An archaeology degree gives you the skills to work in the heritage sector from conservation to museum work but it also sets you up for other research, information and analytical careers

Job options

Jobs directly related to your degree include:

Jobs where your degree would be useful include:

Remember that many employers accept applications from graduates with any degree subject, so don't restrict your thinking to the jobs listed here.

Work experience

Some employers of archaeologists will expect you to have experience in related areas so look for suitable opportunities. By doing this you'll also show your commitment and genuine interest in the career.

Consider volunteering as a digger or check out opportunities with local museums and galleries and heritage organisations. Information on current fieldwork and ideas on ways to volunteer is available from the Council for British Archaeology (CBA).

Volunteer work will introduce you to the demands of working outdoors, in all weather conditions. It's an excellent way of demonstrating your physical fitness and resilience, as well as making sure the work is something you'll enjoy as a career. Volunteering is also great for networking and making useful contacts.

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

Typical employers

Employers of archaeologists include:

  • archaeological contractors
  • independent archaeological consultants
  • local government
  • national heritage agencies
  • private museums and charities
  • university archaeology departments.

In addition, you can look for opportunities in the area of rescue archaeology. This can also be known as commercial, contract, compliance, preventive or salvage archaeology, and it takes place before any building work or land development.

Careers in other sectors are also available to archaeology graduates including:

  • accountancy and data analysis
  • law
  • local government
  • marketing and media
  • research and information services
  • teaching.

Find information on employers in creative arts and design, public services and administration, teacher training and education, and other job sectors.

Skills for your CV

During your degree, you'll develop a mix of subject-specific and technical skills:

  • applying theoretical and scientific principles and concepts to archaeological problems
  • field work, post-excavation and laboratory techniques
  • applying statistical and numerical techniques to process archaeological data
  • interpretation of spatial data.

An archaeology course also equips you with skills to:

  • work as a team member or leader through field and project work
  • form structured arguments supported by evidence
  • use various IT packages
  • prepare and give oral presentations for different audiences
  • retrieve information to produce written reports
  • work methodically and accurately
  • demonstrate attention to detail.

This skill set is valued by a variety of employers so you're not limited to the heritage sector.

Further study

You can explore a range of specialist areas, such as human osteology and palaeopathology, as well as related subjects, like geophysics. A PhD is often necessary if you want to pursue a career in archaeological research or academia.

Improve your career prospects and keep your skills and knowledge up to date with distance learning and short courses. These are available through professional organisations, such as the:

Archaeology graduates also pursue professional training in a variety of areas such as in law, teaching, nursing and environmental health.

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

What do archaeology graduates do?

Natural and social science professional is the most popular role (17%) for archaeology graduates working in the UK.

DestinationPercentage
Employed54.7
Further study20.6
Working and studying10
Unemployed6.6
Other8.1
Graduate destinations for archaeology
Type of workPercentage
Legal, social and welfare33.2
Retail, catering and customer service18.6
Clerical, secretarial and administrative10.8
Business, HR and finance7.4
Other30
Types of work entered in the UK

Find out what other archaeology graduates are doing 15 months after finishing their degrees in What do graduates do?

Graduate destinations data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency.

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