History provides students not only with a comprehensive understanding of the past, but also with a fresh way of looking at the present, and even the future. As a subject, it encourages development of analytical and evaluative skills, hones critical and creative thinking and improves the ability to debate and discuss.
With a history degree, you’ll gain the ability to approach dominant narratives critically, questioning who constructed the accounts we are presented with and why. You’ll make attempts at understanding what historic events mean in a cultural, social and personal context – and what that means for the future. It’s been said that studying history is like visiting another country, and that’s a great analogy – the scope of history is boundless, and there are always new way to explore it. A history degree provides you with the tools to do so at an advanced level, unveiling new and exciting ways of looking at the past.
Those who study history at university are expected to regularly produce high quality essays, as well as refining writing skills, this helps to improve time management, a highly desirable trait for prospective employers. Furthermore, the extensive number of primary and secondary sources explored by history students gives them superior skills in analysis and research.
Given the great number of transferable skills a degree in the subject provides, history graduates often go on to very varied careers. For instance, if you’re interested in going into politics, journalism or research, history would be a great choice of discipline for you. Likewise, if you’re interested in teaching, law, finance, or even working in TV, the skills of critical analysis you’ll gain from a history degree are invaluable. And if you’re not sure what you want to do after university, history is a subject that leaves your options open as it is widely respected by employers.
In the instance that you’re planning on going to university but aren’t sure what to study, it’s best to opt for a subject that you thoroughly enjoy – your university years are all too short, so it’s advised to spend them studying a subject you really like.
If you’re still not convinced, there are ways of determining whether a history degree is right for you. Be sure to read up on lots of different courses, to see if anything particularly jumps out at you. It may be that you’d like to specialise in a specific type of history, which at some universities is possible. You can do degrees in a multitude of different types of history: BAs in Ancient and Medieval History, European History, American History, Art History, Military History or a combination of History and Politics are all offered in different places around the UK, so it’s worth looking around to find a course that perfectly fits your needs.
If you love history at school, but you’re not sure whether you want to take the plunge and study it at university level yet, a two-week Cambridge summer school could be a really good way of testing the water! A Cambridge summer school in history bridges the gap between school and university learning, exploring the subject in more depth than you’ll have encountered at A-level.
Immerse yourself in the ancient culture of British university education and explore degree level history firsthand at one of the oldest universities in the world. This is a great way of deciding if history is right for you, and you’ll take away a few of the fantastic transferable skills a full history degree would provide you with, too!