Guide to Indian Liberal Arts Schools • Undergraduate

Atypical Careers for Social Science Majors

POSTED ON 03/13/2024 BY The Red Pen

International students discussing about Social Science Majors

Social sciences is a vast and dynamic field encompassing various disciplines, including sociology, psychology, anthropology, and political science. Many social science majors may envision traditional career paths such as counselling, research, or public policy. However, the versatility of a social sciences degree extends far beyond these conventional options. A liberal arts education is becoming increasingly relevant today, so in this blog post, we will delve into the world of atypical careers for social science majors, shedding light on unique and unexpected avenues that leverage the skills and knowledge acquired through studying human behaviour, societies, and cultures.

Traditional Career Paths for Social Sciences Graduates

Some career paths that social science graduates favour are working in the field through social work, being an economist or a family counsellor. Many find themselves in academia, researching in their unique field or teaching as professors at university. While there are many paths for social science majors, we want to outline what students can do outside these realms.

Unconventional Career Options

A career in the social sciences does not limit you to academic or counselling-related roles. With the changing social and professional environment, several new fields offer diverse opportunities, requiring versatility, application and growth potential. Here are a few:

Policy Researcher and Political Scientists

Policy researchers and political scientists play a massive role in non-profit organisations, governmental institutions and think tanks, shaping social initiatives, especially in developing regions. They conduct in-depth research, analyse data, and contribute to designing effective policies addressing multiple social issues. Their impactful engagements influence policy-making, affecting communities directly. NGOs working on education, healthcare, and human rights have a growing demand for policy researchers. With the median annual salary being US$ 128,020 in May 2022, the employment of political scientists is projected to grow 7 percent in the next ten years. The median annual salary for survey researchers was US$ 60,410 in the same period.

Social Media Manager

Social media managers have become pivotal in shaping and influencing online conversations in the digital age. Their role extends beyond crafting engaging posts; they are strategic architects, curating digital landscapes to convey brand messages and, in the case of social sciences graduates, to drive positive social impact. From conceptualisation to execution, utilising data analytics tools, and conducting market research, they can review a brand’s performance and success, initiating and guiding dialogues with audiences. Social media managers generally fall under marketing departments. As of May 2022, a seasoned advertising and promotions manager has a median annual salary of US$ 127,830, while for marketing managers, it was US$ 140,040. The average entry-level social media manager earns an estimated US$ 79,105 annually, including a base salary of US$ 72,166 and a US$ 6,939 bonus.

Market Research Analyst

Market research analysts are crucial in providing businesses valuable insights into market trends, consumer behaviours, and competitive landscapes. They gather data through surveys, interviews, and statistical techniques. They then study this data to identify patterns and potential opportunities for businesses. Based on their findings, market research analysts provide actionable recommendations that guide businesses in making informed decisions so companies can stay competitive in dynamic markets. The median annual salary for market research analysts was US$ 68,230 in May 2022, and their employment is projected to grow 13 percent from 2022 to 2032, much faster than the average for all occupations. 

Dance/Movement Therapist

Dance/movement therapy (DMT) is defined by the American Dance Therapy Association (ADTA) as the psychotherapeutic use of movement to promote an individual or group’s emotional, social, cognitive, and physical integration to improve health and well-being. Most DMT professionals work in psychiatric hospitals, rehabilitation centres, schools, and private practices where they engage with a broad audience, from children with special needs to the elderly. Results suggest that DMT decreases depression and anxiety and increases quality of life and interpersonal and cognitive skills. Most DMT practitioners fall under the spectrum of recreational therapists, such as music and art therapy. According to Glassdoor, the estimated total pay for a Dance/Movement Therapist is $75,438 per year in the United States area, with an average salary of $70,895 per year.  Employment of recreational therapists is projected to grow 4 percent from 2022 to 2032.

Urban Planning Specialist

Urban planning specialists play a pivotal role in shaping cities’ and communities’ physical and social aspects. They are responsible for developing plans that address issues such as land use, transportation, housing, and environmental sustainability. By analysing demographic trends, economic data, and community needs, urban planning specialists devise strategies to create vibrant and functional spaces that enhance the quality of life for residents. Urban planning specialists utilise diverse skills, including data analysis, GIS mapping, and public engagement techniques. The median annual salary for urban planners was $76,240 in May 2022, with the employment of urban and regional planners expected to grow 11 percent from 2022 to 2032. As cities evolve and face new challenges, the demand for skilled urban planning specialists remains high, making it an atypical yet rewarding career choice in social sciences.

Educational Support and Consulting Services

The Educational Services sector provides instruction, training and support to schools, colleges, and individual students. These establishments can be privately owned, not-for-profit, or subsidiaries within a school system to offer additional support to existing faculty. Education consultants can advise teachers, families, and school administrations on many skills, such as educational technology, early-college advising and student portfolio building. Their median annual salary was US$ 60,140 in May 2022, and the employment of school and career counsellors and advisors is projected to grow by 5 percent from then to 2032. 

As we navigate the diverse careers available to social science graduates, it becomes evident that the field offers many opportunities beyond traditional paths to students looking for unconventional alternatives.  A career in the social sciences is ever-evolving; thus, graduates will have to wear many hats and learn skills that will allow them to maximise the benefit of their social sciences degree. Graduates can continue leveraging their skills to stay competitive in the evolving job market by combining their social science expertise with modern technological tools, including programming languages like SQL, Python and Java, product management methodologies like Scrum, or analytical tools such as Salesforce or HubSpot. This will allow various meaningful and impactful career choices that address contemporary challenges and contribute to positive societal changes. 

You may also want to read our blogs on The Revival of Liberal Arts Education in India and Pursuing Liberal Arts in the US: Your Ultimate Guide. For more information on applying to Liberal Arts colleges, please contact us. We look forward to addressing your queries.