What can I do with a psychology degree?
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.
Skills for your CV
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
Job roles and career areas you could work in
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.
Depending on the career you choose, you may need further qualifications or training after you graduate. You could consider the following job roles:
- advertising copywriter
- advice worker
- charities administrator
- child psychotherapist
- government research officer
- health service manager
- human resources officer
- insurance risk surveyor
- insurance underwriter
- market research executive
- mental health nurse
- psychologist (clinical)
- psychologist (educational)
- retail banker
- speech and language therapist
- sports coach
- teacher (secondary)
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.
|Full-time employment in the UK||41.7|
|Part-time employment in the UK||15.9|
|Working and studying||9.9|
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
Which careers attract psychology students?
Charity and not-for-profit was the most popular career choice for students of psychology identified by a 2018 survey of more than 60,000 undergraduates carried out by trendence UK, a partner of TARGETjobs’ parent company GTI. Just over a tenth (11.3%) of psychology students who participated in the survey said they were interested in this area. The most popular careers for students of psychology were as follows:
|Charity and not-for-profit||11.3% expressed an interest|
|Law - barristers||6.6|
|Scientific research; hospitality, leisure and tourism||5.1|
Source: trendence UK Graduate Survey 2018
Famous people with psychology degrees
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.