What Can You Do with a History Degree?
The skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in history courses are in high demand from employers in a wide variety of fields. History students learn about the past and its relevance to the present, discover how to find answers to complex questions, and develop the ability to communicate the results of their research in oral and written forms.
While some students go on to teach history in schools and a small number pursue graduate education in history, most of our students are spread through career paths that highlight the broad possibilities that come with a well-developed ability to ask clear questions, research the information and sources necessary to construct an answer, write factually and persuasively, and to think historically. Auburn graduates have gone on to a diverse range of careers that include public history and archives, historic preservation, secondary education, public administration, law, military service, politics, and business.
History majors should begin thinking about possible careers as early as possible, and are strongly encouraged to participate in the programs and services offered through the Career Center. These include group and individual sessions with a Career Counselor, help in identifying internship and employment opportunities, help with resumes, job searching, and many other opportunities.
Many students completing the undergraduate degree in history plan to pursue graduate education. For those considering further study in history, start with the American Historical Association guides to Graduate School from Start to Finish and History Doctoral Programs in the United States. You will want to look for departments and individual professors who focus on your areas of specific interest. Consider contacting the authors of books or articles you particularly enjoyed in your history classes at Auburn, and talk to professors in the department for ideas on how to proceed.
Love visiting museums and think you might want to work at one? For this and other career options in Public History, check out the Jobs and Training resources of the National Council on Public History, or schedule a meeting with Auburn's Public History Program Officer.
If you relish your time in the library, surrounded by documents and books, you may want to consider a career in archives. Consult the tips and ideas offered by the Society of American Archivists, or talk to Auburn's Program Officer for Archival Studies.
History is one of the best majors for anyone considering a career in law. The legal system in the United States has a long and complicated history, growing out of local customs and circumstances as well as European legal traditions. As a history major, you have the opportunity to learn how that development has contributed to the justice system of today. More importantly, you will hone your writing and analytical skills in ways that will prove invaluable in law school and beyond. Several members of Auburn's history faculty have personal experience and academic expertise in legal fields, and you can also visit Auburn University Pre-Law Scholars Program for information and social activities for students who share these interests.
The following websites offer valuable guidance and information about career possibilities for history majors, and about the job search process and the history profession in general.
- Historian and blogger John Fea has an ongoing series of posts organized around the theme “So What Can You Do with a History Major?” With 40 installments and growing, the series highlights former undergraduates in history who are working in jobs from AmeriCorps to Wall Street.
- The Chronicle of Higher Education
- H-Net Grad Link
- H-Net Job Guide
- Organization of American Historians Professional Opportunities
- Society of American Archivists Employment Bulletin
Last Updated: October 03, 2016