Affordable Online Bachelor’s in Social Science Degrees

Badge-OnlineAffordable Colleges.comBEST VALUEONLINEBachelor'sin Social Sciences2017
Get Ranking Seal

Many health insurance companies are expanding coverage to include mental health services and substance abuse counseling, and communities across the country are facing new challenges regarding addiction, unemployment, and caring for a growing elderly population. These factors drive the demand for professionals with a background in social science. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job growth rate for social workers is a rapid 12%, with related fields not far behind. As topics of race, equality, and social justice enter the national conversation, the demand for individuals committed to serving the community grows.

A bachelor’s degree in social science leads to careers positively impacting others’ lives. Students learn how communities work, common issues individuals face, and the forces that drive social change and reform.

Online Bachelor’s in Social Sciences at a Glance

Fast Facts

Time to Complete Most students complete a bachelor’s degree in social science in two to four years, depending on program format.
Credit Hours 45–180
Core Courses
  • Sociological theory
  • Introduction to political science
  • Criminal justice
  • Cultural anthropology
Accreditation Social science online degree programs are regionally or nationally accredited.
Additional Info No additional licensure or certification is necessary, unless the graduate wishes to pursue a teaching position.

14 Affordable Online Bachelor’s in Social Science Degrees
Rank School Score Toggle Content
1

University of Central Florida

Value Score 7.44
Average Tuition $4,478
Students Receiving Financial Aid 89%
Net Price $11,028
Graduation Rate 70%
Student to Faculty Ratio 30:1
Admissions Rate 48.57%
Enrollment Rate 37.92%
Retention Rate 30%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 52%
Number of Online Programs 15
UCF in Orlando has a number of award-winning degree programs, including an affordable online bachelor's degree in social science. The curriculum focuses on society and interpersonal relationships and explores a variety of disciplines including sociology, anthropology, political science, gender studies, and psychology. A big advantage of being enrolled at UCF is that students receive success coaching to help them with their studies and career search. Aside from success coaching, students have access to library services, peer-assisted learning, online tutors, and career services. Online students at UCF also qualify for a campus-based fee reduction. Students transferring from a community college or partner state college are eligible to enroll in online programs.
Visit School Website
2

Southeast Missouri State University

Value Score 6.24
Average Tuition $5,979
Students Receiving Financial Aid 73%
Net Price $9,503
Graduation Rate 48%
Student to Faculty Ratio 21:1
Admissions Rate 84.29%
Enrollment Rate 43.71%
Retention Rate 21%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 45%
Number of Online Programs 5
SMSU offers an affordable social science online degree that cultivates interdisciplinary professional skills. Social science is a broad category, which is why students choose one major concentration and one minor from the following subject areas: anthropology, criminal justice, economics, history, political science, psychology, or sociology. SMSU requires a minimum of 120 credit hours to graduate, 39 of which are core courses covering subjects such as research methods, statistical reasoning, and business statistics. Online classes include discussion forums that take the place of in-class lectures. To be admitted, students must have earned a minimum high school GPA of 2.0 and must have completed 17 units of required high school courses. The school uses a platform called Moodle for online coursework. Online students have access to a writing center, library resources, information technology support, student organizations, extracurriculars, and academic advisors.
Visit School Website
3

University of Alaska Southeast

Value Score 6.15
Average Tuition $4,838
Students Receiving Financial Aid 64%
Net Price $11,479
Graduation Rate 25%
Student to Faculty Ratio 12:1
Admissions Rate 48.91%
Enrollment Rate 87.50%
Retention Rate 12%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 66%
Number of Online Programs 5
The University of Alaska Southeast, located in Juneau, offers a cheap social science online degree that allows students to sample advanced coursework from three or more social science disciplines. Students must choose one major concentration area and two minors. Available concentrations include anthropology, economics, history, political science, psychology, and sociology. On top of concentration requirements, students must complete core coursework in statistics and social science methods. The social science program consists of 120 credits, 35 of which are general education requirements. Upon admission, online students are assigned a faculty advisor to assist them throughout their time at UAS. Submission of a student assessment portfolio is required in order to graduate, and students must maintain a minimum GPA of 2.0 in all courses. Nonresidents are charged a higher tuition rate than residents, but eligible students qualify for reduced tuition under the Western Undergraduate Exchange program.
Visit School Website
4

