• Oxbridge Researchers
Social Sciences

The social sciences analyze the social world. More specifically, the social sciences are interrelated areas of study that examine humans and human society as well as the disciplines of political science, economics, sociology, psychology and anthropology. Additional disciplines and subdisciplines, such as cognitive science, communications or ethnic studies, may fall under social science at different universities depending on the focus and philosophy of the school. When scientific methods of discovery are used to understand the human condition this examination may be considered part of social sciences.

There is considerable debate over what falls with the science or knowledge construction of social sciences. The different philosophies on knowledge construction range from positivisim to postmodernism to new methods. The multiplicity of rules and norms for scientific knowledge comes from the variance in tangible research in natural sciences, such as chemistry and physics, and the social sciences. The study of social sciences if further complicated due to its human basis the object of analysis is difficult for the social scientists separate completely from themselves.

Social science is rooted in ancient philosophy. Initially there was no difference between the study of natural science, such as mathematics, and other studies such as history and poetry. The Age of Enlightenment introduced a new framework for defining and understanding scientific. In contrast to mathematical studies, a moral philosophy, which emerged during the Industrial Revolution and French Revolution, was used to understand the social sciences. During this time, the tie loosened between the experimental or applied sciences and the systematic knowledge-based social sciences.

At the university of collegiate level, social science disciplines teach and research these fields of study. The various fields or disciplines of the social sciences typically are divided into a myriad of sub-disciplines or branches. Due to the emergence of new philosophies and differing application of methods the distinguishing lines between these different branches may appear somewhat ambiguous.

Social sciences in comprised of a collection of disciplines including the following:

• Anthropology
• Biology
• Business studies
• Communication studies
• Criminology
• Demography
• Development studies
• Economics
• Education
• Geography
• History
• Industrial relations
• Law
• Linguistics
• Marxism
• Media studies
• Medicine
• Methodology
• Philosophy
• Political science
• Political theory
• Psychiatry
• Psychology
• Public administration
• Social policy
• Sociology

Universities offer various options for students studying social sciences. Depending on the rigor of the program, a student may earn either a Bachelor of Arts degree or a Bachelor of Science degree. Typically the Bachelor of Arts degree is awarded for study in the traditional liberal arts areas such as history or literature. To earn a Bachelor of Science degree, the field of study must also include study of the natural sciences. Several universities may also offer a specialized degree such as a Bachelor of Economics degree.

A university degree in the social sciences would include a variety of courses from the different areas of social sciences as well as focus in a core area discipline such as history which would include courses examining the prehistoric eras through the start of civilization into the twenty-first century.