Public Affairs and Social Sciences Graduate Programs in West Virginia

What is Public Affairs and Social Sciences?

Public Affairs and Social Sciences both focus on the concerns of society. These include economics, government, public health, and human relationships.

Public Affairs deals with relationships among governments, organizations, and the public. This field includes topics like corporate ethics, social responsibility, and lobbying.

The Social Sciences cover a much broader area. They include everything from anthropology (the study of humans) to social work. In general, the Social Sciences include disciplines concerned with the individual and society.

Public Affairs and Social Sciences Graduate Programs in West Virginiawritten by Rana Waxman

Public Affairs Degree Programs

The Master of Public Affairs (MPA) is a common graduate degree in this field. The program covers policy, economics, analysis, and more. You can also find other graduate programs that relate to public affairs. Examples include degrees in public administration, public policy, or political science.

Social Sciences Degree Programs

Most social sciences graduate programs focus on one discipline in this broad category. For example, you could pursue a Master of Public Health or Master of Social Work program. Other social sciences include psychology, sociology, history…and the list goes on!

What Can I Do with a Social Sciences and Public Affairs Degree?

A Social Sciences degree or Public Affairs degree could help you prepare for diverse career paths. Many careers fit under the category of Life, Physical, and Social Sciences. These roles are projected to grow 10% by 2026. That means about 124,800 new jobs could be added to this field.

The social sciences may see growth due to an increased need for scientific expertise. That’s particularly true for fields like psychology. Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists may be in demand for a couple of reasons. For one, more people are seeking mental health treatment. For two, growing populations like aging adults need specialized services.

When it comes to public affairs, Urban and Regional Planners may be in demand. This career path could see 13% more roles by 2026. Changes to demographics, plus the need to revitalize urban areas, may lead to growth in this occupation.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Degree programs in social sciences and public affairs span diverse career areas. So, you could take your studies in many different directions.


What Are Some Careers in the Social Sciences?

Careers in the social sciences range from archeologist to sociologist. But in between are some more common career paths that could have an impact on many lives. These include:

  • Psychologists
  • Social Workers
  • School and Career Counselors
  • Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors
  • Marriage and Family Therapists
  • Rehabilitation Counselors
  • Epidemiologists
  • Economists
  • Historians

What Can You Do with a Master’s in Public Affairs?

Earning a Master’s in Public Affairs could help you prepare for career paths in public service. For example, Political Scientists often earn an MPA or a related degree, like a Master of Public Policy.

Some Political Scientists work as policy analysts for organizations like labor unions or political groups. Others conduct research in national politics or international relations. The largest employer of Political Scientists is the federal government. But, these professionals could work for nonprofits, education institutions, and more.

Political Scientist Salary

Occupation Average Salary Employment
Political Scientists $115,110 7,300
Psychologists $77,030 166,600
Economists $102,490 21,300
Urban and Regional Planners $71,490 36,000

Top States for Employment: Political Scientist

State Employment Annual Mean Wage
District of Columbia 3,220 $120,610
Virginia 1,030 $128,590
Texas 220 $87,610
California 160 $74,060
Washington 110 $84,480

Top Salary Metro Areas in West Virginia: Social Scientists and Related Workers, All Other
Metro AreaAnnual Mean SalaryEmployment
Morgantown, WV$68,24070
Huntington-Ashland, WV-KY-OH$62,22030

Bureau of Labor Statistics

Popular Social Science and Public Affairs Programs in West Virginia

Social Science and Public Affairs programs are reported by the National Center for Education Statistics under the category of Social Sciences and History. In the most recent data (2013), this field awarded 26,486 degrees to graduate students. The majority (83%) were at the Master’s level.

ProgramInstitutionDegree Awarded
CounselingMarshall UniversityMAC
Master of Education: Guidance and Counseling American Public UniversityMEd
Clinical Psychology - DoctorateWest Virginia UniversityPhD
Doctor of Philosophy in Marriage & Family Therapy - Couple Therapy National UniversityPhD
Master of Public AdministrationWake Forest UniversityN/A
Ph.D. in General Psychology: Cognition and Instruction (Quantitative Research)Grand Canyon UniversityN/A
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What is the Difference Between a Master of Public Affairs or a Master in Social Sciences?

A Master of Public Affairs focuses on how policy impacts world problems. You may learn everything from data analysis to leadership. And, you may take an interdisciplinary approach to tackling urgent issues.

You could also pursue Master’s programs related to public affairs. Disciplines could include political science, public administration, and more.

Technically, these disciplines belong in the social sciences category. In other words, you could think of public affairs as a subset of social sciences degrees.

But, many Master’s programs in the social sciences go beyond policy and government. In fact, they deal with all areas of the human social world. For example, a Master of Social Work program covers how to work with individuals and populations who need services. You could study mental health, human development, and more.

Public Affairs & Social Sciences Degree Guide

Master of Public Affairs

Master's in Social Sciences

Master of Public Administration*

Master of Social Work*

Length of Program: 36 credits

Length of Program: 57 credits (Foundation program) or 30 credits (Advanced Standing)

The MPA program is designed to help students find solutions for social issues. You’ll study areas like management, financial administration, and ethics. You could apply these concepts to nonprofits, government agencies, educational institutions, and more.

The MSW program helps students prepare to serve children and families who need social services. The program covers topics like diversity, social and economic justice, and ethics. You could bring these ideas to direct practice, leadership, and more.

