Why Choose History?

History majors explore other places and times and in the process learn valuable skills that are essential for any professional career. These skills include: research, critical reading and writing, interviewing sources, conceptual and contextual thinking, the ability to make coherent, logical, and persuasive arguments, teamwork, leadership, as well as the knowledge and appreciation of a diversity of people from a wide variety of times and places. Majoring in history is excellent preparation for law school, business school, and other post-graduation professional schools and graduate programs.

In addition to its versatility and applicability to a multiplicity of professions, there are several fields for which a major in history is especially well-suited, such as:

  • Law
  • Teaching
  • Community activism
  • Nonprofit foundations
  • Park service
  • Politics
  • Journalism
  • Government positions and public administration
  • Museum and archival work
  • Grant writing and fundraising
  • Library sciences     
  • Criticism
  • Preservation
  • International business
  • Filmmaking
  • Writing
  • Publishing
  • The armed forces

There are also professions in which knowledge of history and the skills of a historian are essential. For example:

  • Foreign Service officers represent American interests throughout the world. Diplomatic positions require strong interpersonal and communication skills, and – most importantly – the ability to understand current events in a broad cultural and historical context.
  • Archivists maintain and organize the records of various organizations, including:  government agencies, businesses, educational institutions, nonprofit foundations, and even families and individuals. They organize, maintain and describe records to facilitate retrieval and the use of the materials by researchers. As computers and various storage media evolve, archivists must keep abreast of technological advances in electronic information storage.
  • Curators oversee collections in museums, zoos, aquariums, botanical gardens, nature centers and historic sites. Curators plan and prepare exhibits, generally for the public. Increasingly, curators are expected to participate in grant writing and fundraising to support their projects.
  • Professional Historians teach in colleges and universities, engage in cutting edge research, and publish books and articles that add to our knowledge of history and our understanding of humanity. They write and edit textbooks for every educational level, speak publicly, and teach in order to disseminate this knowledge to the widest audience possible.

For more information on studying history and related employment opportunities, see these websites: