What can I do with my degree or course?
There are many ways you can use your degree or course from the University of St Andrews. You could pursue a career directly related to your subject, or you may prefer to go in a different direction. You may even want to pursue a new type of role many years after graduating.
You should first consider some of the career paths that are open to you at the end of your degree:
- career paths directly related to your degree, using specific skills gained from your course
- career paths where your degree would be useful, using skills related to your course which employers in a certain employment sector or job role might value
- career paths taking a new direction, based more on your wider interests but still using the transferable skills developed during your course.
Many employers accept applications from graduates of any degree subject, so you may benefit from exploring a range of career sectors and job roles.
Career paths directly related to your degree
For jobs that directly relate to your degree, it's worth thinking about what skills you have learned or what topics you have studied. You should consider whether you want to:
- apply specific technical knowledge from your degree to a job role
- continue to use certain skills or techniques that you developed during your degree
- pursue research on a specific topic from a thesis or dissertation in more detail
- further develop your interest or passion for your subject.
If you want to do any of these, your next step may be to decide whether further study or a graduate job is the best fit for you. Then, research possible employers, industries, and postgraduate courses to come to an informed decision.
Career paths where your degree would be useful
The majority of graduates find work in fields other than their degree subject, and many employers advertise graduate opportunities aimed at a variety of degree disciplines. For these opportunities, focus on how you can apply the transferable skills you gained during your degree. You should consider whether you want to:
- work in an industry or sector that is not directly related to your degree
- apply specific skills gained from your degree to a different line of work
- explore different job sectors where your degree would be valued.
Being able to demonstrate your interest in an industry and your transferable skills will help you when applying for careers that may not be directly related to your degree.
Career paths taking a new direction
Many graduates find work in areas outside their degree subject, choosing a career based on a passion or interest that’s far removed from what they studied. Perhaps you want to:
- work in an area you understand well and feel confident in, even if that area is quite distinct from your degree
- try to develop some new skills
- explore a new work environment you haven’t previously experienced
- develop an idea for a business.
No matter what career path you choose, it’s important to understand the skills that the employers you are interested in are looking for. Researching employers helps to develop your occupational knowledge, gives you a realistic view of an employer’s expectations, and provides the opportunity to build on any skills still needed.
If you are a research postgraduate, there are many things you can do after you complete your degree. A common route is academia, but this is not your only option. A research degree gives you a range of skills and experience that you can use to transition into a career in a wide variety of different sectors.
If you are interested in an academic career, see the academia sector page. Otherwise, look at the many other sectors graduates from St Andrews enter, and consider booking an appointment with a careers adviser.
For further information, see non-academic careers for PhD holders (FindAPhD).
Careers Centre resources
To help you consider what sectors or industries are out there, consider using the following resources:
- Careers by sector – contains useful sector overviews, information about the skills required for specific careers, and links to relevant websites and organisations.
- Graduate destinations – provides insight into the wide range of opportunities possible for St Andrews graduates.
- Speak to a careers adviser – one-to-one appointments, where you can chat confidentially about any career-related queries.