church leader, mission administrator, community development worker, missions pastor, youth minister, English ministries pastor in multi-ethnic churches 
MS Terrorism & Homeland Security Policy The Master of Science in Terrorism & Homeland Security Policy will train students to tackle the problems of terrorism and other threats that endanger the security of the United States. Students will approach security issues informed by social science, with attention to the perspectives of criminology and criminal justice. This program emphasizes the development of strategic, policy-based security solutions at the federal, state, and local levels of government Homeland security, federal law enforcement, emergency management, security for travelers and immigrants, cyber security, intelligence analysis, and general mission support 

Curriculum and Skills Gained in Masters in Social Science Online Programs

The subjects and curricula will vary depending on the area of specialization and study in the selected social science field. Below are some of the subjects and abilities addressed in an online master’s program in social science: 

Curriculum/Course Description/Skills Gained 
Introduction to Anthropology To identify and explain the similarities and differences between the various peoples of the world, comparative studies of humanity use information from as many different peoples, cultures, and historical periods as is practical. This course integrates the views of cultural anthropology, archeology, linguistics, and biological anthropology into the study of humanity. 
Human Growth & Development This course examines the effects of social learning and developmental maturity on people throughout their lives. Topics for mental health and school counselors involve theory and research in social development and learning.  
Social Psychology This course is intended to give graduate students a thorough introduction to the most recent social psychology theories and research. This course will go over in detail the scientific study of how the actual or fictitious presence of other people affects an individual’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. A variety of subjects will be discussed, including self-perception, judgment and decision-making, attitude modification, compliance, social influence, obedience, attraction, love, aggression, violence, altruism, deceit, nonverbal communication, and prejudice. 
Behavioral Neuroscience The fundamentals of behavioral neuroscience are emphasized in this course, along with the approaches and justifications used to gather data and draw conclusions regarding the brain systems underlying behavior. Students will learn about the basic architecture of the nervous system, the physiological processes that normally occur in the nervous system, cellular electrophysiology, behavioral problems, and brain diseases, among other topics linked to the biology of psychology. 
Introduction to Social Psychology The goal of this course is to provide a thorough overview of social psychology theory and research. This course aims to explain how the actual, suggested, or imagined presence of other people affects our thoughts, feelings, and behavior. The self, social perception, social cognition and information processing, attitudes and persuasion, prejudice, stereotyping and discrimination, social influence and group behavior, romantic relationships, aggressive behavior, helpful behavior, and applied social psychology are among the subjects that will be covered in the course. 
Social Science Research & Perspective Students will learn about several research paradigms, interpretive strategies, and fundamental social science inquiry principles in this course. 
Qualitative Social Science Research Methods In addition to giving students practical experience using qualitative research techniques, this course introduces students to essential concepts and practices in qualitative research. 
Quantitative Data Analysis in Social Sciences Students will learn the principles of data analysis and statistics in this course, emphasizing employing statistical techniques to study social problems. In this course, students learn about and utilize the R program. 
Engaged Social Science Students will learn about the philosophy and application of “engaged social science” in this course, which is a new approach to transformative research. 

Accreditation for Masters in Social Science Online Programs

An institution’s educational standards are evaluated as part of the accreditation process using the standards and guidelines established by the certifying authority. Accreditation is necessary for a student’s degree to be recognized by the field they are entering or by institutions for entrance to graduate programs. More crucially, to qualify for US federal student aid, one must ensure that the institution they are enrolling in has acquired accreditation from one of the nationally recognized accrediting bodies. Therefore, accreditation fundamentally represents the enforcement of quality. Learn about accreditation. 

When studying accreditation, students should keep in mind that institutions that offer graduate degrees in the discipline of social science are frequently certified on an institutional rather than a programmatic level. The Higher Learning Commission is one organization that evaluates institutions rather than individual programs inside institutions (HLC). HLC also provides its member institutions with education in addition to other services. For this reason, it is regarded as an institutional accreditor. It is a non-profit membership organization that defines, upholds, and promotes educational quality through a variety of student populations and resources. 

Timeline for graduation from Masters in Social Science Online Programs

The timeline for a master’s in social studies might differ considerably. They often have 30-45 credits, lasting between one and two years. These programs require students to study a wide range of social concerns, movements, and developments in addition to several contexts and group structures. 

There are different ways that an online master’s in social science is delivered – full-time or part-time. One major benefit of online masters programs is varied delivery modes like hybrid, asynchronoussynchronous, etc. These modes bring many benefits and options for working professionals to pursue studies further and grow in their respective professions. 

Masters in Social Science Online Programs Admission Requirements

The admission requirements for an online master’s in social studies are often the same as those for on-campus programs. Typically, prospective students must possess a bachelor’s degree or higher to be eligible. A minimum GPA and certain degrees or qualifications may be required by some programs. 

Below are the typical requirements for admission into a master in social science online program: 

  • Possess a bachelor’s degree in social science from a recognized university. 
  • Have completed the previous 60 undergraduate credits with a minimum 3.0 GPA. 
  • Include a writing sample in one of the social science subjects or the specialization chosen. 
  • Include a polished résumé. 