University of Nevada-Las Vegas

Value Score 5.83
Average Tuition $6,277
Students Receiving Financial Aid 74%
Net Price $9,014
Graduation Rate 41%
Student to Faculty Ratio 22:1
Admissions Rate 88.41%
Enrollment Rate 56.29%
Retention Rate 22%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 36%
Number of Online Programs 2
By earning an affordable online bachelor's degree in social science at UNLV, students learn to answer important questions about society and human interaction. The program lays out several learning objectives for students: the application of research methods; the ability to write analytically and lucidly; and the synthesis of at least two disciplines into a developed plan of research and analysis. In addition to core requirements, online social science students must complete 42 credits from the following social science departments: anthropology, history, political science, psychology, sociology, and gender studies. For admission, applicants must have a minimum high school GPA of 3.0 along with minimum scores of 1120 on the SAT or 22 on the ACT. Nonresidents are eligible to receive a 50% tuition discount if all their courses are taken online.
Visit School Website
5

Great Basin College

Value Score 5.78
Average Tuition $2,640
Students Receiving Financial Aid 65%
Net Price $6,828
Graduation Rate 2%
Student to Faculty Ratio 16:1
Admissions Rate 100%
Enrollment Rate 39.81%
Retention Rate 16%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 81%
Number of Online Programs 9
Great Basin College in Elko, Nevada focuses on research methods, writing, and ethics in its cheap online degree in social science. The 120-credit program can be completed in four years of full-time study and covers the core social science disciplines of anthropology, history, political science, and psychology. Coursework is available in subjects such as the American West, Roman civilization, problems in American public policy, and social psychology. Graduates of the program have gone on to have successful careers in archaeology, education, human resources, and environmental consultation. During the admission process, students take placement tests to see what courses are most suitable for them. They are also assigned a faculty advisor to assist them throughout their college experience. Distance learners outside the state of Nevada pay a slightly higher tuition rate than in-state students.
Visit School Website
6

University of Maine at Augusta

Value Score 5.57
Average Tuition $6,510
Students Receiving Financial Aid 56%
Net Price $9,071
Graduation Rate 12%
Student to Faculty Ratio 16:1
Admissions Rate 100%
Enrollment Rate 39.81%
Retention Rate 16%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 69%
Number of Online Programs 11
By earning UMA's affordable online bachelor's degree in social science, students learn that every social context is covered by a different social science. There are many social science disciplines included in UMA's curriculum, including anthropology, communications, economics, geography, political science, psychology, and sociology. Some of the courses that freshman social science students take are introduction to social science, introduction to psychology, and college writing. As seniors, students must complete a culminating project that is required for graduation. Graduates of UMA's program can go on to pursue careers in business, human rights, government, law enforcement, social work, and education. Most of the school's new students each year are transfer students. UMA does not require SAT scores for admission, but standardized test scores can be used to forego placement testing.
Visit School Website
7

Brandman University

Value Score 5.55
Average Tuition $12,000
Students Receiving Financial Aid 68.8%
Net Price $9,918
Graduation Rate 41%
Student to Faculty Ratio 16:1
Admissions Rate 74.51%
Enrollment Rate 55.26%
Retention Rate 16%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 83%
Number of Online Programs 14
Brandman offers a cheap social science online degree that helps students find jobs in government, education, business, social services, and non-profits. Social science students learn to examine data to gain a better understanding of people, communities, and societies. Some of the core classes in the program include social research design, data analytics, sociology of health care, and social scientific perspectives on media and culture. A culminating capstone course is also required in order to graduate. On top of core classes, students must take five classes from two of the following areas: communications, criminal justice, history, legal studies, marketing, organizational leadership, political science, social work, or sociology. Brandman's program is designed for transfer students, as applicants must have earned at least 12 baccalaureate-level credits to be admitted. A minimum undergraduate GPA of 2.0 is also required.
Visit School Website
8

