Psychology is the study of human behaviour, thoughts and emotions. It examines what drives us – such as physiology, learning, genes, environment, social groups, individual differences in personality and motivation, so provides a useful foundation for your future career.

Psychology graduates go on to work in a wide range of professions in fields such as education, health, social care and management with a minority (15-20% according to BPS) eventually becoming chartered psychologists. 62% of 2014 Psychology graduates throughout the UK were in employment after six months, with 16% in further study and 9% combining work with study (Source: What do graduates do? HECSU).

Relevant work experience is crucial for career options related to psychology so consider how you can gain this throughout your degree. Some Psychology graduates also work in retail, hospitality or clerical roles following graduation, whilst further building up their experience in other areas.

Your degree is unique to you, due to your own experiences and combination of modules and research projects. Take time to consider what you have personally gained from your degree and how you have developed as a person. A graduate in Psychology from Sheffield Hallam will typically possess:

  • Research skills - competence in both qualitative and quantitative research, data collection ability, using primary and secondary sources is highly valued by employers 
  • Work experience - your course will include an element of work experience such as a placement or project
  • Analysis skills - throughout your degree a range of analysis will have been used including use of psychological measures, hypothesis testing,  evidence based reasoning, statistical analysis and qualitative analysis
  • Knowledge and understanding - depending on modules chosen this could include human behaviour, mental health conditions, learning disabilities, child development and a range of other areas 
  • Effective communication skills - developed through essays, reports writing, presentations, work based projects and group work. You may also have developed counselling skills which are beneficial when working with clients or patients. 
  • IT skills - consider the computer packages used throughout your degree including use of SPSS, Microsoft Word and PowerPoint
  • Psychological literacy - this concept refers to the way the study of psychology affects your actions and view of the world including scientific thinking, promoting equality and diversity, adapting your communication style to different audiences and acting ethically (McGovern 2010)
  • British Psychological Society accreditation - demonstrating a breadth of knowledge across areas of Psychology and an essential starting point for becoming a chartered psychologist. (Criminology & Psychology students and Education Studies, Psychology & Counselling students, must undertake a conversion course if they wish to gain this accreditation)

Career Areas

A broad range of possible career options are open to Psychology graduates. Some of the most common roles are listed below, categorised in sectors but this is just a starting point. You can find detailed job profiles using the links below and for other job areas on Prospects or National Careers Service

You may find this guide on Psychology Career options from the University of Manchester Careers service helpful.

Education and research: Your understanding of developmental psychology, special educational needs and high level communication skills are beneficial in this sector. You may also wish to continue your research within psychology through a PhD or research assistant position. With relevant experience straight from your degree you could work in educational support roles such as learning mentor or pastoral support officer or begin training as a primary school teacher or further education lecturer. With substantial further study you could become an educational psychologist or higher education lecturer.

Health: There are lots of opportunities for Psychology graduates within the NHS and private healthcare organisations utilising your understanding of mental and physical health issues and counselling skills. With relevant experience you could enter roles such as mental health support worker, assistant psychologist, health trainer or trainee psychological wellbeing practitioner. With further training you could qualify in a healthcare profession such as mental health nursing or psychotherapy or study towards chartership as a clinical psychologist, health psychologist or sport and exercise psychologist

Social Care: The study of Psychology enables you to develop an understanding of the needs of vulnerable people including individuals with learning difficulties, mental health problems, elderly people and ex-offenders within our society. With further training you could qualify as a youth worker, social worker, forensic psychologist or counsellor. Straight from your degree or to build your experience, possible roles include family support worker, housing officer or project worker. 

Charity/ voluntary sector: Roles within health and social care, such as those listed above, are increasingly also found within the charity sector. Volunteering in addition to your degree is the most common way to enter this sector and build relevant contacts. You could also be involved in the running of the organisation through roles such as  charity officer, fundraiser or volunteer coordinator.

Business: Many businesses offer positions which accept applicants from any degree including graduate schemes in large companies which aim to attract candidates who can show leadership potential. Your research skills could be particularly useful for positions such as marketing executive or market researcher, whilst human resources is also a popular choice for Psychology graduates. If you are interested in how psychological knowledge and practice can improve the world of work, you could consider training to become an occupational psychologist.

Destinations of Sheffield Hallam BSc Psychology students include:

  • Mental Health Recovery Worker at Rethink
  • Clinic Manager at Mind
  • Assistant Psychologist at Sheffield Children's Foundation Trust
  • PR Assistant at Source and Symmetry
  • Mental Health Advocacy Worker at Building Community Advocacy
  • Research Assistant at Manchester University
  • Data Analyst at Boots
  • Business consultant at Charlton Morris
  • Community intervention worker at Community Links

Destinations of Sheffield Hallam postgraduate Psychology students include:

  • Programme Specialist (Applied Behaviour Analyst) at Autism Partnership UK
  • Trainee Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner at NHS
  • Assistant Psychologist at Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Trust
  • Trainee Clinical Psychologist with University of Sheffield
  • Operational Scientist at Cambridge Cognition

See Finding and applying for jobs related to Psychology for advice on building relevant work experience and targeting your job search.


Last modified: 
Wednesday, April 4, 2018 - 14:36