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Posted April 3, 2023

What Can You Do With A Social Sciences Degree?

What can you do with a social science degree?

The social sciences examine different aspects of society, exploring how people behave, interact and influence their society, country and the world around them.

The term 'social sciences' covers a wide variety of subjects, including sociology, anthropology, geography, history, law and psychology. By studying one of the social sciences, students can find out how society works and may be able to go on to improve aspects of life at a societal, community and individual level.

Social science students will learn a wide variety of transferable skills while studying a social science masters degree including communication, analytical, research, listening, observational and problem-solving skills. As a result of this, studying a social science subject at postgraduate level can open up a lot of career opportunities as well as the chance to go onto further study and academic research.

Skills you’ll develop

Not only are the subjects within the social sciences fascinating areas of study, but they are also a great way to gain essential skills to help further your career and future opportunities. Let’s take a look at these skills in further detail.

Research skills – research will play a big part of your social science masters degree, and being able to use different sources of information to conduct this research is a useful skill in a range of careers including the legal profession, research assistant and further academic study. Social science students are likely to use both qualitative and quantitative research methods when writing their dissertation or thesis.

Communication skills – studying a masters in social sciences will involve doing presentations about the results of your research. Learning how to present your findings and successfully communicate your point to others is a great skill for future post-social science degree jobs. Residing in student housing communities fosters communication with individuals from diverse cultural backgrounds, thereby enhancing students' confidence levels. Being able to present details of a new company policy to a team in the workplace or confidently leading a board meeting, is a great advantage in numerous careers including HR, banking, teaching and hospitality.

Analytical skills – analytical skills give students the ability to draw conclusions from various pieces of information when undertaking their research. By studying the social sciences, students will become proficient in analysing different sources of information and data, for example numerical data, surveys and written sources and survey results. These skills can be brought to jobs in business and finance, NGOs, the charity sector, and a variety of other careers

Observational skills – these are the ability to observe what’s going on in the world around us and communicate findings and issues effectively. To effectively utilise observational skills, you will use all their senses to grasp a situation and rectify any issues. Communication also plays a strong part. Employers are always keen to hire people with good observational skills, and they are particularly useful in the healthcare industry, teaching and other public sector work.

Problem-solving skills – problem-solving skills are a great way to learn how to cope with a multitude of different situations, both professionally and in everyday life. Perfect for those wanting to go into a managerial position or anywhere where teamwork is an important part of the career.

Critical-thinking skills – critical-thinking brings together many of the other learned skills including research, analytical and observational skills. Students with accomplished critical-thinking skills will discover the best information and most reliable data sources, to identify trends and patterns. These skills are invaluable in any workplace but will also be invaluable for those who want to move onto further study and academic research.

What can you do with a social science degree?

Social science career paths

Studying one of the social sciences can lead to a wide range of interesting career paths depending on what social science you specialise in.

Due to the wide range of skills that are developed on a postgraduate degree, simply gaining the qualification could lead to excellent career opportunities in jobs that are not necessarily related to your area of study, for example in HR or social work. Meanwhile, other career opportunities will be slightly more obvious progressions from the masters program, for example becoming a psychologist after studying a psychology degree, or going into local government after studying a politics degree.

Here we will look at some of the career options for social science graduates in greater detail.

Jobs directly related to a social science degree

Psychologist and counsellor

If you want a career as a psychologist or counsellor, a postgraduate program in psychology is essential. Key research skills and knowledge of the workings of the human mind are both necessary for success in this field – and the opportunities for employment in the field of psychology are vast – from working as a psychologist or counsellor in the NHS, to supporting employee wellbeing in small businesses or large corporations. When studying a psychology masters, opting for a specialist program ­– for example sports psychology – could further target a chosen career, and after graduation you could work as a sports psychologist for a professional team.

Find a masters in psychology.

Lawyer and solicitor

A career in law requires a legal academic background and a masters degree in law is a good place to start. Studying law at this level – followed by the successful completion of the SQE (Solicitors Qualifying Examination) – is the best way to become a solicitor in England and Wales.

Find a masters in law.

Local government and politics

By studying a masters degree in politics you will gain a range of skills to take you into local government and political roles. There are a variety of political career paths to choose from, including policy analyst, political consultant, journalist and more. Who knows? Maybe you could even end up helping to run the country in the future!

Find a masters in politics.

Teaching and education

A masters in education is a great way to advance in a teaching career, in fact some positions in the education industry will demand this level of specialised knowledge. This masters degree will equip students to lead, consult, formulate policies, administer and teach.

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Indirectly related social science degree jobs

Social work

Studying any of the social sciences would provide essential skills to advance a career in social work – such as observational skills, critical-thinking skills and communication skills. Some masters subjects – for example sociology – could also provide relevant academic knowledge and context to further assist a career in social work.

Find a masters in sociology.

Banking and finance

If you want to work in The City, a masters in the social sciences will help you develop essential skills – such as problem-solving skills, communication skills and analytical skills – that will help you climb the corporate ladder. Some of the disciplines will give you even more background information and expertise to help advance your career, for example economics.

Find a masters in economics.