Washington State University

Value Score 5.36
Average Tuition $10,356
Students Receiving Financial Aid 78%
Net Price $11,324
Graduation Rate 64%
Student to Faculty Ratio 15:1
Admissions Rate 79.64%
Enrollment Rate 30.03%
Retention Rate 15%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 17%
Number of Online Programs 8
The affordable online bachelor's degree in social science is the most flexible of WSU's online degree programs. This is because students can choose to concentrate in one of many social science disciplines, including anthropology, economics, human development, or women's studies. Social science students choose either "Plan A" or "Plan B" for their program requirements. Plan A students can concentrate in two disciplines; Plan B students can concentrate in three disciplines with the added option of studying business administration or communication. Social science graduates have many career options in law enforcement, education, government, or related public service. The department's faculty bring real-world experience to the program, with many having worked as psychologists, prosecutors, police officers, scientists, historians, and urban planners. Full-time students enrolled in 10-18 credits per semester typically finish the program in four years.
Visit School Website
9

University of Hawaii-West Oahu

Value Score 5.28
Average Tuition $6,912
Students Receiving Financial Aid 67%
Net Price $6,184
Graduation Rate 29%
Student to Faculty Ratio 19:1
Admissions Rate 70.16%
Enrollment Rate 40.48%
Retention Rate 19%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 68%
Number of Online Programs 3
UHWO offers an affordable online social science degree programs with three concentration options: early childhood education, political science, or psychology. Students pursuing a concentration in early childhood education focus on the principles of quality education, critical thinking, multiculturalism, and reflective teaching. Courses in this track include trends and leadership in early childhood education and emergent literacy in the home, school, and community. Students concentrating in political science can find careers in business, law, and public administration. They study areas such as international relations and environmental politics. Psychology students take classes in four clusters: human development, social psychology, experimental psychology, and clinical and applied psychology. Students utilize an online platform called Laulima to complete their online coursework. Students must have a minimum high school GPA of 2.7 in order to gain admission UHWO.
Visit School Website
10

SUNY Empire State College

Value Score 5.24
Average Tuition $6,470
Students Receiving Financial Aid 50%
Net Price $13,371
Graduation Rate 17%
Student to Faculty Ratio 15:1
Admissions Rate 100%
Enrollment Rate 39.81%
Retention Rate 15%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 59%
Number of Online Programs 12
SUNY Empire offers more than 400 instructor-led online courses, including an affordable online degree in social science. Within this degree category, students can pursue either a bachelor of arts or bachelor of science. There are a number of concentration options for students to choose from: African American studies, sociology, social theory, public policy, political science, or women's studies. Students interested in combining topics can also pursue an interdisciplinary concentration. A degree in social science from SUNY Empire is a good starting point for students interested in teaching, graduate work, social services, journalism, advocacy, communications, or law. To be admitted, candidates must provide proof of high school completion and submit an essay with their application. New York residents receive a tuition discount.
Visit School Website
11

University of Washington-Seattle Campus

Value Score 5.23
Average Tuition $10,768
Students Receiving Financial Aid 94%
Net Price $7,077
Graduation Rate 84%
Student to Faculty Ratio 20:1
Admissions Rate 53.33%
Enrollment Rate 34.56%
Retention Rate 20%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 10%
Number of Online Programs 1
UW offers flexible options for students interested in online learning, including an affordable online bachelor's degree in social sciences. Courses are offered in seven thematic areas: information and technology; populations and movement; conflict and cooperation; diversity and global justice; health and risk; inequalities and power relations; and societies and environments. Students must complete at least one course in five of the seven thematic areas to meet degree requirements. Courses are available in the following areas: race, gender, and sexuality in the media; social justice and the city; the global environment; the history of anthropology; and the future of social science. Students take classes as a cohort on a part- or full-time basis using the learning management system called Canvas. Nonresidents pay a marginally higher tuition rate compared to residents.
Visit School Website
12

