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2021 Best Colleges for Social Sciences

Approximately 199,292 social sciences degrees were granted to students last year in the United States. With so many choices it can be a daunting task finding the best choice. This year's Best Colleges for Social Sciences ranking analyzed 558 colleges and universities that offer a bachelor's degree in social sciences. We look at over 20 factors to determine the top 15% of colleges for Social Sciences students.

Choosing a Great Social Sciences School

Best Colleges for Social Sciences Your choice of social sciences school matters. Important measures of a quality social sciences program can vary widely even among the top schools. When choosing a school we recommend considering some of the following factors:

A Great Overall School

A school that excels in educating for a particular major must be a great school overall as well. To make it into this list a school must rank well in our overall Best Colleges ranking. This ranking considered factors such as graduation rates, overall graduate earnings and other educational resources to identify great colleges and universities.

Over 80% of the schools in this list are in the top 6% of our overall quality ranking while the lowest ranked school on the list is still in the top 8%.

Overall Best Colleges Rank  ( 76 to 1 )
Lowest Ranked Overall
Top Ranked Overall

Above Average Earnings After Graduation

Social Sciences graduates from colleges on this list tend to earn more after college than those from other schools. Recent social sciences graduates from U.S. schools with a bachelors degree earned an average of $33,901 in 2017-2018.

Other Factors We Consider

In addition to the above, you should consider some of the following factors:

  • Major Focus - How much a school focuses on Social Sciences students vs. other majors.
  • Major Popularity - How many other social sciences students choose this school.
  • Accreditation - Whether a school is regionally accredited and/or a recognized social sciences related accrediting body.

Our complete ranking methodology documents in more detail how we consider these factors to identify the best schools for Social Sciences students.

One Size Does Not Fit All

The social sciences school you choose to invest your time and money in matters. To help you make the decision that is right for you, we've developed a number of major-specific rankings, including this list of the Best Social Sciences Schools.

In addition to College Factual's rankings, you may want to take a look at College Combat, our unique tool that lets you pit your favorite schools head-to-head and compare how they rate on factors that most interest you. Test it out when you get a chance! You may also want to bookmark the link and share it with others who are trying to make the college decision.

Best Schools to Study Social Sciences in the United States

Below you'll see a list of the best colleges and universities to study social sciences. Only those schools that rank in the top 15% of all the schools we analyze get awarded with a place on this list.

Top 25 Best Social Sciences Colleges

#1

Claremont McKenna College

Claremont, CA

Every student pursuing a degree in social sciences needs to take a look at Claremont McKenna College. Claremont McKenna is a small private not-for-profit college located in the suburb of Claremont. A Best Colleges rank of 23 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means Claremont McKenna is a great college overall.

A favorite major for social sciences undergrads, there were about 182 individuals who completed this degree at Claremont McKenna in the most recent year we have data available.

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#2

Yale University

New Haven, CT

Any student pursuing a degree in social sciences has to look into Yale University. Located in the medium-sized city of New Haven, Yale is a private not-for-profit university with a large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 10 out of 1,715 schools nationwide means Yale is a great university overall.

For those interested in something more advanced, Yale also offers 2 different higher degree levels in social sciences, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree.

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#3

University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA

It is hard to beat University of Pennsylvania if you want to study social sciences. UPenn is a fairly large private not-for-profit university located in the large city of Philadelphia. A Best Colleges rank of 9 out of 1,715 schools nationwide means UPenn is a great university overall.

University of Pennsylvania is one of the most popular universities to study social sciences in the United States with approximately 618 graduates in the most recent year we have data available.

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Columbia University in the City of New York is one of the finest schools in the United States for social sciences. Columbia is a very large private not-for-profit university located in the large city of New York. This university ranks 32nd out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of New York.

For those interested in something more advanced, Columbia also offers 2 different higher degree levels in social sciences, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree.

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#5

Harvard University

Cambridge, MA

Located in the city of Cambridge, Harvard is a private not-for-profit university with a fairly large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 3 out of 1,715 schools nationwide means Harvard is a great university overall.

For those interested in something more advanced, Harvard also offers 2 different higher degree levels in social sciences, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree.

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#6

University of Chicago

Chicago, IL

Located in the city of Chicago, UChicago is a private not-for-profit university with a fairly large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 19 out of 1,715 schools nationwide means UChicago is a great university overall.

There were roughly 998 social sciences individuals who graduated from this degree at UChicago in the most recent data year.

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#7

New York University

New York, NY

NYU is a very large private not-for-profit university located in the city of New York. This university ranks 130th out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of New York.

There were roughly 1431 social sciences students who graduated from this degree at NYU in the most recent data year.

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#8

Brown University

Providence, RI

Brown is a fairly large private not-for-profit university located in the midsize city of Providence. A Best Colleges rank of 13 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means Brown is a great university overall.

For those interested in something more advanced, Brown also offers 2 different higher degree levels in social sciences, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree.

