A job in government policy? Get an Arts degree

10 August 2021
Arts and humanities in public policy? It’s more likely than you think.

Final year student, Catherine Londos, hones in on her passions in social justice and women’s rights to help chart the future of public policy – all thanks to her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Sydney.

Catherine Londos

Pictured: Catherine Londos.

When Catherine Londos considered her future career, it wasn’t simply a matter of one that made a difference. Enacting changes that were purposeful, and in a society often stacked against those most vulnerable, it was a remit that was sure to challenge even the most resourceful person.

For Catherine, a Bachelor of Arts at the School of Philosophical and Historical Inquiry, University of Sydney was just what she needed to craft a skill set that would help those in her community and hone them in an evidence-based yet practical way.

A degree of flexibility

If ever there was a time to embrace a more flexible way of life, it would be now. Catherine found the degree’s format allowed her to refocus her initial specialised intentions into something a little more broad and pursue the areas she was was most passionate about.

“I never really considered a Bachelor of Arts as an option when I finished high school, because to be honest, I assumed that a more specialised degree would look better on a resume,” she explains. “But there is such a broad range of subject areas and skills that you can learn from enrolling in this degree and I definitely wasn't able to explore the things I was passionate about with the restrictions and requisites I found in other degrees.”

Choosing the University of Sydney to pursue the next chapter in her life was an easy decision. Hailing from Sydney's southwest, Catherine was excited for the chance to study closer to the city and experience a lot of the social and cultural elements that came with attending University further away from her home.

“I have always been impressed by the reputation that the University of Sydney has built and maintains within the tertiary education sphere,” says Catherine. “I was very excited for the opportunity to learn and eventually graduate from such a prestigious institution.”

Creating meaningful change

As part of the degree, Catherine embarked on an enlightening internship with the Department of Communities and Justice in Semester 1, 2021, where she was assigned to the Disability Inclusion team. She says it was one of the most enjoyable parts of the course.

“I really bonded with the team members, who were all incredibly friendly and welcoming,” she says. “The tasks I assisted with were quite varied, but highlights included data collection and analysis, proofreading included data collection and analysis, proofreading and providing feedback on Ministerial reports and law reform documents, and assisting with talking points for a National Disability Summit.”

The internship was the perfect opportunity to meld her critical theory from her degree with the valuable soft skills she gained in the professional workplace.

“It really bolstered my ability to think critically and creatively about how to solve problems that arose for the team, and just generally boosted my communication skills and how confident I am in my ability to engage with others in a professional setting,” she says. “Being able to practically apply the theoretical knowledge I've gained from my degree to real-world outcomes has also pointed me in a clearer direction about what I might want to do once I graduate.”

Job-ready with an Arts degree

“As someone who began studying a different degree at USyd and then transferred into a Bachelor of Arts,” she says. “I would say absolutely consider it an option when applying for University.”

Catherine hopes the internship will pave the way for a career in government policy and plans to apply for the NSW Government internship program when she graduates.

“I absolutely loved my time interning with the DCJ,” she says. “I very much want to work in the public policy sector, specifically surrounding women's rights or any area of social justice.”

Experience the Bachelor of Arts at the School of Philosophical and Historical Inquiry, University of Sydney.

Words by Margaret Tran.

Related articles