Use your subject

Psychology

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 Psychology graduates on Prospects and Targetjobs but keep in mind that these are not a comprehensive list of all the careers 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.

Clinical psychologist

Clinical psychologists work in hospitals and community settings seeing clients individually or in groups over a series of sessions to assess, diagnose and manage clients’ psychological conditions.

They aim to improve psychological well-being by working in partnership with their clients, and often specialise in working with a particular group, e.g., adult mental health, eating disorders or learning difficulties. They often work alongside other professionals in multidisciplinary teams to deal with complex problems.

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

Counselling psychologist

Counselling psychology involves integration of psychological theory and therapeutic processes to help clients who are facing difficulties or life issues with the aim to support clients to improve their sense of well-being and ability to problem-solve. Practitioners need to have a high level of self-awareness, achieved through personal therapy, and relationship building with the client is very important.

They work with individuals, couples, families and groups in the NH and private practice and might work with issues such as sexual abuse or bereavement and/or a range of metal health conditions.

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

Counsellor / psychotherapist

Counsellors and psychotherapists work confidentially, listening attentively and offering empathy, to help clients to explore feelings and emotions that are often related to their experiences. This allows clients to reflect on what is happening to them, enabling clients to find their own solutions and make their own choices to positively change their situation.

The terms counselling and psychotherapy are often used interchangeably and although there are differences in approach, both encompass a range of talking therapies.

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

Educational psychologist

Educational psychologists help children and young people aged 10-19 to learn and participate successfully in school and other activities. They work with a range of emotional and social problems or learning difficulties in partnership with parents, teachers, social workers, doctors and others involved education.

Observations, interviews and assessments of the child allow development of a range of interventions, such as learning programmes and collaborative work with teachers or parents.

You will need an undergraduate degree or postgraduate conversion course, and a Doctorate in educational psychology, both accredited by the British Psychological Society.

Forensic psychologist

Forensic psychologists work mainly in the prison and probation service liaising with other professionals and agencies to develop intervention techniques and treatment programmes for use with both offenders and those under supervision. They work directly with prisoners, victims of crime and also support prison officers.

They provide research-based evidence to develop policy and practices, give evidence in court and advise parole boards and tribunals. Forensic psychologists work mainly in HM Prison Service but opportunities do exist within the health service and social services.

Use our Occupations section Scientific research, analysis and support for more information and links to useful websites.

Human resources (HR)

Roles in HR suit individuals who can develop relationships and communicate well with many different types of people. HR roles exist in many different types and sizes of organisations. Human Resources officers or advisers may be involved in developing,advising on and implementing policies relating to the effective use of staff in an organisation. They may also be responsible for developing staff and coordinate staff training and development. A HR adviser could be involved in disciplinary matters and negotiations with trade unions concerning pay, redundancy and staff performance issues.

Many graduates working in HR will work towards a professional qualification awarded by the CIPD.

Recruitment consultants are responsible for attracting candidates and matching them to permanent or temporary jobs with client companies. Previous work experience in customer service roles, sales, or marketing is useful for starting a career in the recruitment industry.

Marketing officer

Marketing officers work across all sectors and develop marketing campaigns to promote a service, product or idea. It is a fast paced role and can involve research, planning, understanding of customers, communication and collaboration with a range of colleagues and clients, advertising, PR and event organisation.

Marketing is becoming increasingly digital so roles are demanding interest and skills in using technology and social media.

Occupational psychologist

Occupational psychologists are involved in assessing the performance of people at work, how organisations function and how individuals and small groups behave at work. The aim is to increase the effectiveness of the organisation and to improve the job satisfaction of the individual.

Opportunities exist to work within private and public organisations and also in consultancies.

Psychological well-being practitioner (PWP)

PWP are trained to assess and support people experiencing common mental health problems, principally anxiety disorders and depression, to manage their recovery.

They use a range of low-intensity, evidence-based interventions, informed by underlying cognitive/behavioural principles which are part of a stepped care service delivery model, on the principle of offering the least intrusive most effective treatment in the first instance - after which patients can then be 'stepped up' to a more intensive treatment if required.

Researcher

Researchers work in a variety of organisations and agencies, in academia, public and private sectors. The role involves collecting and analysing information and data in a range of different fields (everything from health, finance, government policy and consumer preferences) and presenting that information to other colleagues or clients via written reports, presentations or digital communication.

Roles often specialise either in quantitative (working with statistics) or qualitative (analysing non-numerical data) research and provide information that helps colleagues or clients make political, social and economic decisions.