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#9

Northwestern University

Evanston, IL

Northwestern is a fairly large private not-for-profit university located in the city of Evanston. A Best Colleges rank of 12 out of 1,715 schools nationwide means Northwestern is a great university overall.

A popular choice for social sciences undergraduates, there were roughly 720 students who completed this degree at Northwestern in the most recent data year.

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#10

George Washington University

Washington, DC

GWU is a very large private not-for-profit university located in the large city of Washington. This university ranks 115th out of 1,715 colleges for overall quality in the state of District of Columbia.

For those interested in something more advanced, GWU also offers 2 different higher degree levels in social sciences, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree.

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#11

Dartmouth College

Hanover, NH

Located in the remote town of Hanover, Dartmouth is a private not-for-profit college with a medium-sized student population. A Best Colleges rank of 15 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means Dartmouth is a great college overall.

There were about 440 social sciences individuals who graduated from this degree at Dartmouth in the most recent data year.

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#12

Stanford University

Stanford, CA

Located in the suburb of Stanford, Stanford is a private not-for-profit university with a large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 6 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means Stanford is a great university overall.

A popular major for social sciences undergraduates, there were approximately 357 learners who completed this degree at Stanford in the most recent data year.

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#13

Georgetown University

Washington, DC

Located in the city of Washington, Georgetown is a private not-for-profit university with a fairly large student population. This university ranks 55th out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of District of Columbia.

There were about 1219 social sciences students who graduated from this program at Georgetown in the most recent year we have data available.

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Located in the city of Berkeley, UC Berkeley is a public university with a very large student population. This university ranks 69th out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of California.

For those interested in something more advanced, UC Berkeley also offers 2 different higher degree levels in social sciences, the most popular of which is a Doctor's Degree.

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#15

Middlebury College

Middlebury, VT

Middlebury is a small private not-for-profit college located in the town of Middlebury. This college ranks 35th out of 1,715 colleges for overall quality in the state of Vermont.

There were approximately 232 social sciences students who graduated from this program at Middlebury in the most recent data year.

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Located in the city of Los Angeles, UCLA is a public university with a very large student population. This university ranks 65th out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of California.

There were roughly 2563 social sciences individuals who graduated from this program at UCLA in the most recent year we have data available.

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#17

Colgate University

Hamilton, NY

Colgate is a small private not-for-profit university located in the town of Hamilton. This university ranks 29th out of 1,715 colleges for overall quality in the state of New York.

A preferred major for social sciences undergraduates, there were approximately 296 students who completed this degree at Colgate in the most recent data year.

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#18

Duke University

Durham, NC

Located in the city of Durham, Duke is a private not-for-profit university with a fairly large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 2 out of 1,715 schools nationwide means Duke is a great university overall.

For those interested in something more advanced, Duke also offers 2 different higher degree levels in social sciences, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree.

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Located in the suburb of College Park, UMCP is a public university with a fairly large student population. This university ranks 117th out of 1,715 colleges for overall quality in the state of Maryland.

There were roughly 1438 social sciences individuals who graduated from this degree at UMCP in the most recent data year.

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UMN Twin Cities is a fairly large public university located in the city of Minneapolis. This university ranks 124th out of 1,715 colleges for overall quality in the state of Minnesota.

There were about 1181 social sciences individuals who graduated from this degree at UMN Twin Cities in the most recent year we have data available.

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#21

Barnard College

New York, NY

Located in the large city of New York, Barnard is a private not-for-profit college with a small student population. This college ranks 77th out of 1,715 colleges for overall quality in the state of New York.

Barnard College is a fairly popular college to study social sciences in the United States with approximately 205 graduations in the most recent year we have data available.

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#22

Princeton University

Princeton, NJ

Located in the small city of Princeton, Princeton is a private not-for-profit university with a moderately-sized student population. A Best Colleges rank of 1 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means Princeton is a great university overall.

For those interested in something more advanced, Princeton also offers 2 different higher degree levels in social sciences, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree.

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Located in the large city of Irvine, UC Irvine is a public university with a very large student population. This university ranks 122nd out of 1,715 colleges for overall quality in the state of California.

University of California - Irvine is a fairly popular university to study social sciences in the United States with approximately 1584 graduations in the most recent data year.

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#24

Vanderbilt University

Nashville, TN

Vanderbilt is a fairly large private not-for-profit university located in the city of Nashville. A Best Colleges rank of 24 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means Vanderbilt is a great university overall.

There were approximately 721 social sciences individuals who graduated from this program at Vanderbilt in the most recent data year.

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UCSB is a fairly large public university located in the midsize suburb of Santa Barbara. This university ranks 133rd out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of California.

With 1768 individuals who graduated from this program in the most recent year we have data available, University of California - Santa Barbara is one of the most popular universities to study social sciences in the United States.

