Why apply for a History degree?

History is a fascinating subject that looks at the past, what happened, how it affected the people at the time, how it continues to affect people in the present day, and how it could affect people in the future.

Because the subject covers literally millions of years of human history you’ll find that the majority of History degree courses focus on one particular area of history to study in detail.

As well as being able to choose from a wide range of modules, History also works well as a degree taken jointly with other subjects. This could be particularly useful if you want to keep your career options open as wide as possible after graduation.

Common options if you’re thinking of choosing to study a joint degree include:

  • History and English
  • History and Politics
  • History and Geography
  • History and Philosophy
  • History and Music

However, don’t just take our word for it that History is well worth studying. Here’s more about studying History and why it’s a great idea:

You’ll gain transferrable skills

History isn’t a vocational subject, so there isn’t a set career path at the end of it. However, this isn’t a disadvantage as you’ll gain many highly transferrable skills during your degree that will make you attractive to future employers.

These skills include:

  • Critical reasoning and analytical skills
  • The capacity to solve problems and thinking creatively
  • Intellectual rigour and independence
  • The ability to conduct detailed research
  • Ability to construct an argument and
  • Ability to communicate in a clear and persuasive manner, both orally and in writing
  • Capability to work independently, managing your own 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

History is relevant

You don’t just have to study events that happened hundreds or thousands of years ago. There are many Modern History degree courses available and in order to fully understand current affairs, it’s important to look at the events of the past that influenced them.

History allows us to learn from the past

If you look closely you can see that there are particular patterns throughout history that tend to repeat themselves.

For example, there were significant patterns in the events which led to the rise of dictators Caesar and Hitler. There is also repetition in conflict, such as religion often being a large contributing factor.

The job of a historian is to find these patterns, comment on them, and hope that humanity avoids making the same mistakes in the future.

Employers like History graduates

Graduate employment prospects for History students are high because of the range of skills they develop during the course.

The job options after graduation are almost endless and you’ll find History graduates working in every sector of society from media and television to law, education and teaching.

Jobs directly linked to a History degree:

  • Heritage manager
  • Historic buildings inspector/conservation officer
  • Museum education officer
  • Museum/gallery curator
  • Museum/gallery exhibitions officer
  • Secondary school teacher

Jobs not directly linked to a History degree, but where your skills would be valuable:

  • Academic librarian
  • Archaeologist
  • Archivist
  • Broadcast journalist
  • Civil Service administrator
  • Editorial assistant
  • Information officer
  • Politician's assistant
  • Solicitor

You’ll be in good company

As well as some notable academics who have studied History, you’ll also find that there are plenty of celebrities who have a History degree.

Celebrity History graduates include: Louis Theroux, Prince Charles, Jonathan Ross, and Steve Carell.

You’ll develop independence

History degrees focus heavily on independent study in order to keep up with the required reading around the subject. Typically this subject has less contact hours that other degree courses, meaning that students are self-motivated, self-sufficient, and less reliant on others to make sure they do the work.

You’ll be culturally aware

By looking at the events of the past History students can gain a deeper understanding of why certain groups of people act the way they do.

For example, if we look at the history of the USA we can see how the abolition of slavery has contributed to the continued racial tension in modern America.