Going Against the Current With Social Sciences & Humanities

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By Sara Aidid

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What are the Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH)? Not many students today are familiar with the field; either caused by underexposure while growing up, constant enforcement by their elders to pursue careers with high starting salaries, or both.

Sometimes, we get so blinded by the pursuit of highly reputable fields that we do not notice where our potential and passion truly thrive. Universities and working life are not limited to being an engineer, accountant or doctor. The post-high school world is truly the student’s oyster, and one should always pick the course that suits them best.

What is Social Sciences & Humanities (SSH)?

Social Science and Humanities are different, broad subjects built on the same foundation: human life. They are studies of human interaction and behaviour in the social, economic, cultural, environmental, and political lenses. However, they are different in their approaches.

Students in Humanities focus on an analytical and critical approach by learning about different topics and analysing them through discussion and other thought-provoking activities. It is a subjective study of humans, and their histories and cultures. Its specialisations include Philosophy, Religion and Literature.

Social Science applies more of a scientific, evidence-focused approach. Research is focused on finding reasons for human behaviour based on trends and predictions, which will be done through the scientific method: ask a question, form a hypothesis, conduct empirical research before drawing and evaluating a conclusion. Its specialisations’ include Sociology, Psychology, and Economics.

Why pursue Social Sciences & Humanities (SSH)?

There are many reasons why someone chooses SSH. Firstly, the student has a deep interest in pursuing it. Fans of CrashCourse’s History, Linguistics series and the like on YouTube, or reading non-fiction books found in the Humanities section of a bookstore, you may want to consider the field. It should not be something that is an easier “last resort”. To excel, a student must always have integrity and grit in learning, no matter what. 

Moreover, SSH is suitable for students who are eager to hone their skills in problem-solving, emotional intelligence, research and presentation, and the ability to understand society’s changes. The field helps students acquire a versatile skill set, nurturing them in preparation for the workplace environment. 

Students from Coventry University leading a seminar on reward management (Taylor, 2017).

Tremendous teamwork is also very important in SSH, as a lot of internal assessments within the course are group-focused. An example of a group assignment would be the Student-Led Seminar, which is where a pair or group of students take responsibility for selecting and researching a topic, setting the goals for the seminar, deciding on its format and audience-engagement tasks, and  leading the seminar on that day. This gives students the practice they need in defining issues and understanding the subject’s context in more depth.

What are the criteria to study Social Sciences & Humanities (SSH)?

The criteria to study SSH differ from university to university, but a good baseline to start with is to provide a good academic record and proof of English proficiency. 

However, subject prerequisites are something to look out for, as some universities require certain subjects to consider students for undergraduate enrollment. They vary, and some universities may be more lenient than others. For example, Monash University requires no prerequisite from a student planning to enrol in an SSH degree while others may require a Year 12 Maths grade or an equivalent. 

Nonetheless, it is recommended to take SSH subjects during pre-university. This will prepare students for what is to come in their undergraduate journey. For instance, Monash University Foundation Year (MUFY) students planning to pursue an SSH degree at Monash will likely take subjects such as Contemporary Issues and Global Studies.

What lies ahead for Social Science & Humanities (SSH) graduates?

Graduates are open to a world of numerous job opportunities. Available are a wide expanse and variety of jobs they can venture into, which are not limited to:

  • Journalists
  • Sociologists
  • Policy Advisors
  • Economists
  • Lecturers
  • Paralegal

Besides that, SSH jobs make a difference in our world. Graduates equipped with the skills needed to shape the future create a positive difference in society that technology cannot do. Careers in education, politics, and law vastly improve the lives of children and adults.

However, will SSH be affected by IR 4.0? As technology advances, all information is easily accessible through a simple Google search. Since it is slowly taking the place of humans, will it put us out of jobs? No, not at all.

SSH is very much needed in this day and age. The field is vital to steer the world away from the downfall of widening developmental gaps caused by IR 4.0, done through informing gender, race, and other policies.

Overall, SSH is very interesting and unique. The endless questions about human life are answered and everything around us starts to make sense. To those planning to pursue SSH, good luck and get ready to discuss, discuss, and discuss!

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