Most Affordable Online Social Sciences Programs

Studying the social sciences can lead to many exciting careers. See if an online social science degree is right for you.

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by Ellery Weil

Published on August 4, 2022 · Updated on August 5, 2022

Edited by Kristina Beek
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You may have heard of the arts, humanities, and STEM as broad categories for courses of academic study. Similarly, the social sciences are a broad range of academic disciplines including political science, economics, anthropology, sociology, and more. The term "social science" refers to any discipline that deals with the social and cultural aspects of human behavior. Social science is a wide-ranging field that can open doors to a variety of different careers.

A bachelor's in a social science field typically takes around four years to complete at a traditional on-campus program. With online degree programs becoming increasingly popular, many well-respected schools have begun offering online bachelor's degree programs in the social sciences.

Students may prefer to do their social science degree online due to personal convenience, lower costs, or any number of other reasons. If you're interested in an online social science degree, the next step is finding the right program for you.

How Much Does an Online Bachelor's in Social Sciences Cost?

Many students are interested in online undergraduate programs as a way to save money. The actual cost per credit for a reputable online degree program is often comparable to an in-person university. However, tuition is a cost to consider when deciding between an online and on-campus degree program.

Online students generally save money on transportation and on-campus fees. Also, online programs are often more flexible, allowing students to pursue full- or part-time jobs while they study.

What Can I Expect From an Online Bachelor's in Social Sciences Program?

In an online bachelor's program in the social sciences, students take a variety of classes, but likely pick a more focused major within the broader category of "social sciences," such as political science or sociology. The program typically lasts four years, although some online programs offer part-time options where students can take fewer credits per term over a longer amount of time.

Classes typically include lectures and smaller group discussions. In addition to traditional final exams, most sociology courses ask students to complete final research projects or write essays. Some social science classes expect students to deliver presentations as part of their final grade. Social science classes are often best suited to students with strong interpersonal skills, who are good written communicators.

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Popular Online Social Sciences Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

What Courses Will I Take in an Online Bachelor's in Social Sciences Program?

Intro to Sociology

Sociology is the study of human behavior. An introduction to sociology course focuses on the different types of sociology, how it's used in different contexts, and how to conduct sociology research.

Comparative Politics

Comparative politics teaches about different systems of government and how they work. This can include comparing state and local governments, how different countries' governments compare to each other, and more.

Intro to Economics

Economics deals with money, trade, and how value works in business contexts. Economics courses are a mixture of math, politics, and social theory. An introductory course gives students a broad overview of the field.

Intro to Anthropology

Anthropology literally means the study of people. An introductory anthropology course focuses on different communities and ways of living across the world throughout history, and how they impact the people in them.

Criminal Psychology

People commit crimes for many reasons. A criminal psychology course covers the complex physical, mental, and social factors that could lead someone to do something illegal.

What Are Admission Requirements for an Online Bachelor's in Social Sciences Program?

While the admission requirements for an online bachelor's program in the social sciences differ from school to school, some factors generally remain consistent. Many programs want applicants to fill out an application and provide transcripts and recommendations from their previous educational programs. Some schools ask prospective learners to submit standardized test scores from the ACT and/or SAT exams.

Application

Applying for an online bachelor's in the social sciences requires filling out an application form. What this form wants, beyond basic information like your name, address, educational history, and extracurricular and work experience, varies from school to school. Be sure to read carefully before you submit your application.

Test Scores

Many online degree programs, especially those affiliated with traditional in-person programs, require applicants to take a standardized college entrance exam, typically the SAT or ACT. The required and preferred scores vary from school to school, but generally, students should study for their exams with the goal of doing as well as possible.

Letters of Recommendation

Some schools ask for 1-3 letters of recommendation. These should come from someone who knows you well in an academic context, like a teacher whose class meant a lot to you. If it's been a while since you were last in school, you can also get a supervisor or colleague from work to write a letter of recommendation for you.

Essays

Online degree applications often require application essays, which can range from several pages long to just a few paragraphs. Think carefully about how you write your essay, which should reflect well on you, and tell the admissions team something about you that they wouldn't otherwise know from your application.

Official Transcripts

It's very important not to forget to submit your official transcripts. These can include transcripts from both high school and community college. If you're applying to transfer from a community college, make sure that the online program you're looking at accepts transfer credits from your program.

What Can I Do With an Online Bachelor's in Social Sciences Degree?

