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Careers for humanities graduates

Where will a humanities degree take you once you graduate? Find out with our guide on popular professions and transferrable skills.

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Perhaps you’ve finished your humanities degree and need some advice on finding a job. Maybe you’re thinking of applying to study a humanities course but want to know about the employment prospects. No matter what stage you’re at right now, we’re going to show you what types of careers are available for a humanities graduate so that you can feel well-informed. Although you don’t have to know exactly which profession you’d like to end up in, it’s helpful to learn about the common career paths others have taken before you. This way, you can have some idea of what to do once you graduate.

 

Types of humanities degrees

Broadly speaking, a humanities degree looks at society and culture with several different subjects falling under this category:

 

 

Humanities skills

While humanities degrees have been criticised for a lack of clear career paths, these programmes are perfect for anyone who wants to explore different ideas, concepts and expand their minds. This therefore reflects the value in the humanities and the many transferrable and desirable skills gained from these subjects including:

 

  • Strong communication skills
  • Critical thinking
  • Reasoning and logic
  • Forming arguments
  • Lateral thinking
  • Creativity
  • Empathy
  • Analytical and research skills
  • Ability to interpret and digest complex information

 

Humanities graduate employment rates

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Source: What Do Graduates Do? 2018/2019)

 

With the average graduate employment rate being 74.3 per cent (What Do Graduates Do? 2018/2019) humanities subjects have lower employment rates, but that is partly due to the high percentage of graduates going onto further study (roughly 25 per cent for each subject).

 

Read more about postgraduate qualifications in the humanities.

 

What sorts of careers are there for humanities graduates?

 

1. Marketing, PR and sales

A common route for humanities graduates, the skills gained from these degrees can be easily applied to roles in marketing, PR and sales. In particular, the ability to communicate effectively, understand the needs of people and use of creativity and lateral thinking. Humanities degrees also tend to be heavily essay-based, giving students the chance to develop their writing skills in addition to forming an argument. Therefore, in roles where communication is key, humanities graduates are highly desirable.

 

Find out more information about marketing qualifications at university.

2. Law

Even if you didn’t study law as your undergraduate degree, you can still become a lawyer with a conversion course. Humanities degrees provide you with a particularly useful and relevant foundation of knowledge which can be applied to a graduate diploma in law (GDL). This course is taken after an undergraduate degree, but you need to apply in your final year before you graduate.

 

Many skills gained from degrees such as history, English and philosophy are highly relevant for a career as a lawyer, solicitor or barrister. For example, communication, logical reasoning, attention to detail and problem solving. So, if you decide that law is something you’d like to pursue, don’t panic if your undergraduate degree isn’t in law as your skills in a humanities subject are related and transferrable.

 

Learn more about the different types of law courses.

 

 

3. Public sector

Empathy is a skill often acquired through humanities degrees as the subjects look at different cultures, communities and schools of thought. Therefore, working within the public sector such as charitable organisations is another industry where your skillset can be readily applied. Again, the ability to communicate both verbally and in writing is vital, as is being organised and working well under pressure.

 

If you want to help others and are socially conscious without wanting to be on the frontline, then this could be an industry to explore once you graduate. Charity jobs can be competitive so if you can gain any relevant work experience while at university, for example, fundraising or volunteering, that will boost your resume and show your interest in the sector.

 

 

4. Editing and copywriting

If you enjoy writing and editing other people’s work, a career in editing or copywriting could be for you. Anyone working within these roles needs a keen eye for detail and an aptitude for standard grammar and spelling. Luckily, these skills are developed through many humanities subjects and would prepare you for the demands of such roles.

 

Copywriting uses persuasive writing for companies and brands to encourage sales with diverse projects and clients. This role requires creativity and excellent time-management skills. You might spend your days composing newsletters, writing manuals, generating product descriptions, and managing a company’s social media accounts. Editors tend to have more experience and specialised skills related to the content strategy of a website or publication considering the audience and their needs while aligning with company goals.

 

 

5. Teaching

Although most humanities students and graduates might feel frustrated that teaching is often seen as the only obvious career path, it is a viable and rewarding career that many humanities graduates choose to pursue. Humanities graduates are trained to debate and discuss their ideas openly which is useful experience for teaching.

 

To become a teacher after you graduate, you need to earn a Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). A common way to gain this is through a PGCE (Postgraduate Certificate in Education) but there are several other ways to qualify as a teacher in the UK such as apprenticeship programmes or employment-based training. A PGCE typically takes one year (full-time) or two years (part-time) to complete. It is not mandatory to have a PGCE to teach but it will improve your job prospects and opportunities to teach abroad.

 

Now that you know which careers you can pursue having studied a humanities degree, use our course matcher tool to find the right programme and university for you.

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