From Historian to Beyond: 10 Exciting Career Paths for History Graduates

26/10/202313 minute read
From Historian to Beyond: 10 Exciting Career Paths for History Graduates

So, you've got a knack for unraveling the tales of the past, a fascination for the great empires and revolutions that shaped our world, and a love for historical narratives that transport you to bygone eras. You might be wondering, "What can I do with a history degree?"

In this blog, we're going to explore the potential paths a history degree can lead you down, shedding light on the top history schools and how hard getting the degree would be.

The Study of History

Let's start by deciphering what a history degree is all about. When you major in history, you embark on a quest to understand the past.

You'll delve into the annals of time, exploring the lives of ancient civilizations, the impact of key historical events, and the evolution of societies.

Your studies will involve conducting research, analyzing primary sources, and crafting compelling narratives that bring history to life. It's not just about memorizing dates; it's about making sense of the human experience throughout the ages.

Blog Banner
Blog Banner

How Hard is a History degree?

History degrees demand a significant amount of reading, research, and writing. You'll need to digest complex historical narratives, critically evaluate sources, and craft well-structured essays.

It's intellectually rigorous, but if you're passionate about history, the journey becomes an adventure rather than a chore. Your analytical and communication skills will grow immensely, making you a strong candidate for various career paths.

A history degree isn't just about becoming a history teacher (though that's one option). It can open doors to careers in different fields including:

So, while the journey might have its challenges, a history degree can lead you to a world of opportunities where your passion for the past becomes a powerful asset in the present.

What Can You Do With a History Degree?

What Jobs Can You Get With a History Degree
JobsAverage Annual Salary, USA
Museum Curator$43,457
Writer or Author$78,069
Historical Consultant$104,050
Political Analyst$70,272

Salary data retrieved from Glassdoor (Oct 2023)

1. Historian 

Historians are the detectives of the past. They meticulously sift through archives, documents, and artifacts, unearthing hidden stories and forgotten events.

They bring history to life through their research and often share their findings through publications or presentations. Historians can work in various settings, from academia to research institutions, or even for government agencies, contributing to our understanding of the world's past.

2. Archivist

Archivists are the caretakers of history's treasures. They manage vast collections of historical records, ensuring their preservation and accessibility.

Whether it's a collection of letters from a bygone era or government documents, archivists play a critical role in organizing, preserving, and making these records available to researchers, scholars, and the public.

3. Museum Curator

Museum curators are the creative minds behind captivating exhibitions. They select and care for historical objects and artwork, creating compelling displays that educate and inspire.

Whether in art museums, history museums, or cultural institutions, curators breathe life into history, allowing people to experience it up close.

Blog Banner
Blog Banner

4. Teacher or Professor

If you're passionate about history, sharing that passion with others can be incredibly rewarding. History teachers at the K-12 level educate young minds about the world's past.

Meanwhile, history professors at colleges and universities shape the future historians, researchers, and scholars by providing in-depth knowledge and critical thinking skills.

5. Librarian

Librarians are often unsung heroes, helping individuals access the wealth of historical information housed within libraries. They guide patrons in their research, help them locate historical documents, and preserve rare texts and records for future generations.

6. Journalist

History graduates often make fantastic journalists. Their research and writing skills allow them to investigate stories, write articles, and cover events, including those with historical significance. As journalists, they have the power to inform the public and keep history alive through storytelling.

Blog Banner
Blog Banner

7. Writer or Author

Some history enthusiasts turn their passion into a writing career. They pen historical novels, non-fiction books, or articles that transport readers to different eras. These writers have the gift of turning facts and events into captivating narratives, bridging the gap between the past and the present.

8. Lawyer

The skills gained in a history degree, like critical thinking and research, are highly applicable to the legal field. Many history graduates go on to study at law school and become lawyers, where they use their analytical abilities to advocate for their clients.

Some specialize in fields such as civil rights or environmental law, where a deep understanding of history can be particularly relevant.

9. Historical Consultant

Films, television shows, corporations, and government agencies often need historical accuracy in their projects or decisions. This is where historical consultants come in. They provide expertise and guidance to ensure that the historical context is faithfully represented.

10. Political Analyst

A thorough understanding of history is a valuable asset in politics. Political analysts use historical knowledge to inform their assessments and predictions. They can work for government agencies, think tanks, news outlets, or even as independent consultants, helping to shape informed political decisions.

Top 10 History Schools Around The World

1. Harvard University - United States

Harvard's Department of History is world-renowned, and it consistently ranks as one of the top history programs globally. With a diverse range of courses and renowned faculty members, it's a hub for historical research and learning.

2. University of Oxford - United Kingdom

The University of Oxford, with its rich history and tradition, is home to an exceptional history department. It boasts a variety of historical periods and topics, making it an ideal place to explore the past.

3. University of Cambridge - United Kingdom

Another UK heavyweight, the University of Cambridge, offers an extraordinary history program. Its faculty is made up of distinguished historians, and its libraries are treasure troves for history enthusiasts.

Blog Banner
Blog Banner

4. Yale University - United States

Yale's history department has a long history of producing top-notch historians. With a wide array of courses and resources, it's an excellent place to delve into your historical interests.

5. Princeton University - United States

Princeton is renowned for its vibrant history program, and it's known for the close relationships students build with their professors. This allows for extensive research opportunities and mentorship.

6. University of Chicago - United States

The University of Chicago's history department is celebrated for its interdisciplinary approach. Here, you can explore history from various angles and engage with a diverse student body.

Blog Banner
Blog Banner

7. University of California, Berkeley - United States

UC Berkeley's history program is lauded for its strength in both American and global history. With a supportive community and numerous research centers, it's an ideal place to develop your historical expertise.

8. University of Edinburgh - United Kingdom

The University of Edinburgh offers a rich history program, making the most of its historical setting. The city's archives and libraries provide abundant resources for historical research.

9. University of Toronto - Canada

In the heart of Canada, the University of Toronto's history program offers a wide range of courses and provides students with the chance to explore both Canadian and global history.

10. Sorbonne University - France

For those looking to immerse themselves in European history, Sorbonne University in Paris is a top choice. It offers a rich historical tradition and a wealth of resources for students.

Blog Banner
Blog Banner

Is a Degree in History Right For You? 

If you're drawn to the stories of the past, have an insatiable curiosity about how our world came to be, and love the idea of uncovering hidden truths, then a history degree might be your calling.

However, it's not just about memorizing dates and events; a history degree opens doors to a wide range of careers, from teaching and research to journalism and law.

The key is to follow your passion, as it can transform the journey of studying history into an enriching and rewarding experience. So, before making your decision, think about how much you love history and if it stirs your intellectual curiousity.

If you’re still not sure what major or school is right, we can help. Students working with Crimson’s expert strategists are up to 7 times more likely to gain admission to their dream university.

What Makes Crimson Different