Career Outlook

The career outlook for social science graduates is both bright and varied. Because social sciences is such a varied field, there are many different types of careers a graduate may be interested in and qualified to pursue. This may be why social sciences are some of the most popular college majors.

Further, the demand for social science graduates is steadily growing. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), projects life, physical, and social science occupations will grow 8% between 2020 and 2030, resulting in the creation of 113,800 new jobs. Professionals in these positions earned a median annual salary of $45,760 in May 2021, according to the organization.

What an individual social science graduate earns depends on what kind of job they choose to pursue, as some careers have higher salary outlooks than others.

Career Paths

Teacher

Education is a popular and fulfilling career for social science graduates, and one in high demand across the country. After you earn your bachelor's, you may enjoy teaching government, psychology, social studies, economics, or other related fields at the high school level.

Median Annual Salary (May 2021): $61,820

Legislative Assistant

If you're interested in politics and have strong organizational skills, you may enjoy working as a legislative assistant for a state, national, or local government official. In this job, professionals help implement policy that impacts their constituency and, potentially, people across the country.

Median Annual Salary (May 2021): $39,958

Business Analyst

If you're interested in economics and have a good head for mathematics, you might enjoy a career as a business analyst. Business analysts work with corporate data and examine trends over time within a business or the broader field to help the company develop better strategies moving forward.

Average Annual Salary (July 2022): $63,650

Market Researcher

Companies need to know what their customers are interested in and value, which is where market researchers come in. Market researchers develop surveys and focus groups and analyze them to learn more about customer preferences and behavior so companies can adjust their strategies.

Median Annual Salary (May 2021): $63,920

Sales Manager

If you have good people skills and a passion for what your company produces, you might be a good fit to be a sales manager. Sales managers are on the upper level of a sales team, often taking meetings with large potential clients, explaining complex potential transactions, and managing junior employees.

Median Annual Salary (May 2021): $127,490

Social Sciences Not For You? Check Out These Related Careers.

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Continuing Education

Many students with bachelor's degrees in the social sciences go on to pursue postgraduate degrees. While there are many jobs and careers social science graduates can pursue with only a bachelor's, many students enroll in master's programs in their major field for personal fulfillment or for higher-level job opportunities.

Law school is also a popular option for social science graduates. A career in law makes use of many of the relevant skills students learn in a social science degree program.

How Do I Choose an Online Bachelor's in Social Sciences Program?

Cost

Not all online college programs cost the same amount. Students who attend public, in-state schools generally spend less money on tuition than learners to enroll in private or out-of-state public schools. You should compare the costs of different programs, factoring in the cost of room and board, transportation, and healthcare.

Program Format

The format of your program can be very important, depending on how a student best learns. Consider if you want a full- or part-time program, an accelerated bachelor's, or a synchronous or asynchronous program. Your learning style and scheduling needs should dictate what kind of program you choose.

Location

While you might be doing the majority of your coursework online, some online programs have in-person elements, which can make location a relevant factor to your decision. If you are looking at online programs through state schools, a program near you may offer in-state tuition.

Accreditation

It is extremely important that your program is accredited; this will make your degree legitimate in the eyes of employers and other universities, should you wish to pursue a higher degree. Check the accreditation status of your potential online college before you apply.

Student Support

Student support can be an important part of your online undergraduate experience, both before and after graduation. Check if your school has student services, which may include career services, alumni networks, mentorship opportunities, and mental health counseling.

How Do I Pay for an Online Bachelor's in Social Sciences?

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a form provided by the U.S. government that allows students to apply for grants, subsidized loans, work-study, and more. Check the FAFSA deadline carefully when you're looking to pay for school.

Loans

Student loans are available through the U.S. government and private entities like banks. Be sure to look into repayment options, interest rates, and other terms before you take out a loan.

Grants

Depending on both your school and personal circumstances, grants and scholarships may be available for your online bachelor's degree program. Be sure to find out if there are any school-specific or private grants you qualify for, and apply before the start of the term.

Work-Study Programs

Many students qualify for work-study jobs and programs by filing the FAFSA. These programs place students in jobs on campus, or, in the case of online programs, remotely to help offset the course of the program.

Scholarships

Private organizations and many colleges and online schools offer scholarships based on need and merit. Some scholarships are not widely advertised, and you may qualify for one, so be sure to do your research before completing all your scholarship applications.

