Griffith to introduce new social science degree in 2018

Social science is key to solving global challenges.

Economics, environmental sustainability, global security threats, media communication and social change, politics in Asia, and social justice are not only some of the biggest issues facing the world today–they’re also the majors offered in Griffith’s new Bachelor of Social Science.

According to a recent article in ScienceNordic, social scientists are key to tackling global challenges, as, for the first time in history, our world is being shaped more by humans than by nature.

Dr Ben Fenton-Smith, convenor of the new social science degree, to be introduced in 2018 at Griffith’s Nathan and Gold Coast campuses, agrees.

“There is no question that social scientists are going to be in huge demand in the next 20—30 years. As our use of data, technology and information increases, we are going to need social scientists to make sense of it,” he said.

“Climate change is a good example of an issue that social scientists are uniquely equipped to address. We know it’s a problem, but it’s not realistic to believe that science alone can solve it. We need a variety of change agents: communicators, advocates, activists, policy developers, community and corporate innovators. Social scientists can play these roles because they understand the issues, are conversant in the data, can formulate a path forward, and can communicate a plan of action.”

That breadth of understanding is what sets social science apart from ‘hard’ science.

“We aren’t talking about ‘lab coat’ science in this degree, but rather the application of analytical processes to the social and global context,” says Ben.

Dr Ben Fenton-Smith explains how we can use rhetoric toanalyse political language–just one of the many areas of study offered in the new Bachelor of Social Science at Griffith.

The new degree, which offers hands-on learning opportunities such as community internships and overseas study tours, is designed for students who want to use both their ‘left brain’ (the bit used for analytics, data, and logical thinking) and their ‘right brain’ (the bit used for creative, critical and holistic thinking).

“It will appeal to students who are really interested in what makes the world tick (whether that be economically, politically, socially, or environmentally) but also want to graduate with the skills for analysing that world and–perhaps even more importantly–doing something about it.”

And it’s an ideal fit for Griffith, which ranks highly in a range of social science disciplines, including 42nd worldwide for development studies in the 2017QSWorld University Subject Rankings.

“Social science is part of Griffith’s DNA, but we didn’t actually have a dedicated social science undergraduate degree,” says Ben.

“We saw an opportunity to create something completely new that was tailored to the world’s current needs, and those of the next 25 years.”

Find out more about studying social science at Griffith.