Department of Psychology

Career prospects

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How do you see your future?

Do you imagine a standard 9-5 at a computer? How about a career where you make a positive impact to people's lives?

Your psychology degree will equip you with advanced understanding of human behaviour, making you an excellent candidate for people-focused roles. Your knowledge of psychology and skills in scientific reasoning, problem-solving, and analysis will open up opportunities to a broad range of careers across all sectors.

  • You might become a Chartered Psychologist, supporting people with mental health difficulties.
  • You could help neurodivergent young people flourish in school through Special Educational Needs roles.
  • You could work in roles that need skills for resolving conflict in personal relationships or workplaces, such as family mediation or human resources.
  • Your skills could be used to help people in the criminal justice system work through rehabilitative programmes, giving them the best chance of re-joining society.

Throughout your degree, you will have opportunities to take part in work experience (including a year in a work placement), hone your skills and CV through training sessions and volunteering arranged by our University, and get hands-on with projects offered by our Research Experience Scheme.

 

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Which jobs will suit me?
  • A psychology degree, especially one accredited by the British Psychology Society, will provide you with the foundations needed for specialising in areas such as Clinical Psychology or Educational Psychology.
  • Many psychology graduates decide on careers in other areas and the skills you learn during your degree opens doors to careers in market research, human resources, and people-focused careers such as counselling or Special Educational Needs.
  • Our psychology graduates have progressed in diverse careers across the public, private and third sectors, including working for the Ministry of Justice, and the Ministry of Defence, law firm Linklaters, and organisations like The Priory Group and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).

Career opportunities

Chartered Psychology and Counselling

Completing our accredited psychology degree is the first step towards becoming a Chartered Psychologist. The British Psychological Society states that after your undergraduate degree you need to undertake an accredited postgraduate degree and further training or successfully carry out doctoral psychology research.

There are several areas that you can specialise in as a Chartered Psychologist:

  • Clinical psychologists work to improve the psychological wellbeing of clients with mental and physical health diagnoses such as anxiety, depression, eating disorders, post-traumatic stress, addiction, and neurological disorders.
  • Educational psychologists support children and young people with socio-emotional and learning difficulties to achieve their potential, by carrying out various activities like assessing learning needs, developing methods to support learning and development, and developing and delivering well-being interventions.
  • Forensic psychologists work within the justice system to assess and treat criminal behaviour, often conducting criminal profiling and assessment, implementing rehabilitation programmes, and contributing to policy and associated research.
  • Health psychologists help people manage the mental health impact of illness, such as those who have a chronic condition or have suffered a lifechanging injury. You can also support people make changes to improve their long-term health, such as stopping smoking.
  • Occupational psychologists enable positive change in organisations to improve job satisfaction for employees. This can be a diverse field to work in because there are many aspects of employment that affect employee satisfaction, from relationships with colleagues to work-life balance.
  • Sports and exercise psychologists work with athletes and coaches to help them mentally prepare for competitions, or apply psychological research to improving public participation in exercise.

If you want to improve people’s psychological wellbeing but aren’t able to commit to the Chartered Psychologist pathway, then a career in counselling could be a good option.

The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) offers a range of courses that can lead to a qualification in counselling, or you could consider an accredited postgraduate degree such as a Masters degree.

Counsellors use psychological theory in therapeutic contexts to help clients (e.g., young people, families, couples) with challenging personal issues and mental health difficulties, including domestic violence, relationship difficulties, depression, and psychosis.

Private sector

The private sector covers privately owned businesses and organisations, from start-ups and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to multi-national corporations.

Your psychology degree will equip you with advanced understanding of human behaviour, making you an excellent candidate for people-focused role. in the private sector while retaining the flexibility to move between organisations.

