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Department of Classics and Ancient History

Career Options and Employability

Classics students from universities such as Durham are highly valued by employers, who realise that, in studying for your degree, you have not only mastered the intricacies of Latin grammar, Augustan foreign policy or Aristotelian metaphysics, but have also acquired skills which are readily transferable in the jobs market. You have learned, for example, to think logically, to compile and evaluate evidence and to express yourself clearly and succinctly both orally and in writing. The aptitude of classicists for careers in computing is well-known, but our graduates have also found their way into careers as diverse as the civil service, gold dealing, insurance, journalism, law, accountancy, public relations and the wine trade. Some examples are highlighted on this page.

“The world class teaching and reputation of Durham meant I was able to start my career in a national museum within three months of leaving my course and before graduation.”

Edward Purvis, BA (Hons) Ancient History (2006)

Of those students that left in 2013:

- 37% are in full time paid employment

Of those students in employment:

- 63% are in graduate level employment
- Median salary £19,500

Of those in further study:

- 95% are in graduate level study

(These statistics are based on the Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey of 2012/13 graduates. The DLHE survey asks leavers from higher education what they are doing six months after graduation. Full definitions for the DLHE Record can be found here:

A significant number of students progress onto higher level study following their degree in Classics and Ancient History. Some remain within their academic field of interest and pursue a Masters, notably at Durham but also other prestigious institutions. Others take a different route and pursue professional postgraduate programmes in law, finance and teaching to name but a few.

Employment development opportunities

The Careers, Employability and Enterprise Centre works with closely the department in facilitating student access to job and work experience opportunities, careers and employability events, employer workshops and presentations, skills programmes and tailored individual careers guidance. The department delivers a number of events in partnership with the Careers, Employability and Enterprise Centre including 'Beyond the BA' and 'Beyond the MA'.   

Durham University Classics and Ancient History graduates progress into a diverse range of careers and employment sectors. Some graduates utilise their degree in areas relevant to their academic study such as heritage, arts, teaching, publishing and journalism. A significant number progress into unrelated areas including banking, law, PR, third sector, consultancy, insurance and administration. Examples of high profile recent employers include Deloitte, Lloyds, Durham University and PWC.  

Employer Testimonial

 "As a Durham graduate now working in the field of Human Resources for Rolls-Royce, there are certain things that we look for in our graduates: Influence, Judgement, Integrity, Leadership, Breadth of knowledge and Team work  to name but a few. We consistently recruit high calibre graduates from Durham University who demonstrate these competences and are a true asset to our organisation"
Alice Taylor;
HR Business Partner;
Rolls-Royce Canada