Studying an archaeology degree not only qualifies you to pursue professional archaeology, but as many graduates have discovered, it equips you with a very broad range of skills that can open up a variety of opportunities.
From heritage and marketing to education and finance, your degree can take you into many other professional fields. Learn more about your options and how we can support you on your journey.
What skills will I gain during my degree?
Subject related skills include:
- application of theoretical and scientific principles and concepts to archaeological problems
- field work, post-excavation and laboratory techniques
- application of statistical analysis techniques to process archaeological data
- interpretation of spatial data
An archaeology graduate will also typically have the following skills:
- professional communication and collaboration with others
- numerical and analytical skills
- using digital platforms
- numerical, analytical and using digital platforms
- ability to reflect and assess, evaluate and present evidence and new information
- presentation skills
- attention to detail
It is important that you can talk about these skills on application forms and in interviews.
What are my career options?
Outside of professional archaeology, recent graduates have gone into:
- local authorities
- the Civil Service
- administration in the education sector
- the arts
- museums and heritage
- film production
Roles have included: media production runner, human resource manager, recruitment consultant, finance officer, accountant, museum assistant, teaching assistant, retail manager, events co-ordinator and digital media officer.
It is true to say that many graduates of archaeology (and other subjects) take some time building their career through a series of roles to get to a specific career where they want to be or even to decide what job suits them.
This could be due to a variety of reasons for example: the sector they want to enter requires an entry-level position (for example: heritage, media roles and publishing) or they are saving up to fund a postgraduate course or travel and therefore their first destination is a stop gap.
Career paths - explore roles and sectors
Prospects - for career options and job profiles
Jennifer Hatton, Senior Visitor Experience Manager for the Natural History Museum
"I look after the front of house visitor assistants. The team that I directly line manage are responsible for a million pounds of donations a year." Read more.
David Hanks, Collections Manager for English Heritage
"It’s my role to ensure these collections are cared for, which can range from documenting, researching and repacking, to conservation cleaning." Read more.
What are my further study options?
It is common for graduates to develop their subject knowledge and skills further if they wish to pursue a career in archaeology by taking a masters or PhD.
Nottingham students in the past few years have also gone on to do relevant masters courses in order to enter related career fields. Examples include:
- museum studies
- heritage management
- geographical information systems
A small proportion have gone on to take professional training courses in law, advertising, human resources and teacher training.
Postgraduate study or training can allow you to:
- develop your skills and current subject knowledge further
- enter certain careers by building expertise in a specific subject
- switch careers, by training or building skills in a new subject
It's important to understand your reasons for studying at postgraduate level and to research opportunities and the value of postgraduate study in your sector before applying.
Masters funding is available (eligibility criteria exists) in the form of a postgraduate loan, but you can only access this funding once hence the importance of choosing your course carefully. If you'd like to talk this through with an adviser, arrange an appointment to speak to us.
Careers blog: Thinking About Postgraduate Study?
Find out more about further study
How can I build my skills and experience?
The opportunities listed are primarily aimed at current students living in the Nottingham area. If you are well into your final year, graduated or are no longer in Nottingham, you can access work and volunteering options in your home area.
Depending on your location and what you want to do, your strategy to develop your skills and experience may vary. You are welcome to have a chat with us, so just arrange an appointment.
Work experience and volunteering
Depending on what area of work or role you might be interested in, and where, there will be specific strategies, from speculative applications to formal processes you need to be familiar with.
Work experience - what, how and when
Nottingham Internship Scheme
We work closely with a huge variety of local and national businesses to bring you an exciting range of internship opportunities, for both current students and recent graduates.
Nottingham Consultancy Challenge
The Nottingham Consultancy Challenge offers the chance for you to gain hands-on experience of managing a short term project for a local business or charity as part of a multi-disciplinary team.
Nottingham Advantage Award
The Nottingham Advantage Award offers interesting extracurricular modules to develop and reflect on your employability. With over more than 200 modules across our three campus in the UK, China and Malaysia.
Advice from Nottingham alumni
With our Careers Mentoring programme, you can receive invaluable support from an alumnus while considering your career options. Choose a mentor in the career area that interests you and get a real insight into the sector.
The Students’ Union offers a wide range of volunteering options both locally and internationally which you can fit around your studies.
Alternatively you could get involved in a society or sports club - there's so many, you're bound to find one that interests you!
Students in Classrooms
There are three initiatives which will give you the opportunity to work in a local educational setting. These initiatives support the academic attainment and raise the aspirations of primary and secondary pupils, whilst developing the skills and employability of those involved.
These are excellent opportunities for students considering teaching, youth work or community engagement as a career.
Exchange programmes overseas
Undertake an exchange semester in another country and broaden your horizons. Talk to your tutors and find out more about the programmes available from the International Office.
Optional placement year
You can now undertake an optional placement year as part of your degree at the end of your penultimate year of study. The placement can be aligned to your degree discipline or related to your career aspirations. Speak to a career adviser or your school for more information.
If you are no longer at Nottingham, you can access work and volunteering opportunities at home. Depending on your location and what you want to do, your strategy may vary so come and speak to us or arrange a telephone appointment.
Developing your digital skills
Digital skills are highly valued by employers. Develop your skills through volunteering, online courses through Google or providers such as FutureLearn, or by getting involved in the Digital Marketing Academy.
If you're not sure where to start, begin by assessing your digital capability and identifying your next steps.
Please be aware that study abroad, compulsory year abroad, optional placements/internships and integrated year in industry opportunities may change at any time for a number of reasons, including curriculum developments, changes to arrangements with partner universities or placement/industry hosts, travel restrictions or other circumstances outside of the university's control. Every effort will be made to update this information as quickly as possible should a change occur.
How can I prepare for making job applications?
We can help you with all stages of the application, from reviewing your CV and/or application form to interview coaching and assessment centre practice.
Many graduate recruiters also use psychometric tests during the recruitment and selection process. They are common across all sectors and career fields. Practise will really help your performance.