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What can I do with my degree?: History

Employers value the research, analytical, teamwork and communication skills that are developed by history students throughout their degree

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 the skills relevant to your career interests. For example, if you're interested in a career in curatorship, try to get experience working with museum collections.

Volunteering to work for a heritage organisation or museum is another useful way of getting into the sector. Use any opportunities to build up a network of contacts.

If you're looking for a career in a different area, such as banking or law, internships offer the chance for more structured work experience and are usually well advertised, making them easier to find. Competition for places is strong so research the company well before applying.

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

Typical employers

Typical employers of history graduates include:

  • schools;
  • higher education institutions;
  • banks;
  • accountancy firms;
  • television and radio broadcasters;
  • publishing companies;
  • management consultancies;
  • law firms;
  • retailers.

National and local government and the public services also attract history graduates, particularly the civil service (with some graduates applying to the Civil Service Fast Stream), NHS management, the police and armed services.

International development organisations, charities and heritage organisations are also potential employers, as well as museums and libraries.

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;
  • capability 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

Some history graduates go on to do further study at Masters level in order to specialise in an area of history and cultures of interest to them.

However, 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;
  • librarianship.

These courses provide you with vocational training skills in discrete occupational areas.

Courses of further study include the Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) in primary or secondary teaching (known as the Professional Graduate Diploma in Education (PGDE) in Scotland), the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL), Masters courses in information management and museum studies, and certificates in corporate finance and personnel practice.

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

What do history graduates do?

Almost 60% of history graduates are in employment in the UK six months after graduation, with a further 27% doing further study or combining study with work.

Professions featured in the top five occupations held by graduates employed in the UK include marketing associate professionals and HR and industrial relations officers.

Graduate destinations for history
Destinations Percentage
Employed 59.8%
Further study 20.1%
Working and studying 6.8%
Unemployed 6.5%
Other 6.7%
Types of work entered in the UK
Retail, catering and bar work 19.4%
Business, HR and financial 14.9%
Secretarial and numerical clerks 14.5%
Marketing, PR and sales 10.9%
Other 40.3%

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
March 2015

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