Department of Sociology

Career prospects

Essex graduation ceremony

Sociology and your perfect career

A degree from the Department of Sociology at Essex can lead to many exciting career pathways. Studying sociology unlocks the door to a wide range of employment opportunities in areas such as welfare, education, social research and even government.
Which jobs will suit me?
  • Youth work, probation services, the criminal justice system, charity and research organisations are just some of the industries that a degree from the Department of Sociology will relate to.
  • You could also consider continuing your education with us in readiness for a career in marketing, journalism, social work, counselling, teaching or public relations and communication.
  • Previous students from the Department have graduated into exciting careers such as; crime scene investigation, government officer roles, social research, marketing and teaching.

How will a Sociology degree benefit my future career prospects?

Which careers could my degree lead to?

The knowledge gained throughout your degree will prepare you for a wide range of professions after graduation. You can even tailor your path of study to focus on the areas you find most interesting, whilst refining and enhancing your career prospects in the process.

A degree from the Department of Sociology will relate to jobs in fields such as:

  • Police and probation services
  • Local and central government
  • Social and market research
  • Charitable, counselling and voluntary organisations
  • Public relations, journalism and communications
  • Media and marketing
  • Law firms and the criminal justice system
  • Teaching and education

The job roles listed above are just a few examples of the opportunities that a degree from the Department can lead to. The skills you will develop will enable you to successfully transition into a wide range of potential career paths.

Which skills will I develop in readiness for the workplace?

Studying sociology will provide you with a host of valuable skills employers are looking for. Communication, interpersonal awareness, problem-solving and analytical thinking are just a few of the applicable skill sets you will develop during your time with us.

A degree from the Department of Sociology will help you to develop:

  • Appreciation and understanding of the diversity in society and social situations
  • The ability to analyse a situation and build a reasoned argument
  • The capacity to apply sociological theory to individual aspects of society such as the education or healthcare systems
  • An aptitude for conducting research and evaluating complex information and data

What about opportunities for further study?

Many graduates of the Department will decide to continue their studies at Masters or PhD level. Graduates from a non-sociology background are also able to pursue further study in the Department of Sociology in readiness for a specific career.

You might decide to focus on specialised areas such as Migration Studies, Organised Crime, Terrorism and Security or even Research Methods. These are just a few of the specialist Masters courses we offer in the Department. Browse our full list of Masters courses to find your advanced area of study.

How will the Department support my career development?

Which career development opportunities are unique to the Department of Sociology?

Placements

As part of your degree you will have the opportunity to include a placement year. The Department of Sociology will help you to find a relevant opportunity and will support you as you improve your career prospects. Recent Sociology and Criminology students have undertaken placements at:

  • The National Probation Service
  • Colchester Sixth Form College
  • Ashoka - An international organisation that promotes social entrepreneurship by affiliating individual social entrepreneurs into the Ashoka organisation.

Q-Step

The University of Essex is one of only 17 universities across the UK invited to take part in the prestigious Q-Step programme. This voluntary programme of study is available to students of the Department of Sociology and is designed to develop your quantitative research skills, a skill set which is highly desired by employers across all sectors.

If you follow the Q-Step module pathway, you will receive a qualifier award at the end of your degree which will signal to employers your capability in quantitative research. Whilst taking part in Q-Step you will also get the chance to undertake paid work placements of up to £300 per week. Visit the Q-Step page to learn more about the programme.

How can I incorporate work experience alongside my studies?

Student Development Careers Services

The University of Essex provides a host of activities to support career development alongside your studies. We have a dedicated Student Development Careers Services team who will help you find placements and internships. They will work with you to find opportunities to develop your skills via our Student Union societies. You could be taking part in broadcasting activities with Rebel Media, developing your writing and public speaking skills with any number of our Student Union societies, or even gaining experience in the arts with the Lakeside Theatre.

The Big Essex Award

Maybe you want to develop your marketing, fundraising, networking or project management skills? The Big Essex Award is a voluntary award which identifies the skills you’ve developed over the course of your studies and records your achievements on your degree transcript.

The Frontrunners Scheme

Want to earn some money alongside your studies? At Essex we run a unique internal internship scheme. The Frontrunners scheme offers our students the opportunity to work within a University department or team. As well as giving you the chance to earn alongside your studies, a Frontrunner internship will develop your professional skills and prepare you for the world of work.

