Pictures from the University's Careers Service

Your career and skills

There are many reasons to go to university, but most students hope that their degree will lead to a fulfilling and challenging career. Politics students often have big plans for their working lives, and helping our students to achieve their goals is something we take very seriously.

What makes us unique? We believe in combining research-led teaching with the development of key skills that employers are looking for. So, by the time you graduate, you will be more than ready for the world of work or further study. In the careers market, you will stand out from the crowd.

All of our courses are designed with students' future careers in mind. You will learn a range of skills which are highly prized by employers, and which will help you to find work and fulfill your future roles. These include presentation skills, statistical analysis, independent and group work, research skills and leadership opportunities. Every module you take will provide you with the extra evidence you will need to show you can do a great job. We also provide careers talks and events here in the Department, as well as ongoing support from tutors.

A range of activities, resources, opportunities and accredited awards are available to help you develop your skills throughout your time at university.

Undergraduate Level 1

The first year of your degree is the perfect time to look for a part-time job - part-time work can provide you with invaluable teamwork and communication skills, and the Student Jobshop can help you find something to fit around your studies.

This is a good time to start developing a Work Experience Portfolio. This will help you to keep track of the skills you have developed through your studies and any paid work or volunteering you undertake.

Make a one-to-one appointment with a Careers Advisor to make sure your careers planning is on track.

An Easter or summer placement can be a fantastic experience, and can sometimes be a pathway into a longer placement. Keep an eye out in the Department for information sessions on incorporating a placement year into your degree, and transferring to a Degree with Employment Experience.

Learning or perfecting a foreign language is a great way to boost your employability in a global market. You may wish to use your unrestricted credits at level one to pick up a new language, or develop your existing skills, under the Languages for All programme.

Undergraduate Level 2

Your politics degree, including dual degrees, can be taken as a Degree with Employment Experience or a Degree with Employment Experience (International). This incorporates a placement year, in the UK or abroad, giving you the opportunity to apply the knowledge and skills you have developed during your degree within the workplace. For more details, see sheffield.ac.uk/careers/jobs/placements. Keep an eye out for talks and events at the start of semester one. Most students secure DEE placements between October and May of level two.

If a year-long placement isn’t for you, look out for shorter placement opportunities or work experience opportunities. Ask friends and family, talk to the Placements Team here at the University, and keep an eye on Career Connect for opportunities.  Find out more

SURE - Sheffield Undergraduate Research Experience - offers funded research scholarships to level two students to work with an academic member of staff on a summer research project. This is a fantastic, well-paid opportunity to work on a “real-life” project, and may even spark some ideas for your dissertation. For some past projects, see sheffield.ac.uk/sure/301/casestudies.

Studying abroad is an excellent opportunity to experience another culture, make new friends and develop your study skills in a new setting; it also gives you a wealth of experiences and transferable skills which can help you in your future career.  Find out more

Summer Schools are a great way to gain global experience, travel and make new friends. The Global Opportunities and Exchanges Team can help you arrange to spend between 1 and 8 weeks at one of our partner university summer schools, in Europe or further afield.

Consider signing up to the Careers e-Mentoring Scheme - this offers the chance to be mentored by a former student, now working in their chosen profession. Your mentor can offer careers advice, insights into their industry, and tips on how to make the most of your time at university.

Undergraduate Level 3

Careers fairs take place throughout the year; these are well-attended by recruiters from major employers - we are the 12th most targeted university by top employers. Some fairs focus on specific sectors of work, and others are more general. They start early in the year, so don't miss out.

The Careers Service provides a directory of job websites, information about social media and work, and advice on taking time out after university. You can book one-to-one appointments with a Careers Advisor, who can help with your CV, job applications and offer general guidance.

The University's Career Connect service is a good place to start looking for graduate jobs.

The Work-Based Learning Dissertation offers you the opportunity to collaborate with an outside organisation (an NGO, political party or external organisation), to undertake a piece of research specific to that organisation’s needs. Talk to your personal tutor for more details.

GLOSS (Global Learning Opportunities in the Social Sciences) offers students the opportunity to work as policy analysts at major global summits such as the G7, G20 and the GEC, as part of the prestigious Global Leadership Initiative.

