How to start a successful career with Social Sciences programmes

A few days ago, Asian academics and policy makers called for further investment in social science research, arguing more funding was needed to address issues and provide informed policy making. Already in November, a UNESCO report had blamed India’s lack of funding for its low volume of research into climate change and the environment.

The direct link between a society’s investment in social science and its policymaking is undeniable, and so it comes as no surprise that every country needs good researchers to advise decision makers.

Whether the area of concern is climate change, an ageing population, or unemployment, every country should be able to produce quality research in the interests of implementing better development. Social science research is not limited to the study of the environment, but encompasses most of the subjects that our societies are concerned with.


Pic: Graduation at Glyndŵr University

From well-being and education to employment and globalisation, social scientists produce the research and act as advisers to those who hold the decision-making power. In the UK, the job market is particularly fruitful for social science graduates who are more employed after graduation than students of the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects.

There are various opportunities available to social science graduates, including working as government advisers, working as specialists on national enquiries, raising public awareness of key issues, monitoring and analysing social trends, or enhancing the delivery of public services. Whatever your area of interest and expertise, there will be a need for research and background in that area to further the work of policy makers.

Social science can be studied at university both at undergraduate and postgraduate level, and most subjects such as Politics, History and Economics can usually be taken as joint honours, enabling students to specialise in the area of their choice. These degrees equip students with highly transferable skills valued by employers across the public, private and third sectors.

Social science students gain the ability to understand complex issues on individual and cultural levels; they learn to research, analyse and evaluate data critically; to question assumptions; understand processes of change; and make reasoned arguments. These degrees, usually considered as ‘soft’ as opposed to mathematics and physics, are crucial to the future evaluation and development of public policy.

UK universities offer many social science courses for international students to choose from, offering a level of quality that ensures that graduates emerge with the skills needed to tackle the problems of our societies today. International students who want to make a difference to the future undertake programmes in the UK either with the view to work abroad or to take their skills back home after they graduate.

Below is a selection of UK universities and schools that offer social sciences programmes to international students:


Pic: Warwick Campus


The University of Warwick, in Coventry, is located in the heart of England and in less than 50 years has become one of the UK’s best universities. Warwick encourages independent thinking and entrepreneurial spirit, providing employers with graduates at the cutting edge of their industries. The Social Sciences Faculty at Warwick is internationally recognised, and is the largest faculty at the university. It is home to eight departments, four independent research centres, and offers courses ranging from Economics and Law to Politics and Philosophy. Read the full profile here…


The School of Oriental and African Studies, SOAS, at the University of London, is a remarkable institution that specialises in the study of Asia, Africa and the Near and Middle East. Its reputation goes far beyond the borders of London and SOAS’ courses attract students from around the world. Staffed with excellent scholars, SOAS cultivates specialised knowledge in languages and periods that is unique in the UK. The Faculty of Law and Social Sciences offers courses in Politics, International Relations, Management, and more. Read the full profile here…


Glyndŵr University is located in Wrexham, in the North-East of Wales, just over the border from England, providing easy access to the extraordinary scenery of Wales and the buzzing cities of Manchester and Liverpool in England. The university welcomes students from all of the world and with more than 1,500 global partners, it is known as the world’s local university. Glyndŵr provides first class courses in social science areas, including Psychology, History, English, Criminology, and more. Read the full profile here…


The University of the West of Scotland (UWS) is Scotland’s largest modern university and has a proud tradition of excellence in education. The University has been offering vocational programmes for more than 100 years. It welcomes around 17,000 students, including 1,400 international students, and is an innovative and inclusive institution. The School of Social Sciences offers courses in key disciplines, with a blend of research-led teaching and professional education and practice. Undergraduate and Postgraduate programmes are available in many areas of the social sciences, including Psychology, Politics, Social Policy, Sociology, and more. Read the full profile here…


Pic: UWS students


Anglia Ruskin University is ideally located in Cambridge and welcomes more than 30,000 students from all over the world.  As a city, it is a vibrant, student-friendly place with entertainment, art and history all within close proximity. Museums and galleries are only one of the many activities students can take part in during their spare time. The Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at Anglia Ruskin offers stimulating and engaging courses on vital issues that range from the practical and vocational to traditional academic areas of study. All programmes develop students’ critical and analytical thinking skills and increase awareness of the key features of our contemporary identities in the context of the social, political and historical landscape. Programmes available include Criminology, History, Philosophy and Sociology.


Loughborough University welcomes about 18,500 universities and offers a stimulating and supportive studying environment in Leicestershire, in the Midlands. With 24 academic departments and more than 30 research centres, Loughborough University boasts first-rate facilities for students and staff. The Department of Social Sciences offers undergraduate courses in a range of disciplines, including media and communications, sociology, social psychology, criminology and social policy. International students are supported and nurtured, and no one is left behind. Postgraduate degrees are available as well and all courses are delivered by an internationally renowned interdisciplinary team through the use of case studies and research-informed applied teaching and learning.