Natural Science vs Social Science: Definitions, Differences And Similarities

Generally speaking, science is defined as an attempt to comprehend, explain, and make predictions about the world using different inquiry strategies to formulate hypotheses. And there are two classifications of science, which are natural science and social science.

The difference between the two is that natural science is the scientific study of natural phenomena, while social science is the scientific study of human society and its interpersonal relationships.

In order words, natural science analyzes natural events, while social science studies human behavior.

This article explores differences the differences and similarities between natural science and social science. Read on to learn more.

What is Natural Science?

Natural science is the study of natural phenomena, as well as the physical universe, using scientific methods. The primary concern of natural science is to explore the events that separate them from the social sciences.

Natural sciences originated as a result of people’s curiosity about the world and desire to harness natural resources for human benefit. Hence, natural science is more concerned with the understanding, definition, and prediction of natural events through data.

It is divided into two categories: biological sciences (the study of living things), and physical sciences (the study of non-living things).

Physical sciences include chemistry, physics, astronomy, earth sciences, etc., while biological sciences include molecular medicine, ecology, microbial physiology, cell dynamics, motility, etc.

Students who pursue their careers in natural sciences can become astronomers, biologists, and chemists. It is one of the most popular academic fields among students worldwide.

Core natural science fields

  • Biology: This is a branch of science concerned with the study of living things and life. The physical structure, chemical processes, history, and evolution of living beings are all covered in this field.
  • Chemistry: This is also a branch of science that studies elements and compounds and their structures and behaviors. Chemistry is a science that exists between biology and physics.
  • Physics: Physics is the natural science that investigates matter, energy, and its interactions. This field is concerned with motion, force, energy, space, and time.

SEE: Why Is Physics So Hard & How Can You Get Better At It?

What is Social Science?

Social science is a broad discipline concerned with human society and the interactions that exist within it.

Unlike natural sciences, the origin of social science came late, and it was borne out of the attempt to understand the societal aspects of a group of people or an individual. It focuses more on social interactions and their existence in society.

The social sciences encompass a wide variety of philosophical viewpoints, and many propose that the same scientific methodologies used in the social sciences may be used in the natural sciences.

However, there were also critics of the idea that social ties can not be measured in the same manner that we measure natural phenomena (natural science).

The social sciences cover several disciplines, such as political science, sociology, history, economics, archaeology, law, linguistics, and geography, among others.

Students who major in social sciences can become social workers, historians, archaeologists, journalists, writers, teachers, linguists, librarians, accountants, and other related careers, especially in humanities.

SEE: Interesting Humanities Subjects & Career Opportunities You Should Know

Natural Science vs Social Science: Differences

Natural scienceSocial Science
Natural science is the study of biological and physical sciences.Social science is the study of human behavior and social relationships.
Natural science is limited to discussing solely observable natural symptoms.Social science is a science that focuses on human life symptoms, whether physical or not.
Natural science subjects include physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics, and medical science.Sociology, anthropology, psychology, and politics, are examples of social sciences core subjects.
In natural science, observations are frequently repeated as much as possible before arriving at a theory.Social science has difficulties developing observations, hence, very slow.
The limitations of natural science are technological and financial.The limitations of social science are ethical and economic.
Natural science prepares students for careers as physicians, engineers, astronomers, and biologists.Social science prepares them for careers as lawyers, historians, social scientists, and writers.
Natural science employs scientific procedures and rulessocial science uses scientific methods in addition to other methodologies.
Natural science relies on quantitative methods of data acquisition. Social science uses both qualitative and quantitative approaches for data collection.
Empirical evidence is the backbone of the natural science methodology is predicated on the assumption that is built on experimentation and observation.

Natural Science vs Social Science: Similarities

The following is a list of the significant similarities between the natural and social sciences:

  • Both disciplines employ the same scientific approach. Many sciences combine natural and social sciences. Economics and psychology are social sciences, while biology and ecology are natural sciences.
  • Each is governed by universal principles that are applicable in different contexts.
  • Both rely on information gleaned from direct observation and scientific measurement.

SEE: Differences Between Cosmology And Astronomy


How does social science contribute to the development of society?

Social science helps us understand how to interact with our social and immediate environment. This includes influencing policies, building networks, accountability, promoting democracy, etc.

What is the most significant discipline in social science?

One of the most significant disciplines in social science is education.

Why is natural science important?

Natural science promotes an inquisitive mindset which is crucial for lifelong learning.

What are the core features of natural science?

Natural science is concerned with the comprehension, description, and prediction of natural events via the use of empirical and observational data.

SEE: Differences and Similarities Between Ethnography and Ethnology


Both natural and social sciences are disciplines that deal with humans as individuals and as interacting groups.

However, the major difference between them is that natural science concerns itself with the scientific study of natural phenomena.

On the other hand, social science studies human activities and their relationships, and both natural and social sciences have a direct impact on our immediate environment.

I hope you enjoyed this article. You can also read to see reasons why political science is a good major.

Thanks for reading.