Difference Between Humanities and Social Sciences

Most individuals tend to confuse themselves when it comes to distinguishing between the two terms- Humanities and Social Sciences. This is because both these terms are comparable areas of study that cover diverse aspects of human conduct and their association with the community like law, sociology, economics, politics, psychology, and linguistics. However, there are quite a few dissimilarities between Humanities and Social Science.

Humanities vs Social Sciences

The main difference between Humanities and Social Science is that the study of humanities mainly focuses on the evaluative and analytic study of the cultural factors of mankind and society in a more subjective manner whereas Social Science analyses the scientific study of the relationship of humans within their community in a more objective manner.

Humanities vs Social Sciences

The study of humanities is believed to be more rational than the study of social sciences. Humanities is a discipline of science that helps tackle the customs, heritage, culture, and values of the community and questions the factors that make an individual human. It comprises of subjects like religion, primeval languages, history, present-day languages, performing arts, law, and philosophy.

On the contrary, in the middle of natural sciences and humanities, lies the study of Social science. Social science is a subdivision of science that includes diverse subjects like psychology, law, administration, political science, economics, history, archaeology, criminology, education, and anthropology. Karl Marx, Max Weber, and Emile Durkheim are acknowledged with regards to contributing a contemporary definition for social sciences.


Comparison Table Between Humanities and Social Sciences (in Tabular Form)

Parameter of comparisonHumanitiesSocial sciences
ApproachesHumanities are considered to be more of an analytical approach.Social sciences are considered to be more of a scientific approach.
StudyHumanities mostly study the tradition, heritage, and culture of the society.Social sciences mostly study the differences between humanities and pure sciences.
ResearchUnder humanities, an individual doesn’t have to conduct research and surveys since it is a critical approach.Under social sciences, an individual needs to conduct research and surveys since it is a scientific approach.
Marketing strategiesHumanities do not deal with current marketing strategies much.Social sciences mostly deal with the current marketing strategies because social sciences are a professional study that deals with conducting surveys on market conditions.
New/old approachHumanities are considered an old approach since it was introduced during the ancient Greek civilization era.Social sciences are considered a slightly newer approach since it was introduced during the French and Industrial revolution.


What is Humanities?

Humanities refer to a sub-division of science which provides individuals a clear-cut study on the outlook of human culture and society. The study of humanities began in ancient Greece. It was much after the 15th century that humanities were considered a subject to be studied rather than practiced. Humanities have been derived from the Renaissance Latin word ‘studia humanitatis’. Renaissance scholars were then known as humanists. During the Renaissance, the word ‘humanities’ contrasted with the word divinity and is currently called the classics, which is a main area of study in a lot of universities globally. 

Under humanities, the study of culture is considered to be an extensive subject of study. Humanities likewise deal with the study of literature, history, art, archaeology, religion, politics, law, and so on. The study of various humanitarian subjects helps emphasize the human and social characteristics of the sciences. Unlike other sciences, the study of humanities is considered more philosophical and descriptive.

The educational studies that provide intellectual knowledge, other than occupational, are listed under humanities. The subject of Humanities also includes music, theatre, visual arts, etc. The field of humanities helps develop knowledgable and educated individuals. Without humanities, the republic would not flourish.


What is Social Sciences?

Social science refers to a branch of science that is dedicated to the scientific study of an individual’s society and the relationships different individuals have within the society. Social science was previously referred to as the study of sociology which was initially considered to be the earliest community-based study. The term ‘Social Science’ which was mostly coined by Auguste Comte, was established in the 19th century and has been used for over 200 years now.

The diverse subjects included in Social sciences like civics, demography, economics, welfare, history, media studies, geography, environmental studies, nursing studies, psychology, and so on, are connected to human cultures or human societies in either one way or the other.

Social scientists use social sciences for creating awareness about the society and they additionally help in defining science in a modern way. Social sciences are different from humanities as it deals with a more scientific method of approach.

Social sciences require a lot of research to be done, like taking surveys, and this research is known as social research. Certain subjects are considered to be under both humanities and social sciences such as history, law, politics, etc. and there are many more subjects being created every since.

Main Differences Between Humanities and Social Sciences

  1. Humanities are a more subjective approach since it is mostly based on philosophies and assumptions. Social sciences are an objective approach since it is based on reality and facts of the society.
  2. Under humanities, an individual mainly focuses on studying human nature and cultures, such as their traditions and also the heritage. Under social sciences, an individual mostly tries to find out the differences between pure sciences and humanities.
  3. For the study of humanities, it is not an important task for humanists to conduct surveys and research since humanities adopt a more analytical approach. For the study of social sciences, it is an important task for social scientists to conduct research and surveys since social sciences focus mainly on observations and hypotheses.
  4. Humanities are not concerned with the marketing policies or policy implementations. Social sciences are concerned with the marketing strategies and the policy implementations since a great deal of research is conducted to help the prevailing market conditions.
  5. Humanities are considered to be introduced during the ancient Greek civilization and are viewed as an older subject of study when compared to social sciences. Social sciences have fresh subjects developing every day and are newer methods of approach in dealing with human nature and culture.



Humanities and Social Science analyses human aspects, conduct, and interconnection in various economic, cultural, political, social, and environmental conditions to help individuals incorporate a variety of abilities like interrogating, investigating, assessing, and communicating, to analyze historical and modern occurrences, progress, and circumstances.

Humanities and social sciences are often mistaken for one another because of their resemblance to how both these studies are associated with human nature and life. Therefore, to set these two studies apart, the dissimilarities and the meaning of the two terms have been highlighted in this article to give the audience a thorough understanding of the two studies.

The dissimilarity between Humanities and Social science isn’t simply confined to the content and subject matter. It additionally varies in the different methods of approach used for any particular question, i.e, humanities make use of critical and evaluative methods of approach while social sciences assume a more scientific mode of approach. Therefore, individuals tend to find the study of humanities more understanding and the study of Social Science more explanatory.


  1. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0263276405057189
  2. https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/964c/bfd4819feffcd08925b5897a38cfe1eba090.pdf
Help us improve. Rate this post! Total (0 votes,average: 0)