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Build a strong foundation for a future that can take you in any direction

Your future is a big deal and we know that it can be stressful trying to figure it all out. But here's the deal, we don't expect you to know what you want to do before you start your degree, and you shouldn't either. We've got you covered.

The great thing about university is that as you progress through your studies, you'll discover what truly interests you. You'll have access to a bucket load of exciting opportunities and ongoing advice and guidance in helping you carve out a future that aligns with you're developing interests. You're never left to figure it out alone. It's just not how we do things here.

While it may feel overwhelming, we know you're curious and equally excited. So, to get you started, our subject leads have produced a complete career guide for each of our subjects which offer insights into various career paths, the skills you'll develop on your degree, and other really helpful career-related advice. So go ahead and dive into our guides below, and if entrepreneurship is your calling, you might want to check out these incredible opportunities for aspiring entrepreneurs. If you've got any questions, get in touch, we'd love to hear from you.


Read our complete career guides

Explore our complete career guides:

How to get ahead of the graduate jobs market and make your CV stand out

It's not news that the graduate jobs market is competitive, so a well-rounded CV with other showstopping skills and experiences is what you should be aiming for. Our goal is to give you those opportunities so that you leave Essex confident, highly skilled, and ahead of the market.

From extra-curricular events, summer programmes, and travel abroad opportunities to everything in between, there are so many different types of CV-boosting opportunities and experiences you can take advantage of at Essex that will make you the stand-out applicant in any job interview.

It might not feel like it now, but university is going to fly by, and there's so many experiences you'll want to squeeze in. Our advice? Make the most of your time here by getting up to scratch now on all the opportunities available to you, and think about what you might like to try. If you'd like some help, you can get in touch with our careers and employability director, or with our Careers Service who can provide you with advice and guidance.

We've got opportunities to suit everyone, so take a look below at what awaits you:

For the intrepid traveller:

Study abroad for a full term, an entire year, or just the summer

If you've got the travel bug, or have ever been in a position where you've been weighing up either going travelling or going to university, this exciting opportunity to study abroad can give you the best of both worlds, whilst also giving you a platform to develop your employability.

As part of your course, you can choose to spend a term abroad, or the full year abroad if you're looking for something more long-term. All degrees with a year abroad become four-year courses, so you'll spend your third year in another country, and return to Essex for your final year. You can either apply directly for a course which includes the year abroad option, or, you can add the year abroad once you've started. We've got relationships with over 150 institutions around the globe, so the world really is your oyster.

If you'd like to study abroad, you'll need to chat with our departmental study abroad officer (DSAOS) who can help you in the decision-making process, and help find an institution that's going to give you the best experience possible. If you don't apply directly for a year abroad course, bear in mind there will be a deadline to add this to your course, but you can chat with your DSAOS about adding this to your course, including how to apply.

Summer abroad

There's often summer school programmes available at our partner institutions if you're interested in spending time abroad, but perhaps not quite as long as a full term, or a full year. If you'd like to look for a summer school, you can explore our exchange finder, just make sure you filter for 'summer school' as your preference.


Search for a partner institution on our exchange finder platform 


Carry out a work-placement abroad

Not to get confused with study abroad, this is a slightly different opportunity that gives you the chance to carry out a work placement abroad for a full year. By integrating a year long work-placement abroad, you'll have what we like to call a completely transformative experience. Not only is it going to be the most incredible years of your life where you'll make lifelong memories, but the wealth of employability points it's going to give you is another level. If you wanted to find a way to make your CV pop, this is it my friend.

Working abroad for a year is going to develop so many skills for you. Whilst you're immersing yourself in another culture, you're going to build your language skills, confidence, professional development, benefit from global networking opportunities, and experience a lot of personal growth. Putting yourself out there, trying new experiences, and throwing yourself into a real world working environment in another country is going to be an experience difficult to put into words. This once in a lifetime kind of exposure to new perspectives is going to really impress potential employers, as they'll be keen for you to bring a unique skill set that can contribute to a diverse and dynamic company. Your international work experience will position you as an extremely valuable asset in a globalised and interconnected business landscape, helping put you in a great position when you enter a competitive graduate jobs market.


