Career Options

Those who study history have many career options upon graduation for which their degree has prepared them. Training in history provides the knowlege and skills that allow one to succeed both within and outside the historical profession.

Employers in a remarkably broad range of fields recognize the value of a bachelor's degree in history, knowing that successful history majors have become adept at skills that are critical in the workplace. History graduates are valued not only for their ability to write well, but also for their proficiency in analyzing information, viewing problems within a larger context without losing sight of important details, and understanding the complexities of change over time—all of which play vital roles in many professions.

In addition, admissions committees for graduate schools and professional programs have long appreciated the skills and knowledge that applicants with history backgrounds bring to other fields of inquiry. Even in programs centered on engineering, medicine, or science, a history degree can set applicants apart from their peers in ways that admissions committees often find refreshing. Fields closely related to history, such as archeaology, art, creative writing, or film studies, find history degrees essential to success.

For those hoping to pursue careers within the historical profession, a history degree is indispensible. University professors, teachers, archivists, curators, corporate historians, and consultants all become experts in their specific fields of historical inquiry.

Each of the two sections below discuss in greater detail the options history majors have in launching their careers. In addition, to read more about the importance of the study of history and its value in many professions, check out these websites:

Careers in History

Although many historians choose to remain within the classroom and teach, more and more are venturing into a wide array of jobs that lay outside of academia. This Guide to Historical Careers provides information about the many positions available for historians in the job market, as well as some suggestions for those hoping to puruse graduate studies in history.

Careers outside of History

Students are often astounded at the number of professions for which history prepares them. To learn more about these many opportunities, check out the History Major's Guide to Professional Success.

Famous History Majors

Chris Berman, who is now the man at ESPN, had this to say about majoring in history: "I majored in history. It's a great background for what I do. I advise youngsters that they don't have to study communications. They must be able to communicate. Study political science or English or history, subjects in which you need to express yourself verbally and in writing." The following people started out as history majors. The wide variety of careers they pursued expresses the general utility of a history degree.

Politicians

Theodore Roosevelt (President)
Woodrow Wilson (President)
Franklin Roosevelt (President)
John F. Kennedy (President)
Richard Nixon (President)
George W. Bush (President)
W.E.B. DuBois (founder of the NAACP)
Henry Cabot Lodge (Senator)
George McGovern (Senator and Presidential candidate)
George Mitchell (Senator)
Henry Kissinger (Secretary of State)
Newt Gingrich (Speaker of the House)
Antonin Scalia (Justice of the Supreme Court)

Entertainers

Katharine Hepburn (actress)
Conan O'Brien (late night talk-show host)
Lauryn Hill (singer)
Edward Norton (actor)
Ellen Barkin (actress)
Michael Palin (member of Monty Python and travel writer)
Janeane Garofolo (comedienne)
Jimmy Buffet (singer)

News Media

Chris Berman (ESPN Sportscaster)
Wolf Blitzer (CNN anchor)
Seymour Hersh (investigative journalist)
Charles Kuralt (travel and news correspondent)

Business

Carly Fiorina (CEO Hewlett-Packard)
Lee Iacocca (President of Ford, Chairman of Chrysler)

Martha Stewart (Lifestyle Guru)

Intellectuals

Max Latona (Professor of Philosophy)

Saint Anselm College, a Benedictine, Catholic, Liberal Arts College
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Copyrighted by the History Department, Saint Anselm College, 2006.