The Undergraduate Research Opportunities Programme (UROP)

Perhaps you would like to explore life in academia? In which case, the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Programme (UROP) offers applicants the chance to assist our academics on a current research project. As well as developing your research skills these research placements are fully paid.

What support can I expect to receive after I graduate?

Graduates from the University of Essex are able to access careers support for a lifetime. Our careers team will always be on hand to guide and support you as you transition into the world of work. We are able to offer personalised employment support and will help you with careers advice appointments, either in person, over the phone or via Skype. So, before your next big job interview, we will be on hand to review your C.V., discuss interview techniques and offer the practical guidance you need to take your next big step. For further information on graduate support at Essex please visit Career Support or email essexgrad@essex.ac.uk.

The Department of Sociology are always keen to keep in touch with graduates. You can always stay up to date with the Department via our Facebook page and you will always be welcome at the many open seminars held by the Department. To see our list of upcoming seminars please visit the Departmental events calendar.

Helena Randall wearing a police staff baseball cap
"I’m a Crime Scene Investigator for Essex Police. I started working in the Police as a Criminal Justice Administrator, a position I got due to my degree... it can be very stressful but identifying an offender is so rewarding!"
Helena Randall, Crime Scene Investigator BA Criminology

Learn more about Helena's career as a Crime Scene Investigator

Helena Randall, BA Criminology, University of Essex

Why did you decide to study your course at Essex?

When I visited Essex I just felt at ease. I loved the layout of the campus so knew I’d be happy living here. Plus the Sociology department had a great reputation and I felt very happy to become a part of it.

What did you enjoy most about your studies? Which modules or areas of research did you particularly enjoy?

Although I did Criminology I enjoyed studying the sociology of education and social policies. I thoroughly enjoyed the punishment module, learning about the prison systems.

Can you tell us about your current job and how you got there?

I’m a Crime Scene Investigator for Essex Police. I started working in the Police as a Criminal Justice Administrator, a position I got due to my degree, and moved up to CSI. The lack of budget means I’m often the only person covering West Essex so it can be very stressful but identifying an offender is so rewarding! Eventually I would like to become a Crime Scene Manager.

Could you describe a typical day?

I’ll attend the Harlow office to look at what jobs are going on for me to go and collect fingerprints and look for DNA, footwear marks and generally any forensic evidence types. A ‘normal’day includes attending crime scenes such as burglaries, stabbings, murders, suicides, rapes, thefts and drug related incidents.

How relevant is your degree to your job?

Although my degree doesn’t directly feed into my job, it helped during the interview process and every day it gives me a further insight into who these people are and why they have committed these crimes. I feel like my degree has given me a wealth of information I can apply to my job.

What advice would you give to someone looking for a similar role?

Be passionate and work hard!

A portrait of Dimitri Papaloizou.
"During my time at Essex I was Secretary-General and President of the Cypriot Society. The additional skills this gave me were related to leadership, teamwork, organising and public relations."
Dimitris Papaloizou, Sales and Marketing Manager MA Advertising, Marketing and Media

Learn more about Dimitris' career as a Sales and Marketing Manager

Dimitris Papaloizou, MA Advertising, Marketing and Media, University of Essex

Why did you decide to study your course at Essex?

I actually did my Bachelor’s degree at Essex as well as my Masters. My undergrad degree was BSc Business Management, and when I was researching universities, I found that Essex had great reviews in terms of education for my field of study and offered an amazing student life within campus.

What did you enjoy most about your studies? Which modules or areas of research did you particularly enjoy?

I really enjoyed the modules about Marketing in my undergraduate degree, in fact that was the reason I stayed in Essex for another year for my Master's degree in MA Advertising, Marketing and Media.

Which further study skills did studying at Essex give you?

During my time at Essex I was Secretary-General (2013-14) and President (2014-15) of the Cypriot Society. The additional skills this gave me were related to leadership, teamwork, organising and public relations.I was also Sports Coordinator of the International Student Association (2014) and Representative of the Cypriots in the International Student Experience Committee, which gave me the chance to cooperate with societies and people from other countries. Furthermore, during my studies, I completed the Big Essex Award Programme that included completing employability and volunteering hours.