Most Affordable Accredited Online Bachelor's in Social Sciences Programs

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Our rankings are grounded in a few guiding principles and use the latest statistical data available from trusted sources. Read our ranking methodology. We hope our approach helps you find the school that is best for you.

#1

University of Washington-Seattle Campus

School Information
Location Seattle, Washington
Admission Rate 52%
Graduation Rate 84%
Accreditation Yes Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
Percent Online Enrollment 8% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $374
Out of State | $374

Credits to Graduate
180

Program Information
Degree Completion Program | Yes

The online bachelor in integrated social sciences program at UW-Seattle offers a competitive, well-recognized course of study. Many full-time students can finish in 1-2 years. Participants complete their coursework online and create a portfolio for graduation.

Along with social science coursework, students also study in seven areas including diversity and global justice, information technology, and populations and movement.

Applicants must have at least 75 transferable quarter credits and a cumulative GPA of 2.0 to apply to this bachelor of social sciences program. 

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#2

University of Central Florida

School Information
Location Orlando, Florida
Admission Rate 44%
Graduation Rate 72%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 59% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $180
Out of State | $716

Credits to Graduate
120

Program Information
Degree Completion Program | No

With a focus on fieldwork and research, the University of Central Florida’s online bachelor's in anthropology degree prepares graduates to enter various subfields in anthropology. Students can choose from three concentrations: cultural anthropology, archaeology, and linguistics and physical anthropology. 

Online students have access to supports like a success coach who helps students find resources and provide tips for academic achievement in online courses.

First-year applicants must provide ACT or SAT scores and proof of high school or GED diploma. Application essays are optional, but encouraged. 

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#3

University of Alaska Southeast

School Information
Location Juneau, Alaska
Admission Rate 61%
Graduation Rate 26%
Accreditation Yes Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
Percent Online Enrollment 66% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $234
Out of State | $800

Credits to Graduate
120

Program Information
Degree Completion Program | No

Students enrolled in the University of Alaska Southeast’s bachelor’s in social sciences choose a primary field of study with two concentrations. The fields of study include anthropology, history, government, sociology, and psychology. Participants complete a writing portfolio and have the opportunity to complete hands-on practicums and internships. 

The University of Alaska Southeast is a member of the Western Undergraduate Exchange program and offers discount tuition to residents of other WUE member states.

Application requirements for this program include official transcripts and a minimum GPA of 3.0. Standardized test scores are optional, but can be used to waive general education course requirements. 

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#4

SUNY Empire State College

School Information
Location Saratoga Springs, New York
Graduation Rate 25%
Accreditation Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 66% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online or Hybrid Optional | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $295
Out of State | $353

Credits to Graduate
120

Program Information
Degree Completion Program | Yes

Along with in-person degree options, SUNY Empire State College also offers many degree programs in social sciences. Prospective students can choose between an associate of arts, associate of science, bachelors of arts, or bachelors of science in social science degrees.

There are several concentrations available for social science majors including African American studies, cultural anthropology, and women’s studies. SUNY accepts transfer credits and allows students to take an individualized prior learning assessment to earn credits for work or life experience.

SUNY applicants are required to submit proof of high school completion or GED certificate, an application essay, and official transcripts. 

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#5

Valley City State University

School Information
Location Valley City, North Dakota
Admission Rate 76%
Graduation Rate 50%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 55% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Term
In State | $6,619
Out of State | $11,583

Credits to Graduate
120

Program Information
Degree Completion Program | No

The online bachelors in social sciences degree at Valley City State University requires students take courses from various disciplines including science, history, and sociology. Students end their study with a senior capstone.

Along with reduced tuition rates for in-state residents, Valley City State University also offers discounted tuition rates for residents of Montana, South Dakota, and some Canadian provinces. The college also participates in the Midwest Student Exchange Program and the WUE program.

Prospective first-year students must submit high school transcripts and have a minimum 2.0 minimum GPA. ACT and SAT scores are recommended, but not mandatory.  

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#6

University of Maine at Augusta

School Information
Location Augusta, Maine
Graduation Rate 13%
Accreditation Yes New England Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 76% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online or Hybrid Optional | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $245
Out of State | $314

Credits to Graduate
120

Program Information
Degree Completion Program | No
Program Accreditation | New England Commission on Higher Education

Students pursuing a bachelor's in social sciences degree from the University of Maine can choose a concentration in communication, psychology, or sociology. The college allows students to form a flexible path of study by picking courses that fit their interests and needs within program guidelines.