  • Public Policy and Program Evaluation
  • Organizational Dynamics
  • Data Management and Analysis
  • Public Budgeting & Finance
  • Public Personnel Management
  • Human Behavior and the Social Environment
  • Social Welfare Policy and Services
  • Evaluation of Social Work Practice with Hispanic Children and Families

No specific program accreditation

The institution is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).



What Are the Social Science Subjects?

The main Social Science subjects include:

  • Anthropology
  • Communication Studies
  • Economics
  • Education
  • Geography
  • History
  • Law
  • Linguistics
  • Political Science
  • Psychology
  • Sociology

Other subjects may also fit under the umbrella of the social sciences. For example, the field of environmental studies looks at social and human impact on nature. Gender studies explores gender identity and sexuality. And Marketing uses the social sciences to understand consumer choices.

Many social sciences programs are interdisciplinary. So, they could touch on several of the subjects listed above. For example, the field of Management may include the study of economics, communications, and even psychology.

What Social Science Classes Would I Take?

Social science classes could cover everything from human behavior to econometrics. In other words, your coursework depends on your discipline.

In a typical Master’s in Psychology program, you could take courses like:

  • Group Dynamics
  • Personality Disorders
  • Psychopharmacology
  • The Nature of Emotion
  • Learning and Behavior

In a Master’s in Economics program, your classes may include:

  • Macroeconomic Theory
  • Behavioral Economics
  • Theory of Public Finance
  • Labor Economics
  • International Finance

What Majors Are in Public Affairs Graduate Programs?

You could find public affairs graduate programs in areas like:

  • Public Administration
  • Political Science
  • Economics
  • Political Science
  • Law
  • Homeland Security
  • Emergency Management
  • Urban Planning
  • Nonprofit Management
  • Public Relations

These subjects fall under the umbrella of the social sciences. But, they may specifically pertain to relationships among governments, organizations, and the public.

What Public Affairs Classes Would I Take?

Public Affairs classes could be quite wide-ranging. In a Master of Public Administration program, you could take courses like:

  • Governmental Fiscal Decision Making
  • Political Institutions and Public Policy
  • Ethics in Public Life
  • Nonprofit Organizations: Management and Leadership
  • Police Administration

In a Master of Public Relations program, you could study:

  • Public Relations Writing
  • Marketing Management
  • Crisis Communication Management
  • Multimedia Content Creation
  • Legal, Ethical, and Social Foundations for Public Relations

What are NASPAA Accredited Programs?

NASPAA stands for the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration. They are the global accreditor of Master’s programs in the following areas:

NASPAA-accredited Master’s programs must meet global standards within their discipline. They must practice continuous improvement and live up to their claims. And, they must take part in peer review.

Accreditation could assure students they are pursuing a high-quality education. And, potential employers may look for graduates of NASPAA-accredited programs.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Graduate Degree in Social Sciences and Public Affairs?

Full-time students may be able to earn a Master’s degree in social science or public affairs in about two years. Programs are at least 30 to 36 credits or more, depending on the subject.

Doctoral programs may have a bit more variation. For instance, a public administration doctorate may be earned in two or three years. A psychology doctorate program may take as many as five or six years. Often, that includes a one-year internship.

Public Affairs & Social Sciences Programs That Could Be Completed In 24 Months or Less

University # Of Credits Required Start Dates Minimum Months to Complete
Saint Leo University 62 1 (Fall) 24 months
Purdue University 42 3 24 months
Widener University 41 N/A 24 months
American University 36 3 24 months

How Much Does It Cost to Get A Masters Degree in Public Affairs and Social Sciences?

The average cost of a of a graduate degree from a public institution is $11,617 per year. This means you could find programs both more affordable and more expensive than the average.

This visualization shows graduate tuition costs of 4 institutions with Social Sciences and Public Affairs programs, as reported by NCES. We compared those costs to the typically most affordable and most expensive college options, also reported by NCES.

        Instate/Out Of State Tuition


$9,444/$17,436 Ohio University
$11,617 Average Public Institution University
$14,784 Average Private For Profit Institution Tuition
$26,551 Average Private Nonprofit Institution Tuition

What Are the Costs per Credit for a Master’s in Public Affairs and Social Sciences?

Many schools charge per credit for graduate programs in public affairs and the social sciences. These costs vary widely, depending on the type of institution. Here are some examples of what you could pay:

Cost per credit of course is different at every College or University. State Universities are also likely to have in state costs vs out of state costs. Below are a few examples of the cost per credit as reported by each one of these institutions.

University # Of Credits Required Cost Per Credit Total Tuition Cost
Ohio University 36 $800 $28,800
Capella University 52 (Advanced Standing) $505 $26,260
Benedictine University 58 $670 $38,860
St. John’s University 45 $1,230 $55,350

Top 149 Social Sciences and Public Affairs Graduate Programs in West Virginia​ Below:

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  • Online degrees in business, counseling, education, health administration, human services, information technology, nursing, public health, psychology and social work.
  • 97% of alumni agree FlexPath provided the flexibility they needed to pursue their degree (Alumni Outcomes Survey 2017)
  • No application fee for April & June terms
  • Some of the nation's most affordable tuition rates, from a private, nonprofit, NEASC accredited university
  • Qualified students with 2.5 GPA and up may receive up to $20K in grants & scholarships
  • Multiple term start dates throughout the year. 24/7 online classroom access
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