Philosophy

Social sciences banner

There are lots of starting points for choosing a career and using your subject is just one of them. You are not restricted to the career ideas below and you may wish to consider additional factors which are important to you for your future career using our Understand yourself and your options section.

Remember too that the vast majority of graduate jobs are open to graduates of any subject and so your options are much broader than the examples given below.

Firstly, have a 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?

Using your subject can help provide you with some focus for your career research, but the broader your interests the more career options you will have open to you. Use our resources below to stimulate your thinking.

Generating career ideas with Philosophy

Using the resources below you can start to create your own list of career ideas to research

  • 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 Philosophy 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. Our Information resources - Occupations section is a good place to start.

Some career ideas for Philosophy graduates

Civil Service Fast Stream

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.

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.

Local government administration

From managing countywide projects to implementing local policy and strategy, you could take on responsibility and make a real contribution towards improving the quality, accessibility and efficiency of public services for a local authority area. While it is councillors who decide on local government policy, it can be the public sector administrators and officers who scrutinise and implement these plans and ensure local services are delivered correctly and within budget.

Local government offers could be working in many specialist areas including education, finance, social welfare, housing, leisure, regeneration or transport to name a few so there could be scope to pursue your interests within work roles. If you want to have an impact and made a difference to the public services offered within an area, be accountable to local community needs and work within financial and political structures this could be a career area to consider.

Charity administrator

Administrators in charitable and non-profit making organisations can be responsible for everything from fundraising, marketing, lobbying and communications to finance, recruitment and liaison with the public.

Specific responsibilities will vary according to the size and scope of the charity but if you have a commitment to a particular cause, want to make a difference and want to apply commercial acumen to a cause with a social conscience then this might be for you.

Arts administrator

If you are interested in the arts this might be a means of pursuing your interests within your work. As an arts administrator you will manage arts activities and events such as festivals, community arts projects, exhibitions or performances. This will involve event planning, booking venues, performers, support staff and arranging catering, handling the finances and insurance.

In addition the role includes marketing the event, liaising with the media, ticket sales and possibly arranging tours in the UK or abroad. Other tasks to be undertaken include ensuring compliance with health and safety regulations and venue accessibility.

Health service manager

Managers in the NHS ensure services are managed and delivered in the best possible way for patients and in a cost effective way. Besides general management opportunities you may specialise in particular roles such as finance, health analysis, human resources, policy and strategy.

All of these areas help the NHS to function so that they can provide a first class healthcare service, often in the ‘goldfish bowl’ face of media scrutiny. This role could be of interest to someone who enjoys analysing data to identify, present and implement evidence based solutions and make a difference to a public service.

Politicians assistant

If you’re passionate about politics and want to support the political process or a parliamentary representative, then being a politician’s assistant may be worth exploring.

You’ll work behind the scenes to provide administrative support, help with research, handle relevant correspondence either with constituents, media or other party members; maintain the party/representative’s social media presence or create press releases and reports.

Teaching

Religious studies is a fundamental subject in secondary school curriculum as is citizenship. If you have enjoyed the aspects of your course and are energised by sharing your love of the subject with others and thinking of new and engaging ways of presenting your knowledge, you might enjoy teaching as a career.

Obviously depending on the age group and academic level of teaching you are considering, experience of and an ability to establish rapport with the relevant age group would also be a prerequisite as would good leadership and time management skills.

Marketing

Involved in planning and running campaigns to promote a specific event, product or service, handling the advertising, public relations and organisation, to communicate with the target audience. Liaises with product development teams, designers and printers, customers and the media to develops appropriate products and then create marketing campaigns to get the product to market.

You might be maintaining customer databases, organising photo shoots, involved in writing or creating and proof reading marketing materials, websites and managing social media profile, often in a fast-paced environment. You’ll also evaluates the outcome of campaigns and assesses the success of competitors. Marketing roles can involve analysing data, evaluating market and commercial factors and finding creative innovative approaches.

Human resources and recruitment

Human resources (HR) officers are involved in activities such as workforce planning, recruitment, selection, training, pay negotiations, development of terms and conditions and review of working practices. Entry is usually through a graduate scheme, or direct entry post at a junior/administrative level.

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.

Newspaper journalist

Researches and writes content for local, regional and national press on current events, politics, sports, arts and culture etc. Increasingly becoming a multi-platform operation requiring strong technical skills and effective communication. Uses a range of information sources and web analytics, to monitors new trends and reader interest.

May conduct interviews, investigate stories, attend press conferences, meetings, sporting events to obtain up to date content, although the role is increasingly desk based. Can be involved in on-line blogging for ‘breaking news’ stories.

Solicitors

Solicitors provide expert legal support and advice to clients and Barristers represent individuals or organisations in court. Many law firms actively seek non-law graduates with strong analytical skills and an ability to distil large amounts of information and present it in a persuasive clear manner.

Philosophy graduates would need to do a 1 year ‘law conversion’ course – the Graduate Diploma in Law – in order to commence vocational training in the profession and due to the competitive nature of the work, work experience or completing vacation schemes would be invaluable.

Subject specific resources

Where next? - unlocking the potential of your philosophy degree - a philosophy guide produced by the Higher Education Academy