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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 challenge finding the best fit for you. 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 25 schools for Social Sciences students.

Choosing a Great Social Sciences School

Best Colleges for Social Sciences The social sciences program you select can have a big impact on your future. This section explores some of the factors we include in our ranking and how much they vary depending on the school you select. To make it into this list a school must excel in the following areas.

Overall Quality is a Must

The overall quality of a school is important to ensure a quality education, not just how well they do in a particular major. To account for this we include a school's overall Best Colleges ranking which itself looks at a collection of different factors like degree completion, educational resources, student body caliber and post-graduation earnings for the school as a whole.

The lowest ranked school in our list is in the top 8% of our overall quality ranking while the vast majority are in at least the top 6%.

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

Better Early and Mid Career Salaries

A social sciences degree from colleges on this list typically translates into higher than average wages following graduation. A social sciences bachelors degree from a school in the United States helped students who graduated in 2015-2017 earn $33,901 a couple years later.

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

Best Schools to Study Social Sciences in 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. Of the 558 schools analyzed, only 25 earned the distinction of being on this list.

Top 25 Best Social Sciences Colleges

#1

Claremont McKenna College

Claremont, CA

It is hard to beat Claremont McKenna College if you want to study social sciences. Located in the large suburb Claremont, Claremont McKenna is a private not-for-profit school with a small student population. A Best Colleges rank of 23 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means Claremont McKenna is a great college overall.

Claremont McKenna College is a fairly popular school to study social sciences in United States exceeding 182 graduates last year.

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#2

Yale University

New Haven, CT

It's hard to beat Yale University if you wish to pursue social sciences as a major. Located in the midsize city New Haven, Yale is a private not-for-profit college with a large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 10 out of 1,715 schools nationwide means Yale is a great college 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

University of Pennsylvania is among your best bets if you're planning on studying social sciences. UPenn is a very large private not-for-profit school located in the large city of Philadelphia. A Best Colleges rank of 9 out of 1,715 schools nationwide means UPenn is a great school overall.

With 618 undergrads, University of Pennsylvania is one of most popular colleges to study social sciences in United States.

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Columbia University in the City of New York is a good choice for students interested in a Social Sciences major. Located in the city New York, Columbia is a private not-for-profit college with a fairly large student population. This school ranks 32nd out of 1,715 colleges for overall quality in the state of New York.

There are roughly 1277 social sciences undergrads studying this degree at Columbia.

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#5

Harvard University

Cambridge, MA

Harvard is a very large private not-for-profit school located in the medium-sized city of Cambridge. A Best Colleges rank of 3 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means Harvard is a great college 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 large city Chicago, UChicago is a private not-for-profit school with a large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 19 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means UChicago is a great college overall.

There are about 998 social sciences undergraduates enrolled in this program at UChicago.

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#7

New York University

New York, NY

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

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

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#8

Brown University

Providence, RI

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

Located in the city Evanston, Northwestern U is a private not-for-profit school with a very large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 12 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means Northwestern U is a great school overall.

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

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#10

George Washington University

Washington, DC

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

There are about 1800 social sciences undergrads enrolled in this degree at GWU.

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#11

Dartmouth College

Hanover, NH

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

There are approximately 440 social sciences undergrads studying this degree at Dartmouth.

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#12

Stanford University

Stanford, CA

Stanford is a fairly large private not-for-profit school located in the suburb of Stanford. A Best Colleges rank of 6 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means Stanford is a great school overall.

With 357 undergraduates, Stanford University is one of most popular colleges to study social sciences in United States.

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#13

Georgetown University

Washington, DC

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

There are roughly 1219 social sciences undergraduates studying this degree at Georgetown.

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UC Berkeley is a fairly large public school located in the medium-sized city of Berkeley. This college 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 (Research / Scholarship).

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#15

Middlebury College

Middlebury, VT

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

There are about 232 social sciences undergraduates enrolled in this program at Middlebury.

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UCLA is a fairly large public school located in the city of Los Angeles. This college ranks 65th out of 1,715 colleges for overall quality in the state of California.

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

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#17

Colgate University

Hamilton, NY

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

Colgate University is one of the most popular college to study social sciences in United States with more than 296 graduations last year.

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#18

Duke University

Durham, NC

Duke is a fairly large private not-for-profit school located in the large city of Durham. A Best Colleges rank of 2 out of 1,715 schools nationwide means Duke is a great college 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 large suburb College Park, UMCP is a public college with a very large student population. This school ranks 117th out of 1,715 colleges for overall quality in the state of Maryland.

There are approximately 1438 social sciences undergrads studying this degree at UMCP.

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Located in the city Minneapolis, UMN Twin Cities is a public college with a very large student population. This school ranks 124th out of 1,715 colleges for overall quality in the state of Minnesota.

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

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#21

Barnard College

New York, NY

Barnard is a small private not-for-profit school located in the large city of New York. This school ranks 77th out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of New York.

With 205 undergrads, Barnard College is one of most popular schools to study social sciences in United States.

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#22

Princeton University

Princeton, NJ

Princeton is a moderately-sized private not-for-profit school located in the small city of Princeton. A Best Colleges rank of 1 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means Princeton is a great college overall.

There are roughly 385 social sciences undergrads enrolled in this degree at Princeton.

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

With 1584 undergraduates, University of California - Irvine is one of most popular colleges to study social sciences in United States.

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#24

Vanderbilt University

Nashville, TN

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

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

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

With 1768 undergraduates, University of California - Santa Barbara is one of most popular schools to study social sciences in 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

Additional 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

Honorable Mentions

These are some additional schools worth mentioning that are also great but just didn't quite make the cut to earn our top 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
The Plains States
Middle Atlantic
Far Western US
Southwest
Great Lakes

Social Sciences Majors to Study

Major Annual Graduates
Economics 48,297
Political Science & Government 47,035
Sociology 37,611
General Social Sciences 19,694
International Relations & National Security 15,207

View All Social Sciences Related Majors >

Related Major Annual Graduates
Education 306,739
Psychology 177,655
Communication & Journalism 122,154
Family, Consumer & Human Sciences 59,281
History 32,806

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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