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High Achieving Graduates

What use is a History degree? How does studying History improve your career prospects?

At a time when students, parents, funders and policy makers seem to be questioning the value of humanities subjects, the Subject Centre thought it timely to gather some examples of 'high achievers' and we've found that there are History graduates in many walks of life, demonstrating the broad relevance of the degree. History graduates can be found in the upper ranks of the diplomatic service, senior positions in banking, the public sector and broadcasting. In December 2010, 95 MPs in the House of Commons (and devolved parliaments) had History degrees.

A number of public figures discussed with the Historical Association the importance and relevance that the study of history had made to their working lives and careers.

Jeremy Bowen: BBC's Middle East Editor

Tom Bradby: writer and Political Editor for ITV News




A search of History and Humanities alumni has yielded some interesting results ...

We hope that the evidence and examples presented here will be useful in two contexts.

  • Pointing out to young people that studying History is a good preparation for pursuing the broad range of careers that don't require a specific vocational qualification.
  • At a time when the Humanities feel under threat and called upon to justify their relevance and impact, being able to point to a number of high-profile individuals who have built on their skills in analytical and critical thinking developed by their studies demonstrates how the discipline contributes to the strength and vitality of business, culture and society.

Teachers and academics running open days often ask "Can you tell me the names of some famous people who studied History?"



Frances Crook OBE: Director of the Howard League for Penal Reform Al Murray: comedian 'pub landlord'
Diane Abbott: Labour MP  


Al Murray - comedian 

Sacha Baron Cohen

Diane Abbott - MP

Bruce Dickinson - Iron Maiden

Sian Williams - BBC