Employability of graduates I of History

  john bunyan 22:25 09 Jun 16
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Answered

I am years out of date in interviewing graduates for employment. My granddaughter , aged 21 has just got a 2:1 BA in History at UCL. No doubt she has clocked up £9000 X 3 in tuition fees etc. Is it worth her doing a further year to try for a MA - would employers appreciate the extra effort? It is very daunting to think that to try for a PhD would be a further 3 years so I suspect costs may preclude that. I suspect , like many in her position, she still is uncertain what to do , or even what job to apply for! Are some Uni's preferred by employers?

  Aitchbee 23:13 09 Jun 16

My nephew, who is 23 and lives in Rochester, has a degree in Ancient History but the last I heard, he was applying to join the Army; I suspect that even they are a bit 'picky' on who they accept due to recent government cutbacks.

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 09:28 10 Jun 16

JB well done to your grandaughter.

Not interviewed for about 7 years now but it really depended on what we were looking for If an engineer then the higher engineering qualification the better. However sometimes we would hire someone with a degree just as proof of the fact they could buckle down and get a job done even if the degree is not in a subject relating to the work they were likely to be doing.

If that makes any sort of sense to you. :0)

  OTT_B 10:50 10 Jun 16
Answer

Not all degree courses and universities are equal, so yes, some employers will put a preference on applicants from certain universities. The good news is that UCL is a very well regarded university.

I suspect what your daughter may find is that the very large employers will read far more into her achievement than small employers, who may only look for 'a degree' rather than a very good degree from an excellent university.

The need for an MA isn't an easy one to answer. I would suggest that if your daughter doesn't know what she wants to do for the next few years then an MA is not the right way forward. It'll rack up more costs (debt!) for a potentially no benefit. If she has a very good idea about how she wants her career and life to develop, and a specific MA course will help the process, then go for it.

  john bunyan 11:31 10 Jun 16

Fruit Bat /\0/*, *OTT_B

Thanks for your comments. OTT_B confirms my view, ie that some employers recognise the difference between universities and the course. In granddaughter's case the minimum entry was A* AA (she went in via IB = 4 x A*) so hopefully she will do well having worked harder than in my day!!

I hope she puts all this to good use! Thanks for the input.

  Forum Editor 14:52 12 Jun 16

".....would employers appreciate the extra effort?"

It depends on what she wants to do. In some fields an MA is a distinct advantage, and your granddaughter would be well advised to do some serious research on the subject.

One of the problems is that graduates with a 2:1 degree are thick on the ground these days, and statistics show that around a third of all university graduates are doing jobs such as office cleaning, supermarket check out assistants and other such jobs six months after graduation.

  bumpkin 16:54 12 Jun 16

I think that most of us would like are children/grandchildren to be able go to UNI and be well educated but if there are no suitable jobs at the end of it then it must be disappointing. Whilst having qualifications may well help them in finding employment in other fields it is not what they spent years and lots of money studying for.

  john bunyan 16:59 12 Jun 16

Forum Editor

Thanks. UCL make claims that their graduates do better than average as, they claim, the entry standards are higher (min A* AA) and courses more rigorous than some others- they claim that employers recognise that. Certainly when I worked in a major multinational it was the case that candidates from some Universities mattered- Oxbridge and other Russell group in top world ratings , and the rigour of the course counted. We shall see; my own view is an MA is only worth doing if relevant to a particular career.

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