Use your subject


Think about what 'using your subject' means to you and what you're really looking for. Do you want to apply your subject-specific knowledge or skills to the real world? Or maybe you want to continue to practice and develop these skills? Maybe it's a broader interest in your subject that you want to keep alive by working in a relevant type of organisation?

As a start, use the resources below to create your own list of career ideas to research.

Remember that the vast majority of graduate jobs are open to graduates of any subject.

  • Look at what alumni from your department have done using the DLHE data we collect and through the University of Sheffield alumni page on LinkedIn.
  • Search for and contact alumni in your subject through our Graduate case studies database.
  • Browse the career ideas for Geography graduates on Prospects and Targetjobs but keep in mind that these are not a comprehensive list of all the careers related to your subject.
  • Search the Royal Geographical Society for more information and careers resources related to your subject.
  • Brainstorm ideas and do some initial investigation to find out about research, organisations, start-ups, government bodies and freelancers connected to your subject.

Some career options

Our information resources - Occupations section is a good place to start to explore the following occupational areas. However you are not restricted to these and you should also consider any other additional factors which are important to you for your future career using our Understand yourself and your options section.


Involved in all aspects of the production of maps for everyday use by individuals, to large-scale industrial development.

Geographical information systems (GIS) and digital-mapping techniques now dominate the role, although it is also necessary to check what the clients' requirements are and to work with external contacts, such as surveyors and designers, for additional support and information.

Use our Occupations section Environment and conservation for more information and links to useful websites.

Civil servant

The Civil Service Fast Stream is an accelerated leadership development programme providing graduates with the experience, skills and knowledge to become senior leaders within the Civil Service. It recruits graduates into a variety of administrative and policy roles via the Fast Stream or the general entry routes.

Through a variety of different placements or postings in government departments and agencies you’ll get experience of working in front-line operational delivery, policy and corporate roles and depending on the role potentially working with general public or senior government advisers or government ministers. If you want to influence decisions or make a difference on government policy and public service at a national level, enjoy analytical work, presenting persuasive evidence-based reports, scrutinising the implications of public sector policy and are eager to take on responsibility then you might enjoy the Civil Service Fast Stream.

If you are a language graduate you may be particularly attracted to roles/departments such as the Diplomatic Services Operational Officer in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Department for International Trade, the Department for International Development and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which has a lot of links to Europe.

Departments of specific interest to scientists include Government Statistical Service, Government Operational Research Service, Science and Engineering Scheme and the Project Delivery Scheme, but there are many more.

Use our Occupations section Public sector administration for more information and links to useful websites.

Commercial / residential surveyor

Is primarily involved in the purchase, sale and leasing of both private and public property and land, which can include its valuation and the drawing up of contacts. Negotiates on behalf of their client and produces detailed reports for the purpose of mortgage applications, rent reviews etc. Can also be involved in managing property portfolios and advising on proposed new developments.

If you don't hold an accredited degree in surveying, you are likely to need a postgraduate conversion course at Master's level to meet the academic requirements for most employers.

Use our Occupations section Property and real estate for more information and links to useful websites.

Environmental scientist / consultant

Undertakes environmental impact assessments/research and offers expert advice to both commercial and public sector organisations on issues such as waste management, flood risk, renewable energy, utility companies' compliance with environmental legislation and regulations.

This can involve data collection and analysis, conducting field surveys and using software-modelling packages and then producing detailed technical reports, which you then present to clients considering suitability of new developments eg housing, power stations, wind farms in relation to potential impacts on the environment.

New entrants will usually have a relevant environmental postgraduate qualification, or work experience in an organisation related to the area they are interested in.

Use our Occupations section Environment and conservation for more information and links to useful websites.

Geographical information systems (GIS) analyst

Uses computerised systems for the collection, storage, analysis, of complex geographical information. GIS technology allows multiple forms of data eg river locations, population centres, to be overlaid on a map, converted to the same scales and then manipulated, so as to better understand their inter-relationship and implications of planned changes and new developments.

GIS officers work in government bodies and private companies. A postgraduate master's GIS qualification is desired by most employers for this career.

Use our Occupations section Information systems and services for links to useful websites.


Meteorologists collect data from satellite images, radar, remote sensors and weather stations worldwide in order to make short and long term weather forecasts for the general public and a variety of organisations. You may work for government services, the armed forces, aviation industry or the shipping and fishing industries.

In addition meteorologist undertake research into a climate change, weather patterns and global warming.

Use our Occupations section Environment and conservation for more information and links to useful websites.

Secondary school teacher

Working with pupils from 11-18 years old, your role is to engage them in learning about a national curriculum subject area. You will design lessons, monitor progress, update your subject knowledge and prepare pupils for external exams.

Patience, an interest in young people, subject knowledge, organisation and communication skills are essential.

You usually need to complete a postgraduate programme resulting in Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) for this role, and an undergraduate degree related to a national curriculum subject is advantageous.

Use our Occupations section Primary, secondary and special needs for more information and links to useful websites.

Social researcher

Social researchers plan, design, conduct, manage and report on social research projects. You will use a variety of methods to collect, analyse and organise information and data, which you then present to others, either in a written report or as an oral presentation.

A range of methods, such as interviews, survey questionnaires and focus groups, are used to investigate the attitudes, behaviour and experiences of population samples on specific issues. Research findings may be used to shape policy or to examine the effectiveness of existing policy.

Employers include national and local governments, intergovernmental organisations, universities, research institutes, market research agencies, polling organisations, trades unions etc.

Use our Occupations section Social research for more information and links to useful websites.

Tourism officer

Is responsible for the marketing of a specific region or location in order to attract visitors and generate income. This can involve a diverse range of tasks such as the writing or commissioning of tourist information, organising events and exhibitions, liaising with tour operators, handling budgets, writing funding applications, managing and training staff, as well as handling media enquiries.

Use our Occupations section Tourism and travel for more information and links to useful websites.

Town planner

Involved in the management of the built environment in order to balance the conflicting demands of housing, industry, farming, business development, the transport infrastructure and the needs of the local population. They aim to ensure sustainability of new developments and regeneration of towns and cities, alongside the preservation of the countryside and in light of climate change issues.

If you don't have a relevant planning degree, it's advantageous to study for an accredited Master's qualification.

Use our Occupations section Town and regional planning for more information and links to useful websites.

Transport planner

Transport planners work on the implementation of traffic systems for road, rail and air, seeking to improve transport systems and bring about more efficient transport networks. They need to consider environmental, economic and social issues, taking account of government policies that address the need to deliver a modern transport infrastructure, reduce pollution and promote public transport or cycling.

A relevant postgraduate qualification is not essential but can add to your prospects if your degree does not include transport planning modules.

Use our Occupations section Transport planner for more information and links to useful websites.

Travel writer

Many work on a freelance basis writing about the transport options, the accommodation, the culture, ecology and places of interest for individual destinations. They will attempt to sell their copy to travel related publications, agencies, websites and organisations. Some will 'pitch' an article, book, or script idea to a publisher in hopes of getting a contract to write an article. They may work for a variety of different publications or companies, or contribute a regular column.

Use our Occupations section Writing, publishing and printing for more information and links to useful websites.