Online graduate humanities and social sciences degrees

April 29, 2019 · 6 min read · By ASU Online

ASU Online has many online master’s degrees in humanities and social sciences to help professionals advance their careers across numerous industries.


Students of humanities and social sciences learn why and how people interact with each other, as well as how to influence those interactions in positive ways. Local and global communities depend on humanities and social sciences graduates to help educate and guide future generations. Professionals can use the expertise they acquire while earning their degrees to:

  • Strengthen leadership abilities
  • Develop strong ethical foundations
  • Encourage critical and creative thinking processes
  • Provide insights for cross-cultural endeavors
  • Empower diverse workforces

Online humanities and social sciences degrees allow professionals to apply these competencies in various technical and senior-level careers. Examples include sociology graduates who earn or advance to careers in workforce management and psychology graduates who secure roles as productivity analysts. These opportunities exist within sectors such as retail, social work, academics and more. Graduates also can lead to top executive roles.

Professionals can gain or enhance the leadership abilities necessary for these careers with the various online humanities graduate degrees available from ASU. With technical knowledge from these academic fields, as well as practical skills, they can then have the qualifications to advance to manager and director roles or the next step of their educational careers, including additional doctorate-level education necessary for certain careers.

A woman with a child in a living room.

Family and Human Development (MS)

The online Master of Family & Human Development program is designed to help students achieve higher-level positions across a range of organizations, including educational institutions, social work programs, law enforcement agencies and nonprofits. It focuses on promoting healthy individual and family development, including close analysis of children, youth and adults in the 21st century.

The practitioner-oriented curriculum targets individuals who already work in such fields and those seeking to transition into leadership roles in related fields. This human services-focused master’s degree can help these professionals pursue opportunities that were previously unavailable, including applied settings and writing-based roles in which they present research on industry best practices. The program can also provide new proficiencies that students can apply to their current roles.

Courses cover subjects including:

  • Child development
  • Social statistics
  • Diversity and society
  • Leadership and social justice
  • Parenting, marriage and family relationships

Possible careers include:

  • Mental health professional
  • Child care or education administrator
  • Paraeducator
  • Family support official
  • Nonprofit executive

Forensic Psychology (MS)

Individuals interested in advancing their careers in forensic psychology or in making a transition into the field may choose to earn an online master’s degree in forensic psychology. This program consists of coursework in legal, forensic and correctional psychology, mental disorders, as well as an overview of the criminal justice system.

Forensic psychology provides insights into the intersecting fields of mental health, human behavior and criminal justice. Students can become forensic psychologists and help law enforcement officers, lawyers, judges and juries by providing insight into the subjective or objective truths stated by witnesses. A forensic psychologist’s testimony may be used to weigh the plausibility of sworn statements. Professionals with forensic psychology expertise are frequently called on by court systems to deliver analysis of defendants’ state of mind, their criminal actions and appropriate sentencing for crimes that have a deviant psychological component.

The ASU Online Master of Science in Forensic Psychology program details psychological theory (modern and historical) while ensuring students gain comprehensive knowledge and an understanding of fundamental legal principles. Students can also specialize with elective courses, including correctional (prison) psychology, gangs, sex crimes and more.

Courses cover subjects including:

  • Advanced psychology
  • Psychopathology
  • Research methods
  • Quantitative analysis
  • Criminal justice, courts and sentencing

Possible careers include:

  • Mental health administrator
  • Policy analyst
  • Corrections department manager
  • Criminal investigator
  • Forensic researcher

Global Technology and Development (MS)

The online Master of Science in Global Technology and Development focuses on socioeconomic and political change on an international level. Students will examine global disparity in wealth, access to resources and basic needs, and technology’s role in wealth creation and distribution.  

Technology that centers on energy, clean water and food is transforming the global economy, leading to improved living standards, marketplace transformation and an increase in international trade. These factors disrupt economic metrics such as gross domestic product, productivity and corporate profits, creating a demand for technology development professionals who can think on a global scale.

A global development and technology degree can prepare social sciences graduates to fill positions that bridge the gap between technical experts and development practitioners. This program is designed to create forward thinkers who are able to evaluate the impact of culture, history, social organization and religion on globalization. It also caters to students from various educational backgrounds, including engineering and social sciences.

Courses cover subjects including:

  • Global technology and development
  • Technology and the international political system
  • Development in zones of conflict
  • Research design in technology and development
  • Quantitative analysis in technology and development

Possible careers include:

  • Foreign service administrator
  • Social or environmental justice organization executive
  • Private sector tech CEO
  • English as a second language instructor

Nonprofit Leadership and Management (MNLM)

This degree gives professionals the opportunity to enhance or add skills necessary to work in the nonprofit sector. Students will explore the practice of leadership and management, from researching the scope, foundation and background of nonprofits in American society to grant proposal writing and resource management.

