Careers and alumni


Bristol graduates are in high demand and have an excellent record of employment following graduation.

A recent survey by has reported that 85% of Bristol postgraduate students are employed in a graduate level job within 6 months of graduation.  Please see the Unistats site for full subject specific information and comparison tables of other universities.

Students of the MSc programmes go on to pursue varied and interesting careers; SPAIS collects alumni statements for examples of student experiences on the course and in the job market. You can also find statements from graduates on the International Office website and from the Careers Service.

Many sectors such as the Civil Service, NGO and charity work require an MSc and some volunteer/ internship experience. Whilst the requirement of masters study is present it appears that it doesn’t have to be in a specific subject area within Politics or Sociology.   For instance we have seen that graduates from Sociology programmes such as Ethnicity and Multiculturalism and Social and Cultural Studies have gone on to work as Deputy Manager for Refugee UK and Development Worker for Girl Guiding UK and graduates from Politics programmes such as International Relations or Gender and International Relations have been employed as Housing Advisor for Shelter or Community Family Worker for Barnardos. 

An extended list of graduate career destinations is available, along with examples of internships (paid and unpaid) that graduates have undertaken to start their careers. 

What our graduates say

Nishtha Chugh, MSc International Security, 2013

Photograph of Nishtha Chugh

Going back to university after 10 years was a big gamble in terms of time, money and career. But looking back choosing SPAIS over other schools to study MSc international Security has paid off better than I expected.

The program, with its carefully structured syllabus and reading material, was not only intense and rigorous it pushed me hard to the limits of my analytical skills, often beyond them. Most importantly I learnt how to think critically. The school equipped me with the much needed foundation and grounding in the theoretical aspect of issues shaping contemporary global politics and security. Unsurprisingly, the program has changed the way I look at news now.

Nishta won the 2013 Guardian International Development Journalism competition and attributes her success with the skills that she learned during her time at SPAIS.

Tom, MSc International Relations, 2013

Photograph of Tom

A proposal to live across the Severn and continue with my day job at Cardiff’s city museum while commuting a day a week to study part time in Bristol could have been a fast track to rejection; however the staff at the department made every effort to accommodate me. Both before registration and up to the successful end of my studies two years later the support was fantastic; I was able to fit seminars around workplace commitments, receive grades via email, and manage tuition fees over the duration of the course.

While vital, this support would have been of little consequence without a cracking programme of study backing it up. If you put in the time and effort your enthusiasm was rewarded by top class teaching staff ready to engage with the postgraduate community.

Thanks to the skill set that I have gained at Bristol I have recently secured an internship at NATO’s Allied Command Transformation Headquarters in Virginia.