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Applied Social Science BLS

Bachelor of Liberal Studies: Major in Applied Social Science

Shot of two businesswomen using a digital tablet together during a collaboration at work

The online BLS Major in Applied Social Science is an interdisciplinary degree that prepares graduates to be well-rounded critical thinkers, equipped for a variety of careers across numerous industries.


Is this program right for you?

Today’s complicated world calls for open and creative minds to problem-solve and collaborate for the greater good. If you want to develop as a change-maker with a breadth of knowledge employers are looking for, this degree is for you.

The Bachelor of Liberal Studies Major in Applied Social Science is housed in UW–Madison’s renowned College of Letters & Science, which offers a liberal arts education that is broad, deep and ready to adapt to current issues. You’ll enhance your critical thinking skills and engage with expert educators in four main areas: ethical communication, diverse communities, research tools and social issues. You’ll also complete capstone courses that allow you to take your skills and knowledge into the real world by applying the tools and methods of the social sciences to the issues that matter in your world.

After graduation, expect to be an in-demand candidate in a variety of industries for numerous roles. The BLS Major in Applied Social Science will prepare you to enter career fields including arts and entertainment, business, education, human resources, journalism, marketing, politics, project management, public policy and more.

Is this program right for you?

Today’s complicated world calls for open and creative minds to problem-solve and collaborate for the greater good. If you want to develop as a change-maker with a breadth of knowledge employers are looking for, this degree is for you.

The Bachelor of Liberal Studies Major in Applied Social Science is housed in UW–Madison’s renowned College of Letters & Science, which offers a liberal arts education that is broad, deep and ready to adapt to current issues. You’ll enhance your critical thinking skills and engage with expert educators in four main areas: ethical communication, diverse communities, research tools and social issues. You’ll also complete capstone courses that allow you to take your skills and knowledge into the real world by applying the tools and methods of the social sciences to the issues that matter in your world.

After graduation, expect to be an in-demand candidate in a variety of industries for numerous roles. The BLS Major in Applied Social Science will prepare you to enter career fields including arts and entertainment, business, education, human resources, journalism, marketing, politics, project management, public policy and more.

Admissions requirements

To be considered for UW–Madison Online you must be a transfer student. A transfer student is anyone who has attended another college or university after graduating from high school and wishes to enroll in an undergraduate degree program at UW–Madison.

In order to be eligible for transfer admission for UW–Madison Online, you must have completed at least 12 transferable semester hours of college-level work. AP, A-Level, IB, and CLEP cannot be used toward the 12 transferable credit requirement.

Freshman applicants are not eligible for admission to UW–Madison Online. A freshman includes anyone who is currently a student in high school or who has not taken college coursework since graduating from high school.

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Program highlights

  • Transcends disciplinary boundaries to offer a truly diverse, well-rounded program
  • Offers opportunities to integrate academic study with applied activities from work, internships, volunteer and service-learning placements
  • Strengthens cultural understanding and understanding of social, political, economic and technological change through research and service

UW–Madison is ranked first among public universities by Washington Monthly’s 2021 College Guide and Rankings, based on contribution to the public good

How you'll learn

All courses are online so you can learn from anywhere in the world. Most courses have assignment deadlines, exams, quizzes and discussions throughout the term. Peer and instructor interaction varies based on the course, and discussion and engagement in the digital learning environment is encouraged. The program is designed for part-time students with multiple start dates and 8-week course formats so you can keep career and family commitments.

Sample curriculum

Foundational courses

  • Methods in the Applied Social Sciences
  • Problems in the Applied Social Sciences

Ethical communication
(Choose at least one course)

  • Ethics in Business
  • Media and Human Behavior
  • Communication and Conflict Resolution
  • Navigating the Data Revolution: Concepts of Data & Information Science
  • Information Ethics and Policy

Diverse communities
(Choose at least one course)

  • Intercultural Communication & Rhetoric
  • Mass Media in Multicultural America
  • Code and Power

Research tools
(Choose at least one course)

  • Introduction to Statistical Methods
  • Introduction to Digital Information
  • Language & Immigration in Wisconsin
  • Methods of Sociological Inquiry
  • Statistics for Sociologists I

Social issues
(Choose at least one course)

  • Navigating the Data Revolution: Concepts of Data & Information Science
  • Information Ethics and Policy
  • International Migration, Health, and Human Rights
  • Law, Politics and Society

Capstone courses

  • Applied Social Sciences Problem Proposal
  • Applied Social Sciences Problem Analysis

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Connect with our enrollment coaches

Our friendly, knowledgeable enrollment coaches are here to answer your questions. Contact an enrollment coach to:

  • Learn how to make this program work with your life/schedule
  • Verify credit transfers
  • Get help with your application
  • Determine if financial aid is available

Visit with our coaches on campus or at an upcoming student fair in your area. Search student fairs & events.

Connect with a coach