What Can You Do with a Social Psychology Degree?

What Can You Do with a Social Psychology Degree?

Key Takeaways

  • There are 12,800 projected job openings for social psychologists each year.
  • Graduates with a degree in social psychology have career opportunities as human resource specialist, industrial-organizational psychologists, social workers, public relations experts, and more.
  • Some positions require a master’s or even doctorate degree in social psychology.

“What can you do with a social psychology degree?” - This is a common question many prospective students and even graduates ask. With the various career options available to those who choose this field, it makes sense to wonder about what’s the most beneficial choice. From professions and salary ranges to growth prospects, in this article we answer this FAQ in detail.

Social worker holding printed reports while talking to a family

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What can you do with a social psychology degree?

A degree in social psychology comes with a myriad of career pathways, from serving in organizational settings to imparting your knowledge to future and existing top psychologists. The field helps you understand how humans behave in various social settings, including relationships, organizations, and communities.

Fortunately, the job outlook for social psychologists projects 12,800 openings every year, making it worth exploring various psychology career options. With applications in marketing, counseling, and organizational behavior, social psychology plays a significant role in understanding and addressing societal issues. So if that sounds intriguing, a degree in social psychology is certainly for you.

Nonetheless, it’s natural to still worry about which career path to choose with a social psychology degree, which is why we put together this list of the most lucrative options out there. However, the growth in your respective field will depend on your degree level, skills, and years of experience.

Human Resource Specialist

If you hold a degree in social psychology, stepping into human resources can be an excellent career choice. Human resource specialists are responsible for recruiting, training, and cultivating a positive work environment within businesses and organizations.

With their deep understanding of social dynamics, HR specialists hire and oversee whether the new hires align with the company’s objectives. If you choose to pursue this role as a career, you must be good at social interaction and understand organizational culture.

This helps you design effective training programs and promote collaboration among employees. Ultimately, your social psychology degree makes you a valuable addition to the company.

Industrial-Organizational Psychologist

With the help of social psychology principles, industrial-organizational specialists play a critical role in creating an efficient and positive workplace. As an industrial-organizational specialist, you might be asked to design incentive programs to motivate employees and scale their productivity. This requires deeply analyzing workplace dynamics and identifying issues.

For instance, you might fix faulty communication patterns among team members and suggest strategies to reduce conflicts. Working closely with the HR team, industrial-organizational psychologists establish internal frameworks to promote employee welfare. This field often requires advanced degrees such as a master’s in social psychology.

Social Worker

If you’re passionate about serving the community, a degree in social psychology might be a great idea for you. Social workers link individuals and families with community resources, particularly assisting children, people with disabilities, or those dealing with mental health conditions. With a background in social psychology, you can provide specific emotional support to your clients.

While some social workers start with a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree can lead to more advanced roles and higher salaries. If financial perks are your ultimate goal, it’s best to tap into the healthcare sector.  

  • Median Annual Salary: $66,977 per year
  • Growth: Projected to grow 7% from 2022 to 2032
Woman writing down notes on her notebook, while sitting on the opposite sofa from her boss

Public Relations Officer

A public relations (PR) officer takes charge of the public image of individuals, communities, or the organizations they work for. As a PR specialist, you will need to employ different strategies such as press releases and social media marketing to shape public perception and improve engagement.

Your social psychology degree helps you create PR campaigns that support your goals as a PR officer. An in-depth understanding of human behavior allows you to craft campaign messages that resonate with your audience, boosting your chances of success. Needless to say, the growth of 6% in the near future makes it a compelling profession to pursue.

  • Median Annual Salary: $72,915 per year
  • Growth: Projected to grow 6% from 2022 to 2032

Psychology Researcher

With a degree in social psychology, one of the best career paths to choose is psychology research. As a psychology researcher, you’ll conduct research on various social issues, analyze them, and come up with viable solutions to address them. Alternatively, you might even design a bunch of programs to tackle social problems and suggest improvements for the long run.

Generally, psychology researchers work in government and non-profit agencies, assisting in key areas such as policy development in the educational sector. Also, they conduct research in academic settings, such as labs, to further understand how human psychology and societal dynamics work.

  • Median Annual Salary: $90,440 per year 
  • Growth: Projected to grow 14% from 2018 to 2028

Psychology Professor

Psychology professors teach, mentor, and support students, sharing their expertise and passion for the subject. They also guide students in research, publish scholarly work, and contribute to the academic community.

With a focus on teaching, research, and service, psychology professors play a vital role in shaping the next generation of psychologists. However, most psychology professors hold multiple certifications and at least a doctoral degree in social psychology or related fields.

Academic Advisor

Social psychology degree holders often serve as academic consultants, utilizing their knowledge to address educational issues. They provide students with information regarding their degrees, courses, universities, and available career opportunities. They monitor whether students are on track and help them overcome challenges during their academic journey.


A bachelor’s degree in social psychology is generally the minimum requirement to enter the field. However, pursuing a master’s can potentially lead to a better future as an academic advisor with a relatively higher pay scale. For added advantage, you might also consider getting certifications in fields like education and counseling.