With an emphasis on social research, the social sciences program shows students how to conduct and apply research and lead experiments and surveys. Degree-seekers finish their program with a senior project. 

There is no application fee for undergraduate programs at the University of Maine, but prospective students must submit official transcripts or GED certificates. The application can be submitted through the school's website or the Common App. 

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#7

Southeast Missouri State University

School Information
Location Cape Girardeau, Missouri
Admission Rate 86%
Graduation Rate 50%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 52% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $300
Out of State | $300

Credits to Graduate
120

Program Information
Degree Completion Program | No

Southeast Missouri State University's bachelors in social sciences provides the flexibility to choose two concentrations. Subject areas include anthropology, economics, and criminal justice.

Online students have access to 14 different session terms. Students can also take advantage of the same resources offered to on-campus students including career support. SEMO partners with several businesses to give working students discounts on tuition. 

Applicants with a high school GPA over 2.75 do not need to submit standardized test scores with their application. Southeast Missouri State University does not charge an application fee and prospective students can submit an application through the Common App. 

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#8

Troy University

School Information
Location Troy, Alabama
Admission Rate 88%
Graduation Rate 47%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 56% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $388
Out of State | $388

Credits to Graduate
120

Program Information
Degree Completion Program | Yes / No
Program Accreditation | Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

At Troy University, students completing a bachelor's in social sciences can choose a concentration in general social science, geography, or leadership. Participants can also major in social sciences while completing an Alabama teacher licensure or an accelerated law degree option for those wanting to continue beyond an undergraduate degree.

Online courses are organized into nine week terms providing students with five possible start dates. Troy University requires learners to take an online assessment and a free course on their online learning platform.

Troy is a test-optional institution and requires that applicants submit just their official transcripts. 

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#9

University of Nevada-Las Vegas

School Information
Location Las Vegas, Nevada
Admission Rate 81%
Graduation Rate 45%
Accreditation Yes Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
Percent Online Enrollment 44% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online or Hybrid Optional | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Term
In State | $4,727
Out of State | $13,205

Credits to Graduate
120

Program Information
Degree Completion Program | No

Students pursuing a bachelor's in social sciences degree from the University of Nevada at Las Vegas partner with their academic advisors to create a personalized program of study. Each personalized program meets degree requirements while allowing learners to focus on a chosen area of study. 

Along with an individualized learning plan, students also complete a senior capstone course that culminates into a paper, project, and presentation. Nonresidents who study fully online may receive a discounted tuition rate. All online students have access to resources from the office of online education.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Social Sciences Programs

Is a bachelor's in social sciences worth it?

Whether or not a bachelor's in social science, either from an in-person university or online, is worth it for you is a personal decision. Students considering an online bachelor's in social science need to consider a wide variety of factors, including their current job situation, the cost of the program, and their career aspirations, before making the decision.

If a potential student wants to pursue a career in a social science-related field, a bachelor's in social science is likely worth it. However, for students whose career aspirations do not require a degree, a bachelor's in social science may not be the right fit.

What can I do with a bachelor's in social sciences?

There is a wide range of positions you can pursue with a bachelor's in a social science field. Some of the most popular career paths for social science graduates include education, business and management, finance, and law.

Some social science graduates continue their education in law school, a master's program related to their undergraduate degree, a professional master's like a master of social work (MSW), or any number of other programs. However, there are many jobs, particularly in business and finance, where you can begin working directly after undergrad.

Are social sciences majors in demand?

There are a wide variety of jobs and career paths where social science majors are in demand.

A background in the social sciences and a social science bachelor's degree is highly in demand for a variety of careers. According to the BLS, social science professionals include teachers, professors, researchers, lawyers, marketing associates, and more. The organization projects social science occupations will grow 8% between 2020 and 2030.

How much money can I make with a bachelor's in social sciences?

Social science graduates can make high salaries depending on their career path, level of education, and years of experience. Social science graduates who go into teaching are likely to earn less than those who go into business and finance or go to law school, for example.

What are the highest paying jobs with a bachelor's in social sciences?

Many of the highest-paying career paths for social science bachelor's graduates require postgraduate degrees. Lawyers, for example, must attend law school, a three-year commitment. Some careers in business and finance may require applicants to possess a master's in business administration (MBA).

However, for those who wish to begin their careers immediately after getting their bachelor's degrees, some of the highest-paying career options include business, management, and finance. Many workers in these fields earn six-figure salaries.

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