With qualifications in these subjects you can tackle some of the world's greatest challenges and developments and have a career that influences sustainability and human welfare.
As well as the specific knowledge gained from studying for an OU degree, you'll develop many transferable and work-related skills that are highly valued by employers and which will increase your employability.
The OU Careers Advisory Service defines student employability as: ‘A set of capabilities and achievements that support students in developing their careers, raising their aspirations and enhancing their contribution to society’.
Whatever your motivations for study, your goals and career aspirations, you are entitled to supported personal development planning either as an intrinsic part of your programme of study or through signposted optional activities. You can view our full Student Employability Policy Statement on our website.
For Environment, Development and International Studies students the employability skills you will develop include:
To see specific learning outcomes related to OU degrees in this area visit Study at the OU.
To check which skills valued by employers can be developed from studying a particular subject, look at the Employability Profiles on the UCAS website.
In the UK many graduates enter employment where a degree in any subject would be acceptable. In this instance what they offer the employer is evidence of the range of competencies which have been developed through their academic study, rather than the specific subject content of their degree. This page will focus on careers directly related to Environment, Development and International Studies, however, if you want to explore all of the choices open to you, also refer to the Further Resources section.
Given the current economic climate and the increased competition for graduate positions, it is important to consider a range of occupational areas. Bear in mind that many careers require further study, training and/or work experience beyond your degree.
We advise you to thoroughly research your career choices as early as possible, particularly in relation to experience required, differences relating to where you live, or where the study choices you make may affect future opportunities.
Professionals with a degree in this subject area can find employment across the range of public, private and voluntary sectors.
Graduates are found working in
Job roles related to this subject area include nature conservation officer, countryside manager, environmental manager, environmental education officer, waste management officer, Foreign and Commonwealth officer, civil servant, diplomatic service officer, journalist, European Union official, immigration officer, international aid/development worker, volunteer co-ordinator, community development worker.
New career areas such as environmental auditing and assessment; environmental management; and environmental engineering are emerging. It is predicted that environmental management and resource efficiency is to become fully integrated into many jobs, in much the same way as health and safety and equal opportunities have already been.
If you are thinking of a career in international development, a combination of qualifications and practical experience is usually essential. There may be roles in administration, advocacy, fundraising, research or relief work. Experience is most readily obtained through voluntary work. International development is now very high profile, largely due to campaigns such as ‘Make Poverty History’.
Use the Prospects website to explore career options related to this subject. Click on your subject to see examples of job roles and get information for further research. You may also find it useful to refer to the information under Job Sectors for Charities and Voluntary work and Environment and Agriculture.
You can access AGCAS Industry Insights for Charity and Development Work and Environment and Agriculture via the AGCAS tab on our publications page.
There is also some particularly useful information on 'Working in Development' on the University of East Anglia Careers Service website.
One World has an excellent directory of organisations, country profiles and current news items and the Environment Jobs website lists jobs in different sectors, as well as voluntary opportunities, courses and events.
The Welsh Assembly Government has a Green Jobs Strategy aiming to ‘green’ existing jobs and create new jobs that deliver environmental outcomes.
If you live in Ireland, look at
The Scottish Government announced in February 2009 its intention to create thousands of new ‘green energy’ jobs by 2020 as part of its economic recovery plan. It is hard to tell how this may be affected by cuts in public sector funding. For more information go to the Scottish Government website.
To find out about ways of gaining experience through volunteering see our voluntary work pages. You can also use the searchable databases on the following web sites:
Many graduates undertake further study on completion of their first degree and/or after gaining relevant work experience. Reasons for doing so include wanting to explore an aspect of their studies in more depth, to further or change their career, because a specific postgraduate qualification is either an entry requirement for their chosen career or would be an advantage if entry is competitive.
Generally postgraduate study can open up opportunities to work in higher education and for graduates in Environment, Development and International Studies in particular it can lead to opportunities in areas such as environmental management or consultancy, environmental engineering or auditing, nature conservation, environmental education, journalism and international aid/development work.
There are a range of environment, development and international studies related OU postgraduate study options, including both taught and research awards, on topics such as environmental management, conflict and human rights and development.
It is important to research further study options comprehensively by exploring the range of postgraduate courses and research opportunities on offer at the OU and elsewhere and funding possibilities to ensure you make the correct choice, for the right reasons and importantly, that you can afford it, as funding for postgraduate study is very different to the undergraduate system.
Rigorous academic standards ensure that OU qualifications are recognised and valued by professional organisations and employers.
As an OU student, you can access the Employer Showcase to find out about some of the employers who are keen to recruit OU graduates. Remember that many employers recruit graduates from any discipline. There are also employers who offer the chance to gain valuable experience through internships and other forms of structured work experience or voluntary work.
The UK Graduate Recruitment Co-ordinator of CGI said of OU students
They have got that unique skill set or background that perhaps our standard graduates don't have, they have thought about their career and how they're going to fit that in with the rest of their life as well. That's a very potent blend and already gives them a competitive advantage.
If you are a student you might want to see further advice from major employers on applications, the skills they require and the value of OU study. Go to our What employers say pages.
As an OU student you can also register for our online vacancy service and receive email notification about job opportunities.
There are a wealth of resources on the OU careers website. You might want to watch the Guide to the careers site to give you an overview of what it has to offer.
Use the other sections of this web site to
Don’t forget to check the careers home page regularly for news of events, forums, careers fairs and short courses. If you are an OU student you can participate in and read entries on our online forums.
If you are a mature student you may find our tips for mature graduates page useful to help you tackle the graduate employment market.
You may also find it useful to read the publications produced by the OU Careers Advisory Service and AGCAS (available to download from this site), giving further in depth advice and information to help you plan your next steps.
For some graduates, traditional forms of full-time employment are unattractive and increasing numbers of the workforce are turning to alternative ways of working that better fit their work and life values. Find out more about alternative work styles in the Exploring your career options section of this website.
If you are studying with the OU (or finished your studies within the last three years) you are entitled to a careers consultation with a careers adviser in your region or nation. This is designed to help you through the planning process and identify an action plan for your future. (If you are not studying with the OU or last studied with the OU more than 3 years ago, you should go to the Contact page of this website for other sources of careers advice.)
I honestly don’t think I would have had the impetus to make the On the Verge project happen if I hadn’t been studying with the OU at that time.
Leigh Biagi, Founder of On the Verge
Being able to communicate information in the right way to the right audience is a skill I have gained from OU study. Kath Elliott, Creetown Initiative, Community Project Worker
To see the experiences of other OU students visit 'Student stories'.
All UK graduates are invited to complete the Destinations of Leavers Survey six months after they graduate. Of the OU Environmental and International Studies graduates who responded to the latest survey
88% of the Environmental Studies graduates and 81% of the International Studies graduates were in work.
Find out more about undergraduate study in Environment, Development and International studies.
Find out more about postgraduate study in Environment, Development and International Studies.
Find out about all undergraduate and postgraduate qualifications at the OU on Study at the OU.