The incredible advantages of studying social sciences3 min read . Updated: 26 Apr 2019, 04:43 PM IST
According to experts, social sciences not only help students in gaining analytical and reasoning skills, but also prepare them for multifaceted workplace projects.
Conversations around a social sciences degree may lead to discussions of its growing demand, workplace relevance, reluctance, interest, and future employability. But these are often uninformed opinions.
Watch the live webcast of the interactive panel discussion - ‘Succeed with Social Sciences' - below at 11 AM on April 28, 2019. The event is being organized by The Red Pen and The Chicago School of Professional Psychology.
The panel features speakers from world-renowned institutions and new-age companies who delve into the value of a social sciences degree, the growing demand for social science graduates and the unique value they add to their companies and teams!
Here is an edited excerpt from an interview with Dr. Kimberly Dixit, co-founder of The Red Pen, and Dr. Breeda McGrath, Dean at Chicago School of Professional Psychology, that brings the study of social sciences to the forefront, ahead of the event being held in Mumbai on April 28.
What are the subjects included in social sciences and what workplace skills do they impart?
Dr. Dixit: Social sciences include psychology, sociology, anthropology, political science, environmental studies, and international relations. These fields can trace their theoretical foundations to subjects such as history, philosophy, literature, and classics. The subjects help students gain analytical, research and reasoning skills, and prepare them for complex situations and multifaceted workplace projects. Just like a student of anthropology reviews texts to find a relation between ideas, social sciences build on skills to analyze ideas or find commonalities and disparities.
Dr. McGrath: Social sciences comprise a broad range of liberal arts and humanities courses such as psychology, anthropology, sociology, education, law, history, natural sciences, arts, linguistics, political science, and management. These help students scientifically analyze society, human behavior patterns, and global historical changes. For example, the study of culture and psychology helps school personnel understand the impact of social media on students and how they see the world and themselves.
Can you think of someone who studied a social science subject and stood out in the workplace?
Dr. Dixit: I recall one young woman who studied anthropology and did some amazing qualitative market research for different brands. She not only added a new dimension to quantitative surveys, but also pointed out how cultural perspectives hinder the effectiveness of advertising campaigns.
Dr. McGrath: The world over, our alumni have been associated with inspiring work. However, Project 1948 is one that comes to mind. This outreach founded by our international psychology program alum uses photography to document the everyday perspectives of citizens, and has created significant social impact in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Do you think students are reluctant to study social sciences?
Dr. Dixit: Students are reluctant because they don’t think social sciences can be “applied" enough at the workplace. I often hear parents say, “What will you do with a degree in economics?" It’s as if the course content directly applies to the workplace! Only fields such as business, medicine, and engineering require direct application of classroom lessons. All other subjects help in building skills for the future.
Dr. McGrath: Today’s students are eager to pursue social sciences because they are extremely active both socially and politically, and are always looking for ways to be involved. And, social sciences provide them the platform for such involvement. Our programs help them apply their knowledge, skills, and ideas right away in their communities.
What trends have you noticed in the enrollment and recruitment of social science students?
Dr. Dixit: Students are more willing to pursue a social science subject that they are passionate about and worry about the professional prospects later. They understand that what they study does not define them. One can study political science and yet become a strategy consultant or data analyst.
Dr. McGrath: More and more students are moving from a STEM-related undergraduate degree to a social science graduate degree to leverage their knowledge base and create meaningful applications in society. Social sciences evolve with society. Therefore, they are very exciting subjects of study.
How do we inspire more students to pursue social sciences?
Dr. Dixit: We need to showcase stories of successful leaders who have a background in social sciences. Another way is to spread awareness among employers about the value a social science graduate can add to a workplace.
Dr. McGrath: As we move from the Information age to the experience age, we need to help students understand that social sciences offer them an opportunity to adapt, document, and be a part of global developments. We also need to realize that universities are not just systems of upward mobility, but also fertile grounds for global change and strength.