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.
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 employment programs
- Australian Public Service graduate programs
- Victorian Public Service graduate program
- Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences
- Other graduate programs at The University of Melbourne
- Melbourne Graduate School of Education (MGSE) Become a teacher web page
- Information on graduate study at other Australian universities on the myfuture website
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
Reality testing your ideas
How to move from many career possibilities to a focussed few.
- Professional arts associations (March 2018) (1.5Mb pdf)
- Employability and career planning
- University of Melbourne Student Union (UMSU)
- UMSU Clubs and Societies
Preparing for next steps
Planning what you need to do beyond the BA to make your career happen.
- Job seeking strategies including the hidden job market
- Work Integrated Learning (Internships)
- Work experience (including internships)
- Applying for work
- Preparing for interviews
- Interview Stream
- Consulting with Careers staff: Stop 1
Careers for BA majors
Download career information by BA major:
- Arabic (180kb pdf)
- Art History (140kb pdf)
- Asian Studies (135kb pdf)
- Australian Indigenous Studies (135kb pdf)
- Chinese (150kb pdf)
- Creative Writing (135kb pdf)
- Criminology (483KB pdf)
- English and Theatre Studies (135kb pdf)
- French (155kb pdf)
- Gender Studies (135kb pdf)
- German (155kb pdf)
- History (140kb pdf)
- Indonesian (160kb pdf)
- Islamic Studies (135kb pdf)
- Italian (150kb pdf)
- Japanese (145kb pdf)
- Linguistics (145kb pdf)
- Media and Communications (145kb pdf)
- Philosophy (135kb pdf)
- Politics and International Studies (135kb pdf)
- Russian (150kb pdf)
- Screen and Cultural Studies (140kb pdf)
- Sociology (140kb pdf)
- Spanish and Latin American Studies (185kb pdf)
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 typially attached to universities.
Arts and cultural management
Cultural Materials Conservation
- Master of Cultural Materials Conservation
- Australian Institute for the Conservation of Cultural Materials (AICCM)
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 musem curating
Film and television
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.
- Intelligence and Security Careers in the APS
- Austalian Secret Intelligence Service
- Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO)
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
- Australian Resource and Training Guide - International Development (TorQaid) (740kb pdf)
- DevNet, international development jobs and consulting opportunities
- Australian Council for International Development
- Inside Careers presentation: careers in development and humanitarian work (610kb pdf)
- Department of Foreign Affairs and Travel (DFAT) About the department web page
- DFAT Australia-International Cultural Council web page
- Inside Careers presentation: Careers in International Relations and Diplomacy (245kb pdf)
- International Careers in Government (Australian) presentation (465kb pdf)
- Inside Careers presentation: International development and humanitarian work (605kb pdf)
- Centre for Advancing Journalism
- ABC careers expo 2009
- Journalism at the Speed of Bytes: Australian Newspapers in the 21st Century (Walkley Foundation, July 2012)
- Public Interest Journalism Foundation
Librarianship and information management
- Australian Library and Information Association
- Destination Library (Download Master of Teaching brochure)
- Australian Society of Archivists (ASA)
- Inside Careers presentation: Working in the library and information industry (215kb pdf)
Market and social research
See also applied social research.
- Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences
- Australian Psychological Society, Careers in psychology and Other careers with an undergraduate psychology degree
- Australian Psychology Accreditation Council
- Australian Publishers Association Industry Directory
- Careers with The Random House Group
- Inside Careers presentation: Careers in Publishing and Editing (285kb pdf)
- Department of Social Work Becoming a social worker web page
- Australian Association of Social Workers
- Horizon Career Centre
- Melbourne Graduate School of Education Become a teacher web page. Download the Master of Teaching brochure which includes Secondary Learning Area Guidelines - study requirements to teach secondary subjects.
Teaching English as a second language
Teaching English as a Second Language (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.
- VicTESOL Careers in Tesol web page
- Holmesglen English language teaching programs
- TESOL International Association TESOL Career Center
- American TESOL Association Frequently Asked Questions About Careers in TESOL (190kb pdf)
- Overseas jobs website
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
- National Accrediting Authority for Translators and Interpreters
- Presentation: Languages and Careers (425kb pdf)
- Planning Institute of Australia (PIA) Become a Planner web page
- Connections: The National Blog of the PIA Young Planners Network
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
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
Faculty of Arts - open to all students as Arts Electives
- Arts Internship subject MULT20010 and MULT30019
- Community Volunteering for Change MULT20012 and MULT30020
- Community Volunteering for Change - Global MULT20014 and MULT30021
Faculty of Arts - discipline-specific internship subjects
- SOCI30005 Sociology Internship (Sociology majors, third year)
- POLS30001 Parliamentary Internship (Politics majors, third year, domestic students)
- POLS30003 Public Affairs Internship (Politics majors, third year, domestic students)
- POLS30002 Public Affairs Internship (Int.Students) (Politics majors, third year, international Students)
- CRIM90006 Criminology and Sociology Internship (Criminology or Sociology Honours)
- Uni-Capitol Washington Internship Program
Other Faculties/Schools - as breadth subjects
- Languages and Schools Experience (Breadth) - EDUC30069
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 Program - 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 - not all departments post here so always check department sites directly
- Victorian Public Service - check individual department websites
- Organisation websites
- Going Global 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:
- The Aurora Project (Native Title) - Anthropology, Archaeology, History, Human Geography and others
- Centre for Community Child Health - Psychology, Social Sciences
- Cultural Materials Projects Program - The University of Melbourne
- Amnesty, World Vision, Oxfam and other large not-for-profits regularly advertise internships
- Museum Victoria - prefer placements as part of University subject
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:
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.