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What can you do with a psychology degree?

What can you do with a psychology degree?Psychology is the study of human behaviour and how the human mind works. Students will explore the capabilities of the brain, assessing the effects of stress and different aspects of mental health.

Students of psychology can choose their areas of expertise from a wide range of areas, including child psychology, criminal psychology and even sports psychology, and the area that you choose to specialise in could determine what you end up doing after your psychology degree.

Psychology is a very popular subject to study at undergraduate and postgraduate level as it covers a wide area of interest and can lead to careers in both the sciences and the arts.

A psychology degree can lead to careers in fields such as healthcare and education as well as to several other less-obvious but equally as fulfilling career paths. In this article we’re going to explore what you can do with a psychology degree.

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What skills do you learn during a psychology degree?

Psychology students will learn many useful and transferrable skills during their studies. Clinical reasoning is an essential part of a psychology degree and refers to the student’s ability to analyse a situation and work out the best way to approach or resolve it.

Quantitative and qualitative research skills will also be learnt during a psychology degree. Although you don’t need to be a mathematician to study psychology, a good understanding of numeracy is helpful in the statistical analysis that is often necessary during research projects.

Another key aspect of a psychology is understanding data. Psychology students are often surprised to find that they need to study data and statistics as part of their degree, as these skills will help them to interpret vast amounts of information related to human behaviour. Successful psychology students will become adept at understanding data, organising data, describing data and making inferences based on the data they have studied. Having a solid grounding in statistics helps with the data analysis as well as with the other areas of study in psychology.

Communication skills will also be a key element of studying psychology. Students will need the ability to relay essential information to their clients as well as be able to communicate the results of their research to peers and supervisors.

Another invaluable skill that you will learn while studying a psychology degree is how to understand the human psyche, and it is this skill that makes this course an advantage in such a wide range of careers, from the obvious choice such as psychologist, to the less obvious career choices like advertising and teaching.

What careers can you do with a psychology degree?

There are many fulfilling careers you can go onto doing upon successful completion of a psychology degree. Some of these can be directly related to your studies, such as:

  • Psychologist
  • Psychotherapist
  • Counsellor
  • Educational psychologist
  • Social worker

Alternatively, you may choose to go into a field that isn’t directly related to your psychology degree, but that uses skills learnt during your studies, for example:

  • Teacher
  • Human resources manager
  • Advertising executive
  • Media career
  • Business and management

These less obvious careers would all benefit from the people-related skills and data analysis expertise learnt while studying a psychology degree.

Psychology-related careers

Let’s take a look at some of the more obviously psychology-related career paths in greater detail.

Psychologist: a psychologist is a professional who studies mental states and issues of the mind, applying scientific knowledge to help solve their clients’ issues including behavioural, emotional and social problems.

Psychotherapist: a psychotherapist is likely to be a psychologist who has undertaken further training to specialise in psychotherapy. They can help people overcome stress and emotional issues with talking therapies, including cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).

Counsellor: a counsellor will work with clients who are experiencing emotional and psychological difficulties to try and help them overcome their issues and look after their overall wellbeing. Counsellors often specialise in a specific area such as addiction or bereavement.

Educational psychologist: an educational psychologist will be focussed on the behaviour and emotional wellbeing of children, often working within local authorities to help treat children experiencing difficulties.

Social worker: social workers help vulnerable people and those in need deal with their problems and overcome issues, often related with their immediate environment and surrounding family and community. Social workers often support families with a wide range of issues, such as abuse, addiction or disabilities, with the goal of helping them achieve independence.

Many of these careers will require a postgraduate qualification, for example a masters in psychology, as well as the degree in psychology, so make sure you are able to undertake this if any of these careers appeal to you.

Careers not directly related to psychology

What about the careers that can be helped with a psychology degree, despite not being directly related to the area of study? Here we take a brief look at how a degree in psychology can be beneficial to some of these.

Teacher: psychology degrees often include modules on child psychology and family therapies, a knowledge of which would stand you in good stead as a teacher. Plus, being able to understand and help your fellow teachers is also extremely beneficial as you climb the career ladder.

Human resources manager: having a good understanding of people and how minds work is a great skill for HR managers and those looking to work in communications at large organisations

Advertising executive: a knowledge of the human psyche and knowing what makes people tick is a great asset to those wanting to work in the world of advertising.

Media career: understanding the psychology behind people’s behaviour can be very beneficial for those seeking success in a career in the media.

Business and management: the data and statistical analytical skills that are learnt whilst studying psychology degree can be very helpful in business and management careers.

What can you do with a psychology degree?

Academic path after completing a psychology degree

Psychology students often decide they want to continue studying after they finish their psychology degree. Psychology masters courses can be either a Master of Arts (MA) or a Master of Science (MSc). An MA in psychology is likely to focus on the humanities and arts aspects of psychology, whereas an MSc will probably involve the more scientific aspects of the topic and research.

A masters in psychology will usually take one year of full-time study or two years of part-time study. There are also some good online study options available.

An MPhil in psychology is a much more research-based masters option, comprising of one-year, full-time research that is usually followed by an oral examination on the research project (viva).

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

Outcomes of psychology graduates

Psychology graduates can go on to enjoy a wide variety of different careers, courses and activities. This table shows the results of a recent survey of psychology graduates from the academic year 2019/20 by HESA (Higher Education Statistics Agency).

Graduate outcome


Full-time employment


Part-time employment


Unknown pattern of employment


Voluntary or unpaid work


Employment and further study


Full-time further study


Part-time further study


Unknown pattern for further study


Other, including travelling, caring for someone, retirement


Unemployed and due to start work


Unemployed and due to start further study





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Discover a range of psychology courses at Postgrad. We list full-time, part-time and online course options from a variety of universities.

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