Career Opportunities with a Social Studies Degree

Similarly to any degree course that falls into the Humanities or Social Science category your degree in Social Studies won’t prepare you for any specific career like a more vocational degree would.

However, don’t think that this means your career prospects are bad. Due to the broad range of modules, topics, and subjects covered during your degree you’ll be equipped with a wide variety of skills that many employers will value.

For example, Social Studies graduates that we’ve spoken to have gone on to work in every sector from finance and economics to teaching and journalism and everything in between.

Here’s more about the career opportunities with a Social Studies degree:

What skills will I gain during my degree?

We’ve talked about all these transferrable skills you’ll gain during your degree but specifically do we mean?

Well, here are just some of the skills you’ll develop by studying Social Studies:

  • Written and oral communication skills
  • Team work skills
  • Research, analysis, and data presentation skills

All of these skills are highly sought after by employers in any industry so you won’t be limited when it comes to looking for jobs after graduation. Careers in law, politics, local government, and the media are all viable options for Social Studies graduates.

Common career options for Social Studies graduates

Social work

Statistically, and probably unsurprisingly, the majority of Social Studies graduates go on to work in the broad field known as “social work”.

There are a variety of roles available within this field but they all have the similar goal of trying to improve the lives of the people they come in contact with that are considered in some way disadvantaged or vulnerable.

Employers are typically the government, local authorities, community groups, and non-profit organisations. Depending on your career choices you could find yourself working with adults, children and young people, or a combination of the two.

Key issues faced by those in social work jobs include substance abuse, alcohol abuse, mental health problems, homelessness, unemployment, and physical and/or learning disabilities.


Another popular career option for Social Studies graduates is to complete some further education and come a counsellor.

Many counsellors specialise in helping their patients with a specific issue – for example, relationship counselling or addiction counselling – and may work with patients on a one-to-one basis or group basis.

Similar to social work careers typical employers of counsellors are the government, local authorities, and charities. You may also find work with healthcare providers, educational organisations, or run your own private practice.

Prison services and probation

As part of your Social Studies degree you’ll look at the legal system and ask important questions about crime and punishment.

If you have a particular interest in this area then a career in the probation or prison service might appeal to you. Roles could be administrative or you could be working in direct contact with offenders and those on probation.

For example, prison officers work directly with prison inhabitants supervising their daily activities whilst probation officers work with offenders that are serving non-custodial sentences or have recently been released from prison.

Both roles will involve needing to keep thorough records, writing reports about your work, assessing offenders for their reoffending risk, and could also involve providing training, advice, and guidance to the offenders you work with.

Community development

This is similar to jobs in social work but you’ll be dealing with the community on a larger scale rather than on an individual or family basis.

Roles in community development have the overall goal of improving the lives of a larger group, sometimes within a specific geographical area or people who have specific needs.

This could involve running projects or activities that make positive changes to the people that take part and to the community as a whole.

For example, projects could focus on issues within the community such as unemployment, racial tension, access to resources, or physical fitness and nutrition.

On a day to day basis your tasks could include fundraising and marketing, dealing with the media, managing a budget for the project, managing a taskforce, organising events, providing training and guidance, mediating between social groups, reporting on your activities to various stakeholders and other interested parties.