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Bachelor of Science in Social Sciences

Transfer up to
113 Credits
A median of 64.5 credits accepted
Receive credit for prior coursework

Make a Mark in Any Field with an Online BS in Social Sciences

Professionals with a BS in Social Sciences look at the integration of human behavior with human organizations and how people — both individually and in groups — form their identities and create entities to relate to one another. This fully online bachelor’s in social sciences program emphasizes critical analysis and reasoning skills as well as a sense of societal understanding, helping students address problems in health care, the global economy, public policy, national security, and environmentalism.

Where Can I Work with a BS in Social Sciences?

A social sciences degree fosters skills needed in many different fields. Students find positions in sales and marketing, business management and administration, law, government, journalism, education, and nonprofit work. Excelsior’s online Bachelor of Science in Social Sciences program is interdisciplinary, drawing on varied academic disciplines including economics, political science, and sociology. This unique intersection of study prepares graduates to identify and address the complex societal trends and challenges contributing to political instability, climate change, social inequality, and the needs of aging populations.


Without Concentration, Human Services

Fast Facts:

The average median Urban Planner salary is $71,490 (Source: BLS)

Bachelor’s degree holders can be found in specialties as diverse as economics, urban planning, and international affairs (Source: BLS)

The benefits of a four-year college degree are equivalent to an investment that returns 15.2% per year (Source: Brookings Institute)


credit hours

Online BS in Social Sciences Program Details

  • Cornerstone Course
  • INL 102 Information Literacy
  • Written English Requirements
  • Humanities
    • One ethics course
    • Two elective courses
  • Social Sciences and History
    • Any combination of three social sciences and/or history courses
  • Natural Sciences and Mathematics
    • One mathematics course (minimum 2 credits)
    • One natural science course (minimum 2 credits)
    • Additional courses
  • Arts and Science Electives
  • Applied Professional Credits
  • Additional Arts and Sciences Courses
  • Core Requirements
    • One introductory-level course in interdisciplinary social sciences
    • One course on theories of societal or economic organization
    • Research Methods
  • Optional Concentration
    • Without Concentration
      21 credits from the following disciplines:

      • Sociology
      • Political Science
      • Economics
      • History
      • Psychology
      • Anthropology
      • Geography
    • Human Services
      • Survey course in human services
      • Introduction to Counseling and Case Management
      • Fifteen additional credits (9 at the upper level) from the following areas:
        • Human Services Administration or Policy
        • Substance Abuse
        • Health Policy
        • Elder Care
        • Family, Child, and Youth Services
        • Disability
        • Human Services Electives
  • Social Sciences Capstone Course

Overall Degree Requirements

120 credits are required for the Bachelor of Science in Social Sciences. As part of these credits, for the core component of this degree, a minimum of 33 credits must be earned in the field of social sciences, of which 18 must be at the upper level. A minimum GPA of 2.0 is required in the major.

Introduction to Interdisciplinary Social Science

This course analyzes the interrelationships between the disciplines of anthropology, sociology, psychology, economics, history, geography, and political science. It uses an interdisciplinary approach to study human behavior and shows the importance of the social sciences to understanding and solving contemporary problems at the national and global levels.

Understanding Society: The Theories of Karl Marx, W.E.B. Du Bois and Others

This course examines the enormous industrial, social, and political changes in 18th and 19th century Europe, and how contemporary social theory developed in the United States in the 20th century. Students explore the interrelated historical processes and theories to explain modern American life. In so doing, students challenge their own social skills and civic awareness, and improve their knowledge and practice of global citizenship.

Research Methods

During this course you will investigate how research is conducted in the social sciences. You will learn research methods and techniques that you are likely to come across in your professional and personal lives. Throughout the course, you will have opportunities to apply the different research methods and techniques that you have learned. Lastly, you will leave the course with an understanding of research methods that will give you the knowledge and skills needed to gather, evaluate, and apply information and research findings.