Troy University

Value Score 5.13
Average Tuition $6,888
Students Receiving Financial Aid 79%
Net Price $11,430
Graduation Rate 34%
Student to Faculty Ratio 15:1
Admissions Rate 91.87%
Enrollment Rate 40.73%
Retention Rate 15%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 50%
Number of Online Programs 14
Through its cheap online bachelor's degree in social science, Troy teaches students to contribute to society through the application of critical and creative thinking. Troy offers three concentration options: general social science, geography, and leadership. Classes are available in the following disciplines: anthropology, geography, sociology, psychology, history, economics, and political science. The program teaches social science students to analyze data and statistics in order to solve practical problems. Graduates of the program have gone on to have successful careers as police officers, probation officers, statisticians, and private detectives. Applicants to the university must have a minimum high school GPA of 2.0 along with a minimum score of 20 on the ACT or a minimum score of 1030 on the SAT. Applicants over the age of 25 are not required to provide test scores.
Visit School Website
13

Roger Williams University

Value Score 5.05
Average Tuition $29,976
Students Receiving Financial Aid 81%
Net Price $28,376
Graduation Rate 64%
Student to Faculty Ratio 14:1
Admissions Rate 78.48%
Enrollment Rate 13.58%
Retention Rate 14%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 13%
Number of Online Programs 7
Roger Williams offers an affordable social science online degree taught by instructors who are practitioners in the field. Social science students learn how to debate their ideas, organize their work to meet strict deadlines, convey meaning in a precise manner, and research and present information to diverse audiences. The core curriculum for social science students includes courses in writing, math, speech, liberal arts, and at least one course from each of the following areas: natural science, humanities, fine arts, and social science. Graduates of the program will leave knowing how to critically analyze social issues, synthesize concepts and research methods, and communicate effectively in both speech and writing. The goal of Roger Williams' program is for students to critically consider their place in a larger community and how they can effect positive change in society. The university offers a fixed tuition rate for all online students, including nonresidents.
Visit School Website
14

Cazenovia College

Value Score 5.04
Average Tuition $31,200
Students Receiving Financial Aid 71%
Net Price $9,052
Graduation Rate 58%
Student to Faculty Ratio 12:1
Admissions Rate 81.49%
Enrollment Rate 13.30%
Retention Rate 12%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 14%
Number of Online Programs 1
Cazenovia offers an affordable online bachelor's degree in social science that gives students a strong liberal arts background. The degree permits students to sample courses in areas such as history, economics, sociology, and political science. Students also have the option to globalize their studies through courses on Africa, Asia, and Latin America. The program is designed so that students can select electives that prepare them for graduate studies in the social sciences, law, or teaching. The school offers courses in social theory, social welfare policy, international economics and trade, human rights and genocide, and the U.S. and the world. Students enrolled in the program must also complete a 150 hour internship in order to graduate. Online courses at Cazenovia College are taught through Blackboard. Students do not need to submit test scores for admission, but a letter of recommendation from a guidance counselor or teacher is required.
Visit School Website
15

Granite State College

Value Score 4.92
Average Tuition $7,032
Students Receiving Financial Aid 56%
Net Price $12,765
Graduation Rate 23%
Student to Faculty Ratio 12:1
Admissions Rate 100%
Enrollment Rate 39.81%
Retention Rate 12%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 82%
Number of Online Programs 32
Through its cheap online bachelor's degree in social science, Granite State teaches students how social groups and structures influence human behavior and identity. Students in the program learn to analyze social and cultural issues, practice critical thinking, and explore concepts in the social and behavioral sciences. They will also build skills in qualitative and quantitative research. The 120-credit program includes courses in research methods, sociology, and american government and politics. In addition to upper-division coursework, there are general education requirements in areas such as critical inquiry, the writing process, scientific inquiry, and communication. The school's online degrees require no face-to-face meetings. A minimum of 30 credits must be completed at Granite State. Nonresidents pay a marginally higher tuition rate compared to nonresidents.
Visit School Website

What Can I Do With a Bachelor’s in Social Sciences Degree?

