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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 theatre.

Among our many distinguished alumni: Robert Swan was the first man to walk to both poles, and a leading environmentalist. He studied Ancient History in Durham, from 1976-1979. Jenny Willott, who studied Classics at Durham, was MP for Cardiff Central between 2005 and 2015. (She made headlines when she resigned as Chris Huhne’s Parliamentary Aide over the issue of Unviersity tuition fees.) And Matt Barber, who read Classical Studies and Philosophy at Durham between 2002-2005, can be seen as Atticus Aldridge on 'Downton Abbey'.

Of those students that left in 2014:

- 93% are in paid employment or further study

Of those students in employment:

- 92% are in graduate level employment
- Median salary £23,900

(These statistics are based on the Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey of 2014/15 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'.   

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