Online Degree in Social Sciences

The Bachelor of Science in Social Sciences program examines the basic nature and evolution of human society around the world and over time. Through interdisciplinary study in anthropology, political science, psychology, and sociology, and by employing a full range of research methods and comparative perspectives, students gain essential analytical, interpretive, communication, and research skills that can be applied to complex problems and issues.

The program begins in Fall 2023.



Program Goals

Graduates will be prepared to:

  • Explain how individual identity and society-level constructs of gender, race, class and culture are mutually constructed
  • Apply the insights of various social science disciplines to analyze the behavior and beliefs of individuals and groups
  • Analyze how various disciplines in the social sciences explain social problems, social change, and the ways that individuals and groups vary from one another
  • Demonstrate proficiency in the use of quantitative and qualitative research methods to answer questions and inform problem solving
  • Apply critical and creative thinking, information literacy, and interdisciplinary perspectives to analyze and evaluate proposed solutions for practical problems in the social sciences


To prepare graduates for diverse career paths in a range of fields, the Bachelor of Science in Social Sciences program offers an interdisciplinary and customizable curriculum. Students take eight core courses and choose a major concentration in Law and Policy, Health, Science, and Society, or Social Justice. Social Sciences students also select an elective certificate comprised of four courses from outside of the major.

The Bachelor of Science in Social Sciences degree requires 45 units total, including the major, concentration, elective certificate, and elective and distribution courses.

Core Courses

Complete All Eight

  • ANTHRO 211-DL Culture and Society
  • POLI SCI 250-DL Introduction to Comparative Politics
  • PSYCH 110-DL Introduction to Psychology
  • SOCIOL 201-DL Social Inequality: Race, Class, and Power
  • SOCIOL 288-DL Institutions and Society
  • SOCIOL 303-DL Analysis and Interpretation of Social Data
  • SOCIAL SCI 389-DL Qualitative Research in the Social Sciences
  • SOCIAL SCI 398-DL Social Science Capstone

Major Concentrations

Choose one

Law and Policy

  • POLI SCI 328-DL Public Policy
  • POLI SCI 309-DL Political Theories of the Rule of Law
  • SOCIOL 318-DL Sociology of Law
  • AF AM ST 319-DL Race, Ethnicity, and the American Constitution

Health, Science, and Society

  • ANTHRO 315-DL Medical Anthropology
  • BIOL SCI 312-DL The Evolutionary Biology of Human Anatomy, Health and Disease
  • PHIL 269-DL Bioethics
  • GBL HLTH 390-DL Special Topics in Global Health

Social Justice

  • AF AM ST 320-DL Social Meaning of Race
  • SOCIOL 328-DL Inequality and American Society
  • GNDR ST 332-DL Health Activism
  • SOCIAL SCI 360-DL Designing for Social Change

Elective Certificates

Choose one

Elective certificates provide students with the opportunity to build skills in a wide range of areas to meet career objectives and earn a stand-alone credential to demonstrate expertise in the professional arena.

Artificial Intelligence

  • CIS 323-DL Python for Data Science
  • CIS 324-DL Applied Data Science
  • CIS 360-DL Artificial Intelligence with Deep Learning
  • CIS 361-DL Natural Language Processing for Artificial Intelligence

Biology for Health Sciences

  • HS BIO 201-DL Introduction to Chemical and Physical Sciences
  • BIOL SCI 217-DL Physiology
  • BIOL SCI 313-DL Human Anatomy
  • BIOL SCI 328-DL Microbiology
Begins Fall 2025

Business Essentials

  • ECON 201-DL Introduction to Macroeconomics
  • ACCOUNT 201-DL Introduction to Financial Accounting
  • FINANCE 202-DL Introduction to Finance
  • MKTG 201-DL Principles of Marketing

Corporate Communication and Branding

  • COMM ST 261-DL Introduction to Corporate Strategic Communication
  • COMM ST 395-DL Topics: Crisis Communication
  • MKTG 320-DL Brand Management
  • MKTG 370-DL Public Relations

Data Science

  • CIS 323-DL Python for Data Science
  • CIS 324-DL Applied Data Science
  • CIS 325-DL Enterprise Data Science
  • CIS 326-DL Data Science Engineering

Human Resources

  • ORG BEH 309-DL Human Resource Management
  • ORG BEH 321-DL Employment Law
  • ORG BEH 312-DL Managing Diversity and Inclusion
  • ORG BEH 311-DL Conflict Resolution


  • ORG BEH 307-DL Leadership Principles and Practices
  • ORG BEH 301-DL Organizational Behavior
  • ORG BEH 310-DL Organizational Change
  • ORG BEH 391-DL Cultural Competencies & Global Leadership


  • CIS 323-DL Python for Data Science
  • CIS 324-DL Applied Data Science
  • CIS 212-DL Intro to Object-Oriented Programming
  • CIS 385-DL Programming

Public Health

  • PUB HEALTH 341-DL Public Health Principles and Practice
  • PUB HEALTH 342-DL Epidemiology and Biostatistics
  • PUB HEALTH 343-DL Social Determinants of Health
  • PUB HEALTH 344-DL Health Program Development and Evaluation
Begins Fall 2025

Research and Analytics

  • COMM ST 201-DL Research Methods in Communication Studies
  • SOCIOL 226-DL Sociological Analysis
  • MKTG 350-DL Market Research
  • COMM ST 352-DL Social Network Analysis

Strategic Communication

  • COMM ST 205-DL Theories of Persuasion
  • COMM ST 225-DL Communication and Culture
  • COMM ST 250-DL Team Leadership and Decision Making
  • COMM ST 395-DL Topics: Digital Media and Society

Strategic Management

  • ORG BEH 368-DL Project Management
  • ORG BEH 307-DL Principles of Leadership
  • ORG BEH 310-DL Organizational Change
  • ORG BEH 367-DL Strategic Planning and Management


Degree Requirements

Distribution Major Electives Total
14 units Core courses: 8 units
Concentration: 4 units
Certificate courses: 4 units
Other electives: 15 units
45 units

In addition to the core courses, major concentration, elective certificate, and elective courses, students complete 14 units of distribution courses that includes a writing requirement and courses from three areas. Two distribution courses focus on diversity and inclusion, one course within the United States and one course within global perspectives. Students complete a philosophy course on professional ethics for one of the four humanities distribution courses.


  • English 111 Writing Seminar and 205 Intermediate Composition (2 units)
  • Humanities (4 units)
  • Scientific Inquiry and Quantitative Reasoning (4 units)
  • Social Sciences (4 units)

More about the Online Social Sciences Degree


Online Social Sciences Degree Admission & Transfer Policy

Application to Northwestern University School of Professional Studies bachelor's degree programs is completed online. Once admitted, many students create a shorter path to degree completion by applying transfer credit. View detailed application instructions and transfer credit policies on the Admission & Transfer Policy page.

Online Social Sciences Degree Tuition & Financial Aid

The School of Professional Studies offers competitive tuition rates for undergraduate courses. The Tuition & Financial Aid page lists current per-course tuition rates in addition to financial aid and scholarship opportunities.

Online Registration for Social Sciences Degree

Registration for courses opens 8 to 10 weeks before each quarter and is accessed CAESAR,  Northwestern's online student records system. View course registration timelines and instructions on the Registration Information page. 


Learn more about the Online Social Sciences Degree

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