Use your subject

Sheffield Methods Institute

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 Sheffield Methods Institute graduates on Prospects 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.

The following careers are ones which are directly related to the qualitative and quantitative research skills taught in the SMI. The interdisciplinary nature of undergraduate courses in the SMI means there are also many other careers related to the different subject options available on the BA/BSc Applied Social Sciences and BA Quantitative Social Sciences. You can see these on the various Use your subject pages for the relevant departments.

Business analyst

This role may suit you if you enjoy evaluating and analysing data, creating solutions and communicating with a variety of people. As a business analyst, you'll work with an organisation to understand their products, services and the industry sector they operate within.

You'll identify their future needs and challenges and help them to plan for the future and manage change in line with their company goals often in relation to information and software systems.

Use our Occupations sections Business, administration and public sector and Data science for more information and links to useful websites.

Data analyst / scientist

Develops and applies record management systems, analyses and interprets data sets relating to her/his employer's business, and prepares reports using business analytics tools.

Data analysts are in high demand across all sectors, including pharmaceuticals, finance, manufacturing, government and education. They work across broad areas including business intelligence, data assurance, data quality, sales and marketing.

You might work for the organisation itself, eg a pharmaceutical company, or for a consultancy working on their behalf. Alternative job titles might include value analyst or business intelligence analyst.

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

Digital marketer

Develops marketing communications for organisations using different digital media, including websites, apps, and social media.

The job can include creating marketing campaigns, conducting research surveys and carrying out focus groups with customers, as well as writing content and using web analytics to check the effectiveness of the communications.

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

Higher Education lecturer / researcher (Social Sciences)

Specialises in university-level teaching and research of a range of social sciences subjects. Initial entry would normally be via a PhD, plus further postdoctoral research to add to your academic research experience.

Use our Occupations section Higher education 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.

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

Information manager / scientist

Develops and manages information systems that ensure efficient classification, organisation and retrieval of information by users. The nature of the information depends on the organisation concerned and ranges from printed materials to electronic information, held on databases, content management systems, and digital resources.

Users may be colleagues, specialist audiences or the general public. A specialist postgraduate qualification is normally required for professional information posts.

Use our Occupations section Information management and IT for more information and links to useful websites.

Manager / administrator

Management and delivery of an organisation's services, including management of staff and resources, development of policy or services, and project management. Graduate level roles exist in National and Local Government (eg the UK Civil Service and local councils), other public sector bodies (eg health and emergency services), private sector businesses and not-for-profit organisations (eg charities and campaign groups).

Entry is via trainee management schemes or individual jobs and internships.

Use our Occupations section Business, administration and public sector for more information and links to useful websites.

Market researcher

Collects and analyses data and information related to customer preferences and behaviours, and presents it to assist with commercial, political, and social decisions.

You may be employed directly by a company to generate information on customer opinions to aid marketing decisions, or by marketing agencies delivering market research services to different companies and industries.

Use our Occupations section Marketing 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.


Collects, analyses and presents quantitative data to identify solutions to problems in a range of sectors.

After designing and managing surveys and data collection, statisticians analyse the information obtained to draw conclusions and advise on the findings to help make decisions. Employers typically look for people with a degree that has a quantitative component, and who enjoy working with numbers, using IT and organising information.

Use our Occupations sections Business, administration and public sector and Data science for more information and links to useful websites.