‘I Don’t Just Want an Office Job’

I’ve been at home recently for Easter, spending some time with my family, and generally just neglecting the copious amounts of work that I have to do for the next term with regard to assessments. Pretty standard student behaviour.

This post is inspired by a conversation I had with my sister whilst I’ve been here. She’s 17, and currently in Year 12, with the dark shadow of UCAS looming over her, and being asked the questions, ‘where do you want to go?’, and ‘what do you want to do?’ She’s a very good historian, and so when History was suggested to her as the obvious choice of course, her response was that she wasn’t keen on it, as she didn’t want to just end up in some boring office job. Whilst this isn’t about History, it did occur to me that a lot of people may well pass up the opportunity to do courses like SPS, and others within the social sciences, because they aren’t going to lead to an exciting career. So I wanted to try and dispel some of these myths and give you an idea of what kind of careers a degree in SPS may lead you towards.


If you’ve read through my previous posts, then you’re probably sick of hearing about the ridiculously wide range of choice you have in SPS, but I’m going to bring it up again. This range not only allows you to shape your degree in the way you want, but it also means that the amount of subject matter you can cover can open up a wide range of different paths. These vary by the different subjects too, creating more paths than you may think.

Starting first with Politics, these modules can link to things such as Law and Economics. In the second and third year, you potentially have the option to look at modules from departments outside of the three that SPS includes. For example, we have current second year students taking the Human Rights and Wrongs module offered by the York Law School. Something like this could lead down a path to such things like human rights law or human rights advocacy in NGO’s. The links in Politics and Law also open up opportunities in places like the UN, where one of our alumni currently work. If you visit our alumni page here: http://www.york.ac.uk/sps/undergraduate/alumni-profiles/ then you’ll see the opportunities potentially available, such as an ‘intern on Wall Street’, which economic related politics modules could get you interested in.

Sociology and Social Policy have a lot of crossover, with links to a variety of other places. Social Policy deals with environmentalism a lot, so things like moving toward Environmental Sciences in further study could be a possibility. Many paths in both of these subjects lead to research roles, whether its conducting sociological research through data analysis or interviews and focus groups, or through social policy research in NGO’s and think tanks. Sociology and Social Policy have links to Healthcare, with modules like Sociology of Health and Illness and Illicit Drug Use both being offered at the moment. Both have links to crime, with Criminology being a branch of Sociology that we offer here, whilst Social Policy has modules like Criminal Justice and Policing and Crime, People, and Place.

To sum it all up then, at a glance, a degree in Politics, or Sociology, or most social sciences may seem like it’s going to leave you stuck in an office. And for some of you, that may well be fine, and you’re looking for that comfort and stability. But as you can see from above, if you want to be a bit more ‘out there’ as it were, an SPS degree really is what you make of it, and trust me when I say there’s a hell of a lot to be made.

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I'm Matt, I'm a 2nd year here at York, and I'm currently studying Social and Political Sciences, and I am also the departmental representative. I'm originally from Kent, I love football and I'm a big Arsenal fan, I play pool a lot, for Halifax College and individually. My main interests in politics are British and American politics, especially foreign policy, I'm interested in gender and race dynamics in sociology, and environmental policy in Social Policy. I came into York through clearing, but I love the city, and I love the course even more. Feel free to send me a message in the comments, or through Facebook and I'll be happy to chat.