Student Profiles

Information on past History students, and how a History degree helped them with their chosen careers.

Stephen – BA History and Politics
General Management Graduate Scheme – Lloyds Banking Group
Graduated 2014

Stephen DraperHaving taken a gap year immediately after finishing my A-levels, I decided to apply to University. I visited a variety of Universities across the country, but it was Leicester that really caught my attention. The general atmosphere of the campus, along with the huge variety of modules within both the Politics and the History departments led me to the University.

The History and Politics degree structure enabled me to shape my own degree from the very beginning, whilst also introducing new areas of history that I had not previously considered. Indeed, within my history modules it was Chinese, Japanese and Indian history that dominated my second and third years. Whilst, in Politics I focused upon the European Union and International Relations.


I believe that by studying for a joint degree, I was able to gain a wider skill base and as a result, I felt better prepared for a wider variety of careers. Having completed internships in Parliament and Banking, I ended up with a graduate placement with Lloyds Banking Group. Banking was something that never crossed my mind before University, and certainly does not seem like an obvious follow on from my degree. But a degree from Leicester University, along with all the support from the History and Politics staff, can take you to unexpected places.

Ultimately, the vast majority of students (especially with higher student fees) are looking for a University that equips them with the skillset they need to succeed in the job market. Leicester achieves this in an environment that allows students to shape and manage their own degrees, whilst being taught by research leading staff. All of this comes within a friendly and vibrant atmosphere that Leicester University is now so well known for.

I certainly hope to return to Leicester to complete an MA at some point in the future. 

Paul – BA History
Customer Operations Graduate at Centrica plc.
Graduated July 2013

pwebsterWhen visiting Leicester on the open day I instantly felt that this was the university for me. The general vibe of the campus, the variety of the accommodation and the enthusiastic history talk ensured that by the end of the day I had decided that this was where I wanted to study.

What I enjoyed most about studying history at Leicester was the large variety of modules on offer. There truly is something for everybody! In my second and third years I developed a keen interest in a period which I had not previously studied, the eighteenth century, and remain truly grateful for the opportunity which Leicester gave me to expand my historical horizons.

The academics at Leicester were all wonderful and each demonstrated an enthusiasm to improve the experience of their students. I found each of them approachable and their feedback on where to improve was always constructive, informative and fair. Furthermore, my personal tutor was fantastic as he was always available for a chat and offered superb guidance throughout the duration of my degree.

When applying for the graduate scheme which I begin in September I was required to demonstrate four primary skills, team work, adaptability, project management and communication. The Group Project at Leicester provided me with vital experience of working within a team and was a real eye opener to group work.  Assessed, and sometimes lengthy, oral presentations allowed me to practice adapting to new forms of assessment and the experience of writing short and long essays taught me how to effectively communicate within different restraints. Finally, the dissertation provided an excellent opportunity to manage my own project, from the initial idea to its completion. The degree at Leicester, therefore, ensured that I had developed the necessary skills to secure the job.

My decision to leave Leicester was tremendously difficult and I will certainly never rule out returning to complete an MA in the future!

Clare - BA English & History with a year abroad
Studying for an MA in Medieval History at University of Durham
Graduated July 2012

Clare GussinThere are certain places where you feel comfortable from your arrival and, for me, Leicester University was one of these. I was initially attracted to the University because it was one of the few places which offered the chance to study English and History together and, over my four years at Leicester, my decision quickly proved to be a good one.

I enjoyed all my modules and a great variety of subjects were offered, allowing me to specialise in my final year in Medieval History and Literature. I have continued this interest which Leicester sparked and I am currently studying for an MA in Medieval History at Durham.

Throughout my time at Leicester, the History department was always friendly and helpful and all my tutors offered invaluable support if and when I needed it. The teaching was of a high standard and encouraged independent thinking, a skill which has been highly useful during my MA course.

Leicester’s Erasmus scheme, which allowed me to study in Valencia, Spain, for a year, is one of the best things I have ever participated in. The Erasmus scheme was one of the key reasons which I chose Leicester and living in another country for a year really broadened my horizons and allowed me to meet so many new people - and was a year of sunny Spanish sunshine and sangria!

Leicester’s atmosphere is very inclusive and it is so easy to get involved with different things. I captained and competed for the equestrian club for several years and Leicester sports teams are always good fun and have great socials. 
I am sad to have left Leicester and look back on my time there with fond memories for the excellent experiences and good academic grounding it gave me. Leicester is an open and friendly university with high academic standards and I would highly recommend it to anyone!

Kelly - BA History
PGCE Student at Leicester
Graduated July 2011

Kelly McHughI always knew history was the subject I wanted to take a degree level, and after visiting the University of Leicester on an open day and experiencing the campus vibe and friendly atmosphere, I realised this was the university for me. Through my experience as a student at the University of Leicester, I have developed as a person and learnt many key life skills which will be invaluable to me in the future.

During my three year undergraduate degree, there were a huge variety of module choices which allowed me to study in the areas that interested me. One of the many advantages of studying at this university is that there are lecturers who specialise in most eras of history; resulting in more module choice and dissertation topics being available. There was always support available whether that was through my personal tutor, dissertation supervisor or the staff in the history office, who were all more than willing to help.

