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College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Department of History

What can I do with a degree in History?

Not knowing the answer to this question keeps more people from studying history than anything else.  Everyone wants to be marketable and find a job when they graduate from college.  So what's the answer?

The possibilities are endless.  Really.

But you must understand that a getting a degree in history isn't "job training."  Studying history is not a professional program, it's an education.  The education you get as a history major has its roots in the Classical education, centered around the Seven Liberal Arts, that developed in medieval universities.

Today, we have a lot more than seven subjects, but the effect is the same:  History offers you an education that develops your thinking, communication, and problem solving skills. The diverse training
Astronomy, Grammar, and Music
The Liberal Arts
of a Liberal Arts education teaches you to view problems from a variety of perspectives and gives you the tools to determine the best way to solve each problem. This is a valuable skill, but whether you use it in education, law, government, business, the military, or any of a number of other careers is up to you.

We provide the education, you decide how you want to take on the world.

For some possibilities, keep reading  ...

The Iowa State University LAS Career Services Office has a number of ideas on what you can do with a degree in History.

But don't take the History Department or ISU's word for it.  Lots of other experts have put a great deal of time and thought into this question.  See the links below for much more information ...

The American Historical Association offers information at these sites:
http://www.historians.org/pubs/Free/careers/Index.htm
http://www.historians.org/pubs/careers/index.htm

The Department of History at Western Illinois University has a great site full of resources:
http://www.wiu.edu/cas/history/careeropp.php

Likewise, Portland State University has a great site with lots of useful links:
http://www.pdx.edu/careers/what-can-i-do-degree-history

Professor Robert F. Pace, of McMurry University, offers his thoughts here:
http://www.mcm.edu/academic/depts/history/career.htm

Professor Kenneth Ledford of Case Western Reserve University shares his ideas here:
http://history.case.edu/what-do-history-degree


Are you still looking for proof that people can succeed in the world if they major in History?

Then see this list of successful people who majored in History, cataloged by the University of Virginia's College at Wise:  http://www.wise.virginia.edu/history/history/FamousHistoryMajors

Bethel University has an impressive list of famous history majors here:
http://cas.bethel.edu/dept/history/famous_majors

Likewise, see the University of Illinois' listing here:
http://www.history.illinois.edu/undergraduate/history/