  • Median Annual Salary: $47,454 per year
  • Growth: Projected to grow 5% from 2022 to 2032

Political Strategist

Political strategists often use their intellect to see how social structures shape individual behaviors. To put this into perspective, the degree helps you develop political platforms to address specific concerns within different demographics.

As a political strategist, you may target specific issues like unemployment to attract support from blue-collar workers, boosting voter turnout. Using your knowledge of social psychology, you might also develop communication strategies specific to different demographics. This might mean using specific language or phrases that resonate with various groups.

  • Median Annual Salary: $139,867 per year
  • Growth: Expected to grow 6% from 2018 to 2028
Two women listening to their manager while she offers advice

Marketing Manager

While most people are unaware, companies often demand social psychologists to lead their marketing research departments. With their understanding of behavioral trends, they excel at identifying key factors influencing consumer buying behavior and their response to various situations, ultimately driving sales.

Given their expertise in understanding social dynamics and group behavior, social psychologists are best suited for roles like marketing managers. While most marketing managers hold a bachelor’s degree, those with advanced degrees tend to earn higher salaries. If you’re aiming for a high salary, consider working in larger corporations than smaller companies.

  • Median Annual Salary: $119,492 per year
  • Growth: projected to grow 6% from 2022 to 2032

Market Research Analyst

If you’re both into marketing and research, serving as a market research analyst might be your best bet. Market research analysts gather data on different market sectors and analyze demographics, preferences, and buying habits to inform product demand and marketing strategies.

On top of this, they use research methods like surveys and focus groups to understand consumer preferences within target markets. While most analysts have degrees in marketing or business, a background in social psychology can help them dig deeper into human behavior, making them fit for the role.

Much like with marketing managers, advanced degrees, years of industry experience, and employment with large corporations lead to higher salaries.

  • Median Annual Salary: $78,816 per year
  • Growth: Projected to grow 13% from 2022 to 2032

Occupational Therapist

With a degree in social psychology, another great career path you may choose is to become an occupational therapist. They help folks with permanent disabilities manage daily tasks using adaptive equipment like wheelchairs and eating aids. They work with clients from different age groups, including children, in various settings such as hospitals, schools, and homes.

In addition, occupational therapists collaborate with employers to create functional work environments for employees. They monitor workspaces, suggest modifications, and coordinate with employers to implement changes. However, it’s important to note that the typical entry-level requirement for the field is at least a master’s degree.

  • Median Annual Salary: $94,375 per year
  • Growth: Projected to grow 12% from 2022 to 2032
Group of women listening to a woman during a therapy meeting

Technology Designer

While it might not seem like a career in technology design is possible with a background in social psychology, the two fields are pretty much connected to one another. Typically, technology designers rely on their understanding of human communication to create effective tools and systems.

For instance, a technology designer working on a new gadget would consider how people interact with it and which features appeal the most to users. They also apply their understanding of human behavior to design structures such as office buildings, apartment complexes, or public spaces. This way, they can create environments that promote positivity.

  • Median Annual Salary: $54,595 per year
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Why You Should Consider Jobs in Social Psychology

If you wish to put your understanding of human behavior into action, a career in social psychology might be just right for you. It helps you build strong connections in social settings and improves your decision-making process.

For example, let’s say you land a gig in marketing. You can use your human behavior insights to craft effective campaigns that truly resonate with your audience.

Alternatively, you might dig into business consulting, helping companies amp up their productivity levels and employee engagement. Wherever you end up, here are the key roles you’ll be responsible for as a social psychology graduate:

  • Analyze how people react to different situations
  • Evaluate how your audience reacts to different plans and strategies
  • Offer guidance on diversity and inclusion initiatives
  • Write reports and present findings
  • Analyze data to uncover patterns in human behavior
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How to Become a Social Psychologist

Now that you know why a social psychology degree is worth a shot, the next big question is - how does one become a social psychologist? Well, pursuing this career typically requires years of educational and professional experience. Here’s a quick rundown of ways to qualify for a career in social psychology:

  • A doctorate, such as a PhD or PsyD
  • State license
  • ABPP board certification (if applicable)
  • Internship experience  

Related Questions

What are the highest-paying obs in social psychology?

Typically, the highest-paying jobs in social psychology include political strategists, who earn a median annual salary of around $139,867 per year, followed by industrial-organizational psychologists, who earn approximately $120,524 annually. It’s important to not that these careers often require advanced degrees and expertise in the field.

Are careers in social psychology worth it?

Certainly! Opting for a degree in social psychology opens doors to a multitude of promising career opportunities. From roles in research and academia to consulting and marketing, the field has something for everyone. Better yet, the anticipated 6% growth of psychologist roles in the next decade makes it an exciting career trajectory.

Where can you serve as a social psychologist?

Since social psychology is concerned with human behavior in various social settings, a social psychologist is highly sought-after across different industries. For instance, opportunities span across education, nonprofits, corporations, government agencies, and healthcare settings, reflecting how the field is widely applicable almost everywhere you go.


A degree in social psychology helps you make meaningful contributions to addressing social issues in different settings. Now that we’ve explored the key areas worth tapping into, it’s time for you to decide which career best aligns with your interests, strengths, and aspirations!

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