Social science is an ideal field for those who enjoy exploring complex social issues and who are passionate about helping others. Graduates with an online bachelor’s degree in social science pursue hands-on careers working with individuals and communities, along with science and research positions. Below are a few of the most popular careers for graduates with an online degree in social science.

Career Paths

Social Worker

$46,890 Avg Annual Salary
Bachelor’s degree and certifications Degree Required

Employed in settings such as schools and halfway houses, social workers provide coping methods and support. Unlike clinical social workers, who need at least a master’s degree, they do not diagnose or treat mental or behavioral disorders.

Projected Growth Rate 12%

Substance Abuse Counselor

$41,070 Avg Annual Salary
Bachelor’s degree Degree Required

These counselors offer psychological support and treatment to individuals suffering from drug addiction, alcoholism, and related disorders. They work in clinics, health centers, correctional facilities, and private practices. Some positions require additional certification, depending on employer policies and state regulations.

Projected Growth Rate 22%

Social/Community Service Manager

$64,680 Avg Annual Salary
Bachelor’s degree Degree Required

Social service managers work for groups such as nonprofit organizations and government agencies. They coordinate community outreach programs, oversee employees, and implement initiatives.

Projected Growth Rate 10%

Community Health Worker

$44,390 Avg Annual Salary
Bachelor’s degree and health education credentials Degree Required

Working alongside health educators, community health workers collect information from individuals in specific populations to assess their needs and to develop new initiatives. By discussing health concerns and interests with community members, they gain a better understanding of needs and preferences.

Projected Growth Rate 13%

Probation Officer

$50,160 Avg Annual Salary
Bachelor’s degree Degree Required

Probation officers monitor individuals on probation to ensure they abide by the conditions of their release. Probation officers may work in high-crime areas and may monitor parolees who have been convicted of violent offenses.

Projected Growth Rate 4%

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Educational Paths for Graduates of Online Social Sciences Programs

Graduates with a master’s degree stand out in this highly competitive field. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, most upper-level careers in sociology require a master’s degree, or even a Ph.D. Students seeking jobs in social work or counseling may need further education to receive licensure. Students completing a social science degree program may want to consider potential graduate programs.

What Will I Learn in My Online Bachelor’s in Social Sciences Program?

  1. Sociological Theory: The course explores fundamental concepts in sociology and outlines the history and development of sociology as a science and discipline. Students read texts critical to the field and build a solid foundation in theory.
  2. Political Science: Readings and coursework provide a broad introduction to political theory, common ideologies, civics, and models of government. Topic may include social justice, current events, and international relations.
  3. Criminal Justice: This course charts the historical development of the criminal justice system and recent innovations. Coursework introduces major social science concepts, such as law enforcement and corrections.
  4. Cultural Anthropology: Students examine global conceptions of kinship, social structure, and morality and learn how these ideas can be shaped by environment, religion, and politics.
  5. Introduction to Psychology: Students gain an understanding of essential concepts of psychology. This course covers topics such as learning and cognition, memory, emotion, and common psychological disorders.

Employment Outlook for Bachelor’s in Social Sciences Graduates

Bachelor’s in Social Sciences Salary

Employer, geographic location, and area of specialization influence a professional’s earning potential. Few factors, however, affect salary as significantly as professional experience. The table below demonstrates the correlation between salary and career stage for social science professionals.

