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What Is Social Science?

In simple terms, social science is the study of humanity. Central to this discipline are a close examination of interpersonal relationships, the function of human institutions, and how they influence society. Social science is the older, more traditional term that is sometimes used interchangeably with behavioral science today. Behavioral science implies an experimental scientific examination of the evidence behind people’s actions. It includes disciplines like behavioral economics and political psychology and is represented in the overlapping occupations of psychologist, sociologist and anthropologist.

What do social scientists do? Learn more about social science careers.

Why Choose a Social Science Degree?

Students of social science at NLU get a broad understanding of human and social behavior. The approach is an interdisciplinary one that combines strong critical and analytical skills with an emphasis on anthropology, economics, history, political science and sociology.

The reason many students pursue social science and related human services is a strong desire to help improve lives. This assistance materializes in working directly with people or architecting community or government policies. Their desire to make a difference in the world is aided by an ability to critically analyze and synthesize ideas into a broad interdisciplinary worldview shaped by multicultural and global perspectives.

Top Employers for Social Scientists

The federal government is the largest employer group for the social sciences, employing more than 3X more than the second-biggest group.1 Other leading industry employers include:

  • Colleges, universities and professional schools
  • Scientific research and development services
  • Management, scientific and technical consulting services
  • State government

Social Science and Sociologists

Social science is probably best embodied by the role of sociologist. After all, the word social is wrapped up in the job title. A sociologist is a professional who studies human behavior in groups and how the world and social institutions shape human interactions. Sociologists spend a lot of time researching, collecting data and conducting analysis. More specifically, their typical duties include: Designing research projects to test theories about social issues; collecting data through surveys, observations, interviews; analyzing and drawing conclusions from data; preparing reports, articles, or presentations detailing their research findings; collaborating with and advising other social scientists, policymakers, or other groups on research findings and sociological issues.2

Source References [+]

1. Occupational Employment Statistics, “Social Scientists and Related Workers, All Other.” March 30, 2016.

2. “What Sociologists Do.” December 17, 2015.


    NLU’s Chicago campus on South Michigan Avenue occupies five floors of the historic Peoples Gas Building. This landmark building, across the street from the Art Institute of Chicago and Grant Park, is easily accessible by train, bus and car and is surrounded by restaurants, parking lots/garages and shops.

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    Opened in the summer of 2006, NLU North Shore at Skokie is a state-of-the-art modern campus located just off the Edens Expressway near the Old Orchard Shopping Center. The campus includes 44 wireless classrooms equipped with high-tech media equipment; four computer labs with high-speed Internet access, including a walk-in lab in the library; six conference rooms; a public café for beverages and snacks; a student welcome center; a library for research and study; and multiple, comfortable student lounge areas.

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    Established in 1988 and located in one of Tampa's major business districts, NLU's Florida Regional Center serves students in 13 counties in central Florida. In addition to its classrooms, the National Louis University Tampa Regional Center features a computer lab, student lounges, and conference room.

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