A degree in history can lead to a diverse range of opportunities
from marketing to finance. Learn more about your career options and how we can support you on your journey.
As a history student, you will develop skills that make you very versatile in the job market. Over the years history graduates have utilised their skills and knowledge in a wide range of career pathways.
What skills will I gain during my degree?
The skills gained from studying history are transferable to a wide range of areas which means that graduates can, and do enter a diverse range of roles and sectors.
A history graduate typically will have the following skills:
- critical reasoning and analysis
- problem-solving and critical thinking
- planning and researching written work
- gaining evidence and communicating findings in a clear structured manner
- communication both orally and written
- objective thinking plus the ability to consider and reflect on a range of viewpoints
- presenting ideas and information, including collaboratively
- digital capability
It is important that you can talk about these skills on application forms and in interviews.
What are my career options? With video from a Nottingham alumna
With a flexible combination of skills, history graduates pursue a wide variety of careers, including:
- marketing and public relations
- information management
There is no dominant role or sector that history graduates enter; it really is very evenly spread.
Typical employers include national and local government, marketing agencies, banks and accountancy firms, management consultancies, law firms, schools, higher education institutions, television and radio broadcasters and retailers.
It is unusual to go directly into a job that requires history subject knowledge (for example: teaching and archives) until completing a course of further study, which some do straight after graduation, while others gain relevant experience first.
Career paths - explore roles and sectors
Evie Boneham, history graduate
Evie talks about her role as Assistant Brand Manager at Boots and how she uses the skills she developed during her degree at work.
It is true to say that many history graduates (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)
- they are saving up to fund a postgraduate course or travel and therefore their first destination is a stop gap
- they want to try different roles and/or sectors out
Emma, a 2020 BA History graduate, discusses how her degree helped her secure a role in the construction industry as a graduate quantity surveyor at Morgan Sindall Construction.
Emma graduated from BA History in 2009. She talks about how the skills she gained during her degree led her to a career in consultancy.
Emma works at Capgemini Invent.
Rachel graduated from BA History in 1993. She explains how, through studying a subject she loved and making the most of opportunities, she was able to realise her ambitions to work in the media.
How can I build my skills and experience?
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.
These modules can be general or specific to your degree, for example Experience Heritage.
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.
How can I enhance my digital skills?
Digital skills are essential in many career fields, including advertising, publishing, marketing, and general commerce. They range from social media to coding and will definitely enhance your employability. There are various ways to develop your digital skills whilst at university.
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 use psychometric tests during the recruitment and selection process. They are common across all sectors and career fields. Practise will really help your performance.