Studying Humanities, Politics and Social Sciences

A guide to the HASS fields of study.

27 July 2022

An international student standing in an Australian park holding a laptop.

Australia offers a diverse range of study options, with over 22,000 tertiary level courses available across Australia, including in humanities, politics and social sciences (HASS) fields of study.

In this article, we're going to explore some of the popular specialisations and careers within the HASS fields.

What are HASS studies about?

Humanities, politics and social sciences (HASS) fields of study provide a deeper understanding of human behaviours and interactions. They focus on ideas about identity and humanity, and how the physical, cultural and social environment can influence individuals and groups, including by analysing: 

  • Belief and value systems 
  • Cultural expression 
  • Human development and behaviour 
  • Human populations and their environments

What about my employment prospects? 

Large global companies, like Google and Samsung, are looking for more HASS graduates than ever before due to their ability to research, write well and find patterns in data.

Graduates of HASS courses are also sought after by employers for the following valuable skill sets:  

  • Effective communication 
  • Critical thinking 
  • Problem solving 
  • Research methods 
  • Emotional intelligence 
  • Collaboration and project management 
  • An understanding of cultural issues

Australian education providers focus on teaching curricula in an international context. This means that your perspective as an international student is highly valued and you will also be able to use your studies to take up a career anywhere in the world. 

Popular specialisations and careers 

Courses in HASS fields offer a wide variety of study options. For example, an undergraduate HASS degree in Australia, such as a Bachelor of Arts, provides the opportunity to choose from over 40 different areas of specialisation (or ‘majors’), with a wide range of postgraduate options also available. 

Specialisations can include:

  • Media and communications
  • Philosophy
  • History
  • Languages
  • Anthropology
  • Criminology
  • Political science
  • Information management
  • Sociology
  • Economics and international relations
  • Religion
  • Creative arts 

Earth Patravee completed a Diploma of Music in Songwriting in Australia and has since become one of Thailand’s most popular music artists. Read her story here.

Studying a HASS course enables you to tailor your study program to a desired career outcome or academic pathway. Read Angella’s incredible story about how she studied a Master of Public Policy degree in Australia and made changes to the laws in Kenya, giving more rights and freedoms to women.  

If you’re an empath, a ‘people person’ or someone who likes to make an impact, then you would be well-suited to a HASS field. 

Some popular specialisations and related careers include: 

1. Media and Communications 

In a media and communications course, you’ll develop strong writing, content and production skills for use in many different areas such as social media, online publishing, media and marketing.  

Career possibilities include:  

  • Digital content producer  
  • Public relations specialist  
  • Copywriter 
  • Social media manager

2. Criminology and Justice 

Criminology is the study of criminal behaviour and the systems that deal with offenders. You can choose from specialist courses in criminal profiling, cybercrime, international justice, youth justice, homicide and forensic science, and more. 

Career possibilities include:  

  • Case manager 
  • Intelligence officer 
  • Court officer  
  • Police detective 

3. International Relations 

International Relations explores areas such as conflict, politics, bilateral and multilateral trade, security, diplomacy, governance, sovereignty and 'problems without passports’ such as climate change.  

Career possibilities include:  

  • Policy advisor and analyst 
  • International trade and investment
  • Foreign service 
  • Business development. 

4. Development Studies  

Development studies is the study of real-world issues such as globalisation, environmental change, sustainable development, social justice, poverty and inequality – some of the most important issues in the world today.  

Career possibilities include: 

  • Disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation 
  • Business development and communications specialist 
  • General Manager (NGO) 
  • Development consultant. 

5. Politics, Philosophy and Economics (PPE) 

Politics, Philosophy and Economics can prepare you for a career in business, politics, an NGO and more. Studies in PPE explore exciting areas such as global policy, politics and economic analysis, and get you ready to be a change-maker. 

Career possibilities include: 

  • Economics, policy and social analyst
  • Political adviser
  • Economic policy adviser 
  • Diplomat 

Did you know?

Nearly half of world leaders hold a social science degree.

What are my tertiary study options? 

1. Vocational Education and Training (VET) 

In VET courses, you can learn skills in non-clinical mental health, counselling, government services, youth support, museum studies and support, and information services. 

2. Undergraduate 

An undergraduate degree in this field is a popular choice as there is a wide range of courses and specialisations available. You can major in specific fields of study, with a view to particular postgraduate study and career outcomes.  

3. Postgraduate/research 

Research and postgraduate coursework studies are very popular in the humanities, politics and social sciences (HASS) fields. One popular postgraduate HASS degree is a Master of Political Science, which focuses on contemporary political affairs, ranging from election forecasting to civil conflict.  

Ready to explore more exciting HASS fields?  

Click here to head to our Course Search tool and start exploring your options today.