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Why Study Social Sciences?

Study Social Sciences at Boston City Campus

The discipline of Social Science is the study of people and how they interact with each other. A Social Science degree can help students develop a variety of skills that are valuable in many different fields. Studying social science helps you develop a deeper understanding of the world around you, develop skills that can make a difference in the world, and open a wide range of career opportunities. Skills obtained from a Social Science degree are scarce in South Africa, as noted in the Skills Supply and Demand in South Africa (2022) report. This article explores the importance of Social Science studies and its contribution to societal development.

Social sciences help us understand the challenges and problems that societies face and to develop effective and sustainable solutions. For example, social scientists helped understand the social impacts of COVID-19. Even though biological factors are the immediate cause of the pandemic, the effects are social – it has led to high unemployment rates [1], an increase in reported gender-based violence cases [2][3], low participation in the economy [1], and psychological trauma for families and communities [4][5], to name a few. This understanding has contributed to the development of policies and programmes that have helped to address these problems. Furthermore, it has provided the public with an informed understanding of the complex issues they are facing.

Social science is more than building a just and equitable society, it provides an understanding of different perspectives and different groups in society. Social scientists can help build bridges between groups and create a more inclusive society. Social sciences, and the skills obtained, is a valuable tool for societal development. Some important skills students can obtain from a social science degree are critical thinking skills, research skills, communication skills, problem-solving skills, and teamwork skills.

Additional skills include but are not limited to, analytical skills, interpersonal skills, and leadership skills. Having these skills and experience opens a wide range of career opportunities, especially in today’s modern world. These career opportunities are multi-faceted and are central to the development of society. Without professionals with the above set of skills, our community cannot function or improve. These skills are important as we collectively strive to improve our society in all spheres of politics, economics, and social development.

Despite the above-mentioned, social science is often overlooked and undervalued. There are misconceptions about social sciences that prevent people from acknowledging its importance. I assume this is a result of either not understanding the role of social sciences or social sciences not being showcased adequately to the public. A misconception is that there are no careers when obtaining a social science qualification. However, there are multiple different career paths including, among others, researcher, policymaker, educator, social worker, psychologist, consultant, politician, author, and NGO specialist. The opportunities with social sciences are endless and help us engage in many fields and industries because our skill set is so applicable and important in more than one sector of the economy. Another misconception is that social science is not a lucrative field. Social scientists earn good salaries, depending on their experience and qualifications. As noted, it is the skillset obtained from social sciences that are in demand in South Africa.

The knowledge economy has always benefitted from social science skills, which is even more important now in the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR). The 4IR is characterised by technological change, which is creating new challenges and opportunities for society. Social scientists are needed to help understand these changes, their impact on society, and to develop policies and programmes that will help us thrive in the 4IR. Therefore, social sciences are irreplaceable and provide skills that, for example, artificial intelligence, cannot replicate. Social scientists are trained to understand the different factors that influence human behaviour which AI cannot understand. This will create an even greater demand for social sciences in the future.

In short, I believe that studying social sciences is important for societal development. It helps us understand the challenges and problems societies face and can help develop effective policies, programmes, or solutions in response. Social science students develop a number of valuable skills that are essential for success in any field, in today’s modern workforce. Therefore, social science graduates are employable in a wide range of occupations and sectors in the labour market.

Access further insights and details about the Bachelor of Social Science programme offered by Boston City Campus.

About the author:

Leza Soldaat is a Programme Quality Practitioner at Boston City Campus and a PhD Candidate in Sociology at Stellenbosch University. She is an educationalist, a feminist, and a published scholar.


[1] Jain, R., Budlender, J., Zizzamia, R., & Bassier, I. 2020. The labor market and poverty impacts of covid-19 in South Africa. Cape Town: SALDRU, UCT. (SALDRU Working Paper No. 264)

[2] John, N., Casey, S.E., Carino, G., & McGovern, T. 2020. Lessons Never Learned: Crisis and gender-based violence. Bioethics, 20(2): 65-68

[3] Mittal, S. & Singh, T. 2020. Gender-Based Violence during Covid-19 Pandemic: A mini-review. Frontiers in Global Women’s Health, 1(4)

[4] Pillay, A.L., & Barnes, B.R. 2020. Psychology and Covid-19: Impacts, themes and way forward. South African Journal of Psychology, 50(2)

[5] Nguse, S., & Wassenaar, D. 2021. Mental health and Covid-19 in South Africa. South African Journal of Psychology, 51(2)

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