They may not make headlines like politicians and CEOs do but every day, social scientists are determining the trajectory of national and global socio-economic growth.
Sociologists are contributing to the common understanding of economics and wellbeing. Psychologists play key roles in crime prevention and organisational efficacy. Educators equip citizens of tomorrow with the knowledge and skills necessary for them to thrive.
Through their roles in banks, courtrooms, city councils and more, they set in motion a series of gradual improvements that shape the architecture, culture and safety of society.
UK advocacy group Campaign for Social Science explains how social scientists don’t just shape our collective future but help us navigate everyday aspects of living. These human behaviour experts discuss, dissect, and disseminate the issues at the crux of modern society.
By and large, the work of social scientists drives social and economic progress through collaborations with activists, governments, funding agencies, and the media.
Unsurprisingly, its 2013 report titled What Do Social Science Graduates Do? found that more social science graduates were employed in the “professional, scientific, technical, and financial” industries than STEM or arts-humanities graduates.
In its simplest form, the study of social science is the timeless study of the human condition. “Social science” acts as an umbrella term for various areas of study, from law and economics to hospitality and anthropology.
In order to facilitate this vast field, a social science education fosters analytic and communication skills that make social science graduates easily employable across industries.
If this sounds like the path for you or someone you know, here are four esteemed institutions to consider in the UK and Europe.
Located in the heart of vibrant London, students at London South Bank University (LSBU) thrive in a microcosm of the modern world. With almost nine million people speaking 300 languages in the city, this campus is primed for practical studies across the disciplines of education, law, social sciences, as well as urban, environment and leisure studies.
The faculty’s commitment to social justice is evident not just in what they teach, but how they teach it. For example, law students manage real cases in the Legal Advice Clinic and get a taste of courtroom proceedings through the Street Law programme. These give them a headstart in building confidence and client care experience for their future practice.
Work and placement opportunities also abound in the areas of criminology, politics, sociology, tourism and urban planning. Students can also tap into LSBU’s vast network of industry connections to prepare themselves for specialist careers in the civic, state, and private sectors of tomorrow.
Simply put, LSBU has the career-focused undergraduate and postgraduate programmes, spaces and equipment to develop students into future leaders in their respective fields. This industry-readiness earned it the title of The Times and Sunday Times University of the Year for Graduate Employment, both in 2018 and 2019.
At the Netherlands’ Leiden University, students are encouraged to explore the intersection of innovation and society through the lens of science and technology. All research performed at this faculty is ethically reviewed by one of three committees.
As a result, the faculty has become a leading international centre for social science research and teaching across its institutes: Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology, Education and Child Studies, Political Science and Psychology.
Leiden students learn early on that the social sciences tackle the behaviour of individuals and their relationship to social systems. Urgent and emerging issues such as large migration flows and the decline of political legitimacy are among the issues tackled head-on, both within the classroom and in coursework.
On top of that, graduates can further their studies with advanced degrees that balance independent scholarship with close peer collaboration. Both the Bachelor’s and Master’s degree programmes equip students with the knowledge and skills necessary for them to navigate their careers while remaining deeply grounded in the tenets of science.
Charles University is one of the oldest universities in the world. Its origin traces all the way back to 1348, when it was founded by the Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV.
Today, its Faculty of Social Sciences (FSV UK) emphasises economics, political science, area studies, and media studies, among other sought-after disciplines. This is in line with its prime objective: “to develop teaching and research in aspects of the social sciences which relate to the public administration or to the economic and cultural life of society.”
Students can also access the ERASMUS+ exchange programme, where curious minds from all over the world get to visit any European country to study or work.
Charles University prioritises socio-scientific research, given its importance across all aspects of modern life. Together with several departments within the Faculty of Arts, social scientists at FSV UK are able to provide a critical reflection on the long-term development of Czech society.
With a focus on public institutions and policy making, students at Bocconi University gain insight on the entire gamut of public administration. Undergraduate, graduate, PhD and executive programmes are taught with the aim of being a civil and cultural reference point within and beyond Italy.
This includes design, management, development and evaluation of the very systems that govern our lives. Knowledge of these topics is valuable to any future social scientist who intends to solve urgent and emerging societal problems.
As far as research goes, students are exposed to an environment conducive to cross-discipline collaborations and pertinent dialogue with practitioners.
Given Bocconi University’s background in economics and emphasis on democratic values, social science students are immersed in a rich cross-disciplinary environment that prepares them for tomorrow’s challenges, today.
*Some of the institutions featured in this article are commercial partners of Study International