Can you tell us about your current job, and how you got there?

After I graduated from my MA in 2015, I moved back home to Cyprus to join our family business; Chrysodalia Food Industry. I went through a 6-month induction programme to learn about the procedures of different departments within the company. At the end of the programme I was placed in the Sales and Marketing department as Sales and Marketing Manager. My main responsibilities are monitoring of sales and marketing actions and running the procedures of the distribution centre.

Could you describe a typical day?

I go to the distribution centre every morning to monitor the loading procedure of the trucks and vans to prepare for the delivery of the products. I then return to my desk to check my emails and sales reports. When I finish with the administration for the day I arrange meetings with customers to maintain B2B relationships, problem-solve issues elsewhere in the company and plan promotion of new products. What I love most about my job is the challenge of balancing business management / development and dealing with changes in the food industry and demand.

What advice would you give to someone looking for a similar role?

Don't expect it to be an office job that ends when you leave the building. It is a 24/7 commitment. You don't know what the future will bring and that is why you need to give 100% every day. Stay focused and hungry.

Natasha Scanlon wearing a black T-Shirt
“My degree has allowed to me to see my children as the whole child rather than just academic data… Seeing the children progress academically and grow in confidence over the year is incredibly rewarding.”
Natasha Scanlon, Primary School Teacher BA Sociology

Learn more about Natasha's career as a Primary School Teacher

Natasha Scanlon, BA Sociology, University of Essex

Why did you decide to study your course at Essex? When I came to look around the University of Essex I felt instantly at home. It was also one of the best universities for my chosen subject of Sociology and it was far enough away from home that I could go out on my own,but close enough that I could still visit home occasionally.

What did you enjoy most about your studies? Which modules or areas of research did you particularly enjoy?

I really enjoyed the modules that focused on race, social inequality and education.I also took some history modules so I gained a lot of historical links, knowledge and context in regards to different policies that link to sociological issues such as racism and social hierarchy and inequality. I enjoyed the honest and open debate that was encouraged and was fortunate to have lecturers that truly inspired me. Professor Colin Samson and Dr Carlos Gigoux really stand out in my mind - years after graduating I still remember them due to their inspiring and engaging lectures.

Can you tell us about your current job, and how you got there?

After graduating from Essex with a 2:1 in BA Sociology I went on to complete a PGCE at Canterbury Christchurch University. I was fortunate enough to get an interview with one of my placement schools and I secured myself a job as an NQT. I then became a qualified teacher passing both my PGCE and NQT year with elements of outstanding. I am very proud to now be a fully qualified primary school teacher.

Could you describe a typical day?

I arrive at work between 7.15am and 7.45am each day to prepare for the school day. My children come in to class from 8.45 am and I teach them phonics, english and maths every morning. The afternoons vary throughout the week where I teach them the foundation subjects such as history, geography, science, RE and music. The children go home at 3.20pm and I finish work between 5.15pm and 5.45pm each day. However, I often then plan lessons throughout the evening whilst watching TV and eating dinner - life as a teacher never stops!

What do you enjoy about your work?

I find my job really fulfilling and satisfying. My degree has allowed to me to see my children as the whole child rather than just academic data. I understand different cultures and backgrounds, which I feel I gained during both my university teaching and experience. Seeing the children progress academically and grow in confidence over the year is incredibly rewarding.

What advice would you give to someone looking for a similar role?

Be prepared to work hard and do not afraid to cry! Teaching is emotionally demanding and it is incredibly time consuming. If you are not prepared to commit to it fully it is not the job for you because at the end of the day you are responsible for 30 children’s education!

Image of a female student holding a laptop
Gain quantitative skills and enhance your degree with Q-Step

Did you know you could be graduating with enhanced quantitative skills simply by enrolling on specific Q-Step modules? If you follow the Q-Step pathway you will receive a qualifier award at the end of your degree which will signal to employers your capability in quantitative research. Whilst taking part in Q-Step you will also get the chance to undertake paid work placements of up to £300 per week.

Learn how to enhance your degree with Q-Step
Contact us
Contact us
Robin Brooker Study Support Manager
Department of Sociology, University of Essex
Telephone: 01206 873743
Dr Maitrayee Deka  Employability Development Director
Department of Sociology, University of Essex
Telephone: 01206 873539