What can you do with your history degree?

Discover employment and further study opportunities that you could consider once you graduate with a history degree, and learn how you can stand out to graduate employers.

We encourage you to:

  • undertake career planning and research
  • build your networks, meet employers and graduates
  • gain essential work experience during your course
  • attend career fairs and events
  • continually develop your skills and knowledge
  • get involved with relevant clubs and societies
  • visit the Careers Service for advice.

Knowledge and skills

Your studies will provide a broad range of skills that are valuable to employers, including:

  • 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 your 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.

Career options

Studying history at the University of Plymouth will open a wide range of career choices. You could consider using your passion and interest in history to work within the education sector as a secondary school teacher, further education teacher or higher education lecturer. You could also use your historical knowledge to engage with the public through archives, museums, galleries, heritage and the media in order enhance their understanding of the past. Since understanding the past can illuminate the present, you could also consider using your skills to work in health, policy and government. Indeed, some history students consider graduate schemes such as The Local Government Graduate Development Programme or the Civil Service Fast Stream.

Along with working in heritage there are a range of opportunities within the growing creative and cultural industries. These include media related roles, such as working for the BBC as a researcher or being a broadcast journalist.

Many history students use their high level analytical and problem-solving skills to pursue a career within law and the criminal justice system.

You could also consider a less obvious path such as search engine optimisation (SEO), user experience design (UX), content marketing or a role within the business, banking and finance sector.

Since specific career paths may be less obvious it is important to use your research skills to explore the range of opportunities and to consider your personal interests, motivations, values and strengths.

Researching your career options

Given the diversity of career options open to history graduates, it is important to research and explore these fully so that you can make informed decisions about your future.

The following websites provide helpful information on options with a history degree:

Teaching:General history links: Gaining work experience 

Locally in Plymouth there are many opportunities to get involved with such as:

Employment Opportunities

Below is a snapshot of what University of Plymouth history graduates told us they were doing six months after graduation. For some graduates, these roles served as stepping-stones by providing relevant work experience.

  • Global Accounts Manager
  • Event Manager
  • Data Analyst
  • Operations Supervisor
  • Case Handler
  • Project Coordinator/Manager
  • Army Officer
  • Teacher
  • Sales Negotiation Agent
  • Recruitment Consultant
  • Field Sales Representative
  • Copywriter
  • Placement Officer
  • Accountant
  • Outreach Officer
  • Digital Marketer
  • HR Specialist
  • Editor
  • Technical Author


Employers

Further study

Some of the careers chosen by history graduates will require or benefit from further study, so this should be considered carefully. The University of Plymouth offers the following postgraduate study options that could be of interest to history graduates:

Discover our History degrees

You should consider the financial implications of further study as well as selecting a programme that suits your interests, learning style and future career direction. The following websites are a good starting point for exploring postgraduate options, but you may also benefit from talking to a Careers Consultant about your individual situation.

Careers Service support

Accessing support from the Careers Service couldn’t be easier, come along to the Careers Service Helpdesk in the Student Hub or access 24/7 online resources.

There is a wide range of support available from skills workshops to events, placements and internships advice, 1-2-1 appointments and help getting started with LinkedIn.

Our bite-sized Skills Workshops can give your career the boost it needs. Choose from a range of topics:

  • effective career planning
  • job hunting techniques
  • finding part-time work
  • CVs and interviews
  • mastering LinkedIn
  • and more.

Workshops are delivered by the Careers Service; however, they are also an opportunity to learn from your peers, share experiences and ask questions. Visit myCareer to see the full range of activities and to book your place.

Connect with graduates

Build your network and job sector knowledge using LinkedIn alumni’s tool. This will allow you to see the career journeys of graduates from your programme, the qualifications they completed, the skills they developed and employers they worked for. You can then ‘connect’ with people of interest.

  • search LinkedIn for ‘University of Plymouth’
  • click on ‘Alumni’
  • filter the results by subject, sector, company or location.

For more information about the alumni tool click on LinkedIn alumni tool guide. If you are looking for help to set up or learn how to make the most of your LinkedIn profile, click on the LinkedIn guide for students or come to one of our workshops.

Other advice and guidance

Undertaking work experience in your first and second years will help you stand out from the crowd when the time comes for you to complete applications for graduate employment and further study. Work experience develops valuable skills and qualities that employers are looking for and is essential for many roles. It can also help you to confirm or rule out some career choices. Furthermore, experience in the workplace can bring you into contact with people who may be able to assist you at the beginning of your career.  

You have plenty of options open to you. You could apply for a placement year, work part-time around your studies, undertake volunteering or approach organisations directly to negotiate short periods of work experience. Some organisations offer paid internships over the summer or of one year’s duration.

 The University of Plymouth Students’ Union offers a wide range of volunteering opportunities.

 Clubs and societies

Engaging in a sport or society shows employers you are engaged and seek out opportunities, it also helps you improve your teamwork, communication and negotiation skills. Committee members can develop leadership, diplomacy and organisational skills and will gain experience of meetings, handling funds, and society promotion.  

You may choose to join a society that is specifically linked to history or take the opportunity to explore the huge range of clubs, societies and sports, all of which can help you to broaden your horizons and explore new interests.    

Tutor and academic support

Your tutor and other academic staff are an excellent source of support for your career development. They will have experience and contacts across industry and academia, so do approach them for advice and insights into careers you are considering. Your tutor will ultimately be writing references for your employment or further study applications, therefore establishing a positive relationship with this person is invaluable.