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What Can I Do With A Major In History?

With elements of both the humanities as well as the social sciences, history is a major ideally suited for those who have always been intrigued by the past—and how it can impact the future of humanity. But the study of history is much more than the study of kings, queens and the dates of bygone battles—it is a study that enriches fields as diverse as music, art, architecture, philosophy and literature. History majors develop the critical thinking, analytical, research and writing skills required for success in many different fields, including academics, archival and museum work, research, personnel administration, computing, sales, insurance, real estate, banking, law and more. In addition, many also pursue graduate and professional studies in a variety of disciplines including archival training, law, public administration and business.

Possible Career Options

(Some may require further education/specialization)

Anti-Terrorism Intelligence Agent
Clergy Member
Community Relations Director
Congressional Aide
Consumer Advocate
Foreign News Correspondent
Foreign Service Officer
Foreign Service Peacekeeping Specialist
Government Official
Historic Preservation Specialist
Historic Society Staff Member
Intelligence Specialist
International Relations Specialist
Labor Relations Advisor
Legal Assistant
Legislative Correspondent
Movie/Television History Producer
Museum Curator
Newspaper Editor
Park Naturalist
Peace Corps/VISTA Worker
Political Editor
Public Administrator/Manager
Public Relations Specialist
Publications Editor
Research Assistant
Social Welfare Administrator
Teacher, Social Studies
Travel Writer/Journalist
Urban and Regional Planner

Types of Employers

Private & Non-Profit Organizations

Advertising Agencies
Book/Magazine Publishing Companies
Civic Organizations
Collection Agencies
Community Arts Centers
Community Organizations
Consulting Firms
Cultural Organizations
Educational Institutions
Historic Sites/Historical Societies
Insurance Companies
Labor Unions
Law Firms
Political Organizations
Professional Associations
Public Interest Groups
Public Relations Firms
Radio/TV Companies
Research Firms

Government Agencies

Department of Commerce
Department of Justice
Department of State
Drug Enforcement Administration
Federal/State Congressional Offices
General Accounting Office
National Archives and Records Administration
National Endowment for the Humanities
National Park Service
Peace Corps/AmeriCorps
Smithsonian Institution
US Customs Service
US Information Agency

Transferrable Skills

General Skills
Concentrates for long periods of time
Possesses a broad background for general knowledge
Mindful of the reactions of others, and understanding why they react the way they do
Teaches others how to do something
Composes and communicates ideas in written form

Problem Solving Skills
Makes keen observations
Identifies a problem, reviews related information, develops and evaluates options, and implements a solution

Research Skills
Identifies and evaluates records of past events, ideas and facts
Collects and organizes important historical data
Uses logic to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems
Understands complex written paragraphs, instructions or reports

Communication Skills
Reads, writes and speaks proficiently
Conducts and clearly explains scientific research
Listens to what other people are saying and takes time to understand the points being made
Conveys information, explains ideas or gives instructions


Experiential Education

Developing informational materials for historical museums

Serving as a page for a local congressman

Volunteering at a local historical society

Working at the public library in the genealogy department

Professional Associations

American Antiquarian Society,

American Historical Association,

National Council on Public History,

Society of American Archivists,

Woodrow Wilson Int’l Center for Scholars,

Enhancing Your Employability

Join relevant student organizations to develop leadership skills

Participate in internships and field experience placements

Participate in a study abroad opportunity

Become active in alumni and/or mentor networks

Plan on a graduate degree for advancement

Take part in mock interview opportunities

Source: Ashland University, Rutgers University

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