Careers Service

What can you do with a Masters?

This page gives an overview of broad options after a research Masters degree, information on destinations of University of Edinburgh graduates, plus some insight into how to make career decisions.

Options with your research Masters

On completion of your research Masters degree you could pursue a career direction building on your research experience. In addition, you will have many of the same options open to you as you did at the end of your undergraduate degree. Although many of these graduate jobs will not specify that you need a masters degree, the experience of completing your Masters will enable you to market yourself for those more confidently and hopefully more successfully.

Your broad options on graduation include:

Employment related to your research skills and knowledge of specific research methodology. Research skills are used in a wide variety of jobs, for example, social researcher in the public sector, investment analyst in financial services, research associate in pharmaceutical industry, consultant in management consultancy. See ‘Research in non-academic organisations’ for further information or explore the ‘occupations’ part of our website.

This could be a further research degree, most commonly a PhD, or a vocational taught postgraduate degree which is linked to a specific career area. See 'moving on to a PhD' or the further study pages to find out more:

Moving on to a PhD

Further study

Employment related to the subject of your Masters degree.

To explore career options, or identify potential employers, in a specific employment sector use the ‘occupations’ section to access a great range of online careers resources. If you need some inspiration about career possibilities linked to your subject, the ‘Options’ series may provide a useful starting point.


Options with your subject

Graduate level employment unrelated to the subject of your Masters.

See the occupations section of this site to explore different career areas, or look at the job search pages for information about graduate recruitment:

Graduate destinations

All UK universities carry out a survey of their graduates six months after graduation. The data provides a useful picture of the many and varied paths that people embark on after graduation. You can see specific destination data for your School below:

University of Edinburgh Graduate Destinations

The 2013/14 University of Edinburgh graduate destinations survey showed:

  • 35% of research Masters graduates entered work after graduation.
  • Of those, 87% were working in graduate-level jobs.
  • 57% of research Masters graduates went onto further study, the majority a PhD.

Making career decisions

There are many options open to you once you complete your Masters but how do you decide which route to take? Career decision making is all about knowing yourself, knowing what's out there, making plans and then implementing them.

  • Self-awareness; knowing what it is you want from a career and what you have to offer an employer.
  • Opportunity awareness; researching different occupations, employers, the job market, and maybe even further study or training opportunities.
  • Decision-making; weighing up pros and cons of options against what you know about yourself, assessing how realistic your choices may be.
  • Taking action; identifying vacancies, making well-targeted job applications, preparing for interviews and other selection methods.

To get more help with this go to the career planning part of this site.