In your classical degree at Royal Holloway, you will gain the range of skills you need to make a successful start in the world of work as you embark on your chosen career after graduation.
We have an outstanding record of graduate success, with 94% of Classics department students in work, study or both within 15 months of graduating, including roles in museums, libraries, the civil service, marketing, teaching and many more (based on the latest Graduate Outcomes survey of 2019 graduates). The Guardian University Guide identified our Department as top in the UK for career prospects in 2020.
Helping you to prepare for where your classical degree will take you is at the core of what we do thanks to the department’s employability initiatives, carefully structured to develop over the years of your degree. These initiatives include the skills course embedded in our first-year curriculum, designed to enhance academic and personal transferable skills, such as teamwork, problem-solving and oral presentation. There is also the opportunity, in the second year of your degree, to participate in our optional summer work placement scheme, which offers training in CV preparation and interview skills, and which has placed students in fields as varied as heritage, publishing, retail, teaching, finance and law. Each year former graduates of our department also participate in popular careers-related workshops open to all years of study.
Classics is a SHAPE subject (Social Sciences, the Arts and Humanities for People and the Economy), which means that it will equip you with the types of skills that are most sought after by employers today.
Did you know that 55% of global leaders and 58% of FTSE executives have degrees in the arts, humanities and social sciences? The World Economic Forum and the UK government’s Commission for Employment and Skills agree that the skills most sought after by employers today are the human and cultural behaviours that computers cannot easily replace: critical thinking, creativity, self-motivation, and effective interpersonal and public communication.
These are precisely the skills that you will develop during your classical degree. Our students and graduates are able:
- to think and work with agility and attention to detail;
- to digest, summarise and analyse content from a wide range of different materials;
- to demonstrate critical awareness of the strengths and weaknesses of arguments;
- to develop the confidence to question and express their own views;
- to communicate effectively both verbally and in writing;
- to acquire key digital skills expected in the workplace;
- to work independently and as part of a team;
- to be highly motivated and organised.
Our Classics Department graduates have the most in-demand transferable skills and the type of highly developed subject-specific expertise that equips them to make meaningful contributions to professional and public life: cultural awareness and acute sensitivity to diverse cultural interactions, knowledge and understanding of the deep background behind current events and cultural life, understanding of the power of rhetoric, commitment to accuracy and flexible thinking.
As a student of any of our classical degrees (single- or joint-honours), you will encounter and engage with different cultures, disciplines and materials every day throughout your degree. Classical degrees are built on flexibility and open doors to a wide variety of different careers. In recent years, our graduates have gone on to careers with employers including Channel 4, the Civil Service (Cabinet Office), the law firm SJ Berwin, The Guildhall (City of London), the Natural History Museum, KMPG, and every year many of our graduates use their degree as the starting point for further training for careers in teaching or the law.
Key skills for our disciplines
awareness of the importance of change & development: different political institutions and the economy (trade, labour force, revenue, expansion)
study of international relations, diplomacy, power politics
social historical awareness of ‘muted groups’, e.g. women, elderly, children, ‘foreigners’, slaves
comparative use of range of different media: literary, statistical, material, visual
understanding of problems of bias, selectivity, conventions
study of conflict causes and resolutions
appreciation of different ‘leadership styles’ and organisational structures (military, political, trade): strengths & weaknesses
understanding of the changing and different roles of e.g. religion in society.
Greek & Roman literature
ability to recognise and deploy means of persuasion: rhetoric, style, structure, devices
understanding of bias, selectivity, conventions
ability to select appropriate communication styles for audience, reader or market
appreciation of ‘the dramatic’ and how to use it
sensitivity to the evolution of literary forms, particularly in their wider social contexts (e.g. ‘reception’)
the different cultural roles of myth.
Greek & Latin language
understanding of the importance and roles of visual cultures and ideologies
awareness of the relation of space to function: religious, domestic, political, commercial
appreciation of the problems in handling and mishandling material evidence
ability to collate and present statistical data successfully.
Katie Baum, BA Classical Studies 2016 – find out more about Katie's career on our Graduate Profiles page