Ethics of Health Care

This course Introduce students to social science research from a practical point of view and focuses on the broad concerns common to all types of social science research: experiential, survey, and field research. Students also learn ethical research principles and practices.

Social Science Electives

Organizational Behavior

An overview of human behavior in work organizations, this course examines theoretical, empirical, and applications issues from individual, interpersonal, group, and organizational perspectives. Topics include the overview and history of the field, perceptions, attitudes, learning processes, personality, motivation, stress, performance appraisal, group dynamics, leadership, communication, decision making, job design, organizational structure and design, organizational change, and development.

Multicultural Issues in Criminal Justice

Multiculturalism is a primary issue in society today, both in general, and more specifically, the criminal justice system. This course focuses on the diversity of cultural groups as well as cultural differences and awareness, and their effect on the criminal justice system. Students confront views from both the role of a justice practitioner and from the perspective of an offender.

Introduction to Microeconomics

This course examines contemporary economic systems based on tools of microeconomics. It covers theoretical analysis of prices and profits as guides to resource allocation, industrial structure, meaning of economic welfare, proper function of government in the economy, and distribution of income.

Without Concentration

  • 21 Credits from the following areas: Sociology, Political Science, Economics, History, Psychology, Anthropology, Geography.

Human Services

If you like working with people, making individual lives better, and building healthy communities, the concentration in human services can prepare you for this challenging and rewarding work. Coursework focuses on the practical skills key to positions in health and family services, elder care, public policy, and nonprofit administration, as well as growing sectors such as paralegal work, nonprofit or government agency administration, and education.

Core Human Services Courses

Introduction to Counseling and Case Management – Adopting a social science perspective to the essential role of counseling in a just and stable society, this course introduces you to the theory and methods of the counseling profession as well as the basic elements of case management. The course covers theories of mental health diagnoses; therapeutic strategies; client/patient relationships; clinician ethics; and the organization of case files.

Introduction to Human Services

Ethics and Social Policy in Human Services – This course provides knowledge of social policy and ethics essential in human services organizations. It reviews social policy development; implementation and evaluation at federal, state, and local levels; and factors that influence social policy including ethical dilemmas. You’ll learn how to use the National Organization for Human Services (NOHS) Ethical Standards to make decisions about client care.

Ethics of Health Care – This interdisciplinary course guides you through a systematic analysis of contemporary ethical issues in health care. Students are required to differentiate ethical issues from other types of issues; demonstrate sound moral reasoning; and summarize the historical, legal, and healthcare policy dimensions of current health care issues of ethical concern.

One Course in Human Services Administration

Budget and Finance in Health Care Organizations – Guiding students through the basic financial principles and techniques used by managers in health care facilities, this course focuses on the preparation and management of a capital and operating budget. You’ll learn from conceptual discussions and practice exercises, and participate in team assignments that simulate actual work experiences.

Human Resource Management – This course provides you with an understanding of the evolution and roles of human resource (HR) management in organizations, as well as an overview of the basic functions of HR management. These functions include: staff planning; recruitment and selection; job analysis and design; performance management; labor relations and laws; training and development; compensation and rewards; HR strategy; strategic, corporate, and HRM objectives; HRM policies, practices, and leadership behavior; employee involvement; diverse workforces; the impact of globalization; and HR s role in change management and internal consulting.

Economics of Health Care – Learn the concepts and principles of microeconomics as they apply uniquely to health care, and how health care differs from other markets. Topics covered include the cost of health care, government regulation, payment systems including insurance, and secondary markets including hospitals and physician practices.

One Course in Substance Abuse

Substance Abuse –Impact on Individual, Family, Community – This course introduces you to the effect of alcohol and substance abuse on the individual, family, and society. Learn to differentiate between abuse and dependence, identify negative consequences, and discuss treatment issues. Evaluate various treatment models and settings and develop an awareness of which models are appropriate given the readiness of an individual to engage in treatment. Experience the progression of the consequences of substance abuse in a real family from the perspective of the individual, the family and society.

