Careers One can Pursue with a History Degree

If you have a passion for History and an abiding desire to learn about your own community’s history, do not let anyone deter you from your interests. Contrary to popular myth, the history major is not just about learning dates of wars and names of dead people. History is a living, dynamic major that helps students better understand society and equips them to think critically about social problems across time. The history major sharpens knowledge in all fields of inquiry.

For example, one cannot understand American racism without knowing U.S. history. One cannot understand American politics or the U.S. Constitution, without understanding U.S. history. One cannot truly value or respect African, Caribbean, or African American culture without understanding that distinctive history of struggle, survival and triumph. Finally, one cannot appreciate the similarities between Africans throughout the Diaspora without understanding that history. In other words, this major increase one’s awareness about the world in profound ways and prepares students to think about solutions.

History majors not only secure good jobs and build solid careers, but tend to occupy leadership positions in them. The reason our majors are successful at finding jobs and establishing solid careers is because they learn usable skills that they can use in countless career paths.

The Department of History aims to produce majors who graduate with 5 core competencies (in additional to historical content knowledge). 

  1.  History majors learn how to conduct research. In order to begin research, one must know how to ask the right questions. History majors learn how to ask these questions and then how to seek, collect, and analyze primary historical sources that might best answer those questions.                               
  2.  Students strengthen critical reading skills. This means History majors are able to critique what they have read, analyze the author's argument and biases, and discuss the strengths and weaknesses of what they have read.  
  3.  History majors strengthen their critical thinking skills. This skill is useful to those who wish to pursue careers that allow them to do problem solving. 
  4.  The program trains students how to integrate knowledge and analyze data. 
  5.  History majors are trained to be effective communicators--verbally and written.

History graduates pursue law school or enroll in a variety of Masters and Doctoral degree programs. Law schools report that the History major is one of the best preparations for law school. Other History majors choose careers in primary or secondary education. The vast majority, though, enter the workforce in various capacities--in journalism, editing, business, media, legal, political, and historical research, education, foreign service, government service, publishing, museums and archives, libraries, intelligence agencies, and non-profits.  Our graduate programs prepare candidates to become professors at the college and university level, researchers, curators, archivists, and government officials.

The History Major has long been considered "versatile," "viable," "valuable," and "dynamic" by employers, and many are willing to pay well for those with this major. History Majors are among the highest paid Humanities majors. They also earn nearly as much across a lifetime as majors in technology. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), in addition to specialized or technical skills, employers are seeking to hire people with the following skills--decision making, critical thinking, problem solving, obtaining (research) and processing information, ability to write reports, data analysis, ability to communicate widely, and the ability to work on teams and independently. All of these competencies are gained with our major. As the saying goes, “find something you love to do and you will never have to work a day in your life.”