Explore more about our international placements


Internship and research programmes abroad

How does 6 weeks in Tokyo or Seoul sound? Or 8 weeks in New York? Maybe a 2 week internship in Hong Kong? Or a few months in Barcelona? Paris? Stockholm? Maybe you like the sound of a 6 week biodiversity research expedition to a remote location in South Africa, Madagascar, Honduras, Peru or Indonesia?

Abroad internship programmes

At Essex there are two types of internship opportunities, firstly we have Essex Interns which is UK based and run by our Careers Service, more on that here. This opportunity however is run by our Essex Abroad team, and involves helping you secure an exciting internship abroad.

We have connections with multiple world-leading internship organisations around the world who each have an abundance of exciting programmes on offer. Whilst interning abroad requires a fee and is a voluntary experience, there are lots of bursaries, grants, and funding opportunities available that could help you financially, so don't let this put you off.

Here's a quick look at two of our internship providers:

  • Absolute Internship: Absolute Internship run award-winning programmes and work with world-class companies to provide life-changing opportunities. Frequently featured in the New York Times, Bloomsberg, and other high-profile media outlets, we're confident you'll find something you love. In 2023, they're also running a new international group programme if you want to persuade your roommate or Essex bestie to get involved with you
  • The Intern Group: from 4 weeks up to 24 weeks, there is bound to be an opportunity that piques your curiosity. With a guaranteed 10% discount on their programmes for Essex students and the opportunity to apply for a scholarship grant, you could be well on your way to the experience of a lifetime

Summer research trips

If you're considering a career which involves research, thinking about exploring a future in academia, or it's just something you'd like to get involved in and gain experience in, you'll be excited to hear about some of our international research opportunities, in particular:

  • Operation Wallacea - biodiversity research expeditions: this programme has a number of opportunities for you to experience, from researching tropical rainforests and European grasslands to coral reefs and Mediterranean seagrass meadows, you can join, work with, and learn from experts who lead cutting-edge research projects that help to inform local conservation management strategies. Expeditions usually begin in June and travel to remote locations in Croatia, Transylvania, South Africa, Madagascar, Mexico, Honduras, Dominica, Guyana, Peru and Indonesia
  • Research Exchange Programme: If an expedition isn't quite the research experience you're after, you could look for an opportunity to carry out research at one of our partner institutions. There are usually programmes from The University of Western Australia, The Chinese University of Hong Kong and Masaryk University (Czech Republic). You can use Exchange Finder to look for available opportunities


Explore more about internships and research abroad


YUFE: study and training opportunities across Europe

Well, firstly, what even is YUFE? It stands for the 'Young Universities for the Future of Europe (YUFE) Alliance'.

Being a part of YUFE is such an exciting opportunity, and open to you if you're in your second or third year of undergraduate study, or a postgraduate student studying at Essex.

Being involved in this partnership gives you the opportunity to participate in education initiatives across one of the ten participating YUFE universities, either as part of your degree (it will become a recognised part of your degree), alongside it, or a mixture of both! This could include taking courses, modules, finding work experience or voluntary opportunities, taking on professional development training and civic engagement opportunities. The courses and activities available cover a wide range of subject areas, so we're pretty confident that you'll be able to find something that you'd love to get involved in.

What's even more exciting is that you can engage in these activities either in person or virtually. That means you can enhance your education and employability in a way that works for you and your lifestyle. If you'd like the opportunity to travel and get that once in a lifetime experience, but perhaps not for a full year or a full term, this could present the opportunity for you to travel across Europe for a shorter period of time and expand your academic knowledge, whilst building incredible employability skills at the same time.

It's without a doubt that the unique opportunities, skills, and experience that you'll gain from registering as a YUFE student will be jumping out of your CV at employers. 

