Dale Thompson, BA (Hons) History

Choosing History at Derby

At first I had no idea what I wanted to do after I left school. Most of my friends were going to university, and even after the fee increase, I felt it was the right choice for me too.

I had always been more academic, so with my interest in history and knowledge that it was a course that featured widely used skills, I applied. This has been proved throughout the course so far and now I’m completely set on what I want to do after university.

A rewarding course

The History course itself has been hugely varied. The first year, while going relatively in-depth into a variety of strong historical subjects, really covered the skills needed as a historian. However what was important for me was that the lecturers immediately start focussing on your job prospects, right from the beginning of the course. This was vital for me because I do not want to become a historian necessarily, so the lecturers make sure I knew that the skills and experiences we gain throughout the course are extremely applicable in many different areas of life and career options.

In the second year the workload really stepped up, and I enjoyed this change. This is expressed largely through the research paper which allows you to quite literally study any area of history you want to, and also through the public history conference we conducted as a group.

For me these have been the most interesting parts (so far). They really show what else history has to offer, and the different mediums this can be expressed through.

My future career plans

It’s fair to say in my case that the university has definitely helped me solidify my future prospects. I’m now looking at careers in international aid and development. To get to this point it has been quite a journey, all of which the university has helped me through.

As mentioned, I started out not knowing what I wanted to do after I graduated. I began having career mentor sessions, readily available through the careers and employment service in the library, to look further into how I could break into this difficult career path. History may not be directly related, but the wide skills I gained on the course are enabling me to try and achieve it anyway.

I’m now happily pursuing this career. It isn’t an easy one by any means to follow and it’s hard to do being based in the UK. However I’m doing as much volunteering as I can to gain experience in the aid sector. Again, the university has helped me in these areas, providing many opportunities with the International Student Centre.

Dale Thompson “The first year, while going relatively in-depth into a variety of strong historical subjects, really covered the skills needed as a historian.”