Careers a humanities degree can lead to
By Pamela Head,
Humanities subjects do not lead into careers in the obvious way that science subjects do. They are not vocational and do not teach you quite such obvious skills. However, they do teach you valuable skills such as time-keeping (writing regular essays to a deadline, reading novels and textbooks ready for your seminars and lectures), team work (working in groups to complete projects or presentations) and writing and analytical skills. These are skills which are useful in all careers, so while humanities - on the surface - doesn’t appear to be as useful for employability prospects, it is hugely significant in your development and progression to the working world.
There are a variety of jobs you could get with a humanities degree. With a Law degree, debatably a humanities subject if you go to Warwick, the path is obvious: Bar school, and then a lawyer. With English, you could go on to do a PGCE and become a teacher. Postgraduate study can be a good way of going on to specialise in a field or vocation you’ve discovered an interest in during the course of your humanity degree. A vocational degree course could be your next step. Or you can use those all-round skills you’ve learned to get a job as a runner, PA, in administration, retail or any other field you’re interested in that does not require a set of learned skills, such as the medical profession.
Matthew Batstone, co-founder and director of New College of the Humanities said: “If you have studied a humanities subject, you are lucky. You are richly versed in the capabilities you will need to have a rewarding life and career. You should be proud of your degree when talking to employers, but you should also be able to show how your capabilities translate into action.”
The University of Kent’s careers advice service said: “You are probably well aware already that your degree is not a vocational one - that, apart from teaching, there are few options open to you that will give you the opportunity to use your subject knowledge directly in a job. Don't let this worry you - the options available to you are very wide- ranging with some 40% of advertised graduate vacancies open to graduates in any subject. These range from health and social welfare occupations to commercial, professional and managerial jobs, such as chartered accountant and marketing manager. Graduates have also entered administration, information work, sales, teaching and the media.“
So if a degree in the humanities is what you’re looking into, make sure you look around, check the modules, and pick a degree that is right for you. At the end of the day, you’re at university to come out with a degree at the end of it, so make sure you’re choosing carefully!