Salli, one of our American Studies students from Finland, is the Essex student rep for YUFE. She's been working with YUFE to create better connections between students from around Europe.


Learn more about YUFE

Volunteer abroad with animals and communities in Fiji, Nepal, Costa Rica and Africa

By volunteering abroad, you get to give something back whilst gaining so many unbelievable memories and experiences. Volunteering abroad demonstrates your interest in social responsibility and global citizenship, and reflects your willingness to contribute to community development whilst making a positive impact in the world.

We've got a number of programmes we recommend which can provide opportunities to work with communities and young people, or in conservation-related programmes. You can find out a little more information below, and the full details about what each programme involves, how to apply, fees, how long the programmes are and when you'd travel, visit our Essex Abroad Volunteering page.

Working with young people and communities

  • Think Pacific- immerse yourself in Fijian culture
  • Travelteer - Community programmes - Costa Rica, Nepal, and Sri Lanka

Fly across the world to the South Pacific and spend either one or two months absorbing yourself in Fijian culture, living in a traditional homestay with a local family, and delivering activities to youth groups, children, and rural communities. There are also programmes in Nepal, Costa Rica, and Sri Lanka. You're volunteering experience could be centred around community building, youth empowerment, mental health, sports development and public health, and textiles and design.

Work on conservation projects

Spend two weeks on the beautiful island of Kefalonia, protecting endangered sea turtles, or if you're interested in wildlife conservation and reserve management, you could spend a few weeks in South Africa carrying out animal studies, game counts, reserve maintenance, field patrols, data collection, and going on night drives. Or, over the course of 4-5 weeks, you could tackle environmental issues, improve access to water and sanitation facilities, and increase access to educational facilities in countries like Nepal, Costa Rica, and Tanzania. These projects range in durations, and some expeditions can take you to remote, rural locations to work alongside local communities – the marginalised ‘last mile’ of development that other charities do not reach.


Explore more about international volunteering opportunities


International Student Exchange Programme (ISEP)

As you know we have partnerships with over 150+ universities around the world that offer different types of travel abroad opportunities, such as spending a year abroad, a term abroad, or a summer abroad.

ISEP is the international student exchange programme that Essex is a member of, and it's a US-based company. They offer additional study abroad programmes with many other institutions around the world (over 200!). So, if you've got your heart set on going to a country, or study at another institution which you've not been able to find on our Exchange Finder, then this could be the answer.

The fun thing about this exchange programme is that whilst you're abroad, it means you open up a spot for someone to come to Essex as an exchange student. You can choose up to 10 universities and ISEP will place you at the best option depending on exchange spaces and your academic needs.

You can view the partner institutions, or find out more information about how to apply.


Explore more about our international student exchange programme


6 reasons why studying, working, and volunteering abroad enhances your employability:

Studying abroad can offer numerous benefits for developing your career portfolio, enhancing your career prospects, and giving you an exciting opportunity for personal development whilst getting the chance to make lifelong memories whilst experiencing the buzz of travelling.

Here's 6 reasons why studying abroad can enhance your employability:

  1. gain a cultural and global perspective: you'll immerse yourself in a different culture, language, and environment. This experience will broaden your perspective and enhance your intercultural competence, which is highly valued in today's interconnected world. Employers will be impressed when they see this on your CV as they often look to employ individuals who can work effectively in diverse teams and understand global markets
  2. develop language skills: through our

    Languages for All programme: you could choose to learn a foreign language before you go so that you can put your new language skills into practice whilst your away. Being bilingual or multilingual is a valuable skill in the job market and can open doors to various career paths. It shows that you are able to adapt to new environments, have the motivation to develop your communication skills, and have a willingness to embrace new challenges

