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Social Sciences

As a student of the Social Sciences you may ask yourself, ‘What can I actually do with my Social Sciences degree? Is my chosen study perhaps too specialised? Is an academic education an effective starting point for my career goals?’


Since Bachelor's and Master’s programmes are academic and specialised, and your thesis topic is even more so, the impression may arise that career options are limited to very specialised jobs. The reality is, however, that Social Science graduates find positions as academic professionals in a very broad range of functions. An academic curriculum does train you to become an academic professional, but does not provide straight forward vocational training, such as universities of applied science (HBO) would do.

As an academic professional, you will have acquired cutting-edge knowledge in a specific field of study. As a graduate, you have mastered the all-important academic skills to analyse, plan, research, argue, interpret, and to report on your findings at a very high and abstract level. What is more, you will be able to link theoretical insights with social issues and needs.

These professional academic skills are extremely valuable for a multitude of careers. Your studies at the university prepare you for a career, not for a specific job straight out of university.

The choice is yours

As a Social Sciences graduate, you will be able to enter a variety of functions, and to enhance your knowledge and skills to suit the environments you will be working in during the course of your career. A substantial number of graduates do find jobs closely in line with their study. However, many find interesting jobs that may at first glance appear unrelated to their field of study. What you decide to do after graduation, and what jobs you may find during your career is not limited to your specific programme or thesis topic. The labour market has a large demand for Social Sciences alumni who are able to adequately address social issues. Society needs people in executive and advisory positions with well-grounded and up-to-date knowledge.

Examples of organisations and functions 

As a graduate, you are suited for employment in a wide variety of organisations, for instance,

  • government (local, national, international)
  • multinational and private companies
  • NGOs
  • education
  • research institutions 
  • and media outlets. 

Your academic training also enables you to pursue a career in universities in the Netherlands and elsewhere around the world.

Some examples of functions you may encounter are:

  • (junior) policy adviser or consultant
  • management trainee
  • member of the embassy staff
  • project manager
  • journalist for newspapers/weekly magazine/television/radio
  • online editor
  • scientific researcher/university academic
  • policy maker
  • planner
  • trainer
  • university teacher
  • and so on.

With that in mind, it is important to become aware of what functions and organisations are of possible interest to you to start working in after your graduation: what does the labour market have to offer you, and how can you present yourself in the best way possible?

Career support 

To support you in your career goals, the University offers a variety of resources.

GSSS Career Event 

For instance, twice a year the GSSS hosts a Career Event, where you can meet organisation representatives and alumni, and receive helpful tips and feedback about searching for a job as a graduate.

For an example of a Career Event programme, please look at the website for the Spring 2017 GSSS Career Event through the link below.

GSSS Career Event 2017

UvA Student Careers Centre 

The UvA Student Careers Centre organises workshops on job interviews, writing application letters, doing a job search, and even starting your own business, all to assist you in developing your skills for finding a position that suits you after graduation.

You can also orientate on internships and jobs in the UvA Job board database.

More about UvA Careers Centre