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Robert Vega, Director FAC 18 / 2304 Whitis Ave. Stop G6200 78712-1508 • 512-471-7900

Careers by Discipline

For Job Seekers from All Disciplines

All liberal arts academics have skills in abstract thinking, reading, writing, conducting research, project management, organizing information, and communication. If you’ve taught, you have presentation skills, interpersonal communication skills, conflict management skills, and curriculum development skills.

Skills to foster

Writing skills: Get experience writing for a variety of audiences, not only people in your specialty. Practice the art of translation: Academic or technical or corporate jargon into prose for the non-expert; factual information into prose that makes uninterested or busy readers suddenly interested; awkward writing into fluid, readable writing. Volunteer to write materials for any kind of organization that reaches a non-academic audience: college organizations, nonprofits, small businesses, entertainment magazines and other local journalism outlets, even a personal blog.

Collaborative skills: Show that you can work in cooperation with other people outside your academic area. Volunteer to serve on committees, co-write documents, mentor younger colleagues, join organizations on- or off-campus.

Skills, Careers & Resources by Discipline

Foreign Languages, Linguistics, and Area Studies
Psychology, Sociology, and Anthropology
Government/Political Science


Special Skills

  • Written communication, especially having a fluid writing style
  • Making connections
  • Deep holistic thinking
  • Understanding historical, cultural, or psychological significance
  • Interpretation
  • Archival and textual research methods
  • Attention to detail


Publishing, PR/marketing, writing, education and training, higher education administration, librarian, fundraising/grant writing

Print and Web Resources

Princeton Review. What to Do with Your English or Communications Degree. Princeton Review, 2007. Print.
-    Good examples of English major skills translated to resume bullet points on 4-14.
Lemire, Timothy. I’m an English Major: Now What? Cincinnati, OH: Writers Digest Books, 2006. Print.
-    This book is a pleasure to read due to Lemire’s style, wit, and candor about the pros and cons of industries that English majors often go into. He also has good creative ideas about how to prepare or break into an industry, as well as Q&As with interesting people who got a degree in English and ended up in the career fields he profiles. Also available as a free ebook download from
Edmondson, Michael. “The Ultimate Guide To Finding a Job as an English Major.”, May 27, 2011.

Foreign Languages, Linguistics, and Area Studies

Special Skills

  • Multilingual
  • Knowledge of different cultures, adaptability
  • Able to learn languages and other complex systems efficiently
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Verbal communication skills
  • Quantitative, qualitative, and textual research skills


Finance and business: conducting business using language/international relations skills or teaching languages to businesspeople. Most desirable languages are Spanish, Chinese, French, Arabic, Japanese, Russian, and German.

Government: most desirable languages are Arabic, Chinese, Russian, Korean, Japanese, Farsi, Polish

Education: It can be easier to find K-12 teaching jobs in bilingual education (non-English proficient students) than foreign language teaching. If you don’t want to teach but want to stay close to education, you might be able to find work with a school district as the liaison between non-English speaking parents and the schools. Other education-related jobs include coordinating study abroad or foreign exchange programs, or administration at foreign language schools. Look for associations for teachers of your language online.

Print and Web Resources - maintains job list for linguists, both academic and non-academic jobs
Center for Applied Linguistics
American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages
National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition
National Assocation for Bilingual Education
FBI Linguists
DeGalan, Julie, and Stephen Lambert. Great Jobs for Foreign Language Majors. 3rd ed. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill, 2007. Print
Appen Butler Hill: a consulting firm employing linguists and foreign languages specialists on a full-time and freelance basis

Psychology, Sociology, and Anthropology

Special Skills

  • Quantitative and qualitative research skills
  • Data gathering and analysis, especially statistical analysis
  • Understanding human behavior
  • Sensitivity and understanding diversity (cultural competence)
  • Working with special populations
  • Interpersonal and collaborative skills
  • Working with specialized software
  • Knowledge of how people learn and form attitudes and opinions
  • Seeing issues in context
  • Thinking abstractly and critically about issues facing particular populations

Psychology Careers

HR, staffing and recruiting, gerontology, commodities trader, research and development, marketing, intelligence, nonprofits, social services, industrial/organizational psychologist, career counselor. Job growth most favorable in I/O psychology and gerontology.

Industrial/organizational psychologists develop and implement employee selection and placement programs. This could include assessment, data analysis, observing and interviewing employees, writing reports, providing training, or advising management about personnel decisions. Basically, an industrial/organizational psychologists duties are similar to an HR manager, but more data-driven and requiring more research. You could work full-time for a company or work as a consultant. See Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, especially the Jobs section.

Gerontologist: Very high job growth expected relative to other fields because of aging population. Health care, housing, and finance are areas in particular need of gerontologists. You can work directly with the elderly in enrichment programs, health and wellness, activity coordinator, counseling, or program development, helping elderly remain healthy, productive, and independent. Or you can work on behalf of elderly in research, policy analysis, administering community-based programs, lobbying or advocacy, or advising businesses about older workers or retirees.

Print and Web Resources

LACS guide to HR careers
APA’s Career Page
Exploring Careers in Aging
Extensive list of aging-related organizations - jobs in aging
APA’s Committee on Aging
Gerontological Society of America - can read member profiles to get an idea of the diversity of careers related to gerontology
Princeton Review. What to Do with Your Psychology or Sociology Degree. 1st ed. Princeton, NJ: Princeton Review, 2007. Print.
O’Hara, Shelley. What Can You Do with a Major in Psychology? 1st ed. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley Publishing Inc., 2005. Print.

