What are my career options after completing my BA?
Find yourself asking: after BA, what next? You’re not the only one. In science-and-tech-obsessed India, a bachelors in arts or a BA is often portrayed as a “lesser” option. Some parents even dissuade their children from an education in the arts, despite the student’s keen interest in a subject like history, political science, or English literature. The common assumption is that job prospects after a BA are poor. So, is that true? Absolutely not! As you will see through this article, your career options after a BA are rich and promising, with high-paying jobs after BA a reality. Apart from debunking the myth that a BA is a bad career choice, we would also want to stress on the importance of choosing your Bachelor’s degree according to your interest area, rather than what people think is popular. This way, you lay the foundation for a long and rewarding career that actually sustains your interest!
But first, what do I study in a BA?
In India, a BA degree is either a Pass course, in which you study a mix of subjects or an honours degree which specializes in one subject, such as a BA (Honours) in Political Science. Again, a BA Pass degree is regarded as inferior to an Honours degree, but fresh thinking suggests a Pass or multidisciplinary Bachelors may actually be useful from a career point of view because it trains you in many subjects. A Bachelors in Arts degree covers subjects in Liberal Arts, such as
- Languages, such as Hindi, English, Sanskrit, French and more
- Social Sciences, such as Economics, Political science, History, Psychology
- Humanities, such as English literature, Maths, Philosophy, Statistics, Journalism, and Fine Arts
What are Maths and Economics doing in a Bachelor of Arts?
Fun fact: Economics and Maths are traditionally recorded as Liberal Arts rather than science disciplines! Many colleges still offer a BA, rather than a BSc, in Maths. Since economics is a science about society, and since Maths is closely linked with music and art – think about fields like beats, dimension, perspective, and geometry – both of these are considered Arts subjects!
Where should I enrol for my BA?
Enrolling at a good college for your BA is important because this will give you a competitive advantage. If you’re planning to apply to a BA, work hard and ensure you have a good score in Class 12th so you can get the college and subject of your choice. Some of the best colleges for a BA in India are:
- Lady Sri Ram College, University of Delhi. Best for English, Economics, Maths, Psychology, Statistics, and Journalism
- St Stephen’s College, University of Delhi. Best for English, Philosophy, History, and Political Science
- Presidency College, Kolkata. Best for Political Science
- Christ Church University, Bangalore. Best for English and Economics
- Fergusson College, Pune. Best for Economics
- Loyola College, Chennai. Best for English, Economics, and Statistics
- SRM University, Andhra Pradesh. Best for Interdisciplinary Bachelors. You can customize 6-7 courses across Arts and Science disciplines.
- Ambedkar University, New Delhi. Best for Psychology and Fine Arts
- MS University Baroda. Best for Fine Arts
- Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. Best for BA in German, Spanish and other languages.
What are my career options after graduation in arts?
Like we’ve seen, the range of subjects covered under a BA degree are vast. Your career scope after a BA program will depend on your choice of subjects to a great extent. For example, A bachelors in English or communication will help you make a career in the media, while a BA in Statistics will prepare you for a career in insurance and risk management. However, one advantage of doing a BA is that your career choices are quite fluid; so, you can always for a career in advertising after a political science degree or pursue an MBA after an Honours in English. Based on whether you want to pursue advanced studies, or look for a job right after your BA, here are some career options:
Which is the best course after graduation in arts?
The best course is the one which most suits your interest and skills. Here are a few options you can choose from.
MA/ MPhil in your subject
In case you want to pursue a career in higher education and research, opt for a Master’s in your subject. You can be eligible to teach in a college after an MA if you qualify the National Eligibility Test (NET). You can further pursue an MPhil/ PhD from universities, such as University of Delhi, Jadavpur University, Kolkata, and SRM University, Amravati. Ever since the Sixth Pay Commission, educationists get very rewarding salaries.
Starting monthly salary for an ad-Hoc college professor: Rs 50,000 for a central university
Bachelors in Education
If you would like to teach at a school, you can pursue a Bachelors in Education, which is typically a two-year course. A B Ed qualifies you for school teaching, which is both lucrative and emotionally rewarding since you get to mentor the youth of tomorrow.
Starting monthly salary: Rs 25,000 upwards for pre-primary teachers; Rs 35,000 upwards for primary teachers
After your 3-year B. A degree, you can appear for the Common Law Aptitude Test (CLAT) which enables you to get into a Bachelors of Law (LLB) program. After specializing in civil, criminal, corporate, or intellectual property law, you can join either a district or high court as a lawyer, or even work for the legal department of a firm. Where: National Law School of India University (NLSIU), Bangalore; Symbiosis Law School, Indian Law College (ILS), Pune; MSU, Baroda
Starting monthly salary: Varies greatly, starting from Rs 20,000 for a lawyer at a districts court
Students often ask: can I do an MBA after a BA in English or History? Of course, you can! A graduate from any discipline can apply for an MBA after a BA. You will be required to take the CAT for the IIMs and other entrance exams for institutes such as the IIMs, and other exams for institutes like XLRI, Jamshedpur and Indian School of Business, Hyderabad. A great option for MBA after your BA is MICA (once known as the Mudra Institute Communications, Ahmedabad) which offers an MBA in Marketing and Advertising. In an MBA, you can specialize in options such as finance, marketing, human resources, foreign trade, and more. Depending on your specialization, you can work as a manager in various departments of Indian and multinational companies, such as American Express bank, tech giants like Google and Intel technologies, and consulting firms like KPMG and Deloitte. Choose a specialization allied with your strengths to get the most out of your MBA degree.
Starting monthly salary: Graduates from tier-1 colleges like IIM Ahmedabad and ISB can expect a monthly average salary of Rs 1,25,000.
