10 Highest Paying Social Science Jobs 2024 (Inc Salaries)

Mark Talmage-Rostron
June 24, 2024 · 12 min read

In this article, we're taking a deep dive into the social science jobs that offer the highest pay, job descriptions, and outlook. Read more below to discover the highest-paying jobs for social science graduates.

In this article, we're taking a deep dive into the social science jobs that offer the highest pay, job descriptions, and outlook. Read more below to discover the highest-paying jobs for social science graduates.

What can you do with a degree in social science? Well, there's a lot.

A degree in social studies provides practical knowledge and the skills needed to better understand human behavior and its impact on society.

But more that, it also opens the doors to various career paths and job opportunities. Most of these come with good job security and hefty pay.

If you are passionate about studying human behavior, culture, and history and what to make a living from it, check out the highest-paying jobs for social science majors below.

10 Highest Paying Social Science Jobs (Inc Salaries)

1. Economist

An economist is a social science professional who specializes in collecting and studying commerce-related data and insights to analyze how services and products are distributed within a society. They can use this knowledge to make economic forecasts that can guide better financial decisions.

With their expertise, most economists work with the government to formulate economic policies concerning tax laws, trade agreements, interest rates, etc.

On the other hand, they also help businesses determine reasonable price points for their products and services, explore new markets, and discover new business strategies.

Educational Requirements

The first step to becoming an economist is obtaining a Bachelor’s degree in any economic-related field like mathematics, finance, or accounting.

On top of that, you need a master’s degree to apply for an Economist role. You can choose from three specializations:

  • Master’s of Business Administration (MBA),

  • Master’s Degree in Economics,

  • and Master’s of Science in Economics,

If you plan on pursuing a career in academic research, you must also earn a doctoral degree.

Job Outlook

The overall employment for economists is projected to grow by 6 %, which will convert to 1,200 job openings annually until 2032.

Salary Information

The average annual salary for economists is USD 114 600, making it the highest-paying social science job of 2024.

2. Political Scientist

A political scientist is an expert who studies and analyzes past political trends to provide insight into their effects on society and existing policies.

With their expertise, political scientists work not just in the government but also in universities, research institutions, and non-profit organizations.

The responsibilities of a political scientist vary depending on the industry or setting where they work. Still, their main goal is to study economic data, political campaigns, public records, and surveys to determine information trends that can help companies and the government develop policies and strategies that can help them accomplish their goals or influence public opinion.

A political science major wears many hats and may function as a market researcher, forecaster, analyst, campaign manager, and many more.

Educational Requirements

You need at least a master’s degree in political science to get this role. For this, a Master of Public Administration (MPA), Master of Public Affairs, or Master of Public Policy (MPP) are some of your best choices.

For higher-paying Political Scientist roles, you should obtain a PhD program, and you can choose to specialize in any of these political science subfields: international relations, political theory, comparative politics, or international politics.

Job Outlook

BLS expects that there will be about 600 new job opportunities for political scientists every year for the next few years. This is equivalent to a growth rate of 7%, which is faster than average for most occupations.

Salary Information

As per Glassdoor, political scientists make an annual median wage of USD 109,700.

3. Urban and Regional Planner

An urban and regional planner designs and implements developmental plans for neighborhoods, towns, and cities.

Their main goal is to figure out how to best use the land to meet the community's future needs, including population growth, affordable housing, transportation options, and accessibility to facilities.

Educational Requirements

The minimal requirement for being an urban and regional planner is a master's degree in urban or regional planning. A bachelor's degree in political science, geography, or economics is the prerequisite.

Most employers seek candidates with at least 1 to 2 years of relevant work experience. You can obtain this requirement through part-time or full-time internships.

Job Outlook

The overall employment for urban and regional planners will have a growth rate of 4%. While this industry is expected to grow as fast as most occupations, it will still generate about 3,700 job openings every year until 2032.

Salary Information

On average, urban and regional planners earn an annual salary of USD 103,000.

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4. Industrial-Organizational Psychologist

IO Psychologists are mental health professionals who study human behavior and how it affects the workplace.

Using the data they gather through quantitative and qualitative research, they formulate and find new tools and methods to boost employee performance and improve the workplace environment.

Other responsibilities include employee training, performance evaluation, and workplace optimization.

Educational Requirements

To enter the IO Psychology field, you need to obtain a bachelor’s degree in psychology. On the other hand, non-psychology graduates can pursue this path by taking psychology-related graduate programs.

