An unfair trope sometimes labelled to a History degree is that it only entails learning about the past. Those who believe this think that renders it worthless. However, such a view clearly ignores what a useful degree History can be. Studying the past doesn’t just increase your understanding of the world around you. It also fosters a huge number of transferable skills much sought after by employers from a whole host of sectors. This is reflected in the Complete University Guide league tables. They show high graduate employment prospects for History students from all the top UK universities.
The analytical and interpretive skills developed by studying a History degree are suited to many potential areas of employment. Graduates can pursue careers in sectors such as the law, journalism and financial services. Studying History at university often involves minimal contact hours and entails a great deal of independent work. This means graduates are often able to work well on their own without needing regular guidance. This is a quality that is attractive to many prospective employers.
Prospects for History students are growing. University departments across the country are looking more and more to alternative methods of assessment. This way they hope to help their students develop a wider set of skills. No longer does a History degree mean three years cooped up in the library writing essay after essay. Today, assessment is often made not just on independent written work. Group and presentation work are also part of the equation. This ensures that a History degree also develops communication and co-ordination skills. Such skills are obviously advantageous for an innumerable number of careers.
A History degree is about more than just skill sets, though. It’s about big ideas and the progression of mankind. It’s about the cultural, economic and political forces which have shaped and continue to shape our world. Sometimes you can question spending so long investigating, say, ecclesiastical records instead of a seemingly more applicable, vocational degree. But rest assured, by studying the past, you are developing vital, sought-after skills applicable to numerous careers. You are also becoming someone who is more culturally and historically conscious, and so a more responsible and engaged citizen.
Ultimately, studying History is as much an investment in your future as it is a study of the past.