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Improve society

Improve society with a Bachelor of Arts

Published 23 Aug, 2021  ·  11-minute read

The world is constantly changing, so why not change it for the better? From anthropology to politics, a UQ Bachelor of Arts can provide the education you need to make a real difference in the world.

A Bachelor of Arts (BA) is a fantastic opportunity to study what you’re passionate about and turn it into a profession. If you’re interested in how to make society a better place, The University of Queensland BA has several areas you can specialise in to achieve this. These include:

Discover how to improve our society and embark on a meaningful career path with a UQ Bachelor of Arts.

International relations

BA international relations major

The world needs individuals who want to make a positive impact and change society for the better. The International Relations major will help you gain a deeper understanding of global issues with a particular focus on economics, culture, education and political science. As an international relations specialist, you’ll have a wide set of career options to choose from. You might choose to work in foreign politics and government affairs as an international relations adviser or ministerial officer. Or you could end up providing advice on a variety of foreign policy topics as a foreign policy adviser.

“I love my program because it allows me to broaden my knowledge on a really wide range of subjects that are complementary to each other, and I know this will benefit me in my career as well.”

– Matisse Reid, International Relations and History Majors

It’s not a complete list of the options available to you, but some of the careers you could get into after graduation include:

  • international relations adviser
  • international aid worker
  • international business consultant
  • foreign policy adviser
  • ministerial officer
  • government relations manager.

Career spotlight: international aid worker

International aid workers create and coordinate everyday and emergency programs for zones that have been subjected to environmental or developmental problems such as war and natural disaster. They provide aid and assistance to people and communities in need, and they work to set up sustainable solutions to problems in fields like education, sanitation and agriculture.

This is no traditional career path. International aid workers might be required to work in an administrative capacity or be deployed overseas for fieldwork. An aid worker needs to be able to adapt to stressful situations and withstand emotional strain. But, for the right person, it’s a highly rewarding job where no two days will ever be the same.

Peace and conflict

BA peace and conflict studies major

This major is designed to build your knowledge on the causes of contemporary conflict and the conditions that contribute to conflict prevention, resolution and peacebuilding. Specialising in Peace and Conflict Studies can go a long way in fulfilling your quest to find out how to build a better society. There are many paths you can take to explore your passion and make a meaningful living out of your work. This might be as a peacekeeping official or conflict adviser. Or you might decide to take your skills and become an intelligence analyst where your work will directly contribute to keeping people safe.

“I want to help people however I can, and I feel my education at UQ gave me the tools to do this.”

– Sophie Ryan, Peace and Conflict Studies and Studies in Religion Majors

A snapshot of the possible career outcomes from a Bachelor of Arts include:

  • development program coordinator
  • humanitarian resourcing specialist
  • defence project manager
  • intelligence analyst
  • peacekeeping official
  • conflict adviser.

Political science

A cartoon image of a reporter interviewing a woman outside Parliament House.

What better way to learn how to make our society better than to gain a greater understanding of one of the most powerful forces in the world. In the Political Science major, you’ll explore the Australian and international government and political systems, including the values and ideologies that influence political action in contemporary society. From here, the critical skills you’ll develop will allow you to enter the political workforce and make a real difference. What area of politics interests you most? You could work as a policy adviser or local government legislator, make your voice heard as an advocacy coordinator or political consultant, or even work your way up to become a ministerial officer.

“Don’t underestimate the power of networking. The friends I made at university have at one point or another helped each other get jobs, referred others for business or references, and provided impactful study and career advice.”

– Mio Dart, Political Science Major

You have so many options available should you choose to study a Bachelor of Arts. Here are just some of the political professions you could qualify for:

  • ministerial officer
  • policy adviser
  • political analyst
  • government relations manager
  • advocacy coordinator
  • political campaign manager
  • political consultant
  • local government legislator.

Career spotlight: political campaign manager

When a political candidate runs for office, they rely on a team of workers to handle the day-to-day operations of their campaign. The person in charge of the team is known as the political campaign manager. Their role is to manage the campaign including the areas of fundraising, advertising, polling and encouraging votes.

