Sociology

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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 Sociology

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 Sociology 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 Sociology graduates

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.

Charity officer

A charity officer works for a charitable or non-profit organisation and may also be known as a charity administrator, community liaison officer or project development officer.

In larger organisations, charity officers may focus on a specific area, such as project management, business development, finance, marketing, public relations, fundraising or volunteer management. In smaller charities, they often undertake multiple tasks, working to a broader remit.

International aid/development worker

You will seek to work with developing countries to set up long-term, sustainable solutions to problems. You could also work on development projects in fields such as education, sanitation, health and agriculture, as well as in urban, rural and small business development.

Humanitarian and disaster relief work may call for highly specific skills and experience and usually involves short-term assignments.

Volunteer coordinator

Working as a volunteer coordinator, you'll manage all elements of volunteering either within your own organisation or on behalf of the organisation for which you are recruiting volunteers. The role involves assessing and meeting an organisation's needs through the recruitment, placement and retention of volunteers.

You'll manage volunteers and their relationships with those they come into contact with, including employees and service users of an organisation. You'll also monitor, evaluate and accredit volunteers.
Volunteer coordinators work across the public and private sectors but are concentrated in the third (voluntary, charitable and community) sector.

The role of a volunteer coordinator has gained increased recognition as a profession within its own right, although in smaller charities it is sometimes combined with another role.

Charity fundraiser

Charity fundraisers are employed primarily to increase the contributions of individuals and groups to a charity by building relationships and exploring new fundraising opportunities from various sources.

The ability to network is paramount for this job, since success in the role depends heavily on being able to forge positive relationships with supporters. Fundraisers also work to raise awareness of the charity's work, aims and goals.

Youth worker

Youth workers guide and support young people in their personal, social and educational development to help them reach their full potential in society. You'll generally work with young people aged between 11 and 25 in a variety of settings such as: colleges, faith-based groups, schools and youth centres.

Social worker

Social workers work with people and families to support them through difficult times and ensure that vulnerable people, including children and adults are safeguarded from harm. Their role is to provide support and help in order to improve outcomes in people's lives.

They maintain professional relationships with people, acting as guides and advocates. They sometimes need to use their professional judgment to make tough decisions that might not always be well received by those they are trying to help.

Probation officer

Probation officers manage offenders in order to protect the public and reduce the incidence of reoffending. They work with offenders in courts, in the community and in custody to make communities safer.

Probation officers interact with offenders, victims, police and prison service colleagues on a regular basis. They work closely with relevant statutory and voluntary agencies. They may also manage approved residential premises for offenders and ex-prisoners.

Care manager

The position of care manager is a front-line leadership role within a residential care setting. You'll be responsible for all aspects of the day-to-day operations, including recruiting and managing staff teams, managing budgets and ensuring that the quality of the services provided meets national care standards.

Care homes are becoming more specialised services, especially for people living with dementia or those at the end of life, and you'll be responsible for homes that provide all year, round-the-clock care.

Police officer

As a police officer you'll work in partnership with the communities you serve to maintain law and order, protect members of the public and their property, prevent crime, reduce the fear of crime and improve the quality of life for all citizens. You'll use a range of technology to protect individuals, identify the perpetrators of crime and ensure successful prosecutions against those who break the law.