Certain institutions might also demand a GRE, work experience, and employer recommendations in addition to the fundamental requirements. If you wish to learn more, OMC has resources exclusively on the GRE and GMAT exams. 

Masters in Social Science Online No GRE Programs

For entrance to graduate schools, including the master of social science degree, a GRE score is frequently needed. However, nowadays, most colleges no longer require GRE scores for admission to their online graduate programs. Most graduate students today are working professionals who are enrolled in full-time jobs and do not have the time to study for the GRE, so their undergraduate GPA and work experience serve as the primary grading criteria for graduate admission, according to many schools explaining this shift. Because there are no restrictions on who can enroll in online courses, universities have also become much more friendly to students interested in pursuing higher education. Below we list a few such programs: 

Accelerated Masters in Social Science Online Programs

For full-time, highly motivated students, enrolling in an accelerated master’s program in social science may be helpful. As one can expect, these accelerated programs are very rigorous and move quickly. It makes it possible for top students to obtain graduate credits while still pursuing undergraduate studies. Students should complete their research before applying because these programs are not suitable for everyone. But the obvious benefits of these programs are that students can complete their master’s programs in less time, which would call for lower tuition fees. George Mason University’s Accelerated MA in Anthropology is one such program. 

Free Social Science Courses Online

We could frequently take education so seriously that we forget that some of the best courses are provided without charge by prestigious universities. Many organizations use internet platforms to deliver free education to reach the largest audience feasible. Some of these free master’s in social science online courses are reviewed below: 

Course Provided by Description 
Exploring Humans’ SpaceEdX Together, the students in this course will explore the city, urbanization, urbanity, and urbanism, as well as the role of the individual in a world that is becoming more globalized, emerging digital spatialities, the space-time couple, and the complex relationship between societies and bio-physical worlds. We shall also see that cartography is an effective tool. 
Managing Conflict and Polarization in the Workplace and Beyond EdX This course will equip students with the ability to cross those gaps when they arise. Students will better understand the frequently hostile effects of our primal human urges to join social groups. They will leave knowing their part in this phenomenon, knowing how to control their conduct, and knowing how to help others find common ground. 
Introduction to Social Psychology EdX The topics covered in this social psychology course span from how we think about ourselves and others to how we interact and communicate with others. It also talks about how we can affect others and how others can influence us. Students examine some negative facets of human behavior, like prejudice and aggressiveness. 

How to Pay for Masters in Social Science Online Programs

It is crucial to think carefully about how one will pay for one’s online master’s in social science tuition, especially considering the current situation of student debt, the cost of tuition, and the typical amount of debt owed by each student. Scholarships are the cleverest way to pay for college. For more information, students can visit this page for scholarships

If a candidate does not match the criteria for a scholarship, they may ask their employers if they will be reimbursed for their tuition if they are a working professional. The alternate means of financing one’s online master’s degree in biological sciences is to apply for a student loan. Additionally, students can find out if they qualify for federal student aid. The FAFSA application can be found here.

Scholarships for Masters in Social Science Online Programs

Scholarships are grants given to students for their education based on their academic standing or other criteria, which may also consider their financial circumstances. Merit-based scholarships and need-based scholarships are the two most popular types of scholarships. 

Students interested in applying for online master’s programs in social science should carefully consider applying for scholarships. These prizes are based on merit, and the appropriate committees evaluate and select the winners. If they are qualified, students may submit several grant applications, but they can only receive one scholarship. 

A few scholarships for an online master’s in social science are listed below: 

Aurelia Haehn Memorial Scholarship 

This scholarship was established by Dr. James O. Haehn in memory of his mother, Aurelia Haehn. Mrs. Haehn strongly believed in the value of education and the benefits of hard work.



Application Deadline 


J.W. Saxe Memorial Scholarship 

The J.W. Saxe Memorial Scholarship is an annual grant given to one or more college or university students engaged in public service. Preference is given to those undergoing an internship or working on a project in public service. With the help of the grant, students can work an unpaid or low-paying internship or job during the summer or another term to obtain experience in the public sector. 


$2,000 each year

Application Deadline 


Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI) Graduate Fellowships 

The Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI) awards graduate fellowships to outstanding students pursuing advanced study in social sciences or the humanities. The foremost requirement to be eligible is that students should show an intent to teach at the college level. 


$5,000 to $15,000 each 

Application Deadline 

Closed for 2023-2023 | TBA for 2023-2024 

FAQs about Social Science Programs

Frequently Asked Questions

What can you do with a degree in interdisciplinary social sciences?

Some go on to work for social service organizations or educational institutions, while others work in human resources, criminal justice, and urban planning, while still others enroll in graduate or professional programs in the social sciences, education, law, social work, public administration, public health, medicine, or business. 

Why would a student major in social science? 

Social science graduates acquire talents that are sought after by employers. Depending on their qualifications, experience, and interests, they might be able to find work in the public sector, nonprofit organizations, social services, educational institutions, or private industry. 

