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The University of Southampton
ArchaeologyPart of HumanitiesUndergraduate study

Archaeology Careers

At the University of Southampton, we believe in providing our students with skills, experience and opportunities to help in acquiring a future career.

Through our Careers and Employability service, you are given guidance and support throughout your studies and including post-studies for up to three years after graduation.

Each faculty provides ample opportunities to get involved in a wide range of programs that can help towards gainful employment. Find out more below.

Your employability

Archaeology is an all-round degree blending academic and practical subjects across arts and science. You will acquire a wide range of key skills that employers look for when appointing graduates. These include presentation skills, use of IT, time management, problem solving and report writing, and analytical skills. Our wide range of assessment methods allows you to develop these skills throughout your degree. Fieldwork in particular provides useful practical experience which can be used in a professional environment. you will gain a thorough grounding in all aspects of modern archaeology and develop a range of practical and intellectual skills essential for a career inside or outside archaeology. Employers will value your team-working skills acquired from fieldwork, analytical skills gained from interpreting written, numerical and excavated evidence and creativity stemming from a cultural, social and historical awareness.

How it works

Humanities employability modules

Three modules, one for each year of your programme, comprising of a series of lectures and seminars given by experts, employers and alumni, which take you through career planning step by step. Starting with an introduction to the opportunities on offer, building to skills self-assessment to help you to discover hidden talents, through to CV, application and personal statement writing, entrepreneurial and start-up options, interview techniques, psychometric testing and digital self-marketing. Employers will tell you what they can offer, from placements, internships and springboard programmes to ambassadorships and graduate recruitment. You will learn how and when to apply for roles and be given top tips for making an impact. Our alumni will share their experiences of the world of work, helping you to make connections between your studies and potential career options. Additional optional seminars and flexible online learning will enable you to tailor your development to suit you and your ambitions.

The Humanities Employability Module can be found here

Humanities Peer Mentoring

Peer Mentoring is a mutually beneficial way of learning and developing transferable skills that will help you not only during your time at the University of Southampton, but into employability. The scheme takes advantage of the expertise of current Humanities students, who use their first-hand experience and student-led training to be appointed as Mentors. New students (Mentees) are automatically enrolled into the scheme so that every new undergraduate Humanities student can take full advantage of the Mentors to provide extra help and information during their transition into University life here at Southampton. For more information, please visit our Peer Mentoring webpage.

Humanities External Advisory Board

Our modules are supported by input from our External Advisory Board. Members are drawn from a pool of employers and research partners who advise us on a fast-changing job market. Membership of the Board changes frequently so we are always getting fresh ideas, suggestions and advice.

Humanities VIP Alumni

We work closely with our graduates to provide a university experience which extends beyond graduation. Our VIP Alumni are graduates who have opted to give back to Humanities, offering their time to share their experiences and insights with current students. You will meet our VIP Alumni as you study our employability modules or network at events, activities and recruitment fairs.

Employability opportunities

Alongside your course you can continue your personal and professional development through joining the Archaeology society, in which you can organise events in and outside of university. As a result you will emerge with organisational, team-working and if you run for a position - advanced leadership skills.

The university places strong emphasis on work experience - allowing you to transfer your Archaeology degree into the working environment and in turn enabling you to develop both personally and professionally. To make this process straight-forward, the university provides the Excel placement scheme, in which you can partake in 4 - 12 week internships in a variety of fields. If you wanted to pursue a career in archaeology, you might like to find work experience in an archaeological field and your academic advisors will assist you with guidance.

Careers in Archaeology

At Southampton, we teach archaeology to prepare you for a successful career in any field. Our graduates are working in a wide range of different areas including management, the civil service, the media, police and armed forces, and teaching.

Archaeology also manifests itself in careers that some might not expect. For example, theatrical scene design involves planning maps and understanding ancient theatres - as does archaeology.

About a quarter of our graduates have pursued a career in archaeology or related subjects. Opportunities exist in practical archaeology as field archaeologists, with national bodies and local authorities, in museum curation or in higher education. We have close links with many archaeological organisations and opportunities exist for placements with several of these bodies over the summer or at the end of your course. This is also helped by further work experience opportunities and careers talks organised by the Archaeology Society.

Recent graduates have gone on to take up a range of careers including Territorial Army officer, teacher, recruitment consultant, health protection coordinator, conference manager and mortgage advisor. In previous years other graduates have joined the police force, become IT professionals, gone in to the City, or moved on to the graduate Diploma in Law, Legal Practice Course or the Bar Vocational Course.

Photo of Thomas Goskar
Archaeology is a wonderful blend of art and science, and even if you do not want a direct career in archaeology, you can get a lot out of an archaeology degree. You will gain research skills, IT skills, experience of working as part of a team, and gain a good understanding of how the world works, and how we got where we are today.
Thomas GoskarBA Archaeology, MSc Archaeological Science
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