A postgraduate degree in social science can boost your career
Source: Nanyang Technological University, School of Social Sciences

Given our tech-driven era, growing opportunities in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) is expected. But the importance of social science should not be underplayed, nor should it be delegated to merely playing a supporting role to STEM. Social science graduates are crucial in improving modern society, as depicted in careers that require the ‘human touch’. These include mental health professionals, translators, educators and researchers, among others.

Social science graduates are well-armed to work across a diverse range of fields, be it in the private sector or government. By pursuing these disciplines, graduates leave university equipped with an arsenal of transferable skills in creativity, communication and analysis, which are highly valued by employers.

This makes the field ideal for those who have completed their undergraduate degree, as well as for working professionals looking to bolster their career with a graduate degree in the field. So why not consider doing so at Nanyang Technological University’s (NTU) School of Social Sciences (SSS)?

Located in Singapore, the world’s global financial centre, NTU is a globally recognised research institution where students learn in an international community flanked by a respected academic faculty. The institution has been ranked the world’s best young university under 50 years old by QS for six consecutive years.

Source: Nanyang Technological University, School of Social Sciences

As a research-intensive public university, NTU has built a solid reputation in the global arena – it’s ranked 11th globally in the 2020 QS World University Rankings, and 51st in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2019. The school’s individual subjects are ranked either Top 50 or Top 100 in the world.

Top-notch social science programmes

Whether students’ interests lie in research or coursework, NTU offers a mix of programmes that cater to varied interests and professional goals. Prospective graduate students can choose from SSS’ Master of Arts (MA) and/or Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) by research in four subject areas, namely Economics, Psychology, Public Policy & Global Affairs and Sociology.

Meanwhile, those with a preference for coursework can choose from the Master of Science (MSc) in Applied Economics or the MSc in Applied Gerontology. The gerontology programme, which has an Asian focus, is unique as its interdisciplinary curriculum is taught by faculty from medicine, social sciences, communication, business, engineering, arts and humanities and biological sciences.

Students can also pursue graduate programmes offered by the Nanyang Centre for Public Administration (NCPA), housed by the College of the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, of which the SSS is a part. Here, students with an interest in public governance can take up programmes such as the Master of Public Administration and the Master of Social Sciences (China and Global Governance).

Source: Nanyang Technological University, School of Social Sciences

Students keen on excelling in economic policy analysis should consider the MSc in Applied Economics, which provides rigorous postgraduate training in Applied Economics that would be useful in both the private and public sectors, and in all facets of economic research activities. Potential employment opportunities for graduates include public service, investment banks, broking houses and consultancies. ​

Testament to NTU’s quality programmes and faculty prowess, graduates have proven to be highly employable. The institution advanced from 91st to 73rd in the Global University Employability Ranking 2018.

Interdisciplinary research

Despite being a young institution, NTU has made great strides in the realm of research and technological innovation. It’s known for research excellence and according to Clarivate Analytics’ InCites 2016, the university leads top Asian universities in normalised research citation impact. Meanwhile, in the 2018 Nature Index, NTU is placed 29th among the world’s universities and first in Singapore.

The diversity of research topics at SSS makes it ideal for graduate students seeking a career related to the field of social sciences. Meanwhile the faculty possess a range of research expertise, be it in economics, psychology, sociology, public administration and international relations, and beyond.

Source: Nanyang Technological University, School of Social Sciences

The Chair of SSS is Professor Liu Hong, Tan Lark Sye Chair Professor of Public Policy and Global Affairs, and concurrently, Director of NCPA. He has held several visiting professorship and fellowship appointments at renowned institutions, such as at Harvard University, Kyoto University and University of Amsterdam.

Many of the School’s faculty members are also highly accomplished and have obtained research grants in a variety of fields. For example, Suzy Styles, an Assistant Professor, has secured several grants for her research projects. In 2017, she bagged a SG$5 million grant from the National Research Foundation Science of Learning for her project, How language mixes contribute to effective bilingualism and effective biliteracy in Singapore.

Meanwhile, Professor Euston Quah, NTU’s Head of Economics, has published over 100 papers in major international journals and opinion pieces. His areas of expertise include Environmental Economics, Law and Economics and Household Economics, among others, while he also advises the Singapore Government in various Ministries.

Associate Professor Teo You Yenn is a Provost’s Chair in Sociology and the Head of Sociology. Her research expertise is on poverty and inequality, governance and state-society dynamics, gender and class. She is also an accomplished writer; her book, This is What Inequality Looks Like, sold 25,000 copies in 16 months and ignited a national conversation on poverty and inequality. As a result, Teo was named a Finalist in the 2018 Straits Times Singaporean of the Year Award.

Research expertise aside, one of the greatest experiences of being an NTU student lies in studying at one of the world’s top 15 most beautiful university campuses. This is an environment where students are pushed to break the boundaries of learning and challenge themselves to embark on a journey that culminates in giving them a competitive edge in their careers.

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