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Sociology

Careers and employability

Studying sociology involves understanding and questioning how society and individual life works.

Not surprisingly, sociology graduates are often attracted to careers which continue this interest and are drawn to contexts in which individuals have to navigate their way through the larger structures of society.

Of course, sociology isn’t just about studying society in an abstract way. In fact, your learning at Manchester will help you to better understand how contemporary society got to be this way and how your own life has been shaped by a range of forces.

In this regard, sociology prepares you for making choices about your life and career not just by providing you with a dynamic set of subject-specific and transferable skills, but also by encouraging you to think about your own position in the world, how you got here, and what your life could be about in the future.

Studying Sociology gave me an insight into how people interact in society and how they are often shaped by others and their environments.

Rebecca Parr / Sociology graduate

The benefits of studying Sociology

Sociological skills

Studying Sociology at Manchester you will develop a range of subject-specific skills, such as:

  • the ability to describe and explain social and organisational systems and structures, helping you to investigate and propose changes to such arrangements in various contexts, such as within government, industry, charities, communities, organisations and so on;
  • an appreciation of the contemporary organisation of society and individual life, which works through examination of connections between individual behaviour and social structures at national and global levels, helping you to understand the contexts in which organisations must operate and the life choices that families and individuals must make in today’s world;
  • a sensitivity to and understanding of the causes of inequalities and injustices that are embedded in contemporary societies locally, nationally and globally
  • a critical disposition towards culture, built from theories and from working with qualitative and quantitative data, helping you to understand how cultural trends and ways of organising society have developed, are enacted and how they might change in future.

Transferable skills

Studying Sociology at Manchester you can also develop valuable transferable skills, such as:

  • strong written and oral communication skills;
  • the ability to understand complex ideas and apply these to practical situations;
  • research and analytical skills, including the ability to conduct interviews, surveys, focus groups and interpret and challenge numerical data and statistics;
  • the ability to use evidence and logic to construct a good argument;
  • the ability to plan, organise and carry out a complex research project.

Typical career paths

In all these areas the knowledge and skills gained from a sociology degree form an invaluable basis for further development. A wide range of graduate employment schemes with large employers are open to sociology graduates. 

Sociology graduates go on to work in a wide range of occupations, including:

  • social research for public, private and third sector organisations, involving conducting interviews, focus groups, documentary research and statistical analysis;
  • public policy work in local, national and even international governmental organisations, involving policy research and drafting;
  • education, including teaching at all levels (via a PGCE) as well as support and administrative roles in universities;
  • writing for media organisations, marketing firms, publishers and associated editing roles.

Employers

Some of the organisations our graduates are working in include:

Amazon, Armstrong Craven, AstraZeneca, Barclays investment Bank, BBC, Boots, British Heart Foundation, British Red Cross, BT, Cambridge University Library, Credit Suisse, Discovery Channel, Family Mediation Forum, Financial Times, KPMG, Manchester United Football Club, Marks & Spencer, Microsoft, NHS, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Ralph Lauren, Royal Bank of Scotland, Royal Exchange Theatre, Sky, Standard Chartered Bank, Teach First, The Co-operative Group, The Guardian, The Open University, UBS, United Nations and the World Bank.

Careers planning and support during your studies

We build careers advice and employability into our core teaching, with specially-designed sessions to help you plan your career and present yourself in a competitive jobs market. We have a three-year programme of events and activities, many of which are specifically devised for our students in Sociology.

We call this programme ‘Professional Development for Sociologists’ because it helps you to understand what you are learning in your studies of social life and how this knowledge is useful to your own future, both in terms of your career and your own personal development. Students learn how to identify and improve their skills through small group and one-to-one sessions with their academic advisor.

Further study

Sociology is also taught at postgraduate level both at Manchester and elsewhere. Staff are also happy to advise students about postgraduate study elsewhere, both in the UK and overseas.

If you have graduated from The University of Manchester you may be eligible for a bursary, find out more from our funding opportunities page.

Further information and useful sites

Useful external sites

Graduate stats

Our graduates enjoy a broad range of pathways after graduation:

  • 85% of our recent sociology graduates were in work or engaged in further study six months after they graduated;
  • half of those employed were in professional or managerial roles.

(Source: Key Information Set Data from UNISTATS)

I think the career opportunities in Manchester post-graduation are very good. I have made some lifelong friends and some great career contacts.

Samantha Simpson / Sociology graduate