Psychology

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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 Psychology

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

Some career ideas for Psychology graduates

Human resources adviser

HR advisers develop, advise on and implement policies relating to the effective use of people in an organisation ensuring that the organisation has the right balance of skill and experience, and relevant training and development opportunities are available to enhance performance.

HR Advisers might work in a number of areas including recruitment, health and wellbeing, equality and diversity, pay and employment conditions.

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.

Researchers

Researchers work in agencies and a variety of organisations, in academia and 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.

Educational psychologist

Educational psychologists help children and young people 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.

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 wellbeing 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Subject specific resources