Monday, January 18, 2016

What Can I Do With My Degree?

“So you want to be a lawyer or the Prime Minister?” This is often the comment I get from people when I tell them I am a political science major. As someone who works in a Career Services department and who has no interest in entering politics or law this is an incredibly frustrating statement. For those of us in the social sciences and humanities, we and society in general often minimize our job prospects to the handful of well-known careers in our respective fields. For instance, those in psychology may believe that they can only be psychologists. Those in history may believe they can only be historians, archaeologists, or archivists. Those in English may believe they are on a path to becoming authors. For those like me in political science, we often assume our degree will lead to a life of long hours, travel and scandal as politicians or as a lawyer. 

We seem too focused on jobs that incorporate the knowledge we gain in our degrees. This may be the case for those in other faculties and science/math based programs. For instance, most students in the Faculty of Education want to become teachers, while many people in the nursing program have ambitions to become nurses or healthcare providers. However, for those of us in the social sciences and humanities, our job prospects are not as cut and dry and for many of us, we have no idea what we want to do after we graduate. Adding to this frustration of seeing those in other programs know what they want to do, the countless “studies” and articles written about degree career prospects all show that we as social science and humanities students are doomed to be unemployed after graduation and suffer a lifetime of under-employment. What is the purpose then of our degree? Did we waste all our money and time? Short answer - NO!

A popular question we get as Career Assistants in the Resource Centre is “what can I do with my degree?” To this I often ask if they know who Martin Dempsey is. Dempsey is a US General and former Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff reporting to the Secretary of Defence and the US President. As one of the highest ranking military officials in the United States, Dempsey holds a Master’s degree in Literature from Duke University where he wrote a thesis on Irish literature. Dempsey serves as a great example of someone who had a meaningful and successful career outside the "traditional jobs" English majors occupy. Like Dempsey, we must look beyond the information we learn throughout our degree and look more broadly at how we learn and engage with course material in order to better understand a) the skills we can bring to an employer and b) the endless job possibilities available to us. 

Instead of knowledge, those of us in social sciences and humanities should focus on transferable skills. Organization, teamwork, communication and leadership are all transferable skills that we gain throughout our undergraduate degree and are invaluable in any workplace. We gain these broad transferable skills by attending lecture and recording notes, preparing and presenting in seminars, researching and writing papers, and so on. Aside from these broad transferable skills your program may focus on more specific transferable skills. A full list of degree specific skills can be found on our degree exploration guides. By thinking outside the "traditional jobs" of our fields and focusing on the transferable skills we gain throughout our degree, those of us in the social sciences and humanities will find that a diverse selection of jobs and industries are available to us. While jobs directly related to our degree may be hard to come by, our degrees give us the skills we need to succeed in other job categories. 

Don’t be tied down to the restrictive list of traditional jobs for your field, think outside the box and DO NOT give too much weight to the studies that underestimate your degrees worth. Every degree and graduate is unique and can bring something to an employer. Stop by the Career Resource Centre in the Learning Commons and let us help you realize your degree’s value and job prospects. 

Mike Pratas
4th Year Political Science Major
Lead Career Assistant 


  1. Payday loans are the adjustment of best for millions of consumers whenever a banking emergency arises, as they action quick banknote in times of need, and are accessible to administer and authorize for. So why are so abounding bodies bashing the payday accommodation industry? It's simple, really. payday loans

  2. Auto title advances not just offer you the cash you require in a crisis, however are accessible to those paying little respect amazingly history. It is quick and simple to apply on the web. It is exceptionally straightforward and you should simply round out a couple shapes on the web. Much of the time, you can have the cash with in 48 hours. Cash Advance Chicago

  3. Since these loans both backpack aerial accounts charges, they should be beheld as aftermost resort money. When you accept angry over every added bean and came up dry, another money will help. Why save them for last? The aerial absorption and abbreviate agreement will sometimes be boxy to resolve. Money advice should never hurt.
    Payday Loans Costa-mesa

  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  5. When you go to the accommodation aggregation to get the accommodation you appearance them affidavit of application and again address them a postdated analysis for the bulk that you are borrowing additional a fee. This fee is a lender fee but it does not accommodate the absorption rate. The fee absolutely isn't that aerial but the absorption bulk will be. If you don't pay the absorption bulk the accommodation aggregation will activate calling you or your abode of application to aggregate on the outstanding money owed.
    cash advance

  6. Selling Off the Old - Lots of households apple-pie out closets, garages and cellars in adjustment to accomplish allowance for new. This is a abundant time to accept a barn auction or put added admired things for auction online. Lots of bodies are extenuative money by arcade for acclaim acclimated items rather than advantageous abounding amount for cast new.

    Payday Loans Chicago

  7. Barely anybody has impeccable credit nowadays. In spite of the fact that not in any manner genuine, the misguided judgment is that one's FICO assessment is the thing that it is and there is minimal one can do about it. Nothing could be further from reality and the canny shopper realizes that, yet how can that help you now. auto title loans chicago

  8. There are various distinctive sorts of credits and which is ideal and most reasonable relies on upon various components, for example, the utilization for the account and the private status of the borrower. cash advance san-diego

  9. The information you share is the problem I'm needed. Hope your new posts will bring more exciting for viewers. Please allow me to share:
    Run 3 - Tank Trouble - baixar facebook

  10. With these credits there are likewise littler up front installments, they offer advances with a 3% least up front installment. You don't need to make the up front installment yourself- - it can be gotten as a blessing from an altruistic association or from your manager. Additionally, FHA offers altered rate credits in which your rate does hot go up at whatever time amid the period in which you are paying off your advance. cash advance san-diego

  11. Presently, don't misunderstand me, it might take longer than a year to discover a rate on an auto advance that will make it advantageous to renegotiate. Regardless of the possibility that it takes a year to get your FICO score to a superior place, be understanding.payday loans chicago