Humans are arguably the most complex of all animals. Our nature is replete with contradictions. The same person, at different stages may be brave and a coward. In one situation she may be virtuous and in another, viscous. Shining exemplars of logic and reason in the workplace may behave unpredictably or irrationally in their personal lives. The fact that humans do not approximate the Aristotelian mean on any given spectrum makes studying them an exciting challenge. A challenge that cannot be met by a monolithic methodology. Schools of Social Science include approaches from Sociology and Psychology to evaluate human behavior from both a top-down and bottom-up perspective. They call upon the analysis of demographic information from Economics, the historical explanations of Anthropology and Archeology, and biological insights from Anatomy and Ecology.
There is an old adage that we cannot truly know a thing without first measuring it. Social Science has embraced this message with the creative applications of statics. Researchers are using new ways to analyze data and acquire information. Several centuries ago, much of the work done by social scientists would have been characterized as Social Philosophy. However, because of the increasing intricacy of the methods used to study human behavior, the number of departments in the Social Sciences keeps increasing, as does the number of interdisciplinary variations of specialization. There are now economists who study Political Economy, and psychologists who study Biopsychology. This synthesis of methodology has created virtually endless possibilities for anyone studying these respective fields.
TheBestSchools.org recognizes that the diversity of social research and methodology has produced a very significant challenge for ranking such programs. In ranking The 50 Best Social Science Programs in the World Today we have taken programs in consideration as a whole rather than looking specifically at traditional rankings of a department in isolation. Students interested in studying such incredibly specialized fields are more dependent on the overall reputation of a school than those studying a field with universal name recognition. We have made sure that each of the schools on this list has an impressive overall reputation as well as strength within the area of Social Science.