What can I do with a psychology degree?

What can I do with a psychology degree?

Psychology graduates who want to practise as psychologists are likely to need to go on to further study. However, they also have plenty of other career options.

Psychology students are good all-rounders. They tend to be inquisitive and analytical, and are happy tackling both ‘big picture’ issues and fine detail. They typically have good social skills and are comfortable dealing with others. This guide should help you think about the skills you have, the jobs they can be applied to, and the options available.

If you want to become a clinical psychologist after completing your psychology degree, you will need to undertake further study. Other popular routes for psychology graduates include teaching and public sector careers such as joining the police force.

Here are some of the skills you should have acquired:

  • communication skills (both written and oral)
  • research skills
  • analytical, data collection and problem-solving skills
  • report writing
  • interpreting and evaluating events, information and ideas
  • time management and organisational skills
  • adaptability
  • open-mindedness.

Psychology graduates excel in jobs that require them to engage with a range of complex issues and develop a strong understanding of areas that may be new to them in a relatively short space of time. These careers include law and management consulting.

You could consider a career in one of these areas:

  • advertising/marketing
  • banking and insurance
  • business management
  • charity work
  • local government
  • market research
  • media
  • administration, for example as a personal assistant
  • politics
  • retail and sales
  • survey writing
  • teaching
  • therapy
  • tourism.

What do psychology graduates go on to do?

Here’s what psychology graduates who finished their degrees in 2016 were doing six months after graduating, according to the What do graduates do? report published in 2017.

Destination Percentage
Full-time employment in the UK 41.7
Part-time employment in the UK 15.9
Working overseas 1.4
Working and studying 9.9
Further study 20.7
Unemployed 5.0
Other 5.5

Source: What do graduates do? 2017

Key areas of employment for fresh psychology graduates

These are the top five areas of work taken up by 2016 psychology graduates six months after graduation, according to the 2017 What do graduates do? report.

Areas of employment Percentage
Childcare, health and education occupations 16.2
Retail, catering, waiting and bar staff 15.8
Legal, social and welfare professionals 14.0
Clerical, secretarial and numerical clerks 10.2
Business, HR and finance professionals 8.4

Source: What do graduates do? 2017

But psychologists need not be confined to these areas. There are plenty of celebrities who have taken their degrees elsewhere:

  • Natalie Portman – has been starring in films since she was a teenager, but managed to complete her degree alongside her acting career.
  • Jessica Ennis-Hill – competed in athletics events including the Commonwealth Games and British Championships while studying at the University of Sheffield.
  • Lil Wayne – the rapper enrolled on the University of Phoenix’s online psychology course after beginning his musical career.