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Careers – University of Reading

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  • Wide-ranging career prospects

    An archaeology degree spans the humanities and sciences and provides you with a range of transferable skills

Careers

Pursue the career of your choice with a degree in archaeology. A variety of transferable skills, plus practical experience from a world-class department, build the foundation for you to follow a wide variety of career paths.

Archaeology at Reading is an interdisciplinary degree subject combining both humanities and sciences. This means that you'll acquire an impressively broad range of skills and experiences to take with you into the wider world of work, whether you want to move into the archaeology and heritage sectors, or apply your abilities in a different way.

Employability skills

The skills you'll develop on your course are wide-ranging and transferable. Abilities such as analysis, team-working and self-management are highly sought after by employers, and your experiences in the laboratory, small group tutorials and out in the field will make you a well-rounded candidate for an array of career paths.

A recent CBI Education and Skills Survey found that employers are looking for graduates with apitudes for numeracy, literacy, problem-solving and communication all skills you will develop as part of your archaeology degree at Reading.

“An archaeology degree provides a framework in which to develop practical skills (experience that shouldn't be undervalued even if you never pick up a trowel again), a logical and methodical approach to work, excellent problem-solving skills, and an attention to detail that will be difficult to match – all valuable attributes to any prospective employer.”

Elizabeth Jones (2004 graduate) – BA Archaeology

CAREERS IN THE ARCHAEOLOGY AND HERITAGE SECTORS

A surge in UK infrastructure projects, such as HS2, means there's an urgent need for archaeologists. A 2016 report from Historic England found that England's 3,000-person commercial archaeology workforce will need to grow by 25% over the next six years to meet demand. There are more than 40 major infrastructure projects planned across the UK over the next 17 years, and archaeologists are required for the exploratory excavations and analysis that must take place before construction begins.

The Department of Archaeology has strong links with top employers for commercial archaeology with a significant number of Reading graduates joining Oxford Archaeology, the largest UK commercial practice.

The Chartered Institute for Archaeology (CIfA) is the discipline’s professional body in the UK. In order to help graduates wishing to apply for the Institute’s Practitioner status, we have aligned the learning outcomes of many of our modules to the CIfA’s skills competency framework. Students record their skills-development using the Archaeology Skills Passport scheme.

Recent graduates have become excavators, surveyors, find specialists and environmentalists working in field archaeology, or advisors working in the planning departments. Employers include Museum of London Archaeology, Thames Valley Archaeological Services, John Moore Heritage Services, and L-P Archaeology.

“The Department of Archaeology at Reading had good links with Oxford Archaeology, which helped me get my first job in the heritage industry. An excellent grounding in both archaeological theory and practice assisted my progression and survival (and success) in a competitive profession for over 20 years. I have subsequently employed many Reading alumni in the knowledge that they would possess a similar passion and solid grasp of the basics that the companies I worked for needed in their staff.”

Greg Pugh (1993 graduate) – Operations Manager and Staff Archaeologist for Archaeological Services Inc (Toronto)

Diverse opportunities

While a significant number of our graduates go into further study or the archaeological sector, the majority go on to pursue great careers elsewhere in the media, science, law, financial services, teaching and other occupations where logic and critical thinking are valued. For example, some of our recent graduates include a policy manager for the UK Space Agency, front-of-house host at the Fitzwilliam Museum and a business officer for Historic England.

Employers want graduates skilled in written and oral communication, problem solving and critical thinking exactly the sort of soft skills that humanities subjects excel in developing. An archaeology degree delivers these and more. You will also increase your scientific literacy and enhance your awareness of cultural diversity, which will broaden your skillset to help you stand out.

Our placement schemes and the Reading Experience and Development (RED) Award also encourage you to enhance your CV and make contacts that can lead to employment while you are still studying.

“My archaeology degree and the skills I learned while undertaking it have been fundamental to a career as a journalist and media specialist ... a degree somewhere between the arts and the sciences, which provides a grounding for dealing with scientists as well as communicators.”

Robert McNeil (BA Archaeology) – Head of Media & Communications, The Migration Observatory at the University of Oxford

​Come to an Open Day

Get a real feel for university life, meet Archaeology staff and students, join in some hands-on sessions, and explore our state-of-the-art facilities.

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