Washington, DC On-Campus Public Affairs and Social Sciences Masters Programs
Start exploring Graduate Schools with Public Affairs and Social Sciences Masters Degree Programs if the idea of studying on campus and the college experience is appealing to you. Whether you are interested in archaeology, counseling psychology, social work, non-profit or public administration, there are many options for a campus-based graduate education in the social and behavioral sciences.
Inside a Public Affairs and Social Sciences Masters Degree Program
The social sciences encompass the behavioral sciences and the humanities. Generalized Social Science Masters degree programs in social science often take an interdisciplinary focus, where students explore a broad curriculum that might include courses in topics such as history, economics, political science, anthropology and sociology.
The Behavioral Sciences include aspects of neuroscience, psychology and counseling, or Social Work. These disciplines may require doctoral degrees for certain levels of clinical practice, so a Masters degree is either a useful stepping-stone or a way to potentially prepare for licensure and the workplace.
In terms of Master of Public Affairs, this type of degree falls into the category of Public Administration. Whereas the Master of Business Administration is considered a preparation for entrepreneurs or management of private companies and organizations, the MPA is the degree of choice if you aspire to work in government or in public policy, emergency management, environmental management or law enforcement.
Most programs require a thesis or capstone project in order to graduate. Program length differs.
DID YOU KNOW? Most sociology jobs require a master’s degree or Ph.D[i]
What Type of Masters Degree in Social Sciences is right for you?
- If you are interested in culture, field-work, examining artifacts and history, you might choose
- a Masters in Anthropology or a Masters in Archaeology.
- If health education or bioethics interests you, look into Masters in Public Health degree programs
- If you are interested in a human-centered field, whether in understanding the brain, cognition, or how to counsel or serve others, you might review Masters in Neuroscience, Masters in Counseling Psychology - Art Therapy, Career Counseling, Counseling & Therapy, Marriage & Family Counseling, Rehabilitation Counseling, MSW Programs, Masters in Gerontology, Masters in Human Services or Masters in Psychology -Applied Behavior Analysis, Clinical, Cognitive, Community, Developmental, Forensic, Holistic, Organizational, Social & Personality and Sports Psychology.
- If you enjoy research, or studying society using both empirical investigation and critical analysis to understand issues such as crime and demography, browse Masters in Sociology, or Masters in Urban Affairs & Planning.
- If jurisprudence, law and politics interest you, explore Masters in International Relations, Masters in Political Science or Masters in Conflict & Peace Studies
- If you prefer management, business or finance, review Masters in Non-Profit Administration, Masters in Economics, Masters in Emergency Management or Masters in Environmental Management
- If you are interested in Public Affairs, review Masters in Public Administration & Policy degree programs
Essentials of Search: Finding a Graduate School for Public Affairs or Social Sciences
GradSchools.com has some efficient navigation tools to help you land on the Public Affairs and Social Sciences Masters Degree that aligns with your goals. Once you have decided on the ‘what’, focus on the ‘how’ by selecting the campus program format to look through listings in that domain. You can also initiate a search fro Graduate Schools by location, especially if there is a city, state, or country that you know you want to study in. Each search will yield results.
If you open a few links in your browser, you can visit a few universities’ websites to get a feel for it, and use the request info setting to obtain details about the things you want to know: cost, admissions, prerequisites, financial aid and so on. You also want to find out whether a university stands out for one program over another (Neuroscience here, Economics there)
FACT: Political scientists often complete a master of public administration (MPA), master of public policy (MPP), or master of public affairs degree[ii].
Potential Benefits to On-Campus Study
If you have attended college for your undergraduate degree, you already know how it feels to have access to libraries, laboratories or student services onsite. Graduate School is another two years or more, so you are wondering if attending class makes sense to you. It is definitely a personal choice, but there are a few potential advantages. The social learning atmosphere of a campus might provide a great forum for things like:
- Participation in campus activities, feeling of community
- Motivation: Programs are intense and challenging but having a consistent schedule may be grounding and give you the impetus to excel
- Fine tuning your communication and interpersonal skills
- Team-building or leadership skills
- Getting in-person assistance from professors
- Using on site research facilities
- Building lively discussion, brainstorming and learning to ask questions in public especially in interdisciplinary programs
- Forming new networks
Accreditation is a way for an outside, non-governmental agency to verify the quality of an institution of higher learning and specific programs. Since Public Affairs and Social Sciences Masters Degree Programs span so many disciplines, you want to ensure that the grad school you choose meets the standards set by its field. For example
- AACSB - Business Schools, business, economics.
- NASPAA - Public policy, affairs, and administration.
- CSWE – Social Work Masters Programs
Ready to Take the Next Step?
Many Masters students are currently working professionals, and it is not uncommon for Graduate Schools with Public Affairs and Social Sciences Masters Degree Programs to hold classes during the evenings or weekends in order to accommodate this trend. Often graduate programs involve research, with much time in the lab, in the library, or getting good guidance from your faculty. Experiencing this in-person and in real time may be what it takes to excel and enjoy the challenging and fruitful years ahead.
Sources: [i] bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/sociologists.htm | aacsb.edu/ | [ii] bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/political-scientists.htm | accreditation.naspaa.org | cswe.org/Accreditation.aspx