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What can you do with a psychology degree?

What can you do with a psychology degree?

A psychology degree offers plenty of exciting career options, as well as several further study options. Psychology graduates tend to have a broad range of skills that stand out to employers, including analytical, research, and interpersonal skills.

As a degree with lots of career potential, psychology graduates have a lot of choices when deciding what to do after leaving university. Some students study psychology to pursue careers as professional psychologists, though most go on to work in related fields such as education, the arts, sciences, and healthcare. Whilst most psychologist and psychotherapist roles require postgraduate qualifications, the majority of related roles do not. 

This broad range of opportunities makes psychology an attractive degree for many prospective students, and also to employers.

This article walks you through all the different options available to you after graduating with a psychology degree. We cover career opportunities, further study options, and the skills you’ll gain.

Job options for psychology graduates

As a psychology student, you will never be short of options when it comes to careers. A psychology degree teaches you a broad range of valuable career skills that come in useful for almost any role. However, there are options to specialise in psychological professions. 

Generally, job options for psychology graduates can be broken down into two main areas:

  • Psychological professions
  • Careers where a psychology degree might be useful

Psychological professions:

  • Psychologist
  • Clinical psychologist
  • Occupational psychologist
  • Forensic psychologist
  • Health psychologist
  • Therapist
  • Psychotherapist

Careers where a psychology degree can be useful:

  • Social worker
  • Counselling
  • Mental health professional
  • Teaching and education
  • Research roles
  • Advice worker
  • Neuroscience
  • Marketing
  • Life coaching
  • Policing

Psychology careers in mental health and healthcare

Clinical psychologist

Psychologists work with people to help them deal with a range of difficulties and mental health issues. Common mental health issues that clinical psychologists deal with include anxiety, depression, addictions, phobias, learning disabilities and eating disorders.

As a psychologist, you’ll assess patients’ problems and explore different options and interventions to help overcome or manage their issues. This includes providing therapy, and working with individuals, couples, or families to bring positive change.

In order to become a chartered clinical psychologist in the UK, you’ll first need an undergraduate psychology degree. What’s more, this qualification must be accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS) to receive chartered recognition. 

The majority of clinical psychologist roles also require a postgraduate doctorate in psychology. 

Forensic psychologist

If you’re interested in solving criminal investigations and exploring problems associated with criminal behaviour, then a career in forensic psychology could be for you. Forensic psychologists work in a number of settings, including hospitals, prisons, and courts. The role involves helping law enforcement and other investigators understand the psychology of criminals in order to assist with legal cases.

A psychology degree is the best place to start if you’re looking for a career in this field. Although, you will usually require a postgraduate qualification in order to become a forensic psychologist. 

Educational psychologist

A career in educational psychology can be extremely rewarding. You’ll help support children’s learning, working with schools and parents to improve their education in a way that meets their needs. Often, educational psychologists work with children with learning difficulties. The role can include researching and implementing learning strategies that develop the child’s learning abilities.

Similarly to other psychologist roles, you’ll need a postgraduate qualification and Chartered Psychologist status in order to become an educational psychologist – though an undergraduate psychology degree is the best place to start. 

If an educational psychologist role is not for you, then many psychology graduates take similar educational routes into teaching roles. 

Occupational psychologist

As an occupational psychologist, you’ll help solve organisational and workplace issues through the application of psychological knowledge and practice. Rather than focusing on individuals, you’ll focus on organisational structures and cultures, using your expert knowledge to improve work-related problems.


Psychotherapists provide talking therapy to help individuals overcome emotional difficulties. People use psychotherapy to explore their concerns and improve their mental health. As a psychotherapist, you’ll help them recognise their feelings and provide them with the necessary support to overcome their issues. For example, you might help people deal with anxiety, grief, addiction or depression. 

Psychotherapists support patients in different ways, making this a highly rewarding career for psychology students who want to apply a particular area of psychology in their future career. 

Social worker

Social workers help safeguard people from harm and provide the necessary support to help improve their situations. They help people, or groups of people, who are facing difficult circumstances – for instance, victims of abuse or crime.

A social worker will often work in schools, hospitals or private organisations, and usually specialise in a particular social group, such as victims of domestic abuse, vulnerable adults or families. The main difference between social worker roles and psychologist roles is that social workers help improve individuals’ situations and circumstances, whereas psychologists help improve individuals’ mental health.

The skills you learn throughout your psychology degree will lend themselves perfectly to social work. You’ll understand how to consider other people’s perspectives, communicate effectively and support others with psychological knowledge.


