Enhance your profile: Learn all about the career opportunities available to you at an early stage, get some practical experience and plan your studies around the requirements of your preferred career.Student Counseling Center (ZSB) at the University of Stuttgart
Humanities and Social Sciences: the foundation of a wide range of careers
Study programs in the humanities and social sciences don’t qualify a student for a specific career, but lay the foundations for a wide range of career paths. To make sure that you can evaluate all the different options available to you, we recommend that you learn all about the career opportunities available to you at an early stage, get some practical experience, and – where possible – take the relevant courses as part of your university studies (e.g. in terms of key competencies).
You can get an overview of the typical jobs done by graduates in the humanities and social sciences from our careers list. The information includes links to the relevant (professional) associations.
Interested in a consultation?
At the University of Stuttgart, Mr. Demel advises students in the humanities and social sciences on questions related to internships and getting started in their careers (“studies-internship-career”). You are invited to arrange a consultation with him.
Possible career paths
This sector includes a wide range of different occupations and potential employers. Alongside the traditional career path of school teaching, careers are also possible in adult education (e.g. at adult education centers), as well as in educational counseling and on-the-job training. Another option is working in the education administration (education authorities, Department of Education). Furthermore, education-related employment opportunities also exist in the cultural sector, such as e.g. in theaters or museums.
Humanities and social science graduates are more frequently finding employment in the private sector. They are particularly in demand in HR (e.g. in personnel development), but also work in marketing, advertising and sales. Employment opportunities also exist in corporate consulting and corporate communication. Having a basic understanding of economics is helpful in getting your foot onto the career ladder.
Graduates in the humanities and social sciences often go on to work in a variety of jobs in the federal and state governments as well as in municipalities. Students who have completed a bachelor’s degree often compete against junior employees from colleges of public administration, those with a master’s degree often compete against lawyers. However, there are also occasional job opportunities in the sector which are explicitly aimed at graduates in the humanities and social sciences. In addition to the public authorities mentioned above, potential employers also include universities and job agencies as well as international organizations (e.g. the EU or UN) and churches.
Graduates with a degree in the humanities and social sciences work in a number of careers related to consulting and coaching. These include for example student counseling, career advice, organizational consulting, corporate consulting, personal consulting, social consulting and policy advice. For those who wish to work in some of these careers, it can be wise to carry out further training after completing your studies to learn the relevant methodical tools.
There are a variety of opportunities for graduates in the humanities and social sciences in the cultural sector. Employers in this field include museums, theaters, galleries and foundations. Jobs may for example focus on culture management, education, organizing exhibitions or event management.
Due to globalization and increased interconnectedness between countries, the employment market is taking on an increasingly international dimension. As well as the obvious career opportunities in translation and interpreting, which are mostly of relevance to language students, options also exist with international organizations, the diplomatic corps, as well as in development cooperation or multinational corporations. Jobs also exist in the tourism sector (e.g. travel guide) or in the context of flight and migration (e.g. language teaching).
Historians in particular can potentially find employment in university, city or company archives, since they are proficient in working with historical sources. Both academic and public libraries as well as special libraries belonging to companies or public authorities are potential sources of employment for graduates in the humanities and social sciences. It is generally necessary to complete a post-study internship and in some cases an additional study program to be employed as a librarian or archivist. A doctoral degree is desirable in most cases.
The media industry is a very popular choice for students inf the humanities and social sciences. Jobs in journalism and publishing are particularly sought after. One characteristic of the media industry is that it is often necessary to complete a traineeship after finishing your university studies. Unpaid positions are also more common in the media than in other industries. Employers or contracting authorities can include e.g. publishers, radio stations, film and television as well as print media.
The political sphere, in the broadest sense of the word, is of interest to many students in the humanities and social sciences. This includes working for governmental organizations, non-governmental organizations, parties, politicians, foundations, associations, clubs and international institutions. There are also employment opportunities available for graduates in the humanities and social sciences in political education.
Working in the press and public relations sector is a logical choice for former students in the humanities and social sciences, since here the focus is on dealing with language and text. Public relations departments exist in almost every big company and in almost every public authority. Meanwhile, social media such as Facebook and Instagram plays an ever larger role in how a company or a public authority presents itself to the public.
An academic career is open to students of all disciplines. In addition to working at a university, opportunities also exist in public and private research institutes. Market research and opinion polling is an interesting potential field of employment for social science graduates in particular. Working in science management is another option.