Political campaign managers must be willing to adapt to their candidates’ needs and juggle multiple tasks at any given time. This role is all-encompassing, and you need to be equipped with the necessary skills to handle a high level of communication, coordination and organisation.


BA criminology major

What fuels crime? Is it the social landscape? The economic situation? Individual circumstances? 

Criminology, the study of crime, criminals and how society responds, can help you explore the questions above and understand the pathways that lead to crime. Those passionate about making a difference in the fields of criminal justice or legal studies will find this to be the perfect major to prepare them for an exciting and gratifying career.

You could work with criminal justice agencies including police, courts or corrective services. For example, you could supervise and support individuals throughout their rehabilitation journey as a correctional case officer, work with young people subject to youth justice intervention as a restorative justice caseworker, assist the community and frontline police as a client services officer, or work with a team providing analysis and insights to police as an intelligence officer.

Or, you could work in corporate or non-governmental agencies that have an interest in reducing crime. For example, if you have an interest in computers and technology, you could work as a cybercrime adviser or investigator and play an integral role in the justice system. Or, if you're interested in social justice, you could work with a local community agency to prevent crime or assist those who are victimised by it.

There’s no shortage of professions available for those interested in criminology. With a Bachelor of Arts degree, you could become:

  • correctional case officer
  • behaviour support specialist
  • case manager
  • family services specialist
  • intelligence officer
  • police client services operator
  • fraud investigator
  • forensic specialist
  • cybercrime adviser
  • cyber criminologist
  • cybercrime investigator
  • crime prevention officer
  • crime research analyst.

The Criminology major also provides you with critical thinking and adaptable skills you can apply to a wide range of careers beyond the realm of criminal justice. 


BA sociology major

With a UQ Bachelor of Arts, you can major in Sociology or complete a minor in the related field of Gender Studies.

Take your passion for helping people and combine it with the study of social relationships, causes and institutions to be able to make a real difference in your professional life. Studying sociology opens a diverse scope of careers in fields such as education, social welfare, research and government. Use your voice to become a social justice advocate for those who cannot speak up on their own. Become a social worker or family services specialist to support individuals and families to make positive changes in their lives. Or you might decide to take the path of becoming a sociologist to further study human behaviour and interaction.

“In honours I had more freedom and so much to learn. The year made me fall in love with research and become really passionate and interested in my thesis topic about youth homelessness policies in Australia.”

– Ella Kuskoff, Sociology and Linguistics Majors

Here are just a few of the jobs our Bachelor of Arts graduates have gone on to work in within the field of sociology:

  • family services specialist
  • policy analyst
  • project manager
  • sociologist
  • social and government researcher
  • social inclusion officer
  • social justice advocate
  • community support worker
  • advocacy officer
  • government relations manager.

Related BA minor: Gender Studies

If you're passionate about social justice with a particular interest in gender equality, you may like to include the Gender Studies minor in your Bachelor of Arts program. Graduates with this minor often work in public policy, politics, analysis and research to advance the status of girls and women around the world.


BA anthropology

The Anthropology major is all about exploring the complexity and diversity of various cultures – from their traditions and beliefs to their history and worldview. Professionals in this field get to improve society through important positions in consultancy firms, councils, government departments and more.

Today’s anthropologists not only work in exotic locations all over the world, but they also work in a variety of fields and careers. You could make a difference working as a community officer and act as a facilitator to gain input from the community for projects, or become a cultural safety training facilitator and do meaningful work to improve the quality of service delivered by healthcare providers to Indigenous communities.

“My anthropology courses have allowed me to learn about different cultures, rituals and practices that I wasn't very aware of before studying at UQ. The best thing about my program has been learning new things every day.”

– Dipanshu Sharma, Anthropology Major

There are so many exciting prospects available with a major in Anthropology. A few of the possible career paths you could take include:

  • community development officer
  • consumer and user experience researcher
  • cultural safety training facilitator
  • Indigenous art and heritage adviser
  • museum administrator
  • native title anthropologist
  • policy adviser
  • ranger coordinator
  • regional anthropologist.

Career spotlight: museum administrator

A museum administrator takes care of the business aspects of the institution. They have a wide range of responsibilities – depending on their title and the organisation, these might include developing budgets, public relations management, ensuring education goals are being met, fundraising, general admin work and staff employment.

