Career Opportunities with a History Degree

Unlike a vocational degree there is no obvious career path for History graduates, but that doesn’t mean that you’re wasting your time studying History.

Research has shown that you’ll find History graduates in nearly every industry and at all career stages from entry level to management.

This shows that the skills you’ll gain whilst studying for your degree are highly prized by employers and open up a career in which you could do anything and everything.

Of course, it helps if you’ve been able to gain work experience whilst you’re studying. This could be a part-time job, volunteering, or work experience placement. Anything that shows that you have real world experience will put you in good stead to move into a good job once you’ve graduated.

It’s also good to get involved with clubs and societies at university. Any opportunity that gives you skills in addition to your academic achievements will impress potential employers when you start job hunting.

Here’s more about the career opportunities with a History degree:

What skills will I gain during my degree?

We keep mentioning all these skills you’ll gain during your History degree, but what are we actually talking about?

These skills are all highly transferrable and make you an attractive prospect to employers. As a History graduate your skills will include:

  • analytical skills
  • research skills
  • writing skills
  • accuracy  
  • the ability to give reasoned arguments
  • presentation skills
  • the ability to evaluate evidence and form a considered and well-argued judgement
  • independent thinking
  • time management
  • organisational skills

In the majority of cases, unless you get a job directly related to your History degree, the employer isn’t looking for your historical knowledge. They’ll be looking for evidence of the skills, abilities, and attributes listed above.

If you have a particular job or career path in mind then try to get relevant experience in this area. If you’re not sure what you want to do after university then any work experience that shows there’s more to you than your grades will make you stand out to future employers.

Jobs directly related to your History degree

Teaching and Research

One of the more obvious fields for a History graduate to move into is teaching and research.

If you’re thinking of becoming a secondary school teacher then you’ll need to complete your PGCE in order to teach. If you want to teach at a higher level then you’ll also need further study in order to get your Master’s and then PhD.

In many cases, if you’re going to be a lecturer, you will also have the chance to combine teaching with original research in your specialist area of interest.

Academic history careers also lend themselves to moving on to writing or broadcasting roles as you’ll have the skills and abilities to share your knowledge with the wider public.

Archiving and Heritage

History graduates also often move into roles that involve archiving and heritage as their strong research and organisational skills help them to preserve historical artefacts for future generations.

Roles in these areas can be incredibly diverse. Some roles will be administrative and curatorial and others will be in research, focused on digging deeper into historical knowledge – sometimes literally, for example on archaeological trips – in order to add to our knowledge about human heritage and history.

Other jobs directly related to your History degree

Jobs not directly related to your History degree

If none of the above jobs appeal to you and you’d like to do something different after graduation then there are a number of jobs where your degree would be useful, but not essential.


History and politics are very tightly interwoven and it’s not unusual for students to take a joint degree in the two subjects.

Politics careers are very well-suited to History graduates, especially those who focused on analysing key political events, the historical development of governmental systems etc. during their degree.

Unlike many research and heritage roles, careers in politics will allow you to use your historical knowledge for political development and change.

Business and Commerce

Careers in business and commerce suit History graduates with a particular knowledge of how business and capitalism has grown throughout history, and with ideas about how these markets and systems will continue to grow.

If you’re considering a role in this industry then it is vital that you gain some work experience whilst still at university. You can’t really convince an employer that you have knowledge of how businesses work if you’ve never even had a job!

For some specialized roles, and to improve your career prospects in this area, you may also want to consider a postgraduate degree in a related subject

Other jobs not directly related to your History degree: