Which careers can you pursue with a Bachelor of Arts?

Adelle King
Sarah Blythe
Team GradAustralia

Bachelor of Arts degrees have an undeserved reputation for representing a sort of career sacrifice: sure you’ll broaden your mind with challenging ideas, but you won’t pick up vocational skills in the same way that, say, a commerce or law student might. Thankfully, there’s good reason to believe that this isn’t true.

Research has shown that while ‘vocational’ degrees lead to higher salaries in the short term, the gap closes over time, as arts graduates complete additional study or gravitate towards careers in government, management, and entertainment. Generally, careers for arts graduates fall into one of three categories.

Careers you can start after graduating

There are many jobs you can pursue after graduating from a Bachelor of Arts. Some of these roles will draw on the skills you’ve earned while completing a particular major (for example, archival work might be particularly familiar to history majors). Others will take advantage of the generic skills possessed by arts graduates, such as the ability to think critically, communicate effectively, and perform research. Careers in this category include:

  • Government roles (generally via recruitment into a graduate program)
  • Non-government organisation roles (for example, policy development, administrative support, and advocacy)
  • Higher education or private education roles (for example, tutoring, providing student support, or working in professional services)
  • Media and communications organisations
  • Advertising
  • Arts and cultural organisations (gallery assistants, public programs, and so on)  

Careers via graduate coursework

The Bachelor of Arts provides you with the necessary academic and intellectual foundation for graduate coursework in disciplines as varied as law, medicine, teaching, journalism, international relations, and media. Note that the more technical of these, such law and medicine, may have additional entry requirements (for example, you will be required to sit a special entrance examination for medicine). Graduate coursework ranges in duration from one to two years (for a vocational Master's degree) to four or five years (for a graduate MD). Roles in this category include:

  • Doctor
  • Urban planner
  • Lawyer
  • Librarian
  • Diplomat
  • Teacher
  • Banker
  • Curator

Careers via research

If you wish to continue exploring the subject of your undergraduate degree, or hope to begin a career in academia or research, then you may wish to undertake further research. Generally, the first step after the completion of a Bachelor of Arts is enrolment in a one-year Honors program. This may be followed by a Master’s degree or Doctorate. Strong performance in these research degrees can prepare you for a career as a teacher, academic, or consultant. It can also allow you to submit more competitive applications for jobs outside your field of research.

Arts graduate stories

Check out these career stories from graduates with a Bachelor of Arts

Popular employers hiring Arts graduates

Check out these popular employers accepting applications from candidates with Bachelor of Arts