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What can I do with my degree?: History

History graduates find employers respect and desire the skills they acquire. Popular career routes include education such as research or teaching, politics, law, business, social care, arts and museum curatorship... 

Job options

Jobs directly related to your degree include:

Jobs where your degree would be useful include:

Remember that many employers accept qualifications from graduates with any degree subject, so don't restrict your thinking to the jobs listed here. To find out what jobs would suit you, log in to My Prospects.

Work experience

Look for volunteering or work experience opportunities with organisations and businesses that you are interested in working for or that will help you develop some skills that are relevant to your career interests. Many workplace skills are transferable to any career but there may also be specific things you can learn that will help make your CV more relevant and gain you an interview. For example, experience working with museum collections if you want to pursue a career in curatorship.

You may be able to volunteer to help out at a local charity or heritage organisation, and most banks and law firms will offer a certain number of work experience opportunities.

Internships may offer you the chance for more structured work experience and are usually well advertised, making them easier to seek out. Although expect strong competition so be sure to research the company in question thoroughly before approaching.

Search for placements and find out more about work experience and internships.

Typical employers

Typical employers of history graduates include banks, television and radio broadcasters, national and local government, management consultancies, law firms, schools, higher education institutions and retailers.

Some history graduates apply to the Civil Service Fast Stream or find work in public sector management roles. Charities and heritage organisations are also potential employers.

Find information on employers in law, teaching and education, public services and administration and other job sectors.

Skills for your CV

A degree in history develops your:

  • critical reasoning and analytical skills, including the capacity for solving problems and thinking creatively;
  • intellectual rigour and independence, including the ability to conduct detailed research;
  • ability to construct an argument and communicate findings in a clear and persuasive manner, both orally and in writing;
  • ability to work without direct supervision and manage time and priorities effectively;
  • ability to discuss ideas in groups, and to negotiate, question and summarise;
  • capacity to think objectively and approach problems and new situations with an open mind;
  • appreciation of the different factors that influence the activities of groups and individuals in society.

Further study

Many postgraduate courses accept graduates from any subject, and this allows history graduates to choose subjects as diverse as accountancy, journalism, law, museum studies, teaching and librarianship. These courses provide you with vocational training skills in discrete occupational areas.

Popular areas for further study include the Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) in primary and secondary teaching, Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL), Masters courses in information management, and certificates in corporate finance and personnel practice.

The Institute of Historical Research (IHR)  has details about postgraduate study, training courses and funding opportunities.

For more information on further study and to find a course that interests you, see postgraduate study in the UK and search postgraduate courses.

What do history graduates do?

Professions in the top ten occupations held by graduates in employment in the UK include, marketing associate professionals, HR and industrial relations officers and business associate professionals.

Graduate destinations for history
Destinations Percentage
Employed 57.3%
Further study 21.0%
Working and studying 7.6%
Unemployed 7.8%
Other 6.3%
Types of work entered in the UK
Retail, catering and bar work 19.8%
Secretarial and numerical clerks 15.1%
Marketing, PR and sales  12.7%
Business, HR and financial 12.3%
Other 40.1%

For a detailed breakdown of what history graduates are doing six months after graduation, see What Do Graduates Do?  

Graduate destinations data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency.

Written by AGCAS editors
February 2013

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