Drugs and Crime – An analysis of the historical, political, economic, social, and cultural factors that affect the use of illicit, misused, or abused substances. The coursework includes a study of the influence these factors have on the social and legal responses to drug use, including legislation, law enforcement and associated policies and procedures.

One Course in Health Policy

Legal and Regulatory Environment of Health Care – This course introduces you to US law and the legal process in health care. It highlights legal issues common within health administration, and provides a foundation for understanding the scope, limits, and consequences of legal obligations. Learn about the governing bodies and regulatory controls which set standards for healthcare, and identify the legal issues often encountered in health administration.

One Course in Elder Care

Introduction to Gerontology: Physical, Psychological and Social Aspects – This intensive course provides an interdisciplinary approach to aging, focusing on the physical, psychological, and social age-related changes. It also explores personal and societal attitudes towards aging and focuses on the diversity that is present in the aging population. Students confront preconceptions and stereotypes about the elderly, and gain an awareness of the wide range of realities of aging.

Family, Child, and Youth Services

Family Law – Examines the relationship between the American family, judicial and social service systems. Topics include defining the concepts of family, marriage, parent-child relationships, divorce, property division, child custody and support issues, cohabitation, paternity, adoption, assisted conception, and the juvenile justice and social service delivery systems..

One Course in Disability

Psychosocial Impact of Chronic Illness on Person and Environment – Learn how to critically examine the complex interactions between chronic illness and the individuals and communities affected from both a theoretical and practical perspective. This course explores the psychological and social aspects of chronic illnesses, with an emphasis on empowerment of people living with chronic illness. Students also develop an understanding of the stigma of chronic illness and learn how to connect people with resources to successfully manage chronic conditions.

Human Services Electives

The Geopolitics of Energy and Global Climate Change

Develop a geopolitical lens onto energy and climate change by looking at powerful state, military and corporate actors, each pursuing its own, often conflicting, objectives. You’ll also examine how these actors influence energy geopolitics and climate change, such as in dealing with the security implications of increased sea levels, storm intensities, Arctic melt and drought.

Health Care Issues in Culturally Diverse Populations

This intensive course introduces you to the concepts of culture and cultural diversity as they relate to health care and the health care delivery system. During the course you’ll explore religious, racial, ethnic, and other subcultures that exist in our society and examine conflicts that often occur when differing cultures enter the health care arena. You’ll also discuss the concept of cultural competence and study strategies that health care organizations are using to create more inclusive services.

Compare and contrast theories in at least two social science disciplines, such as economic, political science, and/or sociology.

Apply appropriate social science theories and methodologies to do an in-depth analysis of an important question, issue, or problem.

Asses the validity and reliability of multiple sources of evidence in interdisciplinary social science research.

Evaluate research, related policies, and recommendations on a specific social policy problem, identifying trade-offs among ethical principles and societal considerations inherent in any policy decisions.

Deliver written communication with appropriate content, organization, syntax, mechanics, and style for the audience and purpose (GECC 1.2)

View additional details about programs and courses:

Download the Undergraduate Studies Catalog

Common Careers with an
Online BS in Social Sciences

  • Administration
  • Government
  • Environmental Services
  • Business
  • International Relations
  • Public Policy

Lauren Harlow
AS in Liberal Arts, 2017

“Excelsior gave me skills in critical analysis, writing, problem solving, and communicating, which all helped me perform my job well.”

Recognitions & Accreditations

Middle States Commission on Higher Education logo

Institutional Accreditation

Excelsior College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, 1007 North Orange Street, 4th Floor, MB #166, Wilmington, DE 19801 (267-284-5011) The MSCHE is an institutional accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).

Phase: Accredited
Status: Accreditation Reaffirmed
Accreditation Granted: 1977
Last Reaffirmation: 2017
Next Self-Study Evaluation: 2021-2022

All of Excelsior College’s academic programs are registered (i.e., approved) by the New York State Education Department.