Sociology Careers

Marketing, intelligence, nonprofits (especially with a human rights focus), social services, political campaign manager, pollster, fundraising/grant writing

Social services: A case manager is the entry-level position in social services. Case management means providing resources or therapeutic interventions to special populations. Need excellent interpersonal and organizational skills, critical thinking, and familiarity with relevant resources. Second language ability is a strong plus. From case management, you can grow into positions in government administration and policy planning, or executive director of an organization. Case managers can be employed by a wide range of organizations: hospitals, all levels of government, senior center, adoption agencies, prisons, and rehab centers.

Nonprofits, especially with human rights interests: individuals working for human rights organizations need to be socially conscious and have the ability to tolerate physically and mentally demanding job environments. Such work could lead into policy-making by conducting research and reporting findings to relevant bodies. You could also move into fundraising or development, being a campaign director, or executive director.

Print and Web Resources     

Princeton Review. What to Do with Your Psychology or Sociology Degree. Princeton, NJ: Princeton Review, 2007. Print.

Anthropology Careers

Market research, international development, government or business consulting, military consulting, social services

Print and Web Resources

Kolowich, Steve. “Anthropology and the Military.” Inside Higher Ed, December 4, 2009.
AAA Commission on the Engagement of Anthropology with the US Security and Intelligence Communities. Final Report. November 4, 2007.
Camenson, Blythe. Careers for Scholars & Other Deep Thinkers. 2nd ed. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill, 2008. Print.


Special Skills

  • Analytical skills
  • Quantitative skills
  • Understanding of financial systems
  • Knowledge of economic theories
  • Ability to forecast future trends
  • Seeing how larger context affects financial plans of an organization


Budget or financial analysts at think tanks, higher levels of government, finance and banking, buyers and purchasing agents

Print and Web Resources

Camenson, Blythe. Great Jobs for Economics Majors. 2nd ed. McGraw-Hill, 2006. Print.
Burnett, Rebecca E. Careers for Numbers Crunchers & Other Quantitative Types. VGM Career Books, 1999. Print.
Economist Jobs - can search by sector
American Economic Association maintains a job list of academic and non-academic jobs

Popular Economics Books

Since the success of Freakonomics, there have been frequent bestselling books by economists or about the economy, and they are worth checking out to see how economic methods are being to put to use outside the academy, or what popular economic concerns are and how to present your academic background in a way that will appeal to non-academic employers. Some of the current best-selling books about economics are:
Kahneman, Daniel. Thinking, Fast and Slow. 1st ed. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2011.
Sandel, Michael J. What Money Can’t Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2012.
Conard, Edward. Unintended Consequences: Why Everything You’ve Been Told About the Economy Is Wrong. Portfolio Hardcover, 2012.


Special Skills

  • Archival research
  • Evaluating sources
  • Weighing conflicting viewpoints and synthesizing
  • Determining what is relevant or irrelevant information in large body of data
  • Knowing how/why past has influenced the present
  • Writing narratives
  • Distinguishing patterns
  • Using evidence to support arguments


Intelligence, foreign service, policy analyst, archivist or other museum work

Articles about training historians for non-academic jobs

Cassuto, Leonard. “OK, Let’s Teach Graduate Students Differently. But How?” The Chronicle of Higher Education. 8 Jan. 2012. Web. 9 Apr. 2012.
Cassuto, Leonard. “Making a Public Ph.D.” The Chronicle of Higher Education. 12 Feb. 2012. Web. 13 Feb. 2012.
Cassuto, Leonard. “Teaching Ph.D.’s How to Reach Out.” The Chronicle of Higher Education. 6 May 2012. Web. 4 June 2012.
Lord, Alexandra M. “The View from Outside the Ivory Tower.” Perspectives. Jan. 2005.

Print and Web Resources

Beyond Academe - Non-academic job advice for historians
Organization of American Historians
American Association for State and Local History
Society for History in the Federal Government
Lambert, Stephen, and Julie DeGalan. Great Jobs for History Majors. 3rd ed. McGraw-Hill, 2007. Print.
Princeton Review. What to Do with Your History or Political Science Degree. 1st ed. Princeton, NJ: Princeton Review, 2007. Print.
(Interviews with former history and political science majors, 257-286)

Government/Political Science

Special Skills

  • Quantitative and archival research skills
  • Statistical analysis
  • Interested in people and what makes them act
  • Persuasive communication,
  • Leadership
  • Understanding power dynamics, political process, and the law


Campaign manager, pollster, intelligence, foreign service, policy analyst

Print and Web Resources

American Political Science Association - eJobs lists academic and non-academic jobs for political scientists. Must be a member to browse jobs.
Axelrod-Contrada, Joan. Career Opportunities in Politics, Government, and Activism. 2nd ed. New York, NY: Facts on File, 2008. Print.
Princeton Review. What to Do with Your History or Political Science Degree. 1st ed. Princeton, NJ: Princeton Review, 2007. Print.
-    Interviews with former history and political science majors, 257-286


Special Skills

  • Strong writing skills
  • Strong analytic skills
  • Creative thinking
  • Debating skills
  • Ability to take criticism of one’s ideas

Training in logic makes philosophers a good fit for jobs in computing, like database design or programming. One interesting subfield is artificial intelligence (AI) research, desirable to manufacturers of software and consumer goods, video games, or government contractors, especially defense.

Another is “applied ontology,” a type of position closely related to information science that involves designing systems, networks, databases, or other tools based on how the units of information relate to each other. For example, Yahoo employed an ontologist in its early days of crawling and categorizing web pages to try to make sense of the web. Ontologist job ads often mention human-machine interaction, machine learning, natural language processing, semantics, or the semantic web as areas of interest.

To supplement the abstract reasoning skills honed in your study of philosophy, seek out opportunities to learn relevant software packages such as C++ and Python.

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