What can I do with a History Degree?

Perhaps you might become President of the United States–that is what Richard Nixon did with his History degree.

First of all, most of you will simply need to earn a degree in something in order to meet minimum educational qualifications for many jobs today. You will not necessarily need a degree in a specific field, but always consult your academic advisor for advice on your specific plans. Many of you, however, will not succeed in knowing exactly what you want to do with the rest of your life at this point in your life. For this revelation—be patient, learn a lot, think a lot, and work hard.

You might as well study something you like, whether that is history, global studies, sociology, literature, psychology, etc. If you do decide to major in history, there will be numerous fields open to you upon the completion of your degree. Some of these include teaching at the K-12 level, journalist, foreign-service officer, the armed services, intelligence officer (FBI or CIA), lobbyist, writer, congressional aide, and public relations staffer. Companies doing business in the global marketplace are in need of sales persons and managerial staff with solid liberal arts backgrounds, including historical knowledge of important parts of the world where their success increasingly depends upon their employees’ cultural competencies.

Whatever your future might hold, the skills that you acquire through historical studies can serve you for a lifetime. You will learn how to assess and evaluate historical texts and documents—reading carefully and considering various perspectives on events in the human past. You will learn to think critically when reading anything and everything, and you will learn to identify forms of bias (largely inescapable) on the part of historical actors, writers, and yes, instructors and students. Finally, you will learn to do research on any topic that interests you and to organize and write effective analyses with evidence from sources in support. There is truly a great deal you can do with a degree in history.