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What Are the Career Prospects for a Psychology Graduate?

By: Maggie Lonsdale BA (hons) - Updated: 30 Sep 2020 | comments*Discuss
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I am a psychology student at University although I have to choose what subject I need for honours soon; either chemistry or psychology. I am wondering due to the number of psychology graduates and the overall limited number of jobs available, if a psychology degree really means anything these days. What are the career prospects for a psychology graduate in the police, other psychology fields etc?

(J.B, 19 May 2009)


Hello and thank you for your question.

Speaking as a psychology graduate myself, I have to say that there is seemingly no set career path for psychology graduates. This can be daunting or positive, depending on how you look at it. It seems as though you do not have a clear career path in mind, which is no bad thing, as you can be open-minded as to what you may do after you have graduated. Perhaps you could see if you could do some work experience to understand potential paths a little clearer before you commit?

Essentially, a knowledge of psychology is helpful in the vast majority of jobs. It helps your communication skills, interpersonal skills, nunchuck skills (oops, sorry a bit of Napoleon Dynamite sneaked in there)... you get my drift. Psychology helps you develop strong reasoning ability, too, which is useful for both commercial and vocational occupations.

If you're particularly set on a career in the Police force, the types of role that a psychology qualification could be useful for would be forensic and criminal areas, victim support roles and community support roles. Be aware that you will still be required to pass the 'standard' initial recruitment tests. It's worth looking online at your local council website as they always advertise all their roles, including teaching and police positions, although sometimes they've already been filled internally and the advert is just a formality.

Outside of the police force, career possibilities are endless. It's probably better to think about what you actually want to do, as there is very little that your choice will restrict, assuming you get the required grades. Many psychology graduates go onto community or social work, mental health support or working in rehab, either in the public or private sector. But outside of these 'caring' fields, psychology graduates can also thrive in industries where it really helps to know 'what makes people tick' - like sales, corporate training, human resources and advertising.

If you really love chemistry, go for a chemistry honours, but if you're really not sure, you may find that psychology leaves more doors open for you.

Good luck!

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