Licensure requirements vary from state to state.

Pursuing a master’s degree in IO Psychology is essential for getting higher roles, but you need relevant work or practicum experience to apply for these programs.

Lastly, a doctoral degree (Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology or Doctor of Psychology) is necessary for those interested in entering academia or starting their research.

Job Outlook

According to BLS, the job opportunities for all types of psychologists will increase by 6%. At this rate, the sector will generate up to 12,800 job openings annually in the next few years.

Salary Information

An industrial-organizational psychologist makes about USD 105,000 annually, a higher average salary than most practitioners in the industry.

5. Market Research Manager

A company’s marketing research department gathers data on consumer trends, competitor research, and market conditions, and the marketing research manager must oversee the performance of this team.

The manager's primary responsibility is ensuring the team meets their goals. His duties include defining the project goals, offering marketing campaign guidance, and reviewing marketing segment reports.

He also relays and presents their research to the company's sales, marketing, research, and development managers.

Educational Requirements

At least a bachelor's degree in business, marketing, or other related fields of social sciences can get you an entry-level job in marketing, which is a marketing staff position.

If you want to work your way up to the managerial position, it’s recommended that you take up a master’s degree in sociology to have a better understanding of social trends and consumer behavior.

Job Outlook

The BLS filed the market research manager occupation under market research analysts.

According to them, this sector will experience a growth rate of 13%, which means it will produce 94, 600 annual job openings until 2032.

Salary Information

A market research manager earns an average of USD 99,000 per year. It may come with an average additional pay of USD 20,942 which may come through bonuses.

6. Social Scientist

Social scientists look closely at human behavior and how it affects society as a whole. They study the intricate details of how societies work, including economic growth triggers, unemployment causes, decision-making behaviors, historical trends, and many more.

Their findings are vital in societal endeavors such as public policies, state laws, marketing strategies, urban planning, educational programs, and many more.

Educational Requirements

A bachelor’s degree in social science is a great way to enter the industry.

However, you need a master's degree in sociology to get a professional social scientist position.

On the other hand, taking a doctoral degree can help you secure a scientist role in government agencies.

Not only that, but it will also help you explore which research area you should specialize in. Some of your best options are the academe, consultancy, or advocacy.

Job Outlook

As per BLS, the employment for social, physical, and life science jobs will have a faster-than-average growth range until 2032.

On average, the sector is expected to generate 136,800 job openings yearly.

Salary Information

Social scientists make around USD 86,800 per year. They also have an opportunity to get an average additional annual pay of USD 5,700 through cash bonuses and profit sharing.

7. Social Science Research Analyst

Research analysts work with social scientists in looking into the relationship between human behavior and society's major social issues. Their main goal is to use the collected data to solve these social problems effectively.

Their main function is to analyze data, conduct interviews, perform surveys, review evidence, and formulate reports to help social scientists perform their duties.

Educational Requirements

Start your social science career through a behavior or social science degree and other related fields.

However, the best way to thrive in this industry is to obtain an advanced degree like a master's or doctorate degree. In addition to increasing your chances of getting a higher position, it will also make you eligible for postsecondary teaching positions.

Job Outlook

Since BLS filed this job under the life, physical, and social science category, you can expect the number of job openings for this occupation to grow faster than the average rate.

Salary Information

An average social science analyst has a median yearly wage of USD 79,700.

On top of that, most analysts also get an average additional pay of USD 4, 900 through cash bonuses.

8. Anthropologist

Beyond the study of human behavior, an anthropologist is a social science professional who focuses on humans' origin, development, and evolution.

There are two types of anthropologists, namely applied and academic anthropologists.

Applied anthropologists work with government agencies and non-profit organizations for a wide range of reasons:

  • helping detectives determine causes of death and find the right suspect (forensic),

  • advising on the cultural impact of current programs, products, and policies,

  • addressing issues with food access and production,

  • providing cultural sensitivity and competence training in the workplace,

  • and many more.

On the other hand, academic anthropologists educate and shape the future of the next generations of anthropologists.

Educational Requirements

To be an entry-level anthropologist, you need to have a master's in either anthropology or archeology, which includes community field research and schools.

On the other hand, you'd need a PhD, including a dissertation.

Job Outlook

Anthropologists and archeologists are expected to experience a growth rate of 4%, which will convert to about 700 job openings every year for almost a decade.

