Career planning

The Bachelor of Arts does not lead to a single career destination and students often raise questions about what they might do, and how they can establish a career direction. This series of videos describes the steps you can take to work out a career direction.

The video series 'BA to Where?' describes the steps you can take to work out a career direction from the Bachelor of Arts (BA), and how to prepare for the transition from the BA into either further study or employment.

Careers roadmap

Steps to take in working out what you are going to do with your BA.

Pathways from the BA

Understanding what is possible with the BA, and where it can take you.

Graduate study

Coming up with career ideas

Some strategies for coming up with career ideas.

Visit the Planning my career and employability options in Arts web page to download documents.

There are several self-assessment activities on the Careers website:

  • What are your interests?
  • What are your strengths?
  • Work Values Inventory

Watch the video, 'Explore your career options using LinkedIn'. Melbourne Careers Centre has a video channel on YouTube.

Reality testing your ideas

How to move from many career possibilities to a focussed few.

Preparing for next steps

Planning what you need to do beyond the BA to make your career happen.

Careers for BA majors

Download career information by BA major:

Careers information for Arts-related career fields and occupations.


Applied social research

Social research findings may be used to inform approaches to: marketing strategy, advertising/communications; social behaviour change/public campaigns eg QUIT; social policy and program development.

Applied social research: commercial consultancies

Many focus on market research, but many also work on social behaviour change issues and policy. For example, EY Sweeney.

Applied social research: research centres

Research centres are typically attached to universities.

Non-government organisations

Professional organisations

Arts and cultural management

Cultural Materials Conservation

Communications/public relations


Cultural heritage advising

Cultural Heritage Advisors play a key role in the management of Aboriginal cultural heritage in Victoria. Under the Aboriginal Heritage Act 2006 (the Act) a Cultural Heritage Advisor may be engaged to:

  • Assist project sponsors in the preparation of cultural heritage management plans
  • Conduct cultural heritage audits in compliance with the directions of an inspector
  • Supervise activities authorised by a Cultural Heritage Permit

Honours generally required in a field with Indigenous focus eg Anthropology, Archaeology, Indigenous Studies.

Curating and public programs (museums, galleries)

Art and museum curating

Film and television

Human resources

Intelligence/national security

Entry to a career in intelligence will generally be with the Australian Public Service (APS). Intelligence Officers are responsible for the overt and covert collection of significant information relevant to national security.

The most common way for new graduates to get a job in the Australian Intelligence Community (AIC) is through graduate programs:

International Aid and Development

International Relations



Librarianship and information management

Market and social research

See also applied social research.




Social Work


Teaching English as a second language (TESOL)

TESOL can either be pursued as employment in Australia (in schools or in adult education settings) or outside of Australia.

Students often chose to teach English as a second language so that they can live overseas to further their own second language or to support themselves while travelling.

Some countries have particular programs for TESOL. If you are learning a second language, the academic staff may be a good source of country specific information regarding programs that you could join. One country-specific example is the JET (Japan Exchange and Teaching Program)

Translating and Interpreting

Urban Planning

Work experience

While employers value all work experience, course or career-related work experience is particularly valued. Information here focuses on work experience which is clearly course or career-related.

Internships are probably the best known option, but there are other ways to gain work experience - for example, through relevant volunteering or part-time paid work.


Internships are fixed term opportunities to work in a professional workplace with supervision, training and development. They may take place during vacation periods - in which case they may be referred to as Vacation Programs - or on a part-time basis at any time of the year.

Internships may be:

  • Internship subjects ie academic subjects for credit which include a placement, or
  • Independent internships offered by business (generally paid) and not-for-profits (generally unpaid)

Please note: Under the Fair Work Act, internships generally need to be paid unless:

  • Voluntary work with a not-for-profit organisation
  • A 'vocational placement' as defined in the Fair Work Act (2009) as a required and/or accessible part of your course

Internship subjects

There are a number of internship subjects available to Arts undergraduates. These include subjects offered by the Faculty of Arts and some offered by other faculties as breadth. Enquiries about Faculty of Arts internship subjects can be directed to:

Faculty of Arts - open to all students as Arts Electives

Faculty of Arts - discipline-specific internship subjects

For all Work Integrated Learning (WIL) internship subjects please see the WIL degree Subjects web page

Paid internships

These positions are generally advertised and be open to students from any university. They are popular and competitive with formal application procedures. Unfortunately, paid internships are not offered in a broad range of sectors. While paid internships are usually advertised, it is always worth approaching an organisation directly if they don't have anything advertised.

Examples of paid internships which regularly come up:

  • Australian Public Service (APS) and Victorian Public Service (VPS) - some Departments offer internships, usually as Summer Vacation programs eg Premier and Cabinet typically offer a large number of summer vacation programs
  • Commercial organisations (large) - a few accept applications from all students; some seek specific Arts disciplines - in particular, Economics, Media and Communications, Psychology (for Human Resources)
  • University of Melbourne - student services and education administration eg Careers and Employment, Student Connect, Office of the Provost have all recruited interns at different times
  • Other organisations such as unions, industry bodies sometimes advertise internships
  • Stepping Into Internships - Summer Vacation programs for students with a disability

How do I find out about internship opportunities?

  • Melbourne Careers Online - most employers advertise through the University's jobs board, in addition to other places. A good source to consult at any time of year
  • Grad Connection website - specialist job boards for students/graduates (mainly commercial organisations)
  • Australian Public Service - Cadetships, scholarships and work experience opportunities - not all departments post here so always check department sites directly
  • Victorian Public Service - check individual department websites
  • Organisation websites
  • GoinGlobal website for overseas internships

Unpaid Internships with Not-for-Profit organisations

Internships may also be available with not-for-profit organisations. Note that internships are different from general volunteer positions in that they should include substantial supervision and training and are for a fixed period of time.

Internships with not-for-profit organisations may be advertised on Careers Online, as well as on organisation websites.

Some examples of programs which come up regularly or have ongoing programs:

Please note: Not-for-Profits are very open to direct approaches about internships.


Voluntary work can be a specific position which, when advertised, is competitive. There are many roles which are directly relevant to specific courses and careers. Some recently advertised examples from Careers Online: Media Assistant (World Vision), Publicity Officer (Victorian Immigrant and Refugee Women's Coalition), Research Assistant (Global Poverty Project).

Other voluntary work may involve contributing as one of many volunteers to a program.

Visit the Go Volunteer website for information about organisations with volunteer programs.

Examples of well-regarded volunteer programs include:

On campus

There are also many opportunities to volunteer on campus in roles which can have relevance to career direction, particularly with the Student Union and student clubs and societies. For more information please see the University of Melbourne Student Union website.

For example, a student with an interest in social work might participate on the Student Union Welfare Collective; a Media and Communications student might take on a publicity role with a student club.

The Student Union has some specific volunteer programs including VCE Summer School, Peer Support and O'Week Hosts.

Part-time or casual employment

Part-time or casual employment available to undergraduate students can often have relevance to course or career. Particularly in later years of undergraduate study, it is worth looking around for part-time work which has some connection to your career interests. Melbourne Careers Online is the best place to look. Some recently advertised examples include - Integration Aide, Online Editor, Foreign language Subscriber.