A Level History
History shows us that our decisions aren’t made in a vacuum, but build up from events stretching back until the dawn of time.
Ms Williams (Teacher of History)
Exam Board: AQA
8 or more GCSEs at grades A*–C including English and Maths, as well as a minimum grade B in History or a Humanities subject.
The study of History helps to develop the skills to look beyond the headlines, to ask questions properly, and to express opinions – skills now regarded as essential in industry. Historians solve problems and evaluate solutions. History involves not only the reconstruction and interpretation of the past, but the development of the critical skills necessary to unlocking its secrets and explaining them to others. These include a range of interpretive skills relating to texts, data, visual and audio sources, the ability to construct, evaluate and criticise arguments and effective presentation of findings A Level History is well regarded by employers because it is academically rigorous and can be relied upon to produce students who are literate and likely to be independent thinkers.
A History degree is an excellent route to a wide range of top jobs, a facilitating subject that is well-regarded by employers. Studying History at degree level demands independence of thought, creative intelligence, maturity, concentration and the ability to sift complex information and present big ideas succinctly and persuasively. Students graduate with exceptional expertise in critical thinking, they can analyse and interpret challenging data and evidence, and they can communicate information clearly and confidently with reasoned judgment and understanding. All these skills are essential to top-level employers.
- Research (for example, archaeologist, television researcher, quantitative research agency executive)
- Cultural sector (for example, art gallery curator, charity fundraising manager, museum education manager)
- Information (for example, librarian, archivist, think tank researcher)
- Education (for example, teacher or heritage interpretation guide)
- Conservation (for example, auctioneer, tapestry restoration, conservation)
- Government (for example, local authority education strategy, Civil Service parliamentary private secretary, House of Commons researcher)
- Non-governmental organisation (for example, environmental policy director, human rights lobbyist)
Entry & Training
History is really only the headline option at degree level; reams of related options exist, including combinations with a range of languages, International Relations, Politics, Philosophy & Economics, Politics with Development Studies, Classical Civilisation, Ancient History & Biblical Studies, History & Film Studies, and Conflict, Peace & Security – and that’s just for starters.
The universities that are at the forefront of a History degree are a similar list to many of the other social sciences:
- St Andrews
- Surrey (H)
- Bath (H)
- Imperial (H)
- Lancaster (H)
- Loughborough (H)
- Huddersfield (P)
- Buckingham (P)
- Kent (P)
- LSE (P)
There are plenty of alternative routes into jobs with a historical slant, including apprenticeships, although they might not be immediately obvious and it often requires applicants to be able to think laterally. For example, working for a heritage charity like the National Trust as an admin assistant might be an excellent starting point for someone interested in UK history.