Studying social sciences at university includes a range of subjects, from international relations to politics to geography.
Graduates of social science degrees go on to wide range of careers in the public and private sector, including policy, analysis and service jobs.
Times Higher Education has published the 2018 ranking of the 400 best schools for social sciences across the world.
More than a quarter of the list is made up of American universities – 106 institutions in total. European universities take 178 of the remaining spots and Australia, China, Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan are also represented.
Rankings by subject
Best universities for arts and humanities
Best universities for business and economics
Best universities for clinical, pre-clinical and health
Best universities for computer science
Best universities for engineering and technology
Best universities for life sciences
Best universities for physical sciences
Best universities for law degrees
Best universities for education degrees
Three UK universities are in the top 10 (University of Oxford, University of Cambridge and London School of Economics and Political Science) while the rest of the top 10 is dominated by US universities.
The social sciences ranking uses the same methodology as the World University Rankings, but with less weight given to citations and more to research and teaching metrics. The full methodology can be found here.
Scroll down for a full list of degrees covered by the ranking and what you can do with a degree in them.
Best universities worldwide
Top five universities for social sciences
Perhaps the most famous social sciences degree at Oxford is PPE: politics, philosophy and economics.
A number of influential politicians and public figures have graduated from Oxford’s PPE degree, including a significant number of British prime ministers.
The social sciences division also tackles issues such as environmental change, poverty, cybercrime, political turmoil, social inequality and immigration.
Much of the social science research at Oxford is aimed at influencing policy in the UK and around the world.
Particular research strengths include big data, future cities, resource management and global economic performance.
Aside from PPE, undergraduate degrees within the division include geography, archaeology and anthropology, law, human sciences, and other combinations.
Social sciences at Harvard is interdisciplinary.
Fields of study include economics, government, sociology, gender studies and psychology.
For all these subjects, both undergraduates and graduates are expected to conduct empirical research and analyse data. Senior thesis projects can involve qualitative or quantitative research methods, or both.
The Regan Fund at the university is used to invite famous speakers to Harvard to give lectures on economics, government and social problems around the world. These lectures are primarily aimed at undergraduates.
The social sciences division has relationships with a number of museums and research centres, including the Harvard-MIT Data Center and the Institute for Quantitative Social Science.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology covers many different social science subjects including politics and women’s and gender studies. The roots of the school trace back to the university’s founding when courses in psychology and political science were taught.
The School of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences produces a magazine called Said and Done which highlights some of the key developments and pieces of research undertaken within the faculty.
All students at MIT are expected to take classes within the social sciences faculty in order to help them solve “some of the world’s most challenging problems”.
As of 2017, four Nobel laureates, seven MacArthur Fellows and four Pulitzer prizewinners are part of the faculty.
At Stanford University, the social sciences department covers anthropology, communication, economics, political science, psychology and sociology.
Many programmes are interdisciplinary, including ethics in society, democracy, development and the rule of law and urban studies.
In political science classes, undergraduates study US politics and international political systems, and relate them to conflict, social activism, ideology and race issues.
The department splits studies into five disciplines: American politics, comparative politics, international relations, political methodology and political theory.
The department of anthropology is known for an innovative approach that insists that anthropology must be studied in relation to contemporary affairs.
Students across the range of subjects are taught research methods and theory to carry them through the course of their choice.
Princeton University provides students with courses in history, politics, public policy, sociology and gender and sexuality studies within the social sciences faculty. Humanities courses for undergraduates are typically taught across seminars or lectures held two or three times a week with an additional discussion seminar that is called a precept.
Princeton’s undergraduate programme is highly selective, usually admitting less than 10 per cent of applicants.
The university hosts two Model United Nations conferences, one for high school students in the autumn and one for college students in the spring. It also hosts a speech and debate tournament towards the end of the year.
Notable alumni include US presidents James Madison and Woodrow Wilson and former first lady Michelle Obama.
Student experience of the social sciences
From a waiter working in Singapore to becoming a Harvard graduate
Sociology students use their degree to unpick global issues
How to make an award-winning student film project
International perspective: a Filipino student in Hungary
Learning new things at Kobe University
The international experience at the London School of Economics
Best universities for social science degrees 2018
Click each institution to view its World University Ranking 2018 profile