Advertising and marketing

The transferable skills learnt while studying a masters will be invaluable to a decent career in advertising and marketing where presentations and communication will play a key role in your success. The subjects covered in some of the social sciences – for example media studies or history – could also provide you with expertise in topics that could also prove helpful in this career choice.

Find a masters in media studies.

What do social science graduates go on to do?

As revealed in a recent HESA’s Graduate Outcomes Destinations survey, social science graduates are very employable. This survey covered graduates in geography, law, politics, psychology and sociology, and found that 15 months after graduation, the majority of graduates from these social sciences were working, studying or doing a combination of both.

This table illustrates the percentage of graduates from each of these social sciences going into various different careers after their graduation.







Art, design & media professionals






Business, HR & finance professionals






Education professionals






Engineering & building professionals






Health professionals






IT professionals






Legal, social & welfare professionals












Marketing, PR & sales professionals






Science professionals






Other professionals






Childcare, health & education






Clerical & secretarial






Retail & hospitality






Skilled trades






Other occupations







Out of the social sciences investigated by the HESA survey, geography graduates had the highest full-time employment rates of 52.5%, followed by sociology with 50.4%, politics (49.1%), psychology (45.4%) and law at 44.6%.

However, the social sciences with the lower number of full-time employment higher part-time employment and studying numbers. With law and psychology graduates tending to gravitate towards social science jobs that are more closely aligned with their masters subject, it’s no surprise that they often require more study to achieve their career goals.

Further study in social science

Going on to further study is a popular choice for social science graduates. As we have seen, careers in social science-related fields, such as law and psychology, often require a higher level of study, including professional qualifications.

When compared to the other areas of study covered in the HESA Graduate Outcomes survey – business, creative arts, technology, humanities and science – all of the social science subjects had a higher than average further study rate, with law and psychology graduates being the most likely graduates to be in further study (28.6% and 26.9% respectively).

Find a social science masters degree.

What can you do with a social sciences degree?

Value of postgraduate study

Whatever career you are considering, there are many advantages to undertaking postgraduate study in the social sciences. But what are the PG study options?

Types of postgraduate study

Social science students often decide they want to continue studying after they finish their social science degree, particularly if they are studying one of the more vocational courses, like psychology.

Postgraduate courses come in various forms – ranging from postgraduate diplomas and postgraduate certificates to masters courses and PhDs.

Postgraduate diplomas and postgraduate certificates are shorter alternatives to masters degrees, making them a popular choice amongst those looking to get a postgraduate qualification in a shorter amount of time. They both offer the same level of study as a masters degree but require fewer credits and less study time to complete.

Masters degrees in the socials sciences can be either a Master of Arts (MA) or a Master of Science (MSc). An MA is likely to focus on the humanities and arts aspects of the topic, whereas an MSc will explore the more scientific aspects of the topic and research. It’s important to check the content of you masters degree and make sure you choose the right one for your needs, especially if the qualification is necessary for your career progression. A masters in will usually take one year of full-time study or two years of part-time study. There are also good online study options available.

For those interested in studying a social science subject at an even higher level, it is also possible to study a PhD in this field – this will take a minimum of three years of full-time study or up to six years part time.

When studying a social science subject at postgraduate level it doesn’t necessarily need to be the same subject as the one that was studied at undergraduate level. For example, if you studied a bachelors degree in modern history you could go on to study a masters degree in politics.

Part-time and online study

Postgraduate courses in the social sciences can be studied part time and online. These options are worth considering if you have other commitments such as family or a career, that you also need to fit in around your studies.

Part-time study – a part-time masters degree usually takes two years to complete. The pace of learning will be slower and easier to cope with and could be a good choice for those who have been out of the education system for a while.

Online study – there are increasing online study options available for all courses, including the social sciences. Online study can often be done on a flexible basis, meaning the student can watch their lectures and submit their work in the evenings and at weekends – ideal for those who have to work alongside their studies.

Funding and scholarships

Funding your postgraduate program can seem overwhelming but there is plenty of financial help available if you look in the right place. Research online and see if your institution offers any suitable scholarships or bursaries in your area of interest or for your specific circumstances. Plus, once you have been accepted onto a postgraduate program you will be automatically eligible to apply for one of our Postgrad Solutions Study Bursaries worth £500 each.

Find out more about funding your social science masters.

Search postgraduate courses

As you can see, there are numerous options when it comes to studying social science at postgraduate level. Use our course search to narrow down your choices and find your ideal course.

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There are so many things you can do with a social sciences degree – the possibilities are practically endless! From becoming a teacher or heading up a hedge fund to social work or HR – not to mention continuing in academia with fascinating research projects. Whatever you want to do in your life, a social sciences degree could be what you need to help you achieve your goals.

amber student accommodationamber is one of many potential private accommodation options for international postgraduate students. Other private student accommodation options are available and advises you to research all your options thoroughly before making such a commitment. Postgrad Solutions accepts no responsibility for your choice of student accommodation and does not endorse or support amber.

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What Can You Do With A History Degree?

What Can You Do With A Psychology Degree?

What Is Political Science?

What To Do After University

Postgrad Solutions Study Bursaries


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