Social Sciences skills and careers
In the UK many graduates enter employment where a degree in any subject would be acceptable. In this instance what they offer the employer is evidence of the range of competencies which have been developed through their academic study, rather than the specific subject content of their degree. This page will focus on careers directly related to Social Sciences, but if you want to explore all of the choices open to you, also refer to the sources of help available in Further resources for planning your career.
Given the current economic climate and the increased competition for graduate positions, it is important to consider a varied range of occupational areas. Bear in mind that many careers require further study, training and/or work experience beyond your first degree.
Social sciences qualifications provide an excellent background for a wide range of careers. Opportunities can be found across all sectors and in a number of occupations. Education, central and local government, finance, health and social care, law, the media, public services, campaigning and research are frequent career choices.
Within the public sector, openings can be found in all areas of the criminal justice system, such as the police, prison and probation* services (*social work in Scotland), also administration and management of social services. Positions within civil and diplomatic services and local government are also popular choices.
Other careers include:
- banking and finance
- journalism and broadcasting
- social work
- business management
- advertising and marketing.
We advise you to thoroughly research your career choices as early as possible, particularly in relation to experience required, differences relating to where you live, or where the study choices you make may affect future opportunities.
These resources will help you explore careers in further detail.
You will also find information about general job vacancy sites, work experience and volunteering at:
Many social sciences graduates undertake further study on completion of their first degree and/or after gaining some relevant work experience. Reasons for doing so include wanting to explore an aspect of their studies in more depth, to further or change their career or because a specific postgraduate qualification is either an entry requirement for their chosen career or would be an advantage if entry is competitive.
Generally postgraduate study can open up opportunities to work in higher education and teaching at other levels and in professions related to this area such as social work, social research, health care, counselling, journalism and other media related roles.
Relevant further study options offered elsewhere include the Postgraduate Certificate of Education (PGCE) for primary, secondary and further education teaching, the Masters Degree in Research Methods relevant for a career in social research and a range of social work and health care qualifications, frequently offering an accelerated qualification route for those with a relevant degree.
It is important to research further study options comprehensively by exploring the range of postgraduate courses and research opportunities on offer, and funding possibilities to ensure you make the correct choice, for the right reasons and importantly that you can afford it, as funding for postgraduate study is very different to the undergraduate system.