What do you do with a BA in… ? :/

If you’re struggling to decide what to do after you graduate, discovering what the previous graduates from your course have gone on to do is a good place to find inspiration.

DLHE logoThe Careers Service talk to around 80% of graduates each year to find out what they are doing six months after graduation as part of the Destination of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey. We collect data about their jobs or next course of study, and make this information available on our our what do Bristol graduates do webpage. The results make for fascinating reading.


Last year, around 70 per cent of graduates entered employment in the six months after graduation, with the majority (85%) entering a professional or managerial position. Bristol graduates are very much in control of their employment options post-graduation, with three in five indicating that they chose their job because it fitted exactly into their career plan.

And these career plans are where it gets really interesting. For example, some of last year’s English graduates started roles in marketing, journalism and publishing; but a large proportion chose to use the skills they gained during their degree to do something different, entering careers as tailors, internet fraud specialists and psychotherapists.

Further study

Many Bristol graduates choose to continue their studies, taking higher level qualifications to gain more subject specific experience. Last year’s English graduates are now researching topics including children’s literature and literary theory. But for others, further study is an opportunity to draw on their academic accomplishments for an entirely new purpose.

Of last year’s graduates starting the Graduate Diploma in Law, for example, one fifth were history graduates. Other graduates chose to pursue their passion in acting, to start a new language course in Japanese, or to embark on a new career as a medic through a graduate entry programme.


Where to be after graduation is often as important a consideration as what to do. The south west is home to both big businesses and small enterprises, so Bristol graduates have great opportunities to start their careers in the local area. Last year, one quarter of English graduates stayed in the south west region, with Bristol being the most popular city location.

But if you feel like spreading your wings, you will find recent alumni working and studying throughout Europe, the United States and Canada. Some seek out opportunities much further afield, in locations such as East Timor (if you like the heat) and the British Antarctic Territory (if you prefer it a little cooler).

Be inspired

The only limit to deciding where you want to be after graduating is your own imagination.

Graduands in the procession out of the Great Hall at the end of a summer 2012 graduation ceremonyThe Careers Service is here to help you explore the range of options available to you – use our online resources to get inspired, or contact us for more advice!