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What Can You Do with a Classics Degree?

What Can You Do with a Classics Degree? main image

If you studied a classics degree, your degree will have provided you with many of the transferable skills employers love. To name just one, you’ll have learned how to discuss and argue logically about different topics, a skill particularly valuable for careers in industries such as the civil service, journalism and law.

These aren’t the only career paths available to you though of course. Read on to find out what other skills you can showcase on your CV, and which classics jobs you could explore after graduation. If you studied your classics degree with history, you can read more career ideas here.

Skills gained from a classics degree

As well as gaining a strong foundation of subject-specific skills and knowledge in Ancient Greek and Roman cultures and languages, you’ll have gained the following skills during your classics degree:

  • The ability to learn and understand challenging subjects
  • The ability to research, collate and analyze materials, including statistics
  • The ability to critically evaluate resources to help you formulate arguments
  • The ability to articulate these arguments thoughtfully both in a written essay format and through clear and effective oral presentations
  • The ability to write and think under pressure, organize your own workload, and meet deadlines
  • Interpersonal skills, such as being able to work creatively and collaboratively with others
  • The ability to identify problems and their possible solutions

Careers with a classics degree

Archivist

If you’re passionate about preserving history for the future, you might like to consider becoming an archivist. In this role, you’ll buy, manage and maintain historical documents on behalf of individuals, organizations or countries. You’ll preserve the information within these documents and make them accessible to the public, increasingly in digital format.

As your role becomes more senior, you’ll also bid for funds, manage staff and budgets, and take responsibility for planning and implementing strategies. To become an archivist, you may need a postgraduate qualification. Entry for these is competitive, so it’s important to be able to mention in your application experience of voluntary or paid work experience in an archives environment.

Salary: In the UK, your starting salary will be at least £22,443 (~US$31,800), rising to £25,000-45,000 (~US$35,300-63,730) with experience, and senior archivists could earn around £55,000 (~US$77,900) a year.

In the US, archivists earn between $30,180- $50,500, with senior archivists earning $66,590 or more.

Heritage manager

You may also like to consider a career as a heritage manager, in which you’ll be responsible for the conservation and management of heritage sites, such as historic monuments, buildings and museums. Your tasks will be broad, ranging from managing budgets to developing new ways of marketing the attraction for visitors, as well as writing reports, arranging outreach activities for the community, and managing staff.

A postgraduate qualification isn’t essential for this role, but could improve your chances, particularly if it includes work-based projects and/or work placements in heritage management. A postgraduate qualification could also improve your entry-level salary prospects (see below).

Salary: At entry-level in the UK, you can expect to earn around £16,000-21,000 (~US$22,650-29,700), though those with a postgraduate degree can expect to earn up to £25,000 (~US$35,300) at this level.

After two or three years, you’ll likely earn around £25,000 to £35,000 (~US$35,400-49,540) a year. Senior heritage managers can earn up to £70,000 (~US$90,00) per year.

Tour guide

If you’ve got the travel bug, your specialized classical knowledge could be ideal for heading abroad to work as a tour guide, especially if you work for a travel company that specializes in historical or cultural tours.

For this role, it’s important to have lots of energy, confidence and great communication and interpersonal skills as you’ll spend your days engaging with tourists as you relay interesting facts about historical sites and answer any questions they may have. You’ll also need to know basic first aid and some foreign languages.

There’s a lot of competition for this role, so to become a tour guide it’s a good idea to gain experience through initial summer jobs. Any work experience which has involved interacting with the general public will be useful too. If you can’t find any available opportunities, you could also send speculative applications to travel companies that interest you.

Salary: Beginner tour guides can expect to earn around £18,000 (~US$25,400) a year in the UK, rising to £20,000-30,000 (~US$28,300-42,300) as you gain more experience.

In the US, you’ll earn $18,300 at the start of your career, rising to up to $43,060 with experience.

Museum-based careers with a classics degree

There are also some roles you could pursue in the museum sector in which your classics degree would be useful.

Museum curator

As a museum curator, you’ll manage collections of artifacts (or works of art, if you work in a gallery), and be responsible for buying, borrowing or selecting items to display to inform and educate the public. A postgraduate degree is usually required for this career, and it’s crucial to have pre-entry work experience through internships or voluntary work.

Average salary: you’ll probably start off your career as an assistant curator, earning £18,000 to £25,000 (~US$25,400-35,300) in the UK, rising to £26,000-40,000 (~US$36,660-56,400) as you gain more experience and responsibility.

In the US salaries start at $29,700, rising to $94,430. 

Museum education officer

In this role, you’ll be focused on enhancing visitors’ experiences and encouraging learning by preparing and delivering formal or informal education programs, which would act as a link between the museum and the community.

You’ll work to ensure collections are fun, engaging and accessible for everyone by arranging activities such as presentations, guided tours and workshops. Only an undergraduate degree is required for this role.

Average salary: In the UK, your starting salary is likely to be around £17,000-20,000 (~US$24,000-28,200), rising to £28,000 (~US$39,500) with experience and £40,000 (~US$56,400) at senior management level.

In the US, you’ll earn around $20,607-$46,351 per year.

Other careers you could pursue with a classics degree

If you’re passionate about sharing knowledge about classical history and culture with future generations, you could consider becoming a secondary school teacher or university professor, with universities particularly ideal for sharing your expertise through research as well as teaching.

You’d also be able to offer many transferable skills for roles in marketing, the civil service, journalism, publishing, librarianship, accounting, politics, media, law and more.

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‘What Can You Do with a Classics Degree?’ is part of our ‘What Can You Do With…’ series. We have also covered art, biologybusinesscommunicationscomputer scienceEnglishengineeringfashionfinancehistorygeographylawmarketingmathematicsperforming artsphilosophypoliticspsychologysociologychemistryeconomics and physics.

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Sabrina Collier's profile image
Written by Sabrina Collier
The Assistant Editor of TopUniversities.com, Sabrina edits and publishes articles which guide students from around the world on a wide range of topics. She has a bachelor's degree in English Literature and Creative Writing from Aberystwyth University and grew up in Staffordshire, UK. 

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1 Comment

clasic degre i nmy thinking very good and about my study can i have good luck