New study pinpoints arts humanities and social science graduates skills

A new study has defined for the first time the skills that graduates of our University develop by studying arts, humanities and social science (AHSS) degrees.

Researchers from the British Academy identified the core skills of arts, humanities and social science graduates:

  • communication and collaboration;
  • research and analysis;
  • independence and adaptability.

The report found that these skills were often the same as the qualities in demand from employers.

The British Academy report The Right Skills: Celebrating skills in the arts, humanities and social sciences also investigated the destinations of AHSS graduates, and found that their core skills equip them to work in a wide range of jobs, from web design to the civil service, teaching to financial services.

With the type of jobs likely to change in the future, flexible and adaptable graduates, many of whom have AHSS degrees, were highly valued by employers, even when their degree was unrelated to the business.

Professor Julie Coleman (pictured), Pro-Vice-Chancellor for the College of Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities, said: ”I welcome this report’s recognition of the value of graduates in arts, humanities and social sciences. Their independence and adaptability is demonstrated through flexible skills in communication, collaboration and research analysis which contribute to success in industry and in the public, service, creative and voluntary sectors. This skills adaptability is also demonstrated in our arts, humanities and social science research partnerships across all of these sectors.”

Chair of the British Academy project, Professor Sir Ian Diamond FBA FRSE FAcSS said:

“The question every arts, humanities and social sciences student has heard at least once is: ‘what are you going to do with that?’ Today our research proves that these graduates have the potential to adapt to almost any career in an increasingly globalised and uncertain world.

“Our research has defined for the first time the skills shared by arts, humanities and social sciences (AHSS) graduates, and looks at their careers in almost every sector of our economy, from the booming creative industries to financial services.

“The arts, humanities and social sciences are a strong choice for any prospective student – these subjects create well-rounded and adaptable graduates, equipped with the skills employers demand for the twenty-first century workplace.”

  1. The skills identified by the British Academy report are:
  • Communication and collaboration
    • Communication
    • Working with others
    • Research and analysis
      • Designing research and collecting evidence
      • Analysing
      • Decision making
      • Attitudes and behaviours characterised by independence and adaptability
        • Independence
        • Problem solving
        • Adaptability and creativity