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Rest of the Top 50 Best Colleges for Social Sciences

#28

University of Virginia - Main Campus

Charlottesville, VA
#29

Hamilton College

Clinton, NY
#31

American University

Washington, DC
#32

Trinity College

Hartford, CT
#34

Johns Hopkins University

Baltimore, MD
#35

Williams College

Williamstown, MA
#36

Pomona College

Claremont, CA
#37

Boston University

Boston, MA
#38

Brandeis University

Waltham, MA
#39

Tufts University

Medford, MA
#40

Boston College

Chestnut Hill, MA
#41

Mount Holyoke College

South Hadley, MA
#42

Binghamton University

Vestal, NY
#43

Bowdoin College

Brunswick, ME
#44

Rhodes College

Memphis, TN
#45

Florida State University

Tallahassee, FL
#48

University of Rochester

Rochester, NY
#49

University of Florida

Gainesville, FL
#50

Michigan State University

East Lansing, MI

Remaining Award Winners

This list shows the rest of the schools awarded a Best Colleges for Social Sciences badge. Showing in this list means the college was ranked in the top 15% of the 558 different United States social sciences schools we analyzed.

Rank College Location
51 University of California - San Diego La Jolla, CA
52 Amherst College Amherst, MA
53 University of Notre Dame Notre Dame, IN
54 Emory University Atlanta, GA
55 University of Oregon Eugene, OR
56 Hobart and William Smith Colleges Geneva, NY
57 Macalester College Saint Paul, MN
58 Lafayette College Easton, PA
59 University of Delaware Newark, DE
60 Bates College Lewiston, ME
61 Syracuse University Syracuse, NY
62 College of the Holy Cross Worcester, MA
63 Rutgers University - New Brunswick New Brunswick, NJ
64 University of California - Davis Davis, CA
65 Cornell University Ithaca, NY
66 Villanova University Villanova, PA
67 Wellesley College Wellesley, MA
68 University of South Florida - Main Campus Tampa, FL
69 University of Michigan - Ann Arbor Ann Arbor, MI
70 Swarthmore College Swarthmore, PA
71 University of Massachusetts Amherst Amherst, MA
72 University of Connecticut Storrs, CT
73 University of Iowa Iowa City, IA
74 University of Utah Salt Lake City, UT
75 Saint Anselm College Manchester, NH
76 Texas A&M University - College Station College Station, TX
77 Pennsylvania State University - University Park University Park, PA
78 Fordham University Bronx, NY
79 Lycoming College Williamsport, PA
80 University of Colorado Boulder Boulder, CO
81 College of William and Mary Williamsburg, VA
82 Wake Forest University Winston-Salem, NC
83 Tulane University of Louisiana New Orleans, LA

Additional Noteworthy Schools

Here are some additional great schools for Social Sciences students that almost earned our Best Colleges for Social Sciences award.

Rank College Location
84 University at Albany Albany, NY
85 Rice University Houston, TX
86 George Mason University Fairfax, VA
87 Washington and Lee University Lexington, VA
88 Connecticut College New London, CT
89 Bucknell University Lewisburg, PA
90 Virginia Tech Blacksburg, VA
91 University of Pittsburgh - Pittsburgh Campus Pittsburgh, PA
92 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Champaign, IL
93 University of California - Riverside Riverside, CA
94 Northeastern University Boston, MA
95 University of Richmond University of Richmond, VA
96 Centre College Danville, KY
97 Arizona State University - Tempe Tempe, AZ
98 Brigham Young University - Provo Provo, UT
99 University at Buffalo Buffalo, NY
100 Gettysburg College Gettysburg, PA
101 James Madison University Harrisonburg, VA
102 Vassar College Poughkeepsie, NY
103 Indiana University - Bloomington Bloomington, IN
104 Southern Methodist University Dallas, TX
105 University of Georgia Athens, GA
106 Kenyon College Gambier, OH
107 San Diego State University San Diego, CA
108 University of New Hampshire - Main Campus Durham, NH
109 Dickinson College Carlisle, PA
110 Franklin and Marshall College Lancaster, PA
111 Santa Clara University Santa Clara, CA

Social Sciences by Region

View the Best Colleges for Social Sciences for a specific region near you.

Region
Southeast
New England
Rocky Mountains
Plains States
Middle Atlantic
Far Western US
Southwest
Great Lakes

Social Sciences Majors to Study

Major Annual Graduates
Economics 48,199
Political Science & Government 46,598
Sociology 37,511
General Social Sciences 19,551
International Relations & National Security 14,810

View All Social Sciences Related Majors >

Related Major Annual Graduates
Education 269,156
Psychology 174,455
Communication & Journalism 116,237
Family, Consumer & Human Sciences 37,407
History 32,643

View All Social Sciences Related Majors >

Notes and References

  • The bars on the spread charts above show the distribution of the schools on this list +/- one standard deviation from the mean.
  • The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), a branch of the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) serves as the core of the rest of our data about colleges.
  • Some other college data, including much of the graduate earnings data, comes from the U.S. Department of Education’s (College Scorecard).
  • Credit for the banner image above goes to AndrГ© KГјnzelmann. More about our data sources and methodologies.

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