Museum administrators should thrive under pressure, have strong communication and organisation skills, and be able to multitask and keep the museum running efficiently.


BA philosophy major

Are you fuelled by a desire to analyse the ways in which humans experience the world? The study of philosophy is an enduring interest that is not only important but also highly enjoyable. A Philosophy major will benefit you no matter which direction your career takes you, as the ability to use critical thinking and logical analysis is vital in countless industries. It might inspire you to work in government by researching policies or lead the way on human research ethics. Or perhaps you might decide to go into education and pass on your love of philosophy to students.

“I loved the flexibility of my program. My Bachelor of Arts allowed me to test the waters in different disciplines and realise my areas of interest.”

– Chara Scroope, Philosophy and Studies in Religion Majors

Your Philosophy major with the UQ Bachelor of Arts can set you up for the career of your dreams. Here is just an example of some of the career opportunities waiting for you:

  • policy and research officer
  • conflict adviser
  • clinical research coordinator
  • human research ethics officer
  • philosophy teacher.

Career spotlight: conflict adviser

Conflict advisers provide analysis of conflict and convert their investigation into effective strategies and programs that work to reduce conflict and build harmony in the environment. Advisers balance the line between peacebuilding and humanitarian assistance to enhance an organisation’s impact and influence.

This is a highly rewarding profession that requires leadership, strong communication, problem-solving skills and the ability to cope in stressful situations.


BA psychology major

Psychology is a truly fascinating area of study that can lead to a long and rewarding career. With the varied and transferrable skills learnt in this course, there’s no limit to what you can achieve once you’ve completed your studies. You will be in a strong position to pursue careers in private healthcare, social work, counselling, behavioural studies, community health, therapy and so much more. If you have a passion to improve society, studying psychology will give you a greater understanding of humans and equip you with the skills necessary to make a difference.

“Studying psychology through the Bachelor of Arts taught me theoretical foundations and grounded me in the practical skills needed for work in therapeutic contexts. I now work in a role where I can help empower and inform vulnerable people every day.”

– Daisy Thomas, Psychology Major

There’s so much you can go on to study or achieve with a Psychology major. Some of the roles our UQ Bachelor of Arts alumni have gone on to work as are:

  • child psychologist
  • behaviour therapist
  • mental health practitioner
  • community health officer
  • family therapist.

Career spotlight: family therapist

A family therapist’s role is to provide therapy, counselling and mediation to families that want to work through conflict and trauma within their family dynamic. They provide a safe space for family members to express thoughts and emotions while also taking the time to understand each other’s perspective.

A family therapist will ask considerate questions to help clients identify their feelings and behaviours. Through the delivery of different types of therapies and techniques, they work to diagnose and treat mental and emotional disorders within the family dynamic.


BA economics major

The study of economics will help you better understand the world around you and better respond to risks and opportunities as they emerge. Economics majors are well positioned to succeed in a continuously changing landscape as they are equipped with the analytical and problem-solving skills that are transferrable to a range of career paths. You’ll be suitably prepared for roles in business planning, marketing, research and management.

Why not take what you learn to provide much-needed support as an economic policy adviser? You could also work as an analyst in areas of investment or energy marketing. Your skills and expertise will make a difference to improve society and provide essential advice for organisations and governments on economic policy issues.

With an Economics major, some of the professions you might enjoy throughout your career include:

  • agricultural economist
  • energy market analyst
  • applied economist
  • statistician
  • investment analyst
  • economic policy adviser.

Career spotlight: statistician

Statisticians apply statistical or mathematical methods and models to help solve real-world problems. They collect, analyse, organise and compile numerical data to aid in decision-making processes. Their work is often used in fields that include business, science, health, engineering, economics and agriculture.

Statisticians possess an impressive skillset combination that includes analytical, technical, communication and leadership abilities. The tasks they complete daily will vary depending on the industry and organisation they work for.

Studying a Bachelor of Arts at UQ can nurture your passion to improve society and create a positive future. You’ll be equipped with the tools and knowledge to use your degree as the foundation for career success in a field where you’ll have a valuable influence on the world.  

Explore other passions you can follow or find out more about the UQ BA.

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