Careers in social sciences for graduates

International students in the library

Social Sciences covers a surprisingly wide range of subject areas. All of those areas deal with the study of society and the relationships among individuals within a society. The Social Sciences include sociology, politics, economics, law, education, business, town planning and more. You’ll have an exciting and varied range of possible career paths open to you following your Social Sciences degree study.

Check out this video with the University of Sheffield International College’s Social Sciences Tutor, Masoud Rajabi. He explains what Social Sciences study involves, what you’ll learn, and how valuable your skills will be to a range of professions once you graduate.

What do Social Sciences graduates do?

If you are thinking of a career in social sciences you need to know exactly what the role of a social scientist involves. As Masoud explains, Social Sciences graduate skills are valued across many industries and professions. They are especially attractive to employers in the business, government and media sectors and will open you up to a variety of social sciences jobs. These skills include the ability to:

  • Research, analyse and evaluate date critically
  • Understand complex issues holistically
  • Evaluate issues on individual, cultural and societal levels
  • Understand the processes of change
  • Understand people, customers, institutions and their relationships
  • Question assumptions and apply logic
  • Make reasoned arguments and communicate concisely

Social sciences careers

As a result of the skills mentioned above, common social sciences graduate jobs include:

  • Business analysts
  • Teachers
  • Legal professionals
  • Researchers
  • Recruitment and management consultants
  • Accountants
  • Town planners
  • Social and community workers
  • Insurance brokers

According to a 2013 Report by the Campaign for Social Science, three and a half years after graduating:

  • The proportion of social science graduates in employment is higher than that of graduates who studied STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) or arts-humanities
  • 7 in 10 social scientists are in ‘professional’ or ‘associate professional and technical’ occupations
  • A greater proportion of social scientists are already ‘managers, directors and senior officials’ than graduates of any other subject group

How a Foundation course can help you get there

For international students, making the transition to UK undergraduate degree study can be challenging.

  • You need to ensure you have the right qualifications that are recognised by British educational institutions
  • You have to meet the required level of English language ability, often by meeting a given IELTS score or equivalent
  • You also need to adjust to the UK’s way of teaching, which may vary quite a lot from the teaching methods you’re used to at home

This is why the University of Sheffield International College offers its Foundation course in Business, Law and Social Sciences. It’s a course designed specifically for international students who want to pursue an undergraduate degree in a Social Sciences subject at a British university. This two- or three-term course is taken before you begin an undergraduate course. It helps international students in a variety of ways:

Complete the Foundation course successfully and you’ll be able to progress to the first year of an undergraduate degree programme at the University of Sheffield, in a relevant Social Sciences subject.

English language skills – ensure that your English language proficiency and IELTS score is up to standard, and increase your confidence through speaking English every day for a whole year before you start your undergraduate studies

Academic knowledge – bridge the gap between overseas qualifications and those required by UK universities, and gain a deeper understanding of your chosen degree subject

UK teaching methods – familiarise yourself with UK university-style teaching, from tutorials to lectures, as well as learning valuable study skills

Time to settle in – it gives you time to find your feet, adjust to UK culture, get to know Sheffield, the university campus and teaching staff, and to make friends in the city before you begin your undergraduate studies, giving you a head start


Why do we study social sciences?

The social sciences are important because they help with every day life. With a social sciences degree you will be able to understand how to analyse the behaviour and motivations of people. This helps us gain a better understanding of how to create a more inclusive and efficient economy and society. 

Is a social sciences degree worth it?

Yes, social sciences degree jobs are plentiful with high earning salaries. Many sectors in the UK want to recruit social sciences graduates as they have the communication and analytical skills that a successful society and economy needs.

What is the foundation course in humanities and social sciences?

The International Foundation Year in Business, Social Sciences and Humanities is a one year course that prepares international students for university study. From this course students will be able to progress to undergraduate degrees in humanities and social sciences at The University of Sheffield.