Nonprofit leaders are tasked with driving change and developing solutions for domestic and global issues centered around:

  • Public health and safety
  • City management
  • Water scarcity
  • Child welfare
  • Civil unrest

A humanities graduate degree in nonprofit leadership and management can also prepare graduates for support roles in this sector, such as a human resources career. Another growing occupation is that of chief culture officer, who manages a nonprofit's relationship with the local or global community, developing policies to avoid worker and volunteer burnout, initiating health and wellness programs, and overseeing hiring and staffing decisions to create an inclusive, equitable workplace.

A nonprofit leadership and management program can position graduates to earn key roles across the U.S. and abroad. These include organizations that have multibillion-dollar budgets and those that operate with a majority volunteer staff. The curriculum strengthens knowledge students can apply in careers that span the entire nonprofit sector, giving students transferable knowledge to apply in many leadership roles.

Courses cover subjects including:

  • Overview of the nonprofit sector
  • Financial and resource management
  • Social entrepreneurship
  • Grant writing in nonprofit organizations

Possible careers include:

  • Nonprofit organizer
  • Fundraising director
  • Grant proposal writer
  • Social or community service manager
  • Environmental or social justice program developer

Psychology (MS)

The ASU Online Master of Science in Psychology program is designed to give students and working professionals advanced knowledge of psychological theory and empirical research, as well as illustrate the roles psychologists play in today’s society. Specific topics, which students can elect to guide the subject matter of their graduate studies, include social, cognitive, health, physiological and developmental psychology. With additional education, students can qualify to work in clinical roles as psychologists and counselors.

A master’s degree in psychology online can provide graduate students with knowledge and practical skills that are applicable across a range of positions. Professionals who are already in the workforce can use this advanced degree to earn higher-ranking positions and further grow their careers. These roles include for-profit and nonprofit organizations, as well as education, management and social service.

The program delivers a learning experience that offers more applicable knowledge of psychology. Requirements include intensive work in the areas of writing and statistics, both of which can develop skills that may later be employed in the fields of mental health or marketing. Elective courses allow students to specialize in the area of psychology in which they want to work or advance.  

Courses cover subjects including:

  • Professional issues in psychology
  • Quantitative analysis  
  • Research methods
  • Behavior analysis
  • Cognitive psychology

Possible careers include:

  • Rehabilitative program manager
  • Director of public relations
  • Human resources administrator
  • Mental health specialist

Sociology (MA)

Professionals and students who want to gain additional expertise may benefit from an online master’s in sociology program. The curriculum covers sociology theory and has an applied practitioner-oriented approach. Graduates may work in public, private and nonprofit sectors.

An online sociology degree can help students develop the skills required to assist individuals and families in understanding the effects of social context on their lives. The program also helps define the factors that drive relationships and outcomes, providing students with competencies that employers often look for regardless of industry or role, including:

  • Enhanced creativity, innovation and critical thinking
  • Analytic and collaborative problem-solving capacity
  • High-level verbal and written communication skills
  • An understanding of multicultural and global factors
  • Excellent data analysis and research skills

Sociology graduates are gaining recognition as crucial to government, nonprofit and corporate entities. Public and private sector employers can benefit from hiring sociologists who display strategic leadership skills, as well as cultural, social and emotional intelligence — abilities students can improve in a master’s program. With additional work and educational experience, students can eventually enter an education-based role.

Courses cover subjects including:

  • Social statistics
  • Diversity and society  
  • Leadership and social justice  
  • Marriage and family relationships
  • Social change and adjustment

Possible careers include:

  • Human resources administrator
  • Community program coordinator
  • Government agency leader
  • Child protective services agent
  • Crisis intervention center specialist

Earning an online Master of Humanities and Social Sciences Degree with ASU

The master’s-level online humanities and social sciences degrees from ASU can provide students with actionable expertise that translates into a range of employment sectors. The flexible online format allows busy students to complete their studies while managing their current professional and personal commitments. With expert faculty and practice-oriented coursework, these graduate programs can prepare students to enter leadership and education-based roles to progress in their careers.

Program details are subject to change. Current information can be found by visiting individual degree pages on the ASU Online website.

Liberal Arts in the Data Age by Harvard Business Review
Here's what the world's most influential tech CEOs studied in college by Business Insider
Ethical issues across different fields of forensic science by Praveen Kumar Yadav via NCBI
The growing importance of the technology economy by CIO
How technology is changing the global development jobs landscape by DevEx
The Top Three Nonprofit Jobs Of The Future by Fast Company
Sociology Careers in High Demand by Sociology at Work

four humanities students look at one student who is speaking. one seems displeased.


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