  3. it shows your independence: living and studying in a foreign country requires adaptability, resilience, and independence. These qualities are highly sought after by employers, as they indicate your ability to navigate unfamiliar situations, and work effectively in diverse environments
  4. networking opportunities: just think about all the people you'll meet along the way. You'll literally have the chance to build a global network of contacts, including your fellow students, professors, and professionals you may meet at career events. Networking can bring you valuable connections, mentorship opportunities, internships, and even job offers, both at home or internationally
  5. it demonstrates your initiative: studying abroad will require you to lead the planning of your trip (with help from our Essex Abroad team of course), but the decision to study abroad shows that you can you use your initiative, be organised, and it shows that you're willing to take yourself out of your comfort zone. Employers will value these qualities, and see that you have a proactive and ambitious mindset, and desire to build your personal development

  6. enhanced problem-solving and cross-cultural communication skills: studying abroad exposes you to different academic systems, teaching styles, and ways of approaching problems. This experience helps sharpen your problem-solving skills, adaptability, and cross-cultural communication abilities. These skills are highly transferable and valuable in today's global job market


Learn more about how to apply for study abroad

For those wanting real-life work experience:

Include a placement in your degree

You can choose to include a placement year in your degree, which is an excellent idea if you're looking to gain real-life experience as part of your course. It will also help you make industry contacts, get an idea about the type of industry that may interest you after you graduate, and serves as a bridge between university and the working world. Including a plaement in your degree will provide you with a competitive edge in the graduate jobs market.

If you would prefer to take on a shorter placement rather than a full year, the University's Student Development Team can help you secure work experience, internships, and volunteering opportunities.

Some of our students have completed work placements in roles and with companies such as The Brick Lane Gallery and The Archives at the Essex Records Office.


Learn more about placements

Career modules

All of our history courses have a compulsory career module which runs alongside your studies over the course of your degree. It's called the History Works: Career Portfolio and gives you the opportunity to assess the key skills of a historian, and see how these skills can transfer to different professions.

In your first year, you'll set out your reasons for choosing history in a letter to your future self. You'll receive guidance on all kinds of key skills, including application writing, networking, applying for funding and creating your own employment opportunities. You'll also carry out research into the history of the job market and examine how it has changed over time, with a view to understanding how your skills as a historian are needed in today's world.

Former graduates and other experts are invited to give presentations on the careers they built on the back of their history degrees, so this is an excellent opportunity for you to ask questions, and learn about the pathways you could consider after you graduate.


View our history degrees

Essex Interns

Essex Interns is an initiative we have here at Essex where we partner with businesses to provide various paid internship opportunities. It's different to our internships abroad which are unpaid internship opportunities. Our internships are mostly based in Essex, London and Suffolk, but we can look for internship offers from employers across the country too.

Internships are available all year round, and they vary from part-time work which can work around your studies, or full-time during vacations or on graduation.

There's many advantages to taking an internship during your studies. Here's 5 reasons an internship is a good idea:

  1. financial support: paid internships provide you with a source of income while gaining valuable work experience. This can be really handy to help cover living expenses, and other costs associated with attending university, like new books or even treating yourself to that signature Essex hoody that is oh-so-comfy. It might be a membership to Essex Sport, or you might decide to build up your savings pot for a special occasion or something more long term
  2. professional development: paid internships offer an opportunity for you to develop essential professional skills and competencies. By working in a professional setting, you can gain hands-on experience, learn about industry-specific practices, and refine your technical abilities. You can also develop transferable skills such as communication, teamwork, problem-solving, and time management, which are highly valued byemployers across all industries and sectors
  3. industry exposure and networking: you'll be exposed to the realities of the working world and get firsthand experience of how different sectors function, industry dynamics, and build professional networks of contacts. These networking opportunities could give you a running start and help you find mentorship opportunities, job referrals, and future career insights
  4. enhanced employability: employers highly value candidates who have practical experience as it demonstrates your ability to apply your academic knowledge and work in a professional environment. Work experience is super important in the graduate jobs market if you want to stand out, and an internship will help you do just that
  5. clarifying your career goals: ok so it likely won't secure your exact plan for after graduation, but the experience will help you get a feel for whether that line of work is for you or not. Professional working environments can vary quite a lot between different roles and sectors, so getting this experience will also help you think about the type of working life you'd like. It's essentially a low-risk training ground for you to try out your skills, ask questions, soak up everything, and not have to commit to a decision about your future


Learn more about Essex Interns


The Frontrunner opportunity is a paid Essex initiative. Throughout your studies you can work part-time at the University of Essex and gain real life working experience in various different teams across our campuses. For example, you could work in marketing, communications, academic services, or even in Essex Abroad. There's lots of different teams that work across Essex, and we can help you find something that interests you.

