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What do doctoral graduates in social sciences do? 2006


In the masters degree section, masters in business subjects are reported separately. As there are not as many, and their characteristics do not differ substantially from those of other social science doctoral graduates, they are included in this section for doctorates.

725 graduates received doctorates in social sciences in 2004, with 460 replying to the Destinations of Leavers of Higher Education survey. The overall gender split was even, as was the split between part time and full time students. (See Table One).

PhD graduatesSocial sciences

Table One: Overview of UK-domiciled PhD graduates in social science subjects from 2004

Subjects studied

Although not as dominant as for masters study, business studies was the most popular topic of doctoral study in the social sciences, with one in six, 17.4%, of social science graduates. 14.8% of doctorates were awarded in sociology, and 10.9% in politics.

Other popular subjects included:

  • Economics
  • Geography
  • Law
  • Management studies
  • Social policy

Survey response

72.6% of PhD graduates in social science subjects from 2004 were working in the UK 6 months after graduating (see Figure One), and a further 11.1% were combining work and study. Overseas work or study was not as popular with this groups as it was with others – 4.1% started their post-graduation career outside the UK. 3.4% of social science graduates from 2004 were unemployed six months after graduating.

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Figure One: Survey responses of UK-domiciled doctoral graduates in social sciences in 2004

Types of work

380 UK- domiciled respondent social science doctoral graduates from 2004 were working six months after graduating (see Table Two).

This group concentrated itself in a few employment areas. 28.1% were working as lecturers in HE six months after graduating, and 25.1% were working as researchers in universities. 15.3% were working as managers, and the rest were in the education sector (10.9%), working in the finance industry (5.7%), or scattered throughout the rest of the economy.

OccupationNumber of graduatesPercentage of working graduate cohort
University and HE lecturers10528.1%
Other education professionals4010.9%
University researchers9525.1%
Commercial, industrial and public sector managers6015.3%
Business and finance professionals and associate professionals205.7%
Other professionals4512.2%
Other occupations102.7%

Table Two: Types of work of UK-domiciled doctoral degree graduates from 2004 in social science subjects working in the UK six months after graduation.

Further information

What do masters graduates do? - destination information for masters graduates from 2004

What do masters graduates in social sciences do? - first destinations from 2004 for masters graduates in social sciences

What do masters graduates in business and management do? - first destinations from 2004 for masters graduates in business and management

What do graduates do? - first destinations for graduates from first degrees in 2004

What do PhDs do? - destination information on PhD graduates from 2003, hosted by UK Grad.

Other subjects of doctoral study

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