Historical and philosophical studies

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.
Relevant to

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Key stats

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

  • 94% UK
  • 6% international
  • 77% full-time
  • 23% part-time
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:

‘Archaeology degree courses can vary hugely in their focus; for example, they may focus on Roman Britain, Archaeological Sciences, or Ancient Civilisations while others may offer a more general archaeology course.’
British Council for Archaeology

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

Apprenticeships

Apprenticeships are available in the following areas:

Advanced apprenticeships:

  • Assistant archivist
  • Assistant exhibition organiser
  • Museum assistant
  • Assistant museum/art gallery curator
  • Visitor services assistant

Find out more about apprenticeships


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. Whilst 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.

Vocational courses – Other Level 3 qualifications (e.g. BTEC extended diploma) may be accepted as an alternative to A levels.


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



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.