  • Human Resources roles range from Equality, Diversity and Inclusion to deliver an organisation's EDI strategy, or Learning and Development, supporting employee personal development through training provision.
  • User Experience (UX) Researchers use qualitative and quantitative research methods to explore how people use or react to a service or business. These roles span wide-ranging organisations, like large retailers who want to understand customer experience, and software developers who want to discover how users interact with their products.
  • Events Co-ordinator and Management roles utilise attention to detail and organisational skills to deliver bespoke events to companies that may hold workshops and conferences, or at large venues that host events and have in-house catering.

Third sector

The third sector covers diverse organisations, from Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and international charities, to local community interest groups and social enterprises.

If you want a job where you will have a positive impact on people’s lives then the third sector could be an ideal next step.

  • Marketing or communications roles focus on promoting an organisations work and online presence in various ways such as through media communications, social media strategies and producing corporate publications and brand identity.
  • Charity Support Advisors or Services Advisors work with a charity’s clients ensuring access to support and services by signposting to relevant resources, contributing evidence to statements of support, and working with other professional agencies to develop action plans.
  • Charities and community interest group Programme Co-ordinators run programmes that help raise awareness of support and services, by, for example, creating learning activities to help homeless adults join the workforce, and designing and delivering workshops in local schools for vulnerable children.
  • Roles for Wellbeing or Support Workers can be found in mental health charities. You'll use your psychology experience to work with clients that need low level assistance, for example finding support for anxiety or depression.

Public sector

The public sector is one of the UKs biggest employers. It includes the governments of Scotland and Wales, local government bodies such as county councils, central government departments including the Cabinet Office and Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, and non-Ministerial bodies from the NHS to the Intellectual Property Office.

Psychology graduates have a collection of skills that make them suitable for a broad range of jobs in the public sector.

  • Social workers play an essential role in protecting children and vulnerable adults at risk of harm. After completing your psychology undergraduate degree, a postgraduate degree in social work can be the next step towards this role.
  • Intervention facilitators work to deliver programmes designed to reduce the risk of reoffending and complete reports on offenders who take part in sessions. This role can also be a step towards a career in forensic psychology.
  • User Researchers, such as those at the Department of Education, design and run research activities that inform areas of work such as digital services and policy development.
  • Casework Support Officers in the Competition & Markets Authority work with investigators to progress criminal cases through document management, project planning, and data analysis.

Civil Service Fast Stream

The Civil Service Fast Stream is a professional development programme that trains graduates for senior leadership roles in government departments. There are fifteen different schemes which range from two to four years of training, with a starting salary around £27,000 a year.

Schemes have different requirements for qualification type and subject. The Diplomatic and Development Scheme requires a 2:2 in any subject, while the Government Statistical Service requires at 2:1 undergraduate degree, or a postgraduate degree, in a subject that includes taught statistical content such as psychology.

Successfully completing the Fast Stream will make you eligible for roles in public sector departments where you could be earning between £40,000 and £50,000 a year.

Teaching and Special Educational Needs

A psychology degree is useful for working in Special Educational Needs (SEN) settings such as specialist teaching centres for young people with autism, or mainstream schools that require one-on-one support for learning difficulties such as dyslexia.

To work in SEN you will need Qualified Teacher Status (QTS), which you can gain by completing a teacher training course, or by working as a Teaching Assistant before moving onto a Straight to Teaching programme. Once you have QTS you can apply for SEN roles. Alternatively, you can undertake a Masters degree in a specialist area such as Inclusive Education.

Qualified teachers can also work as a Special Educational Needs Co-Ordinator (SENCO), with a requirement to complete a National award in Special Educational Needs Coordination within three years. SENCO roles focus on organising and managing SEN provision for pupils, ensuring that they receive appropriate support.

Our graduates

The journeys they’ve taken, the opportunities they’ve experienced, the contacts they’ve made, and the variety of careers paths that have been embarked upon. Our graduates have shared their stories with us, and now we get to share them with you.

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Your future matters, your career matters

You don't need to have your future all planned out. We offer a range of opportunities to build your CV, and gain valuable experience and expertise, including guidance on creating a start-up or becoming an entrepreneur, to ensure your career is on the right track for when you graduate.

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