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What can you do with a social science degree?

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The social sciences make up a broad and complex subject area, focusing on the relationships that exist within our society and exploring how human behaviour is affecting the world around us. Because of this, if you choose to pursue a degree in social science – depending on your course – you could be presented with a wide variety of job opportunities when you graduate where you can put your unique skillset into practice.

If you’re interested in studying or are already studying social sciences but aren’t yet sure which career route you want to take, we’ve compiled a list of seven potential jobs you could go into with a social science degree to give you some inspiration.

Social work students sitting around a table in the Communication Skills Room

1. Social work or community and youth work

If you’re passionate about working with some of the most vulnerable individuals in our communities, then becoming a social worker or youth worker could be a great job for you to pursue with your social sciences degree. Our Social Work courses (which includes Social Work and Community and Youth Work) are ranked 15th in the UK, according to the Complete University Guide 2024.

Youth workers offer support specifically to young people – often disadvantaged older children and teenagers – to enhance their social development, whereas social workers may liaise with a whole host of different people, including the elderly, substance abusers, those with a disability, or the homeless. While the two roles differ in several ways, they’re similar in that they both require excellent communication and interpersonal skills and involve working with a diverse range of people. Find out more about what the role of a social worker involves, and what to expect when you become a community and youth worker.

Hear from one of our BA (Hons) Social Work graduates: Iain Yassin, social worker.

2. Crime and policing

Another popular job route that some of our social sciences graduates go down is to work within the criminal justice system, whether that be the police, the probation service, the prison service, victim support, or another area of the sector. A career in this field is undoubtedly applicable if you’re studying Criminology or one of our Policing degrees, but the transferable skills you’ll gain in critical thinking, research, and problem-solving from some of our other courses will still be relevant should you wish to pursue a crime-related role when you graduate.

Our Crime, Policing, and Investigation courses are part of the School of Social Sciences, and you can read more about career opportunities with one of these degrees.

Hear from one of our BSc (Hons) Criminology graduates: Alastair Scott, police officer.

3. The NHS and other health-related roles

Many of our graduates, particularly those who have studied Health and Social Care, choose to use their social sciences degree in a health-related role. This could be a career within the NHS, local authorities, private organisations, or even schools and colleges, spanning a wide range of professions within areas such as nursing, mental health, domestic abuse, substance abuse, and working with the elderly to name a few.

Our Health and Social Care course provides three different pathways for students to choose from, offering the opportunity to tailor your degree to your own career aims. These include a generic health and social care route, a health and wellbeing route, and a management and leadership route.

Hear from one of our BSc (Hons) Health and Social Care graduates: Lesley McPartlin, health and social care teacher.

Nursing students using the mock children's ward

4. Social research

One of the key skills you’ll gain if you study for one of our social science degrees is research, so if this is an area of your course you’ve particularly enjoyed, you may be considering taking up a career in social research. Whether you go straight into employment after your undergraduate degree or pursue a master's or PhD, there are several options available to you depending on what kind of research you’re interested in.

Carrying out quantitative and qualitative research is a critical part of becoming a social scientist as this can have an important impact on society as a whole. Our academics within the School of Social Science are research-active and during your studying, you can get involved with events and talks held by the Centre for Applied Social Sciences (CASS), so you can keep abreast of any current research on contemporary issues.

Hear from one of our MSc Inequality and Society graduates: Hayley Lennox-Hughes, social researcher.

5. Charity work

Several of the jobs you could get with a social science degree involve helping people in some way, and this genuine desire to offer support to those in need, along with the necessary sociological knowledge gained from undergraduate or postgraduate study, is what draws many people into working in the charity sector. Charity work can be one of the most rewarding careers, and it can also be exciting as it could provide opportunities for you to travel the world.

Past students from some of our Social Sciences courses have gone on to work for charities including Age UK, MIND, Barnardos, Oxfam, and Red Cross, and some graduates have even ended up setting up their own charities.

Hear from one of our BA (Hons) Childhood Studies graduates: Steven Wright, charity worker.

6. Education and children's services

Working with children, especially if you’ve opted to study on our Childhood Studies course, is another common career choice for those with a social science degree. A number of our students follow up their undergraduate degree with a PGCE if they want to go into teaching, but there are other jobs both within education and outside of it which involve working with children that you might wish to consider. This could include children’s health services, social care, childcare, working with children with Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities (SEND), or counselling.

Our undergraduate Childhood Studies degree offers you the chance to take a specific route during your first semester called Early Childhood Graduate Practitioner Competencies. This assures future employers that you have met a wide range of professional skills so is an excellent way to enhance your progression and become a recognised Early Years practitioner.

Hear from one of our BA (Hons) Childhood and Society Studies (Top-Up) graduates: Naomi McCreight, primary school teacher.

Primary school pupils sitting on a classroom floor

7. Working for the government

Having the skills and knowledge acquired from studying for a degree in social sciences could also be valuable if you intend to work for the government, for instance, having a critical understanding of relevant social issues and the ability to analyse data. Working for the local government can present you with a diverse range of job options, plenty of scope for career progression, and structured training and personal development.


Have we proven to you that having a social sciences degree can open doors to a wealth of job prospects? To find out more, visit our course pages.

Published: 12 June 2023