Postgraduate courses and diplomas in journalism
Have a distinctive voice and want to make it heard? A master or postgraduate diploma in business journalism after your B. Com prepares from institutes such as the Asian College of Journalism (ACJ), Chennai, and Indian Institute of Mass Communications (IIMC), Delhi prepares you for a career in print, TV, or digital media! You can work as a reporter, writer, or editor with a newspaper, news agency, TV channel, or website, depending on your preference and specialization. Popular employers in India are the Times Group, the Indian Express, TV18, and NDTV.
Starting monthly salary: Reputable print and digital media outlets pay a starting salary ranging from Rs 25,000 to Rs 40,000. For TV channels, the salary can go up to Rs 60,000.
Masters in Social Work
If you want to make a difference to the world around you, a Masters in Social Work is a good option. This course prepares you for a career with non-profits, in the corporate social responsibility arms of MNCs, healthcare, and counselling, depending on your stream of specialization. The Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Mumbai, as well as the Department of Social Work, University of Delhi offer very reputable Masters in Social Work (MSW) degrees.
Starting monthly salary: Rs 20,000 with small non-profits to Rs 50,000 and upwards for large non-profits, MNCs, hospitals, and governmental organizations.
What if I want to apply for a job after my BA?
You have many options here too. Some great options are listed below.
Government jobs after BA
Government jobs after a BA are a good option. A BA is especially useful in preparing you for the Indian Administrative Exams (IAS), and the Provincial Civil Services Exam (PCS) as many questions in the preliminary exams cover subjects such as Indian politics, history, and general knowledge. Most such competitive exams for the Central and state government require only a Bachelor’s degree, so they are always a good option.
Hot tip: Though subjects like political science and history are evergreen options for government exams, specializing in subjects like Sanskrit or Philosophy is also a good choice, since these subjects are high scoring.
Monthly salary range: Upwards of Rs 50,000 for IAS and PCS.
After your BA, you can take the NDA (If you are under 19) or CDS (between the ages of 19 and 24) recruitment exams to join the defence forces. Apart from numerous perks, the monthly salary ranges for the lieutenant rank in the army is upwards of Rs 50,000 (basic pay).
You can also take bank exams to join public sector banks, such as Bank of Baroda and Punjab National Bank, or the separate RBI exam for the Reserve Bank of India. The RBI exam is a great option, though quite competitive.
Starting monthly salary: upwards of Rs 38,000 for probationary officers (PO) in banks, Rs 68,000 for RBI Grade B officers (including basic pay and benefits)
Journalism is a great career option after a BA in English. You can join a newspaper, television channel, or digital outlet as a reporter right after your graduation; though without a postgraduate diploma in journalism, you may be required to take an editing and general knowledge test. Remember to brush up on your language skills and reading before taking such an exam!
Starting monthly pay: Rs 25,000 upwards
Writing for a website, blog, or business is a good option, especially if you are creative and good at secondary research. It helps if you establish a niche, such as education, lifestyle, business, or healthcare and specialize in it. You can work with businesses from Amazon to Myntra to Nykaa to Microsoft as a content writer. Often, you may be required to undertake a writing test.
Starting monthly salary: Depending on the size of the outfit, this can range from 15,000 to Rs 40,000 for Microsoft and Nykaa
Have a knack for coming up with catchy hashtags and memorable slogans? You have a good chance of joining an ad agency as a copywriter right after your BA. Most ad agencies, such as Leo Burnett, Ogilvy and Mather, and Dentsu will require you to take a copy test to evaluate your creativity and language skills.
Starting monthly pay: Rs 20,000 upwards
An executive with a multinational corporation
If you have a BA in subjects like Economics, Statistics, or Maths, you can join an MNC as an antry-level associate, consultant, or executive. Companies such as Price Waterhouse Cooper, JP Morgan, and McKinsey often hire freshers.
Starting monthly pay: Rs 30,000 upwards
Whether it be news agencies, NGOs, or corporates, all organizations require researchers who can collect, process, and archive data. You can join news organizations such as NDTV, NGOs such as CRY and Goonj, or MNCs like Gartner as a researcher right after your BA.
Starting monthly pay: Rs 15, 000 (for small non-profits) to Rs 20,000 upwards (for larger NGOs, media agencies, and MNCs)
Have a BA in French, Spanish, Japanese, Urdu, or Sanskrit? Or are you fluent in more than one language and have a flair for translation? You can work as a translator for a publishing house, a multinational corporation, travel agencies, and embassies. Fluency in foreign languages, especially those that are tough to master, such as Japanese, can be especially lucrative.
Starting monthly salary: Rs 20,000 (for publishing houses) to Rs 40,000 upwards (for large translation agencies and MNCs)
All large organizations and many smaller ones have public relations arms, so there is no shortage of PR and marketing jobs. A Bachelors in English or communications presents an additional advantage in getting a job in public relations, marketing, and sales. Though starting salaries in these fields may be low, the ramp up can be fast if you exhibit good language, communication, and sales skills.
Starting monthly salary: Rs 15,000 upwards for small organizations to Rs 30,00 and more for larger companies
Graphic designer or illustrator
In a world increasingly attuned to the visual medium, this option is perfect for those with a Bachelors in Fine Arts. Advertising agencies, production houses, design and branding studios, as well as media houses, often require illustrators, so brush up your portfolio!
Starting monthly salary: Rs 25,000 and upwards
With all these options around, a Bachelor in Arts can be a hidden advantage, especially since studying humanities and liberal arts subjects often hone your communications skills and emotional quotient, factors that go a long way in building a fruitful career.