Covering anything from the history of the world, to different religions, the writings of different philosophers and archaeological science techniques this subject area covers a diverse range of disciplines.

Graduate destinations

69,985 students were studying this subject in 2014/15.

64.4% of graduates went directly into employment.

Top five graduate destinations:

  1. Education
  2. Wholesale and retail trade
  3. Professional, scientific, and technical
  4. Accommodation and food service
  5. Administrative and support services

What courses are available?

Universities and colleges in the UK are offering courses in the following subject areas:

Subject combinations and available course options include:

  • single, joint and multiple subject combinations
  • full-time, part-time, and flexible study options as well as a few courses with a placement (sandwich courses)
  • qualifications ranging from BA and BSc (Hons) degrees, through to a small number of HND, HNC, and Foundation Certificates

Are you considering an accelerated degree? Click here to read more about the possibility of completing your undergraduate course in two years rather than three. 

Entry requirements

A levels – To get on to a degree in this subject area you will usually require a minimum of two A levels, with three A levels and A/B grades needed for the most popular courses. Entry requirements range from BCC to AAB, with the universities and colleges most commonly asking for ABB.While most universities require at least one humanities A level subject, only a few specify a particular subject i.e. history A level for a history degree. Archaeology can be both an arts and a science based subject. If you wish to take a science related archaeology degree you may need a science based A level.

In addition to A levels or equivalent qualifications, you will also need five GCSEs (A-C) including science, English, and maths.

Scottish Highers – Entry requirements for Highers (the most common qualification) range from BBBB to AAABB, with universities or colleges most frequently requiring AABBB. Occasionally, universities ask for Advanced Highers to supplement Highers. If Advanced Highers are requested, universities or colleges typically ask for ABB.

Vocational courses – Other Level 3/Scottish Level 6 qualifications may be accepted may be accepted as an alternative to A levels/Highers by some providers. It’s essential that you check alternative entry requirements with universities or colleges.

Personal statement

Universities are looking for:

  • evidence that you are well informed about the subject and have strong interest/motivation, which could be demonstrated by:
    • relevant work experience/shadowing or voluntary work (especially if applying for a degree in archaeology or heritage studies)
    • additional reading and research of particular topics
    • membership of related societies/clubs – i.e. a local history society
  • a range of interests outside of academic study – i.e. sport, music, voluntary work
  • a well written statement that demonstrates evidence of analytical skills and independent thinking
  • the ability to work individually and in teams

How to write your personal statement


If you want to combine work and study while earning a salary, you could consider an apprenticeship. Which apprenticeships are available, and how you apply, depends on where you live.

Find out more about apprenticeships across the UK.

Each apprenticeship sets out occupational standards for specific job roles, designed by employers. The standards outline the skills, knowledge, and behaviours required to demonstrate that an apprentice is fully competent in the job role.

Higher apprenticeships (Level 4)

Degree apprenticeships (Levels 5 – 7)

Key areas of employment

There is not a significant number of careers that specifically relate to these subject areas. However, graduates develop a wide range of transferable skills that can be useful in many areas including; research and analytical skills, the ability to construct persuasive arguments and communicate findings in a clear manner, problem solving, presentation skills, organisation, and time management.

Key careers sectors that employ graduates with humanities subjects include:

  • local and central government
  • social and education services
  • leisure and tourism
  • publishing and journalism
  • voluntary/charitable organisations​

Related careers

Examples of related careers include the following job titles:

Where can I find out more?

Visit the websites of the following professional bodies to find out more about courses and careers in historical and philosophical studies.

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