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Careers Centre

History - using your degree


Popular career areas for History students:

A degree from Scotland's first university is an excellent start to any future career. St Andrews has a reputation for excellence and the ability to attract the brightest students world-wide. With this as a starting point you are well on the way to impressing future employers.

History is our engagement with the past. Through the exploration of past worlds you will learn about the origins of today, but also how to interrogate the present and the future. The study of history will teach you to think in a broad yet precise manner, to sift and process ideas and to make connections and challenge preconceptions.

In addition, many of the skills you develop while studying history will also equip you for a future career. Undergraduate history courses specifically invest in transferable skills such as time management, project planning, group work, oral and written expression, focussed research and presentation. Such skills will be appealing to employers in many fields.

Undergraduates who study history at St Andrews have traditionally moved into a very wide range of careers on graduating. Some stay in academic life, perhaps proceeding via a postgraduate training degree to doctoral study either in St Andrews or at another university. Other students have often progressed to postgraduate qualifications in teaching or in law. But the range of possibilities opened up by a degree in history is vast –recent history graduates have, for example, worked for museums and auction houses, in journalism and the media, for financial institutions, in local and central government and in sales and marketing.

Review your degree skills

The profile below identifies the skills that can be developed through the study of your discipline based on subject benchmark statements developed by UK higher education academic communities:

Where do our History graduates go?

Recent History graduates
PwC - Assistant Manager Enders Analysts - Research Analyst EY - Fraud Investigation and Dispute Services Associate
BBC - Production Trainee University of St Andrews - Archivist United Biscuits - Account Executive
Graduates who are established in their profession
EY - Associate University of St Andrews Careers Centre – International Opportunities Manager

Lucky Generals - Account Manager

TowerBrook Capital Partners L.P. - Senior Principal

Michael Page - Managing Consultant

JP Morgan Securities - Managing Director
Robert Gelb

Robert graduated in 2011.

He has worked at the University of St Andrews Careers Centre as the International Opportunities Manager.

Read Robert's case study.

Anna Moles

Anna graduated in 2011.

She has worked as a Library Research Assistant at the British School at Athens.

Read Anna's case study.

Visit the Graduate Destinations page to see what graduates and postgraduates from your School are doing now.

Network with alumni

Many jobs and internships are not advertised. One of the best ways to find out about these ‘hidden opportunities’ is by networking. Networking can also help secure a job that is publicised or is part of a training scheme. Your contacts can open doors, set up meetings, help prepare you for interviews, and provide you with an inside look at a company or industry.

How to contact alumni

There are two main ways to contact alumni on-line:

  1. Saint Connect - brings together alumni and current students to facilitate networking, enable informal mentoring, provide industry discussion groups, and enable graduates and students to stay up to date with their student societies and sports teams.
  2. LinkedIn - most comprehensive resource to connect with alumni is the University of St Andrews LinkedIn – Alumni Tool. There are also many LinkedIn St Andrews Groups, mainly based on location, which you can join to network with fellow students and alumni, eg St Andrews North America Careers Link.

Postgraduate study/research

In 2014, 35.3% of History graduates went on to do further study.
Advisers are able and willing to discuss postgraduate applications - vocational and academic.

Summer internships/work experience

Campus Opportunities

Work experience is becoming ‘essential’ in the UK when it comes to securing graduate level employment.

During the 2015-16 academic year, more than 90% of the UK’s leading graduate employers offered paid work experience programmes for students and recent graduates. Altogether, 55% of St Andrews finalists had completed some element of work experience with a graduate employer whilst at university – much higher than the survey average. More than two-fifths had a part-time job during term-time and three-fifths had some form of casual vacation work.Source: High Fliers –The UK Graduate Careers Survey 2016.

The History and Museum Internship Book - published by Internships, USA, this online resource lists over 150 organizations offering internships in Museums, State and National Parks, Living History Programs and Historical Commissions and Archives in the USA. Access via MyCareer (password required).

Case studies

Key links and resources


Professional Bodies, Trade Organisations and Journals/Magazines