Careers - creating Flexible Futures
Finding a good job after university can be tough, and building a career can be tougher still. Given the expense of university and the financial pressures afterwards, applicants need to know that an STS degree (UCAS V550 or UCAS L391) is a smart investment.
"Flexible futures" is STS's career development philosophy. Our degrees allow people to follow their passions while also preparing for a wide range of careers. We build expertise and substance – and we also build a broad portfolio of the kind of skills sought in today's job market.
We live in the age of generalists when it comes to undergraduate degrees. Overspecialisation is risky business. It's right for some career choices, but not for others. For two decades, STS degrees have been used as general preparation for a wide range of careers, with specialisation to follow in postgraduate studies or corporate fellowship programmes. We know that some students don't yet have a clear direction in mind. "Flexible futures" works for you, too.
- What can I do with this degree?
Most STS graduates choose the world of work after their degree. While our graduates can be found in almost any industry, jobs taken up by our graduates over the past three years generally fall into one of four categories:
• management, business, and finance
• journalism, public relations, and marketing
• museums and archives
• civil service and professional services
Increasingly, our graduates decide on postgraduate study, such as a taught Master's degree. These provide accelerated professional training and qualification. The professional job market now is such that postgraduate degrees increasingly are expected as a baseline. In the past three years, the most popular areas for postgraduate study have been:
• International Development
• Science Communication
• Global Governance and Ethics
STS graduates also frequently continue in subjects within our own interdisciplinary community such as History and Philosophy of Science, Science policy, philosophy, and medical humanities).
STS follows our students after graduation, and we have a good idea of their career development. With more than twenty years of graduates to follow, we think we have a strong track record of success, and recent statistics agree.
STS BSc graduate level stats 2014-15, 2013-14, 2012-13 Average Grad Level Work, Post Graduate Study or Both 87% Graduate Level Work 84% Median Salary £29,333 Source: UCL's DLHE destinations stats 2012-15
- Which skills will I develop?
STS offers excellent generalised skill development, and places heavy emphasis on critical thinking, effective writing and presentation skills, research, and analysis. These skills are increasingly desired in a wide range of fields. Our track record shows we know how to build skills while the future comes more into focus. We have also been commended for using innovative methods of assessment. Depending on which modules you choose, you may be asked to produce a short film, record a podcast or write a blog – skills you’re more likely to use in your career than standard essay writing.
STS reviews our programmes regularly to ensure we match our skill development with employer demand, and introduces new modules each year to stay up to date – for example, 2017-18 will see the introduction of a new module on Science and Publishing.
Because they used their degree to build new skills and to sharpen others, many of our STS graduates were ready to pounce on opportunities arose. Many of our alumni can give first hand examples of how their STS skills help them in their current careers – listen to our some of our Alumni interviews further down the page for more information.
- How does STS help me find a career?
Our "flexible futures" philosophy builds on five key themes:
1. Substance is supreme
Employers know an important truth: if a job applicant can show they've done something hard; they've also shown they can do just about anything. This speaks to a person's dedication and perseverance, their confidence, and their ambition. STS degrees cover a huge range of complex areas, providing both breadth and depth of understanding – and how to successfully communicate those complex ideas to others.
2. "More skills" lead to "More flexibility"
The skills needed for a career can often be found outside of the subjects one would expect. For example, history and philosophy are hugely popular for those going into law. Both subjects require critical thinking, clever researching, and solid communication skills. This creates a win-win situation when it comes to choosing a university degree. If law no longer appeals as a career, those skills learned along the way are still useful for other opportunities.
Employers can spot people who can think for themselves, reason clearly, sift information, and stand on their own two feet. In addition to everything else we attempt, STS works hard to ensure all of our graduates can stand out from the crowd.
3. Mentoring matters
Everyone remembers a great teacher. STS scores consistently high on national metrics, such as the NSS. We are recognized as outstanding when UCL reviews our quality. STS tutors win teaching awards, and we pursue national qualifications in education.
STS keeps its student-to-tutor ratio low, with one of the lowest ratios at UCL. We provide individual personal and academic mentoring. We arrange paid summer internships and unpaid volunteering opportunities. We work closely with UCL careers services and other support units. Our students are core to the community we've put so much effort into creating.
4. Portfolios are proof
Employers want to see results. A strong overall degree, and a solid, diverse portfolio, are the results we seek. STS students create products which show skills at work in real world settings. They publish academic papers and discuss their work at professional conferences. They co-author public policy briefings, submit writing for competitions, publish films and blogs, produce advertising campaigns and lobby public officials. They debate their ideas in events they themselves organise, and they present exhibitions of their own design. STS students also know how to judge their own success, evaluate effectiveness, and consider how best to improve.
5. There's more to science than lab work
Science is an enormous part of the global economy, and it offers many more types of jobs than "scientist". STS degrees are attractive to applicants seeking careers in science communication and science policy, amongst other areas. Interestingly, our degrees also are attractive to students who studied science intensively in school, but who have decided a life at the lab bench is not for them. They seek ways to use their education, and they discover the potential of STS.
- Why should I study STS at UCL?
UCL was the first university in the world to have STS as a separate department, and we are the largest STS department in the UK. We began in 1921, specialising in history and philosophy of science, and were the first UK department to offer Master's degrees in our subjects (beginning in the 1920s), introducing an undergraduate degree in 1993.
STS combines a unique range of subjects under one roof, and the department prides itself on the quality of its interdisciplinary research. STS students regularly share classes with students from all other UCL faculties – you could be debating with natural science students in the morning, and collaborating with arts students in the afternoon. This range of experience helps our graduates develop as broad a range of knowledge as possible.
STS is in the heart of Bloomsbury, itself the heart of London's "knowledge quarter". STS programmes take full advantage of the world-class resources the city offers: Parliament, ministries and embassies, the BBC, production houses, and advertising houses; political think-tanks, NGOs, lobby groups, and funding agencies. To these, add national and specialised museums in science, arts, natural history, and maritime history. Plus, libraries galore. We like to take our learning outside the classroom to connect our academic work to the real world around us, and regularly work with organisations such as the Wellcome Trust and the Science Museum as part of our modules.
- Hear our Alumni give their opinion
STS alumni work in a huge number of fields – from BBC television to the Royal Navy. We’ve asked our former students to come and discuss how the skills they learned during their study have helped in their careers. You can find some of these interviews on our Alumni Interviews page, and further recordings on the STS Careers Soundcloud page.
- Contact the Department
To further discuss STS degrees, you can contact the department at our main email address - firstname.lastname@example.org - or you can contact the STS Admissions Tutors directly:
STS BSc degrees include:
STS MSc degrees include: