What to do with a psychology degree

Ellie Hilborne on 7 March 2016
Human head comprised of cogs

Careers in Psychology are diverse and a psychology degree opens the door to a wide range of jobs.

Put simply, psychology is the scientific study of human mind and behaviour and in recent years its popularity as a degree subject has increased. Whether you’re a prospective or a current psychology student it’s important to research the career options available to you when you graduate. Finding out what job you are most suited to depending on your skills and areas of interest is key. This article with help answer the question: What can I do with a psychology degree?

Skills acquired by psych grads

Psychology degrees in the UK usually consist of core modules such as biological psychology and research methods in order for them to be accredited by the BPS (British Psychological Association). This makes students eligible for graduate BPS membership which is necessary to become a chartered psychologist.

The good news is that these compulsory modules also provide you with a broad knowledge and skillset which employers love! By studying psychology you will gain sought-after skills which will enhance your CV and prepare you for a variety of jobs. These skills include:

  • Critical thinking & problem solving
  • Goal setting & time management
  • Knowledge of statistical analysis
  • Research experience, data collection & analysis
  • Teamwork & leadership
  • Understanding of human behaviour
  • Written and verbal communication

These skills are highly transferable and valued by employers. A minor caveat of this is that it can be difficult to narrow down the options available to you. It’s worth exploring all of your options in order to discover areas of particular interest.

What can you do with a psychology degree?

With these skills under your belt, you’ll be amazed at the number of routes you can take, the most obvious being staying within the field. Whilst students’ initial motivation to study the course tends to be to reach the end goal of a career in psychology, the majority of psychology graduates find work in other sectors. Therefore the question ‘What can you do with a psychology degree?’ is one with multiple answers. A good place to start is by focusing on jobs directly linked to the degree.

Jobs in psychology

Careers in psychology are challenging. They are extremely competitive and relevant work experience is required to make your application stand out. That being said, pursuing a career in psychology is a popular choice because it can have huge benefits on people’s lives in areas from education to health.

Jobs directly related to a psychology degree involve further study (usually a master's and PhD) and training in order to become a charted psychologist.

Types of psychologists include:

  • Clinical Psychologist
  • Counselling Psychologist
  • Forensic Psychologist
  • Occupational Psychologist
  • Sports and Exercise Psychologist

If you want to work in psychology but are looking to avoid postgraduate study alternatives include roles in psychotherapy, counselling and social work. A psychology degree acts as a stepping stone towards different specialisms. For more information on careers in psychology and the qualifications and experience required visit the BPS website here.

Jobs where a psychology degree is useful

As previously mentioned, having an undergraduate degree in psychology doesn’t mean you have to work in the field. There is a consensus among employers that the discipline of psychology prepares graduates for multiple job opportunities. Here are some sectors you could work in:

  • Business and Management
  • Careers Advisor
  • Human Resources
  • Marketing & Advertising
  • Market Research
  • Recruitment

An advantage of pursuing a career in one of the above areas is that further study is less likely to be a prerequisite and entry-level jobs are readily advertised.

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Ellie Hilborne
Ellie Hilborne on 7 March 2016