Careers and Employability Service
Services for current students

Liberal Arts

Two students in discussion

As a liberal arts student, you work across a range of subjects, which prepares you to take advantage of a variety of career opportunities. Your degree is about adaptation and innovation and these skills are highly valued in every job sector.

The modules you have studied and the experiences you have gained from your degree will allow you to describe your interdisciplinary approach in application forms and interviews.

Remember, the strength of a liberal arts degree is the broad knowledge that you have obtained by studying across subjects.


What skills will I gain during my degree?

The skills gained from studying liberal arts are transferable to a wide range of areas, which means that graduates can, and do, enter a diverse range of roles and sectors.

  • Interdisciplinary thinking and making connections
  • Applied knowledge
  • Research skills
  • Data analysis
  • Planning for opportunities and challenges
  • Adaptability
  • Challenging conventional wisdom
  • Working with others
  • Communicating to selected audiences through projects, presentations and other channels
  • Lifelong learning skills
  • Digital content production and digital communication
  • Reflection and continual improvement

What are my career options?

Liberal arts graduates will work in an extremely wide range of roles and job sectors. From business and finance, advertising, teaching, research, management, law, marketing, journalism, non-profit and public sector work, a liberal arts degree is a way of demonstrating your value and potential contribution to potential employers.

Employers frequently ask for graduates who are skilled across a range of areas as well as being adaptable and creative. As a liberal arts student, you can meet this demand by drawing upon your interdisciplinary education to work for organisations like banks, charities, newspapers, schools and the Civil Service, because you can think differently and create significant value for organisations.

You are also well-placed to pursue further qualifications in a specific career or to study at a postgraduate level because of your interdisciplinary skills.

It is true to say that many graduates of liberal arts (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 stopgap.

A to Z of graduate jobs - explore roles and sectors on our website

Prospects website -  career options and job profiles


What are my further study options?

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.


Students' Union

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.


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.


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.



Careers and Employability Service

University of Nottingham
Portland Building, Level D
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

telephone: +44 (0) 115 951 3680
fax: +44 (0) 115 951 3679