Whilst in my third year, alongside my studies in History I was involved in the student volunteering scheme called ‘Contact’ in which I volunteered in a primary school on a weekly basis hearing children read. Having always wanted to be a primary school teacher, this was an excellent opportunity for me to spend time in a school, and just one of the schemes the University offers that helps you with future career planning. Having loved Leicester as a place along with it being a highly rated institution, I decided to apply for a PGCE at the University and am now very much looking forward to beginning this course in September 2011.

Ben - BA History and Politics
Parliamentary Researcher
Graduated July 2010

Ben RatheWhen I was looking at Universities initially, I have to admit that Leicester wasn’t one that had initially crossed my mind. I only stumbled across it when I put ‘History & Politics BA’ into Google and it popped up as one of the places offering that course. I booked myself onto an open day and to be honest, I’ve never looked back. I was so impressed with the University that I didn’t ever really consider going anywhere else from that point onwards and the decision has served me well ever since.

Since I graduated in 2010 I’ve been working at the Houses of Parliament as a researcher for a Liberal Democrat MP. My job role ranges from general admin to dealing with the media to preparing briefing notes on a wide variety of policy areas. I even get to visit Downing Street occasionally.

Getting involved in the day-to-day of politics is exciting (especially now!) and is what I wanted to do since I studied at Leicester, and I know that without the experience and knowledge I gained whilst doing my degree it wouldn’t be possible. My time at University studying History and Politics had two broad academic effects. I learnt about the technical aspects of how politics works, which obviously helps when you’re working in Parliament, but I also learnt something a little less tangible that has been even more useful.

The style of teaching at Leicester means that you’re encouraged to think creatively and in a manner that leads you down avenues of thought that aren’t necessarily spelled out to you in text books. The lecturers don’t spoon feed you, but offer you a forum in which you can express and develop your own thoughts and opinions and to think critically about whatever subject you’re discussing, be it the spice trade to Indochina or the Thatcher years.

“The development of this skill has been invaluable to me in my job, and I know that this style of creative thinking is something all professions look highly upon. It’s thanks to Leicester I have that skill and am therefore able to do my job properly.

I know that people choosing Universities now are faced with a barrage of information but at the end of the day it’s the skills you come out with that are the most important. I wouldn’t be able to do my job without the education I received at Leicester University and that’s why I’d encourage anyone who wants to learn in a challenging, friendly and fun environment to go there."

View a video of an interview with Ben while he was a 3rd year student at Leicester.

Clare - BA History (with a year abroad)
Administrator for New York University
Graduated July 2010

Clare CallandI studied history at the University of Leicester for three of my four year undergraduate degree and I couldn’t imagine that I could have had a better experience anywhere else. The teaching is, on the whole, first-rate and my experience was fantastic. Although I had little need for support from him, I knew my personal tutor would be there if needed and I had an excellent dissertation supervisor. The best class I took was my final-year special subject. The way that the class is set up, over a full academic year means that you get to know your classmates and lecturer really well, so the class feels comfortable and promotes open discussion.

In addition to my studies within the history department, I also got involved with plenty of extra-curricular activities, such as acting as the treasurer of the Amnesty Society during my second year and joining Nightline as a volunteer during my final year. I also took part in the Volunteering Award offered by Student Development and made the most of the careers services, especially during my final year.

I am now working as an administrator for New York University in London, a study abroad facility based in central London. My experiences at Leicester were invaluable in helping me to secure a graduate job directly after graduating (2 days, in fact!) and I would not be where I am today without the help of the academic and administrative staff within the History Department, the International Office and Student Development.

Christina - BA History
Journalist
Graduated July 2008

Christina Johnson

History may not seem the obvious choice for someone who has always wanted to be a newspaper reporter but I enjoyed the subject and decided to pursue it at degree level. I realised that having a history degree didn’t mean I had to be a teacher or work in a museum since employers recognise what great all-round skills a student can learn from such a course.

I found the modules interesting and stimulating since I had such a great choice over what I wanted to study and the tutors were helpful and approachable. In my final year I chose to focus my dissertation on the post-Stalinist era of the Soviet Union which I found stimulating and challenging.

Following my graduation I was accepted onto an MA course to study journalism and I am now working as a regional reporter in Bedford and Luton. I have been in this position for more than a year and I was highly commended for my work at the East of England press awards in January 2011.

I learnt a great deal in my three years at Leicester, which I look back on fondly. It was enjoyable and useful, and these invaluable skills will continue to help me in years to come.

Richard - BA History
Senior European Parliament Liaison Officer, Competitiveness and Markets Section
Graduated July 2006

Richard SpoonerAlthough I graduated from the University of Leicester in History five years ago, the skills I gained remain invaluable in my chosen career path. I now work at the UK Permanent Representation to the European Union in Brussels, which is part of the Foreign Office, and before that worked for an MEP in the European Parliament. The ability to carry out thorough research, vigorously analyse the results, and clearly communicate your findings is essential for so many jobs, and is exactly what a degree in history at Leicester is about. But even more importantly, the passionate interest and curiosity its lecturers and tutors gave me for the subject is still with me, and reminds me why I chose to take it in the first place.

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