Here's some advantages to being a Frontrunner at Essex:

  1. get paid: you'll earn a salary which is always a win! Maybe you put it towards that summer internship you've got your eyes on
  2. local work: you'll be working on campus which is ideal if you're living on campus or commuting in and want to pick up some work that's easy to get to
  3. CV boosting skills: you'll gain skills and experience during your work experience that will be ideal to showcase on your CV
  4. get free training: you'll get official training for the role you're taking on, but you'll also get the added benefit of learning from your team and other colleagues in your section
  5. support: you'll get one-to-one support from your Frontrunners supervisor
  6. flexibility: you can work around your studies which means could pick up some hours in between lectures, or for a few hours during the day
  7. Big Essex Award: joining the Frontrunner programme gives you Big Essex Award units which allow you to gain recognition for the activities you complete on your digital transcript


Learn more about becoming a Frontrunner

Essex For all: Skills for Life

Building a well-rounded skill set is essential in helping you stand out in a competitive jobs market. Employers will not only value that you're showing an initiative to build on your professional and personal development, but with the way that roles and sectors are evolving, many employers are seeking candidates who are able to adapt to changing working environments. Having skills that go beyond what you gain during your degree is going to be key when it comes to securing a graduate job.

The university has a number of different programmes which will help you to build a diverse set of skills and enhance your employability:

  1. Data for All: you'll learn how to work with raw and unstructured data to identify trends, patterns, and correlations
  2. Languages for All: you can learn a language at no extra cost for one year during your studies
  3. Democracy for All: you'll be taught how to understand and address local community challenges, as well as engage with local government
  4. Health for All: you'll explore topics including mental health, wellness, and physical fitness, and develop and develop practical strategies to lead a balanced and fulfilling life
  5. Sustainability for All: you'll delve into the crucial topic of environmental sustainability, deepen your understanding of sustainable practices and learn how to incorporate these principles into your daily life


Learn more about Essex for All programmes

If you want to build your academic skills:

Take advantage of our Careers Service and Career Hub platform

Our Careers Services are on hand to help you from the moment you join us at Essex and is a service which you will have access to throughout your entire career even after you graduate. They're extremely supportive and understanding, and appreciate that everyone they meet are at different stages when it comes to thinking about their future.

The Careers Services provides a range of opportunities, such as:

  • providing one-to-one careers advice
  • support finding placements and internships
  • hosting workshops on employability skills
  • employability and careers fairs
  • offering budding entrepreneurs support on how to start your own business
  • support in writing your CV
  • The Chart My Path and Big Essex Award provides the opportunity to participate in over 150+ extra-curricular activities, which are recorded as additional achievements on your degree transcript
  • support transitioning from one career to another
  • hunting for the perfect job


Explore opportunities from the Careers Services

Short courses and preparation programmes

Preparation programmes are designed to get you ready for the next stage of your education. Whether you're leaving school and starting as an undergraduate student, if you're returning to education to carry out a postgraduate degree, or if you're new to education alltogether at any stage in your life. Preparation programmes are going to help you build a level of confidence and familiarity with what to expect when you begin your studies, and developing these enhanced skills are also going to help you boost your employability. Some of our preparation courses also provide you with a bursary, to help you prepare financially before starting unversity.