Is a master’s in social science worth it? 

What are the three applied social sciences? 

What are the 5 main social sciences? 

Who is considered the father of social science? 

Careers and Salary Outlook for Masters in Social Science Graduates

Numerous work opportunities open after earning an online masters in social science. Starting as risk analysts, educators, GIS specialists, and museum curators to senior positions like economic advisers, political strategy directors, professors, or department chairs of academic institutions. Below, we discuss a handful of these jobs: 

Occupation Median Annual Salary Job Growth (up to 2030) Job Description 
Political Scientists $122,510 9% (as fast as average) Political scientists research the history, structure, and functioning of political systems. They investigate political theories and examine political movements, regimes, and related problems. Political scientists frequently investigate the local and global impacts of governmental policies on a given region or people. As a result, they offer data and analysis that support the creation, development, and implementation of policies. 
Curators $50,120 (much faster than average) 19% Archivists appraise, process, catalog, and preserve permanent records and historically valuable documents. Curators oversee collections of artwork and historical items and may conduct public service activities for an institution. Museum technicians and conservators prepare and restore objects and documents in museum collections and exhibits. 
Economists $105,630  13% (faster than average) The production and distribution of resources, goods, and services are studied by economists through data collection and analysis, trend research, and evaluation of economic concerns. Forecasts by economists are frequently based on their analysis of previous trends. They use a range of software packages for their research and data analysis. They occasionally convey their findings to a variety of audiences. 
Professors $79,640  12% (faster than average)Postsecondary teachers instruct students in a variety of academic subjects beyond the high school level. They may also conduct research and publish scholarly papers and books. 
High School Teachers $61,820 8% (as fast as average) High school teachers help prepare students for life after graduation. They teach academic lessons and various skills that students will need to attend college or to enter the job market. 
Anthropologists and Archeologists $61,910 7% (as fast as average) The origin, evolution, and behavior of humans are topics of study for anthropologists and archaeologists. They look at the physical traits, archeological relics, and linguistic and cultural diversity worldwide. Archaeologists go over, gather, and preserve traces of human activity from earlier civilizations. They examine artifacts, and human remains, including tools, pottery, cave paintings, and building ruins. They make connections between their discoveries and knowledge of former environments to understand the history, traditions, and way of life of people in those times. 

Certifications and Licensing for Social Science Graduates

Though some trades of the branch of social sciences do not have state or federal licensing requirements, some branches of social science like psychology require a state license to practice the craft. One can read all about it here. 

Most other social science branches do not require mandatory state or federal regulatory licensing. Although social science graduates are not subject to compliance licensing requirements per se, it is generally advisable for newcomers to the business to receive certifications from respected professional organizations in their field of study. Even if there are no state or federal certification or licensing requirements to practice the profession of social sciences, this will assist them in connecting with established players and finding higher acceptability in the sector. Here we discuss a few courses: 

  1. COVID-19 Contact Tracing: – The COVID-19 crisis has created an unprecedented need for contact tracing across the country, requiring thousands of people to learn key skills quickly. The job qualifications for contact tracing positions differ throughout the country and the world, with some new posts open to individuals with a high school diploma or equivalent.  
  2. Financial Markets: – An overview of the ideas, methods, and institutions that permit human society to manage risks and foster enterprise, emphasizing financially-savvy leadership skills, description of practices today, and analysis of prospects for the future. One is introduced to risk management and behavioral finance principles to understand the real-world functioning of securities, insurance, and banking industries. The goal of this course is to use such industries effectively and towards a better society. 

Additional Resources for Social Science Professionals

It would be sensible to join a professional organization focused on one’s field of study after receiving an online master’s in the social science of one’s choice. It instantly connects students with their professional peers and keeps them informed of the most recent developments in the business. Professional organizations help professionals advance in their fields of study and serve as evidence of the legitimacy of their skills. Below we discuss a few such organizations: 

  1. Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology – The “science, practice, and teaching” of industrial and organizational psychology are promoted by the professional organization known as the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology. Division 14 of the American Psychological Association is another name for SIOP. 
  2. American Psychological Association – The American Psychological Association, which has over 133,000 members and includes researchers, teachers, clinicians, consultants, and students, is the largest scientific and professional association of psychologists in the country. 
  3. American Social Science Association – Society for the study of social issues was established in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1865 and given the name American Social Science Association. The group expanded until roughly 1,000 people were a part of it. There were about 30 corresponding members in Europe. The International Journal of Social Sciences World (TIJOSSW) and the Journal of Social Science were published yearly by it. 
  4. National Social Science Association (NSSA) – A national interdisciplinary organization that has been around for 50 years is the National Social Science Association (NSSA). The organization began as a collection of regional associations for two- and four-year social scientists. It later developed into a national organization with thousands of members in the US and abroad who take part in the association’s conferences, seminars, and publications. The association stands out because it is a nonprofit organization with mutual benefits that exclusively serves its members and facilitates sharing of research, educational, and technological materials through its conferences, seminars, and publications. 

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