Monday, 14 July 2014

Degree Majors and Career Options - Part 3


One of the factor must be considered when choosing a degree major is career options. We have put together a series of guides for confused graduates seeking career ideas and options. In them we outline some key skills that are gained in each degree, and what you can do with them.

11. What can I do with a modern languages degree?

Many language students simply aren’t aware of the jobs they could do. Their linguistic abilities can sometimes be a barrier to identifying their other skills.

This guide should help you think about the skills you have, the jobs they can be applied to, and the options available.

Here are some of the skills you should have acquired:

  • reading, writing and speaking foreign languages
  • gathering, assessing and interpreting information
  • leading and participating in discussions and groups
  • conveying meaning precisely
  • presentation
  • an eye for detail
  • responding to others – from discussions in oral classes
  • attention to detail
  • boost in personal confidence and independence
  • listening to other people

The obvious careers for languages students and graduates are as interpreters and translators. Careers in the diplomatic service and telecommunications also often require an aptitude for languages.

Language students’ interest in their degree subject often goes beyond a simple desire to understand the language and includes a passion for foreign cultures as well. This could be a great advantage in the business world. Many blue-chip multinational recruiters want employees who have a global outlook and are sensitive to cultural differences.

With additional training you could also consider a career in one of these areas:

  • teaching
  • tourism
  • business
  • politics
  • public relations
  • human resources
  • distribution or logistics management
  • marketing
  • publishing
  • journalism
  • accounting
  • law


12. What can I do with a philosophy degree?

If you have just graduated from a philosophy course you may be coming to terms with the realisation that ‘professional philosopher’ jobs are all but non-existent. So if you are wondering exactly what graduate job to look for, look no further.

Philosophy students tend to have an inquisitive nature, and are willing to question just about anything and everything.

They are naturally suited to careers in research or politics. Plenty of philosophy graduates go on to work with charities, and publishing is also a popular choice.

This guide should help you think about the skills you have, the jobs they can be applied to, and the options available.

You will have the following skills and abilities:

  • logical and analytical thinking and reasoning
  • problem solving
  • written and oral communication – presentation of ideas and information
  • able to interpret, condense and clarify information
  • a significant amount of creativity
  • able to formulate your own opinions and defend them in debate
  • curiosity, and lateral thinking
  • the ability to interpret and analyse a variety of different information
  • a willingness to debate any point

Philosophy students are naturally suited to careers in research or politics. Plenty of philosophy graduates go on to work with charities, and publishing is also a popular choice.

With some further training, philosophy graduates would also be appropriate for careers in:

  • journalism
  • law
  • social services
  • business
  • education
  • IT
  • citizens’ advice
  • Civil Service

13. What can I do with a politics degree?

If you’ve come to the end of your politics degree but decided that you don’t want a graduate career in government, you may be wondering ‘what are my options?’ If this is the case then it may help you to look over the following guide.

Politics students have a bunch of skills that can very useful to future employers. They are very enthusiastic about their subject, opinionated and typically hardworking. The seminar room is often a very lively place.

The kind of skills you will have developed include:

  • gathering information, assessing and interpreting it
  • leading and participating in discussions and groups
  • organising workloads and working to deadlines
  • developing opinions and ideas
  • essay writing, presentation and analytical skills
  • reading pages of text and picking out the essential points
  • stating a case
  • solving problems
  • assimilating facts
  • expressing yourself clearly (certainly in writing, and probably in person too)

Fresh out of University, there are plenty of options – public services, the Civil Service and local government, non-governmental organisation (NGO) work, and research.

Even with a minimum amount of training, many organisations are looking for enthusiastic graduates fresh from university. Potential career paths could include:

  • banking
  • business
  • journalism
  • chartered accountant
  • technical writer
  • industrial buyer retail buyer
  • distribution or logistics manager
  • marketing executive
  • solicitor

14. What can I do with a psychology degree?

Psychology graduates who want to pursue careers as psychologists are likely to need to go on to further study, as the jobs available typically require a much higher level of qualification than a first degree. However, they also have plenty of other career options and are naturals in a number of areas.

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 tend to have good social skills and be 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.

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.

With additional training you could also 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.

15. What can I do with a physics degree?

Physics students are trained to analyse evidence and handle equations, and this way of thinking can be applied to many job roles. The ability to do a sanity check on results is something very important that physics students learn during university.

The greatest benefit about a physics degree is the employability and the wide range of potential career directions afterwards. Physics grads are a blank canvas for employers to mould!

This guide should help you think about the skills you have, the jobs they can be applied to, and the options available.

Skills you should have picked up include:

  • communication and presentation skills
  • computational and data-processing skills
  • data analysis using a range of appropriate statistical methods and packages
  • identify and predict trends and patterns
  • problem solving skills
  • report writing
  • research skills.
Obvious careers for physicists that want to start now include working for research companies like DSTL or consultancies like Atkins. These employers generally use on the job training and take on many graduates each year.

Other jobs physics graduates go into include finance and IT. The creation of models or running of analysis are also big employers of physics graduates. Associated roles can include anything from risk analysis to weather forecasting.

Other solid careers for physics graduates include:

  • aerospace engineering
  • energy and power provision
  • environmental consultancy
  • manufacturing (including computers, electronics, medical equipment)
  • medical technologies
  • patent work
  • research and development
  • scientific publishing
  • telecommunications
  • water and environmental control.
Next - Part 4 (Architecture, Medicine & Nursing, Sociology, IT and Law) 

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