Salary Information

The typical salary of an Anthropologist is about USD 75,600 per year. They may also receive an average additional pay of USD 11,100 per year through cash bonuses.

9. Geographer

Geographers study the Earth, its physical aspects and features, and the human activities performed in different parts.

The data they collect are vital in various industries, including urban and regional planning, global development, resource management, environmental conservation, etc.

Educational Requirements

You can obtain an entry-level government position with a bachelor’s degree in geography. But if you plan on working outside the government, a master's in Geography or Geographic Information Systems (GIS) is required.

Job Outlook

The geography industry will experience limited growth as it’s projected to have little to no change in demand until 2032.

Despite this, the sector will generate about 100 new job opportunities yearly.

Salary Information

Geographers are paid an annual median wage of USD 74,400.

10. Sociologist

Sociology degree holders study the patterns and dynamics of the social interactions within society. They also take a closer look into the various processes that develop when humans interact with one another.

Their research is valuable for different practical applications, including:

  • Providing social impact assessment and social trends to businesses and government agencies for better decision-making.

  • analyzing social issues to deliver insights for better public policy-making,

  • assisting media in creating high-quality content for public discourse,

  • and many more.

Educational Requirements

At least a master’s degree in sociology is needed to enter this social science field, and there are two types to choose from.

First is the applied, clinical, and professional program, which prepares the students for professional work.

Next is the traditional program, which is the pathway to PhD program necessary for higher roles and research purposes.

Job Outlook

The employment of sociologists will experience a 5% growth rate in the next few years. With this faster-than-average rate, the industry is projected to produce about 300 openings for this position every year until 2032.

Salary Information

A sociologist makes a median wage of USD 74,100 every year.


Careers in social science give you a front seat in shaping the future of your society or country.

But with the industry’s limited growth and few job opportunities, the job market is competitive now more than ever, so you need more than just the bare minimum requirements.

An MBA or BBA degree is an excellent way to show future employers your unwavering commitment to personal development. It also diversifies your skillset, leading to better career prospects, higher earning potential, and a competitive edge.

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What is the highest-paying social science job in 2024?

Economists will have the highest-paying social science jobs in 2024. As per Glassdoor, the average annual earning for this job is around USD 114,600. This amount represents the median, and the numbers can go as low as USD 117,000 and as high as USD 201,000.

On top of that, economists are also reported to get an average additional pay of USD 37,400 through cash bonuses and profit sharing.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which social science jobs are projected to have the highest growth in 2024?

The fastest-growing social science jobs are Market research manager and political scientist, which will have a growth rate of 13% and 7%, respectively.

Is social science a good career path?

Yes, it is because having a social science degree opens doors to lots of unique opportunities. This program equips you with a versatile skillset transferrable to various roles and industries, including politics, urban planning, marketing, and many more. These are highly in demand and lucrative and put you in a position to contribute to society significantly.

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What skills or expertise is required for high-paying social science jobs?

You need to have the right blend of soft and hard skills to do well in this field.

Since social science still falls under the science field, you need to cultivate specific technical skills, including data collection and analysis, statistical analysis, research, in-depth reviews, and report writing and presentation.

What differentiates social science from other science jobs is it focuses on human behavior. Hence, work in social science requires dealing with people and collaborating with other professionals. Because of this, you also need to develop soft skills like active listening, collaboration, problem-solving, empathy, and leadership.

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What qualifications are required for high-paying social science jobs?

The qualifications will vary depending on the industry or setting you choose to pursue.

For example, at least a bachelor's degree is needed to get the Social science research analyst role. In contrast, a master's degree is necessary for the rest of the high-paying social science jobs.

On the other hand, a doctorate is a requirement to enter academia or head your research projects.

Why is it beneficial for scientists to gain a BBA/MBA degree?

A business degree seems unnecessary for social science majors. On the contrary, it's precisely what you need to diversify your career options and make yourself a valuable part of the organization regardless of what industry you wish to pursue.

An MBA or BBA degree is the best platform for honing your professional communication skills, which are valuable for report writing and presentation.

These will also help you learn how to collaborate with others to meet your goals, making you an effective team player and leader.

Lastly, it teaches you valuable management skills to handle departments, take on more advanced roles, and even put up your own practice.

About the author
Mark Talmage-Rostron
Mark Talmage-Rostron

Mark is a college graduate with Honours in Copywriting. He is the Content Marketing Manager at Nexford, creating engaging, thought-provoking, and action-oriented content.

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