One is the UN under-secretary general for humanitarian affairs with responsibility for overseeing emergency relief in disaster-hit areas, the other is a chart-topping singer-songwriter. But what Lady Amos and James Blunt have in common is that both are sociology graduates and have used the knowledge gained in their degrees to forge successful careers.
Amos held various roles in local government and was chief executive of the Equal Opportunities Commission before becoming the first black leader of the House of Lords and moving on to her position at the UN. Meanwhile, Blunt says his degree has proved useful to his music. "There are some aspects that are relevant to the songs I'm writing – about the way humans interact, the way we are as social beings – those topics are kind of relevant," he says. The fact that most sociology graduates are female may have been a helpful source of inspiration as well.
Sociology is the study of people and how we interact with one another. Students learn topics such as culture, religion and identity, as well as getting to grips with the theories of thinkers such as Karl Marx and Max Weber.
Having a good understanding of human relationships can be a bonus in a range of careers, which is probably why sociology graduates can be found across all sectors including the media and arts.
What skills have you gained?
Sociology graduates leave university with a broad range of transferable skills. These include being able to work to deadlines, make reasoned arguments and think creatively.
Through doing presentations you will have learned how to present ideas orally and in writing, and developed strong research and IT skills. You will also be able to apply theoretical sociological perspectives to everyday life.
What jobs can you do?
Perhaps not surprisingly, social and welfare professions were the most popular career choices for 2009 sociology graduates – typical jobs include social worker, counsellor and community development officer.
"As a discipline concerned with the study of people and society, it is not surprising that many graduates target people-focused careers such as social work, advice work, counselling, careers advice, youth work, housing and the probation service," says Margaret Holbrough, a careers adviser at Graduate Prospects.
"Alternative careers can be found in educational, administrative or office-based roles such as teaching and lecturing, social research, human resources management, charity fundraising or within policymaking departments in local or central government.
"Understanding people within society can also be useful in careers such as market research, retail management, the police force and journalism."
As with all graduates, a high proportion found work in the retail/catering and clerical/secretarial sectors, reflecting the need for many to take stop-gap jobs in the tough economic climate.
On completing their studies, 9.3% of sociology graduates moved on to study for a master's degree or PhD, with an additional 8.8% combining both work and study.
There are some jobs, such as social work or law, that require further training, and almost 4% of graduates went down this route.
(Source: The Gurdian)