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What can I do with my degree?: Sociology

The skills and knowledge you develop studying sociology often focus on the human activities and relationships that connect individuals, groups and institutions, and relate to a wide variety of careers...

Job options

Jobs directly related to your degree include:

Jobs where your degree would be useful include:

Remember that many employers accept applications from graduates with any degree subject, so don't restrict your thinking to the jobs listed here. To find out what jobs would suit you, login to My Prospects.

Work experience

Practical skills and work experience may be required depending on the career you choose. For some posts, a postgraduate qualification is needed.

Part-time and voluntary opportunities can be combined with your course or job in order to gain experience. These include opportunities in schools, community education and social work departments or with groups including young people, victims of crime or homeless people.

Have a look at the British Sociological Association  and think about the group or environment you are interested in. Narrowing down your preferences allows you to focus your approach to specific employers.

Securing work after your degree with a relevant employer in a temporary post or in an introductory role is worth considering in the short term in order to gain experience and knowledge of the job. It could also open up vacancies that are only advertised to existing staff.

Search for placements and find out more about work experience and internships.

Typical employers

While many sociology graduates enter work in the public sector in a social or welfare role, others go into a variety of jobs throughout the public and private sector. Some employers include local and central government, industry, commerce, the NHS, education authorities, further and higher education, and charitable, counselling and voluntary organisations.

Opportunities also exist in the Civil Service and graduate management training schemes. Sociology graduates work with a varied and diverse client group.

Find information on employers in teaching and education, healthcarepublic services and administrationsocial care and other job sectors.

Skills for your CV

Skills gained as a sociology graduate include:

  • appreciating the complexity and diversity of social situations;
  • applying sociological theory to society's organisations, including schools, hospitals and offices;
  • researching, judging and evaluating complex information;
  • making reasoned arguments;
  • strong IT skills;
  • knowledge and understanding of research methods, analysis and statistical techniques;
  • developing opinions and new ideas on societal issues;
  • working collaboratively;
  • the ability to understand, scrutinise and re-assess common perceptions of the social world;
  • relating sociological knowledge to social, public and civic policy;
  • organising work and meeting deadlines.

Further study

For students considering further study, there are generally two types. For some careers areas, it is necessary to undertake a vocational postgraduate qualification. Examples include teaching, social work, law, housing, counselling, community education, information management, careers guidance and human resource management.

However, for those who wish to continue to study sociology or related subjects, e.g. social policy or social research, it is also possible to study for a Masters degree (either via a taught course or a research programme) with the possibility of then studying towards a PhD.

For more information on study interests and to find a course that interests you, see postgraduate study in the UK and search postgraduate courses.

What do sociology graduates do?

Popular areas of work for sociology graduates include welfare and housing, HR and industrial relations, marketing, and youth and community.

Graduate destinations for sociology
Destinations Percentage
Employed 68.1%
Further study 12.1%
Working and studying 5.8%
Unemployed 8.9%
Other 5.1%
Types of work entered in the UK
Retail, catering and bar work 23.7%
Secretarial and numerical clerks 15.8%
Caring and education work 10.3%
Legal, social and welfare 10%
Other 40.2%

For a detailed breakdown of what sociology graduates are doing six months after graduation, see What Do Graduates Do?  

Graduate destinations data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency.

Written by AGCAS editors
February 2013

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