School of Social, Historical and Literary Studies

Employability

We integrate employability into every degree in our school, so that our students develop a range of transferable skills which employers consistently rank as the attributes and skills that they most value in graduates. These skills, and the opportunities to develop them, are embedded in our degrees:

  • in the way we approach learning and teaching;
  • in the delivery of our programmes; and
  • in their assessment.
Two women talking at a careers fair

Employability skills

Alongside your exploration of your chosen subject, you will therefore be developing skills in critical thinking, team work, communication and presentation skills, self-motivation and organisation, initiative and flexibility, all highly valued by employers in this competitive job market.

Students may choose to follow LiFE modules - Learning From Experience - and convert actual work experience into university credits, and all are offered the opportunity to enhance their attractiveness to employers in the global marketplace by studying a foreign language.

Additionally, every degree in SSHLS involves a dissertation (or a comparable major project) that develops many of the key skills that employers most value - this year-long independent research unit demands that students maintain their self-motivation throughout their final years, meeting deadlines through time management, arranging evidence in an ordered fashion to best communicate the analysis of the data they have been studying. Some students choose to align their dissertations with relevant work, which the School is happy to accommodate.

Working as a Student: Preparing for the Workplace

Placement and Internship Centre

The Faculty provides you with support via the Placement and Internship Centre, or PiC for short. It is located in 1.16 Park Building, where there is a space for you to look at current opportunities, or undertake some job searching via the computers available for your use.

The Placement and Internship Centre is focused on providing a range of opportunities for you to get involved in activity which will help to progress career ideas and key skills essential for the working world. 

Purple Door Careers and Recruitment

You can access a wide range of help with your research from Purple Door Careers and Recruitment including individual careers advice and access to extensive information resources. You may be particularly interested in the pages dealing with working outside the UK - these provide information for students and graduates interested in experience of work overseas, either during the vacation or after graduation.

Prospects

Prospects describes itself as the UK's official graduate careers website. Suggested starting points for your research there include:

  • Option Series this series available through the Prospects website provides ideas of what you can do with your degree subject, including details of skills gained, related jobs, further study and other options.

Employer activities

Throughout the year Purple Door Careers and Recruitment and the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences (FHSS) organise a wide range of employer and career planning events, covering a broad overview of career areas.  

Volunteering, work experience and work placements

Spending time in work can help you develop the skills and experience that employers look for in the areas that interest you. Purple Door Careers and Recruitment and FHSS's Student Placement Manager can help you find relevant volunteering or paid opportunities in the local area. The Students Union also offer a wide range of community and other opportunities that will develop your skills. 

Work may also be accredited through the University's Learning through Experience (LiFE) Unit.  

After you graduate

After graduation you will be able to access the services of Purple Door Careers and Recruitment for five years.

I gained invaluable experience for a future career and an excellent recommendation from a Member of Congress. I also went to some incredible events in places like the State Department and the National Press Club where I met some interesting people like Hillary Clinton, Senator John Kerry and the singer Christina Aguilera.

Jonathan Lima-Matthews, BA (Hons) International Relations, Congress intern, Washington DC

SSHLS employability: Ian Tapster