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Jacqueline McCarthy

Where are you from?            


What year did you complete your degree?     


What degree pathway did you study?

BA Joint Hons in Modern History and Drama

Why did you choose to study History at Queen’s?

I’ve always lived near Queen’s so I was already familiar with the University and it’s reputation while I was at school but it wasn’t until I had fully researched the University and my chosen Degree path that I felt Queen’s was the right fit. Queen’s offered an extensive choice of history modules which was a great opportunity for me to sample different subject areas until I knew which particular area/period of history I wanted to focus on.

What did you particularly enjoy about studying this subject at Queen’s?

In first year I really enjoyed the chance to take courses in different areas, I studied Film Studies, History and Drama until I finalised my degree choice in second year. For me, Queen’s offered so much choice. Each class was so interesting and the conversation/debate flowed in tutorials. You were constantly learning in that environment so it never felt like a chore.

What about studying at Queen’s in general? What was that like?

Queen’s offers any student the chance to get involved in the student lifestyle/culture of University. The whole campus is filled with things to do. It really does have something for everyone. If you enjoy sports, the PEC caters to every activity. I particularly enjoyed going to see plays for which the DFC/QFT was a great resource for a drama student. Then there’s the social life, the surrounding area and the students union offers any student a good night out in Belfast. Even after my friends and I had graduated, we would still go to Union related events such as comedy nights in the Mandela Hall. There are also plenty of academic resources available for students, for example the Student Guidance Centre. Any careers advisor will be able to tell you what jobs/careers are out there for history students.

If you are a graduate, what is your current occupation? What are you enjoying about your career?

I’m currently a Programme Officer at the British Council. The British Council is a Cultural Relations organisation and I work on the Business Education Initiative (BEI) which is a programme for students to spend a year in the US studying business. I was a participant on the programme during my time at Queen’s. I went during my third year to study at a private College in Atlanta, Georgia. The experience was fantastic and my professors at QUB were all really supportive of the few of us from my History class that were going.

I’ve been working on the programme since September 2007 and thoroughly enjoy it. I’m a regular visitor to Queen’s, recruiting students for the programme through their career fairs and presentations on campus. I recruit students, interview and select participants, organise their US paperwork and prepare them for their year ahead in the States.

The job always offers something new and I’m often away on business which is great for me as I love to travel. My last business trip was to Los Angeles for a conference to meet our American partners. It’s always hard work but the location this time did offer some compensation!

Would you recommend studying History to other students and to study at Queen’s? What advice would you give them?

I would definitely recommend studying history to anyone. My degree gave me an all round humanities education and taught me so much that I can apply to any job. History is not just for students who want to lecture or become a historian after graduation; instead employers see a history degree as a solid foundation for any job.