Careers in History

The study of history serves as excellent preprofessional training in a very wide range of career fields that require skills in the processing and presentation of complex information. Research, analysis, and writing skills, together with intercultural understanding and the ability to come to balanced judgements of conflicting claims are perhaps better developed by the study of history than by any other discipline. For these reasons, the major in history is highly valued as a foundation for graduate coursework in fields ranging from law to business and public administration. When combined with the appropriate technical skills, the study of history provides a superior foundation for a lifetime of achievement in almost any professional career. Additionally, Oakland University's Department of History trains numerous students to serve as professional historians employed as teachers in the high schools and colleges.

excerpted from Oakland Department of History

30 Reasons it's Smart to Hire a History Student

Career Path to Teaching History/Social Studies at the Secondary School Level


History Students and the Job Market

Most history majors obtain jobs in the business world. History majors offer employers a broad range of skills: the ability to write effectively, research thoroughly, organize materials effectively, and solve complex problems. The Department of History encourages students to combine their major with courses in statistics, computer science, accounting, and economics. Joined with technical skills in such areas, the solid foundation of traditional skills developed by the major in history will command a hearing in a greatly expanded job market.

For additional ideas, you may want to check the following books:

  • The Liberal Arts Advantage: How to Turn Your Degree into a Great Job, by Gregory Giangrande. Paperback,184 pages, Avon Books, 1998.
  • Great Jobs for History Majors, by Julie Ann DeGalan, Stephen E. Lambert. Paperback, 254 pages, Vgm Career Horizons, 1995.
  • Great Jobs for Liberal Arts Majors, by Blythe Camenson, Stephen E. Lambert, Julie Ann Degalan. Paperback, 232 pages, Vgm Career Horizons, 1997.
  • Peterson's Liberal Arts Jobs: The Guide That Turns Learning into Earning (3rd edition), by Burton Jay Nadler. Paperback, 240 pages, Petersons Guides, 1998.
  • 150 Best Companies for Liberal Arts Graduates: Where to Get a Winning Job in Tough Times, by Cheryl Woodruff, Greg Ptacek. Paperback, 304 pages, John Wiley & Sons, 1992.


Sample Career Fields for History Majors


  • Copy Writer
  • Sales Writer
  • Editor
  • Proofreader
  • Account Manager
  • Advertising Traffic Manager

Business / Industry

  • Management Trainee
  • Marketing Trainee
  • Business Communications / Inhouse Publications
  • Public Relations Writer
  • Documents and Procedures Analyst
  • Human Resources
  • Personnel Relations
  • Research and Development
  • Retailing / Buying
  • Interviewer
  • Research Publications Editing

Civil Service

  • Administration
  • Program Manager/ Supervisor
  • Researcher
  • Planner
  • Grant Writer
  • Grant Manager

Communications / Public Relations

  • Radio and television work
  • Consumer Public Relations
  • University / College Relations
  • Information Specialist
  • Press Representative (Legislator)
  • Convention Organizer


Foreign Service / Consular Service

  • Work in U.S. Embassy
  • Consular Service
  • Analyst
  • Researcher
  • Public Relations Officer

Financial Services

  • Banking
  • Credit Lending
  • Operations / Systems
  • Trusts

Human Services

  • Peace Corps / Vista
  • Government Service
  • Community Relations Specialist
  • Press Representative
  • Public Service
  • Program Planner
  • Personnel director
  • Special Concerns Advocate
  • Foundation Work (United Way, Red Cross)
  • Publicity Coordinator
  • Humanities and Art Councils


  • Freelance
  • Institutional
  • Technical
  • Copy Writer
  • Editor
  • Copy Editor
  • Reporter
  • Columnist/Critic

Lawyer / Paralegal

Public History

  • National Archives
  • State Archives
  • Local Archives
  • Business Archives
  • Medical Archives
  • Historical Societies
  • Museums
  • Urban Planning


  • Acquisitions Editing
  • Copy Editing
  • Writing articles
  • Contracts and Permission
  • Data Processing

Travel Industry

  • Publicity / Sales
  • Travel Advisor
  • Tour Leader