The occupations below are a selection of those which may interest History students and graduates and offer the opportunity to use your degree directly.
Archivists work in national and local records offices, specialist organisations (such as Canterbury Cathedral) and in businesses. They acquire, manage and maintain documents and other materials that have historical importance and make them accessible to researchers and other users.
Library and information staff manage, organise, evaluate and disseminate
information. In specialist libraries and information units, such as those in
law firms and the Inns of Court or universities, law graduates may be able to
use their subject knowledge directly.
Prospects job profile: Academic librarian
Prospects job profile: Public librarian
Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals: Career support toolkit
Acquires, cares for, develops,
displays and interprets objects and collections of historic interest. In small
museums, the curator is also responsible for managing the collection,
operations, staff and volunteers.
Prospects job profile: Museum / gallery curator
Museums Association: Entering the sector
Secondary school teacher
To teach in state schools (excluding academies and free schools) in England and Wales, you must complete a period of “initial teacher training”, such as a one-year Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) course or school-centred training, which leads to Qualified Teacher Status. It is important to build up teaching-related experience during your undergraduate degree and to apply early for teacher training.
Prospects job profile: Secondary school teacher
Get Into Teaching: Discover the steps to become a teacher
Tourist guides show visitors around towns and cities, historic buildings, gardens, religious sites or museums and art galleries. Some travel companies specialise in historical and cultural tours, but a knowledge of history is valuable for all tour guides.
Prospects job profile: Tourism officer
National Careers Service: Tourist guide
As well as teaching through lectures and seminars, academic staff in higher education also carry out research and a wide range of administrative and pastoral tasks. Although a teaching qualification is not required, you will need a higher degree, normally a PhD. Competition is strong for entry-level academic posts.
Please note that some of these careers may require further study.
You may be interested in graduate roles outside of English Language and Linguistics. There are many employers who are looking for graduates with good degrees but that do not have a preference for the subject studied. To explore different career options, see:
Prospects: Job Profiles
Target jobs: Graduate career sectors
A History degree may be useful in the following career areas because the skills it develops are likely to be important to do these jobs:
Civil Service Fast Streamer
The Civil Service Fast Stream is a leadership development programme for those wanting to become senior leaders within the Civil Service
Prospects job profile: Civil Service Fast Streamer
Read about the 15 different Fast Stream schemes
Intelligence officers work to protect UK national security and to detect and prevent serious organised crime through the acquisition, evaluation, analysis and assessment of secret intelligence.
Prospects job profile: Intelligence analyst
Journalists research, write and present stories, features and articles
across a range of media platforms – newspapers, magazines, television, radio
and internet. Experience gained in student journalism will be helpful in
breaking into this area.
Target jobs: Journalist
National Council for the Training of Journalist: Journalism career guide
Politicians' assistants provide administrative and research support to elected politicians. The work may involve liaison with constituents, the politician’s party, the media and other bodies; diary management and campaigning.
Prospects job profile: Politicians assistant
As a copy-editor or proofreader you'll ensure that material is clear, consistent, complete and credible, and that text is well written, grammatically correct and accessible.
Prospects job profile: Publishing copy editor / proofreader
Publishers Association: Work in publishing – publishing careers
Solicitors take instructions from clients (who may be individuals, groups, public sector organisations or private companies) and provide expert legal support on a range of personal and commercial issues.
You may be interested in graduate roles outside of History. There are many employers who are looking for graduates with good degrees but that don’t have a preference for the subject studied. To explore different career options see:
Target Jobs: Information on career sectors
As well as subject-specific knowledge and skills, a graduate in history will typically have gain
- Demonstrate command of a substantial body of historical knowledge
- Understand how people have existed, acted and thought in the context of the past
- Read and use texts and other source materials critically and empathetically
- Appreciate the complexity and diversity of situations, events and past mentalities
- Recognise there are ways of testing statements and that there are rules of evidence which require integrity and maturity
- Reflect critically on the nature and theoretical underpinnings of the discipline
- Marshall an argument, be self-disciplined and independent intellectually
- Express themselves orally and in writing with coherence, clarity and fluency
- Gather, organise and deploy evidence, data and information
- Analyse and solve problems
- Use effectively ICT, information retrieval and presentation skills
- Exercise self-discipline, self-direction and initiative
- Work with others and have respect for others’ reasoned views
- Work collaboratively and participate effectively in group discussions
- Show empathy and imaginative insight.
Studying History therefore develops a wide range of transferable skills, which are important in many career fields. Understanding and analysis of issues and events are of key importance to historians and can be applied in many other fields of work. Other skill areas that can be developed through studying history include:
This is not an exhaustive list of skills – you will develop many skills from your course, extra-curricular activities and work experience.
Find a job
The Careers and Employability Service provides information and advice on job searching to University of Kent students and recent graduates. This includes a vacancy database advertising a range of graduate jobs, sandwich placements and vacation work/internships. The websites listed below may also be useful when searching for a job and when looking for further information on this sector.
- Historians on Teaching Historians in Europe, Australia and North America talk about their lives as university teachers
- Museum Jobs Provides online recruitment for museums, galleries and other cultural organisations. Includes FAQs and contact information.
- Museums Association jobs pages
Employers and Volunteer Opportunities
- Canterbury Cathedral
- English Heritage
- Historic England
- The National Association of Re-Enactment Societies
- The National Trust
- Society for the Preservation of Ancient Buildings
Postgraduate study may enable you to explore aspects of history in greater depth or to study a new subject.
A postgraduate qualification, either academic or vocational, is required to enter many fields of work related to history, such as archive work, museum work, historical research or teaching. If you are interested in other careers, some of these, such as teaching or law, will require study for a relevant professional qualification while in some others, such as journalism, a postgraduate degree is not a requirement, but may be an advantage. However, many careers will not require further academic qualifications. The 'Types of Jobs' section of the Prospects website will tell you whether postgraduate study is essential, useful or not needed for a specific career.
There is no equivalent of UCAS for postgraduate study, so investigate courses early, using the resources listed below.
If you are already a student on a taught Master’s degree, you may wish to continue your studies by research, in the UK (at Kent or elsewhere) or overseas. Again, early planning is important. You should seek advice from your supervisor as to the possible options.
There are many reasons for choosing to continue into postgraduate study. You may wish to obtain a higher degree purely for interest rather than for career reasons. Whatever your motivation, you need to consider issues such as your suitability for further study, the options available to you and the costs involved.
Options with a History degree
- School History History Teachers’ Discussion Forum
General history links
- British Association for Local History
- The Historical Association
- The Institute of Historical Research