Career Options and Employability
A postgraduate degree in archaeology will provide you with advanced skills in teamwork, practical and intellectual problem solving and critical analysis of evidence, in addition to enhanced knowledge on specific aspects of the human past and present. Each archaeology graduate is skilled in these areas, but due to the nature of a postgraduate degree, should you choose further study you will graduate equipped with individual, specialised abilities.
Durham University as a whole was recently ranked top 20 in the world by employers for the quality of its graduates. While our archaeology postgraduates are particularly well suited to a career in academia they are always in high demand in the professional sector, with many gaining employment not only in archaeology-related fields such as conservation, heritage, museums and commercial labs and units, but also in finance, administration, entertainment and even fashion design!
On average, an outstanding 85% of those graduating with a postgraduate degree in archaeology between 2007 and the present day had secured employment or further study six months after leaving Durham. An average of 64% of these graduates had secured graduate-level employment or study.
Employers have included: Historic Scotland, the National Trust, the British Academy, the Natural History Museum, the Royal Museums (Greenwich), the Ashmolean Museum, the British Museum, the Imperial War Museum, Durham University Museums, Archaeology South East, Archaeological Project Services, Suffolk County Council Archaeological Service, Culture and Heritage Unit (University of Queensland, Australia), the Montpelier Foundation (Virgina, USA), Tourism Australia, Higher Education Academy (York), National Library of Canada, the Edinburgh Science Festival, Deloitte, HM Court Service, Penguin, O2, Civil Aviation Authority, Hotel Chocolat and several notable universities, including Oxford University, Durham University, American University in Rome, American University in Cairo, University of Alexandria, King Saud University, Aberdeen University, Manchester Metropolitan University, Leicester University, and University of Liege.
Throughout your programme you will be invited to attend in-department employability talks, skills workshops, employment evenings and careers fairs organised by the Careers, Employability and Enterprise Centre, as well as one-on-one sessions with your personal academic advisor. You will be encouraged to attend and participate in national and international conferences as these events give you the opportunity to network with archaeological experts outside of Durham.
A substantial number of the Master's theses and doctoral dissertations produced by our students are published in renowned journals and monographs.
Although work experience is provided as part of many of our taught Master's programmes, you will also be widely encouraged to pursue work experience opportunities in order to enrich your career development. Many of our current and former students have drawn on the links that our lecturers have to experts in the field and previous students have accepted placements as far afield as the Caribbean!
Museums offer an experience to visitors that is truly unique and it is fantastic to be involved with this. It is also a highly varied field and involves people from all backgrounds. Therefore, it is a good idea to know what area you might be interested in. This is where voluntary work is particularly useful because you can usually get a taste of many different areas. It is also a good idea to join one of the professional organisations, such as the Museums Association. This puts you in touch with other people in the sector and they usually publish journals which contain current news and thinking in the sector.Dr Rosa Spencer (Institute of Human Genetics, Newcastle, University, Centre for Life, Newcastle)