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What Careers are Possible for a History Major?

Written by St. Andrews

Our world relies on people with knowledge of the past and the understanding of how it can shape the future. Choosing a History major at St. Andrews will provide you with the ability to think critically, write persuasively, and express your ideas with confidence.

Studying history with us means preparing for success: 97% of history graduates have either found immediate employment or entered graduate school during the last twenty years! Gain a practical education in a major with one of the broadest applications after graduation.

What are the Distinguishing Characteristics of the Program at St. Andrews?

A personal curriculum under the guidance of experienced faculty allows both breadth in subjects and depth in specialties. Through individual attention, exciting interaction, and a supportive environment our students find history escapes the limitations of a class or a book and becomes interconnected with everything they do. Study abroad, write a blog, intern in government, explore archives – all of this is possible in the history program!

You will acquire:

  • Critical thinking 
  • Persuasive communication
  • Research Skills
  • Networking contacts
  • Original research opportunities
  • Lifelong friendships

Advantages in our program:

  • Outstanding library support
  • Major and minor in American, European, and Public History
  • Pi Gamma Mu Honor Society
  • Awards for success in research and writing
  • Excellent support for career development and graduate school
  • Unique group projects and individual opportunities

Why do our students succeed, often out-earning their peers?

Whether it is a member of the College’s Pipe Band who studies Scottish traditions among Civil War soldiers, an equestrian interested in the history of the horse, or a football player who recognizes the use of team-building strategy in the French Revolution, history can become a passion of discovery. 

Once ignited, we focus students in their interests; faculty assist in identifying life and career goals. Our graduates have become lawyers, bankers, government officials, physicians, civil servants, politicians, small business owners, directors of museums and archives, teachers, scholars, and authors.

What are the best careers for a history major? 

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History is one of the most versatile bachelor’s degrees for immediate employment. Below are some of the most exciting choices for history major jobs.

Business

Positions: Management, Sales, Office Administration

Employers: All major retail firms including drug, specialty, variety, and department store chains, wholesalers, manufacturers, insurance companies, real estate agencies, financial institutions, nonprofit organizations.

Businesses need people who communicate well and who can manage complex assignments quickly. Depending on the business type, starting salaries range from $40,000-$60,000.

Career Strategy: Consider a history major with a business minor.

Journalism and Social Media

Positions: Journalist, Editor, Influencer, Social Media Manager

Employers: Print, Digital, and Broadcast companies, self-employment

Social Media continues to remake the way we gather and understand news and information. Historical training provides the means for judging these movements effectively. If you keep up with the changing social media environment and enjoy analyzing the importance of what is trending, you may find a career in this area rewarding. Salaries are quite variable and tend to follow the geographic markets. Larger urban areas have the best-paying opportunities. Starting salary range is $30,000-$80,000.

Career Strategy: Minor or double major in English or Communication Studies; start your own blog or vlog.

Law

Positions: Lawyer, paralegal, legal aid, law clerk, law enforcement

Employers: Law firms, local government, corporate legal departments, government agencies, public advocacy groups

The Bachelor’s Degree in History is most commonly associated with legal training. Your skills in critical reasoning, argumentation, and evidentiary support are excellent preparation for work in the American judicial system. Beginning salaries range from $40,000-$100,000 depending on the type of job.

Career Strategy: LSAT (Law School Admissions Test) preparation beginning sophomore year.

Politics

Positions: Elected or appointed public officials (i.e., legislators, governors, mayors, judges), national political party headquarters, public interest/advocacy groups, political campaigns

Employers: Federal, state, and local governments, non-profits, political parties

One of the most exciting ways to serve your community is to become active in the political process and the history major is well designed for these jobs. Presentation skills, the ability to analyze problems and understanding the history of politics will all help in these pursuits.

Career Strategy: Intern with a politician, complete a senior thesis on a political topic of your interest.

History Nonprofits

Positions: History museums and historic sites, historical associations and societies, cultural heritage organizations, historical projects, research and service institutions, National Park Service

Put your passion for the past to work every day by working in a public history position. Presenting the past to the public is a vital service to your community. Starting salaries range from $34,000-$45,000.

Career Strategy: Plan to obtain a Master’s Degree in museology, public history, or history.

How to earn a Bachelor’s Degree in History

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A standard major in all the concentrations consists of 36 credits. A student must take a minimum of twelve credits at the 200 level that includes HIS 201 or HIS 202. Students must take a minimum of 18 credits at the 300-400 level and up to an additional six credits to fulfill the seminar sequence or the appropriate honors sequence. The seminar sequence requires HIS 325 and HIS 425 or HIS 491 and HIS 497 for honors completion. 

The Public History emphasis has requirements in addition to those mentioned above: Students must take HISP 225 Introduction to Public History, ART 120 Art History I and/or ART 121 Art History II, CHE 151/151L The Chemical Basis of Everyday Phenomena, FOR 210 Introduction to Forensic Science. 

Students must also complete either a practicum in Library and Archival Science (Requires special arrangement with the Library faculty) or a GIS experience or Internship with an approved museum, historic site, or other appropriate public history venue.

Contact us today to learn more about how to major in History at St. Andrews University!