Look out for events in the Department and around the campus - including alumni speed-networking, one-to-one employer events, information sessions, assessment centre simulations, and much more.

Postgraduate

The Postgraduate Advantage Scheme (PAS) is a unique initiative which offers 100-hour paid internships for taught postgraduate students in the Faculty of Social Sciences.

The Work-Based Learning Dissertation offers you the opportunity to collaborate with an outside organisation (an NGO, political party or external organisation), to undertake a piece of research specific to that organisation’s needs. Ask your personal tutor for more information.

GLOSS (Global Learning Opportunities in the Social Sciences) offers students the opportunity to work as policy analysts at major global summits such as the G7, G20 and the GEC, as part of the prestigious Global Leadership Initiative.

Careers fairs take place throughout the year; these are well-attended by recruiters from major employers - we are the 12th most targeted university by top employers. Some fairs focus on specific sectors of work, and others are more general. They start early in the year, so don't miss out.

The Careers Service provides a directory of job websites, information about social media and work, and advice on taking time out after university. You can book one-to-one appointments with a Careers Advisor, who can help with your CV, job applications and offer general guidance.

The University's Career Connect service is a good place to start looking for graduate jobs.

Your personal tutor will be happy to provide academic references to potential employers, or to talk to you about going on to PhD study.

Global Leadership Opportunities in the Social Sciences

We encourage you to take part in the GLOSS scheme (Global Learning Opportunities in the Social Sciences). The scheme provides students with unique opportunities to understand their courses in an international context, actively engage with international policy makers, stakeholders and partners, and be involved in international research undertaken within the Faculty of Social Sciences. For the latest opportunities go to the GLOSS website.

It comprises three strands:

• The Global Leadership Initiative – providing undergraduate and taught postgraduate students opportunities to work as fully accredited policy analysts at major global summits;

• The GLOSS Research Associate Scheme – offering undergraduate students international research experience in partnership with academic staff;

SIDshare – enabling all students to engage in a student-run social enterprise involved in international development.

Our Graduates

Click here to find out more about what our graduates do, who they are and how they look back on their education at Sheffield. 

After graduation

  • Don't forget, you can continue to use the Careers Service for up to three years after graduation.

  • You can also continue to use the Career Connect service as a graduate.

  • Your personal tutor will be happy to provide academic references to potential employers - please speak to them if you think this is something you will need.

What skills will I gain from my course?

By the end of a programme of study:

Undergraduate single honours students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate a broad understanding of political phenomena, and of the discipline of political studies;
  • Apply concepts, theories and methods used in the study of Politics to the analysis of political ideas, institutions and practices.

Undergraduate dual honours students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of specific political phenomena and of parts of the discipline of political studies;
  • Apply particular concepts, theories and methods used in the study of Politics to the analysis of political ideas, institutions and practices.

All students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate a range of distinctive skills used in the study of political phenomena, including the evaluation of different interpretations of political events, and the gathering, organisation and deployment of evidence, data and information from a variety of primary and secondary sources;
  • Demonstrate appropriate general intellectual and communicative skills, including the ability to construct a reasoned argument, synthesise relevant information, exercise critical judgement, and communicate effectively both orally and in writing;
  • Manage their own learning, reflect on it critically, and seek and use constructive feedback;
  • Assess whether they have the ability, motivation, and interest to pursue further training at postgraduate level;
  • Reflect on career choices, and compete effectively for employment in the job market.

Throughout your degree

Regular careers talks take place in the Politics Department, on topics such as 'Careers with a Politics Degree'. These are advertised around the Department well in advance. There is also a programme of events run by the Careers Service.

Your personal tutor is available to offer support and guidance. They will be happy to discuss your skills, career plans, help you to identify areas you need to work on, and provide you with references.

Job vacancies, particularly for part time work, are advertised in the Student Jobshop.

Internships can be a great way to work alongside your degree and gain valuable experience. These can be paid or unpaid.

Volunteering is a good way to meet people and looks great on a CV. We have one of the biggest volunteering programmes in the UK.

301 - student skills and development centre  301 has been set up to help you develop skills for the workplace, including languages and leadership experience. 301 Centre