Counsellors work closely with people to help them improve their everyday lives and deal with their feelings and emotions. As a counsellor, you’ll work with healthier individuals with fewer pathological mental health issues, whereas a clinical psychologist, for example, would focus on more serious mental health problems such as psychosis.

Counselling is a form of talking therapy, helping people cope with their mental health concerns, and providing support in areas such as marriage and relationship issues, abuse, grief, rehabilitation and more.

A psychology degree provides you with the essential skills you’ll need for a career in counselling. Such as empathy, listening and research skills, as well as a theoretical background in psychological theory.

What do most psychology graduates go on to do?

Most psychology graduates go on to work in full-time job roles after leaving university, with some also going into part-time employment. The majority of those who do not go into employment opt for further study, either full-time, part-time, or alongside employment. 

This is broken down by percentages in the table below:

Graduate outcome


Full-time employment


Part-time employment


Voluntary or unpaid work


Employment and further study


Further study


Unemployed (including those due to start work)


Figures based on findings from the Prospects Luminate what do graduates do? report from the 2021/22 academic year.

For those in employment, here is a breakdown of the type of work that psychology graduates go into:

Type of work


Arts, design and media professionals


Business, HR and finance professionals


Education professionals


Engineering and building professionals


Health professionals


Information technology professionals


Legal, social and welfare professionals




Marketing, PR and sales professionals


Science professionals


Other professionals, associate professionals and technicians


Childcare, health and education occupations


Clerical, secretarial and numerical clerks


Retail, catering, waiting and bar staff


Skilled trades, crafts and other vocational occupations 


Other occupations


Figures based on findings from the Prospects Luminate what do graduates do? report from the 2021/22 academic year.

CV skills you’ll earn from a psychology degree

A psychology degree teaches students a broad range of skills that come in useful for a variety of job roles. Skills you’ll gain from a psychology degree include:

  • Writing skills – Psychology degrees involve a lot of essay writing, as well as a final dissertation. This will show employers that you can write clearly and effectively.
  • Data handling and statistics – You’ll encounter data and statistical analysis throughout several points of the course, helping improve your skills in this area.
  • Research skills – You’ll conduct a lot of research throughout a psychology degree, as well as observe the methods and techniques of existing research. 
  • Analytical skills – Studying a psychology degree will show your ability to analyse complex situations.
  • Problem-solving – You’ll develop problem-solving skills throughout the course, particularly through the analysis of psychological studies and dissertation work. 
  • Teamwork – A lot of psychology degrees involve working in groups. This will help you develop your teamwork, communication, and interpersonal skills.

Work experience

If you are interested in becoming a chartered psychologist, it’s useful to gain work as early as you can. Most psychologist roles require both a postgraduate degree and some level of work experience. 

Students usually start out by volunteering and later applying for a paid job. Your experience should reflect the kind of psychologist role you want to progress into. For example, if you wanted to become an educational psychologist, then work experience in a school would be much more valuable than experience in a workplace.

If you don’t want to go down the professional psychologist route, then it is still useful to consider whether your career path requires a lot of work experience. For those that do, it can be helpful to gain work experience early on to help kickstart your career in the best way possible. 

Whilst it’s no easy task to decide exactly what you want to do for your career, it is useful to lay the foundation with relevant work experience. 

Further study options

Postgraduate study can open up a lot of exciting opportunities for psychology graduates. 

It’s essential to have a postgraduate qualification for most chartered psychologist roles, often requiring a doctoral degree. So for those who want to go down the chartered psychologist route, it’s important to consider your further study options. 

There are a range of specialist postgraduate degrees available that allow students to specialise in a chosen psychological field, such as occupational psychology, organisational and business psychology, forensic psychology, counselling and psychotherapy, and more.

For those who don’t want to go into a psychological profession, a postgraduate qualification can still be really valuable – for instance, in teaching, human resources, marketing or social welfare roles. For teaching, a PGCE in Secondary Education Psychology is a great option for psychology graduates who want to teach psychology as a subject. 

The majority of psychology graduates in further education study a Master’s degree, with a smaller number of students continuing with doctoral studies. Here’s an overview of the type of course that psychology graduates take in further study:

Type of course


Studying a doctorate (PhD)


Studying a postgraduate diploma or certificate


Studying a Master’s (MA and MSc)


Studying a professional qualification


Other study


Figures based on findings from the Prospects Luminate What do graduates do? report from the 2021/22 academic year.

Study psychology at the University of Wolverhampton

Start paving the way for your future with a psychology degree. Whether you want to help improve people’s lives in a psychological profession, or apply your skills in another career – a psychology degree gives you the skills, knowledge, and qualification you need to succeed.

Explore psychology at the University of Wolverhampton today.

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