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Psychology and Counselling skills and careers

Opportunities for psychology graduates are so wide ranging that there is potential to find employment across all sectors, including health-related professions.

Skills you can develop

As well as the specific subject knowledge gained from studying for an OU degree, you'll develop many transferable and work-related skills that are highly valued by employers and which will increase your employability.

Your psychology studies will develop your ability to:

  • learn about the fundamental conceptual issues in psychology
  • understand the different ways in which psychological knowledge can be constructed
  • develop a range of research skills
  • interpret, use, evaluate and present evidence and data
  • appreciate how psychologists use evidence derived from research to contribute to debates on matters such as ageing, crime, education, employment, forensic science, mental health and relationships
  • combine your study of psychology with other disciplines, such as philosophy, law, computer science, biology, business, education and health science.

Studying the OU Foundation Degree in Counselling will enable you to develop skills that appeal to employers such as:

  • communication and literacy
  • self-management
  • problem solving.

The professional skills gained by students of counselling that will be transferable to many other roles include the ability to:

  • practise safely and effectively in a recognised model of counselling
  • act in accordance with the relevant legal, ethical and procedural boundaries
  • make professional judgements and interventions
  • reflect on, review and audit your professional practice.

To see specific learning outcomes related to the degrees in this area have a look at OU Courses.

The Student Employability Profiles on the Advance HE website details many skills that employers value. You will also find information about employability skills developed through study of specific degree subjects at What can I do with my degree? on Prospects website.

Also see the Psychology Student Employability Guide, published by the Higher Education Academy Psychology Network, which looks at where psychology graduates work within and outside psychology, emerging areas of work and the job market, and includes activities to help you explore your interests, skills, preferences and values.

The OU Careers and Employability Services define employability as 'A set of capabilities and achievements that support students in developing their careers, raising their aspirations and enhancing their contribution to society'.

Whatever your motivations for study, your goals and career aspirations, you are entitled to supported personal development planning either as an intrinsic part of your programme of study or through signposted optional activities. You can view the full Student Employability Policy Statement on our website.

Having a psychology degree does not mean that you have to go down the conventional route of clinical work. There are more varied exciting possibilities that are opened up to you to take full advantage of what you are interested in and the variety of jobs available

Annette Rauf, Psychologist

Destination statistics

All UK graduates are invited to complete the Destinations of Leavers Survey six months after they graduate. Of the OU Psychology graduates who responded to the latest survey:

  • 82% were in work or combining work and study.
  • 15% were doing further study.
  • Those who had changed employer found employment in mental health organisations, local councils and UK universities, among others.

OU qualifications

Find out more about undergraduate study and postgraduate study in Psychology.

Find out about all undergraduate and postgraduate qualifications at OU Courses.

Last updated 7 months ago