Here's a list of our preparation programmes:

  1. Essex Preparation Programme: this is for you if you're an undergraduate applicant at the University of Essex
  2. Further studies Preparation Programme: this is for you if you are in year 10 or year 11 and are considering going to university
  3. Masters Preparation Programme: this is for you if you're a Master's applicant and are about to begin studying at Essex
  4. University Preparation Programme: this is for you if you're in year 12 or year 13 and considering higher education

Here's some benefits to taking part in preparation programmes:

  • academic transition: transitioning from secondary education to university can be challenging. Our preparation programmes will help ease this transition by familiarising you with expectations, teaching methods, and different learning environments
  • developing your study skills: at university, we place a greater emphasis on independent learning and self-directed study. In these preparation programmes, you'll be taught how to develop effective study skills, including note-taking techniques, time management strategies, critical reading, and information literacy. By learning these skills before starting your course, you'll become more efficient and confident in your studies, and feel more prepared when receiving assignments and other work
  • research skills and academic writing: many assignments are going to require you to carry out research, whether it's for an essay or a group project. You'll be introduced to academic writing styles, and learn research techniques so that you can approach your assignments and research projects with confidence, and give you a strong headstart in producing high-quality work and grades you can be proud of


View all preparation programmes

Pursue further education with an exclusive alumni discount

The humanities breeds a passion for research. It's addictive, it's inspiring, and it's exciting. It's also common for those with a connection and an interest in the humanities to pursue a postgraduate degree so that you get the opportunity to specialise more deeply in a particular topic, and enhance your employability.

Our school has lots of exciting postgraduate Masters and research degrees to choose from, and, you could also qualify for a loyalty discount of up to 33% on the tuition fee for your first year of postgraduate study at Essex. (You'll need to be a graduate of the University of Essex, have studied abroad here, or have a spouse or partner studying here as a full-time international student paying overseas fees).


Funding your further studies


We want you to have access to all the training and development you need to excel in your research degree, which is why we give all our research students up to £2,500 funding to curate a tailored training plan with Proficio.


Learn more about Proficio

Have you got an entrepreneurial spirit?

We're the home of creatives, innovators, and the fiercely ambitious. If you've got an entrepreneurial spark, we've got the matches. Encouraging you to start your own business is something we're excited to do, which is why you'll have access to unparalleled opportunities right here on campus that are designed to help you launch your dream business. Why wait until you graduate when you can get started right now? 

Check out these opportunities below:

How will we continue to support your career?

Once you join us at Essex, you become a part of our family forevermore, and we're proud to continue our lifelong relationship with our graduates. The university hosts an incredibly vibrant alumni network, and when you graduate, you automatically become a member. You'll receive exclusive membership for a lifetime, giving you access to discounts, networking events and much more. You can hear inspiring stories from other members of our global alumni community, and use our Friend Finder Service to reconnect with your old friends. We value the advice and knowledge that you'll soak up along your journey, so we're eager for you to come and volunteer at Essex, and help make a difference to the next generation of graduates.


Learn more about our alumni network 

Our alumni

Our alumni are showing the world that success can be achieved when you study a degree in history, and a subject that you love. From traditional history careers, to jobs in the film, television, media and the legal profession (amongst many other industries), we're extremely proud and inspired by the mark our history graduates are making in the world.

Our graduates have gone on to enjoy both traditional history-related careers including being an archivist; heritage manager; conservation officer; museum curator; and teacher, whilst other graduates have applied their skills and have since become an editor at Sky News; a senior marketing executive at a Premier League football club; and a researcher for a television documentary company.

One graduate, Liam O'Brien ventured into the world of politics having been accepted into the Civil Service Fast Stream, one of the most competitive and sought-after graduate programs in the UK. He has worked across many exciting roles in the government including providing No.10 and the Prime Minister with briefings on what comparator countries were doing to combat the COVID-19 virus. Read more about Liam's life after graduation.

Other industries our graduates have taken by storm include film and television; media; journalism; Civil Service; advertising; marketing; public relations; human resources; the legal profession; and finance and accountancy, among many others.

Have a question?

We totally get it, there's a lot to take in. If you've got any questions then our Careers Service are happy to hear from you. There's a great team at the other end ready to help you with all your questions. You can also connect with the Careers Service on LinkedIn.