Wednesday, September 3, 2014

3 Questions You Need to Ask about Social Science Majors

Admit Data: Make Informed Application Decisions
By Zhengrong Lu

Are you an international student planning to study a social science major in a U.S. graduate school? Have you thought through the programs and universities? Ask yourself the questions below to assess how well prepared you are. We hope this helps you direct your thoughts throughout the application process.

1. What are social sciences?

The short answer: Social science is not a single major; it is a particular area of study that relates to human behavior and science.

The long answer: Social science is a branch of science that deals with the institutions and functioning of human society and with the interpersonal relationships of individuals as members of society. In this definition, social science includes a wide range of subjects such as Anthropology, Economics, Linguistics, Political Science, Public Administration, Psychology and Sociology. In a wider sense, it may also include some fields in humanities, such as Archeology and History.

2. How many international students come to the U.S. to study social sciences?

According to the Institute of International Education, the number of students coming to study social sciences in the U.S. has been increasing for the past five years. In 2013, about one out of ten international students in the U.S. is pursuing their education in the social sciences. Different from the domination of Indian and Chinese students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) majors, social sciences are most popular among students from developed regions, such as the United Kingdom, Canada, Hong Kong, and more.

3. Which universities are most popular among international graduate students studying social sciences?

If you are among those who are still searching for schools, the interactive dashboard below will help you find the 50 universities in the U.S. with the most international graduate students studying social sciences. If you have a location preference, the dashboard will locate a university in any state you want. Also you can look at the proportion of international students to see if it meets your expectation.

So what does this all mean to you? First, DIY: Do-It-Yourself! Research schools on your own. For example, check your dream university to see if it has a program tailored for you. Although many universities have social science departments, they may not have all the social science majors you are interested in. Second, set a smart application strategy. “Popular” universities means they are more likely to welcome international students, but the admission is likely to be more competitive as well. Be sure to diversify your application portfolio to reduce the risk. Hope this was helpful to you! If you have any questions, feel free to leave us a comment below.


Zhengrong Lu is currently a research assistant intern of Research & Advisory Services team for World Education Services in New York. She joined WES with enthusiasm to explore the field of international higher education and help international students make wise decisions in studying abroad. Zhengrong earned her Master's degree in Applied Statistics from Teachers College, Columbia University and Bachelor's degree from Fudan University in China.

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