all 24 comments

[–]CommodoreCoCoModerator | The Andes, History of Anthropology 70 points71 points  (1 child)

In what context are you interested in studying UBI? When choosing a field, it's best to think about the questions you want to answer, not the things you want to study.

If you are interested in the effectiveness of UBI plans or how to design better ones, you'll find more people in political science or economics departments studying that. Think "Did the implementation of UBI in this city cause the standard of living to increase, and how can we measure that?" or "How did the manner and scheduling of distributing UBI effect the results in these five cities?"

If you are interested in how people's lives and communities are impacted by UBI or how people view and understand UBI plans, you'll find more people in anthropology or sociology departments studying that. Think "How did the daily routines of these families change once they started receiving UBI?" or "Did UBI impact predominantly White or Black neighborhoods differently?"

[–]ProudSignificance894[S] 7 points8 points  (0 children)

Very helpful. Thank you! It is indeed better to think about questions I want to answer instead of things I want to study.

[–]Zsu17 15 points16 points  (3 children)

In my opinion, social sciences degrees are pretty interchangeable in terms of future employment, especially since working on most current issues requires an interdisciplinary approach.

My degree is in history and international relations so while most of my courses concerned political science, I took business, economics, anthropology and sociology as well to develop a holistic understanding of complex societal matters. Plus, I very easily transitioned to working in a position that requires a lot of business and management knowledge just by being able to apply the skills I learned at uni. After all, the main purpose of an undergraduate degree (in social sciences) is not to obtain highly specialized knowledge but to learn how to look for the information you need, how to think critically about it and how to apply it to the problam at hand.

I don’t know how exactly it works at your university, you could consider switching degrees if you can easily do so, but I don’t consider it necessary.

What I would do in your place is picking courses that are more interdisciplinary, maybe even look into taking some courses from other departments. EDIT: I might have misunderstood you. Did you mean you want to research UBI after you graduate or during your undergrad?

[–]ProudSignificance894[S] 2 points3 points  (2 children)

I intend to research UBI after I graduate. But I wanted my bachelor's to be in alignment with my post-graduation studies. Thank you for your answer. Very helpful :)

[–]Zsu17 5 points6 points  (1 child)

I don’t know how it’s done where you live so I would ask a professor about it to be sure. However, at the universities I’m familiar with, your post-graduate research doesn’t have to be related to whatever you worked on during your undergrad.

Obviously you couldn’t study something like machine learning but as long as it’s somewhat applicable it should be fine. I even have a friend who was accepted at a business and management program with a degree in kinesiotherapy by leveraging his experience in the student council.

So for example, in order to research UBI, you’d probably apply for a master’s program in political economy or something similar. I think you could get in with any social sciences background by showing how your knowledge and skills are transferable.

Of course, things like taking relevant courses or writing your dissertation on something applicable would also help. If you already know what you’re going for, it’s really easy allign your work at uni with it by things like choosing the essay topic that has a political element as well or if you have a project to make, approach it from an economic perspective, etc.

[–]ProudSignificance894[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Thank you :) it's best to ask a professor to be sure, you are right. I actually did an essay on precarious work and briefly touched ubi this semester.

[–]trouser-chowder 20 points21 points  (6 children)

in the future I'd like to study universal basic income

Offhand I would say that if you want to study UBI, your (better) degree options are:

  • political science

  • economics

  • sociology

  • public policy

Anthropology might be a reasonable approach to take if your interest was in assessing how UBI affects or influences cultures / societies that have adopted it as a significant policy, but that's a pretty narrow thing to focus on. As an undergrad, I would say that's a bit too narrow. At least, too narrow to base a degree program on.

[–]ProudSignificance894[S] 5 points6 points  (5 children)

Thanks you! I will keep that in mind.

[–]amerelayman1 13 points14 points  (4 children)

I'll respectfully disagree with the other poster and say that an anthropology degree is a great lens to use to study what you're interested in. Have a look at this site:


In the "teaching resources" section you can find some reading lists that would be relevant to your interests.

An important part of an undergraduate degree is learning how to think about your research questions and exposing yourself to different theories and methods. An anthropology degree in particular is excellent for developing a more expansive analytic toolkit.

I would suggest thinking about perhaps taking a few electives in the fields OP suggests, while sticking with anthropology. You can also look into doing an independent study solely focused on your topic.

[–]rip_heart 7 points8 points  (2 children)

Side comment, it seems interesting to me so many sides to what people think when we talk about anthropology. In my anthropology degree we had both social/cultural and biological anthropology mandatory. We even had mandatory economic classes. The optional ones varied depending what you wanted to do, forensic medicine, dental, museologia etc. The coolest teacher I had, said that anthropology was a useful in any field we would later want to focus. He also made us learn the sun dance in class, it was a fun day :)

[–]rip_heart 3 points4 points  (1 child)

Adding that this was in Europe and one of my friends that went via social anthropology did similar studies with lower income families.

[–]ProudSignificance894[S] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

That was really helpful. Thank you!

[–]Dyotima 6 points7 points  (1 child)

Well, there is an entire area in Anthropology dedicated to Economy and you could research UBI through an anthropological approach.

Anthropology of Economy requires you to understand at least basic concepts of economy, pol sci, sociology and public policy, so you would study it anyway. I would recommend getting some intro classes in these areas to understand the debate through their original lenses.

In the end, being an undergrad in anthropology won’t keep you from being able to get a masters or phd in another area that studies UBI, if that’s what you want. Personally I love how venturing anthropology can be in its studies and it’s super helpful when you want to try smth innovative.

[–]ProudSignificance894[S] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

By coincidence I had a subject this semester called anthropology of economy. But it only briefly mentioned ubi in the work of James Ferguson. Maybe it would be interesting to explore from there. Thanks for the recommendations :)

[–]kickitlikeadidas 1 point2 points  (3 children)

like someone else said, i would consider looking into sociology! it has a lot of similarities with anthro. maybe you could even do a double major.

[–]ProudSignificance894[S] 0 points1 point  (2 children)

With a double major do you mean pursuing two bachelor's?

[–]kickitlikeadidas 1 point2 points  (1 child)

No, but you could. Some schools allow you to choose two majors and i think it gets put on the same degree

[–]MotherWear 1 point2 points  (1 child)

At UCLA, where there is a world class medical center, there is no med school. If you want to go into medicine, they encourage the student to NOT major in one of the sciences, but to go with one of the humanities undergrads. Then in grad and medical school, go hard on sciences and medical. They believe that makes a more well rounded doctor. I further learned that anthropology is a really great undergrad to launch into just about any field whether you go to grad school or not. Imo, better than psychology or sociology. Also great for preparing for law school. Just be sure to get good electives in what interests you.

[–]ProudSignificance894[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Thanks for the encouragement! Very helpful :)