Career options for PoLIS and Social & Policy Sciences researchers
Find out about the different career options available if you're undertaking research in Politics, Languages & International Studies or Social & Policy Sciences.
Broadly speaking, your options are the same as those for researchers in other disciplines; see the career options page for more details. The aim of this page is to look at some career options that may be suitable for politics, languages and international studies and social and policy sciences researchers. One important question to ask yourself is the extent to which you want to use your subject in any future career moves. It's entirely your choice - you will have acquired and developed many skills during your doctorate which are complementary to the research skills and knowledge you might think define your career choice.
If you'd like to remain working in Politics, Languages & International Studies or Social and Policy Sciences and would like some ideas as to how, see details of what previous Bath doctoral graduates have gone on to do.
This covers the most obvious choices (academic, research and public sector employment) but the public sector, in particular, is vast and there are many options within it. These might include working in policy analysis for the Civil Service, a charity or think tank, social research for a local authority or charity, or working for a political party or member of parliament. For some of these jobs, it is strongly recommended that you have some prior work experience. This can of course be part-time or voluntary and fit around your doctoral studies. Visit the work experience section of the main Careers Service web pages for more information.
You might want to move away from the themes of your doctorate, but stay within your broader subject area. There are many occupations in which your doctorate would be valuable, including management consultancy, which uses research skills to produce recommendations for organisational change. Other areas might be human resources, which concentrates on employment policy and regulations, or market research.
With your background, you may be interested in pursuing some of these jobs in other countries. Our student site has a page on working overseas, which has links to many useful sources of information.
Options outside of your subject
If, having got to this stage, you're not sure that you want to use your Politics, Languages & International Studies any more, don't despair! You have many skills and experiences that are highly valuable to employers and you can choose from the huge range of graduate jobs on offer, from structured training with large financial services firms to management training with well-known retailers and manufacturers. The key is to think of the skills you have and enjoy using, and explore occupations that use them to suggest possible alternatives. For information on different types of jobs, explore the occupational profiles on Prospects.ac.uk website.
Some key resources to help you research career options related to your field:
- To find out more about academic career pathways in your fields, see the career options page and talk to the academics in your department.
- Options with your subject pages on Prospects.ac.uk
- Careers Service occupational research.
- Learned Societies - As POLIS and SPS cover such a broad area, listing all the relevant learned societies would be impractical. Instead, to find one that's right for you try the umbrella organisation, the Academy of Social Sciences, or the very useful British Academy Directory of UK Subject Associations and Learned Societies in the Humanities and Social Sciences.
- Association for Qualitative Research - has a very useful list of qualitative research organisations and consultancies in a wide range of sectors.
- Social Policy Association. A professional association for academics and practitioners in social policy. Has a thriving postgrad network.
- Social Research Association. Has a short careers section.
- British Sociological Association. The professional organisation representing Sociologists in Britain today. Offers training and events for early careers researchers.
- Department for Education - information on teaching in England and Wales.
- ESRC/HEFCE guide to careers with quantitative methods
- Careers for Modern Linguists - includes vacancy sources (Careers Service publication).
- Social policy, social sciences and sociology careers (Careers Service publication).
- Politics careers, including working in Westminster and Europe (Careers Service publication)
- International development, and relations careers (Careers Service publication)
- Europa: Gateway to the European Union. All the information you'll need about the EU, including sections on living in the EU and breakdowns of its functions by subject. Site can be accessed in any of the EU member languages.
- University of Oxford Guide to Working in Local Government & Public Administration.
- University of Oxford Guide to working for think tanks.
- Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development. Professional body for fields of human resources, training etc. Includes careers information as well as a wide variety of information on training and current trends and opinion.
- Charity sector and not-for-profit careers (Careers Service publication)
- University of Oxford Guide to Working in Public Relations.
- Market Research Society - has job postings, careers advice and networking events.
- Management Consultancies Association. Organisation representing consultancy industry. Includes careers resources and vacancy listings.
Where to look for jobs in your field
See the vacancies page for academic, research and research-related jobs.
- Careers Service MyFuture database - look at the vacancies relevant to your subject area and also in the sections 'For PhD Students' and 'For Postdocs'. Use the 'organisations' function to identify potential employers that you may want to work for or could approach speculatively.
- Work for an MP- includes job postings and paid and unpaid work experience opportunities.
- UN Careers website - has vacancies suitable for (post)graduates and experienced professionals.
- Parliamentary job vacancies website
- Public Affairs Links - website with vacancies in the lobbying industry.
- The national press carries many vacancies, particularly The Guardian.
- Civil Service jobs gives information on central recruitment and individual opportunities within the whole of the civil service. You might also be interested in the Civil Service Fast Stream.
- Individual organisation websites. The Social Research Association's Careers page has an excellent listing.
- Jobsgopublic contains a wide selection of jobs throughout the public sector, including education, health, local and central government and charities.
- Local Government Jobs
- Office for National Statistics - Regularly has vacancies for social researchers to design and analyse the many surveys it carries out.
- ThirdSectorJobs for opportunities in the charitable and voluntary sector.