Median Salary by Occupation
Job Title Median Salary for Entry-Level Employees (0–5 years) Median Salary for Mid-Career Employees (5–10 years) Median Salary for Late-Career Employees (>20 years)
Community Outreach Coordinator $39,099 $43,605 $44,110
Social Worker $40,929 $47,264 $56,683
Substance Abuse Counselor $35,931 $40,084 $46,820
Nonprofit Program Coordinator $39,902 $43,684 $50,193
Social Services Case Manager $35,800 $39,194 $44,405

Social Sciences Licensure and Certification

Along with an online degree in social science, some employers and positions require additional licensure or certification, particularly for positions that involve diagnosing patients. While details vary by credential, company, and state, certification may involve passing a series of exams, completing additional coursework, or participating in a hands-on experience. The following licenses are commonly required for positions in counseling or social work.

  • Licensed Clinical Social Worker: This designation allows professionals with a background in social work to diagnose and treat mental and behavioral disorders. Educational requirements for licensure vary by state.
  • Professional Counselor License: The requirements to become a licensed mental health counselor are determined by the state. Typically, applicants must pass one or more exams.

Accreditation for Online Bachelor’s in Social Sciences Degrees

Not every school offering an online bachelor’s degree in social science is worth the time and money. Choose an accredited school to receive the best education possible. Accredited institutions meet ethical and academic standards and may be regionally or nationally accredited.

Regionally accredited schools are typically nonprofit and academically focused, such as state universities, while most nationally accredited schools are for-profit institutions that stress vocational training. Credits earned at a regionally accredited schools transfer easily, but regionally accredited institutions rarely accept credits earned at nationally accredited schools. All students interested in pursuing a graduate degree after completing their social science online degree should choose a bachelor’s program from a regionally accredited school.

Financing Your Online Bachelor’s in Social Sciences Program

There are many funding opportunities available to finance a social science online degree, including federal grants, student loans, and work-study programs. Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, to determine which federal funding you qualify for. Additionally, many companies, nonprofit organizations, and special interest groups offer scholarships to individuals pursuing degrees in the social or behavioral sciences. Unlike student loans, scholarships do not need to be paid back. Below are a few of the annual awards for students earning a bachelor’s degree in social science.

Scholarships for Online Social Sciences Bachelor’s Programs

Social Sciences Scholarships

Morris and Lenore Mandelbaum Scholarships Up to $2,000

This scholarship is offered to University of Iowa undergraduates pursuing a degree in social science, anthropology, political science, or related fields.

Scholarship Deadline: February 2

Eligibility Requirements: The student must be seeking their first bachelor’s degree, must demonstrate financial need, and must have six or more credits at the time of application.

View Scholarship

New Leadership Scholarship Up to $8,000

Undergraduates at five Bay Area universities can apply for this scholarship, which is awarded to individuals pursuing educations in social science or human service.

Scholarship Deadline: March 10

Eligibility Requirements: The applicant must be an upper-division student with a GPA of 3.5 or higher, must demonstrate financial need, and must intend to pursue a graduate program in social science.

View Scholarship

Social Sciences Bachelor’s Degree Scholarship $500

Offered by Learn.org, this scholarship is awarded to undergraduate students pursuing degrees in anthropology, sociology, psychology, political science, history, economics, or general social science.

Scholarship Deadline: April 1

Eligibility Requirements: The applicant must be a full-time student.

View Scholarship

Udall Undergraduate Scholarship Up to $7,000

This scholarship is awarded to sophomore and junior social science majors studying the cultural, environmental, and social issues affecting Native Americans.

Scholarship Deadline: March 4

Eligibility Requirements: The student must submit an application, an essay, college transcripts, and three letters of recommendation.

View Scholarship

Islamic Scholarship Fund $2,000–5,000

This scholarship is awarded to students majoring in select fields, whose studies emphasize or examine the role of Muslim representation in American media, politics, or government.

Scholarship Deadline: June 11

Eligibility Requirements: The applicant must be U.S. citizen and must have a 3.0 GPA or higher.

View Scholarship