“History” is an umbrella term that refers to studying past events. History programs come in several shapes and forms at almost every level of education, including associate, bachelor, master, and doctorate degrees. History programs churn out individuals with the ability to philosophically question, communicate precisely, and debate ethically, but, unlike other degrees, there’s not a direct job that history majors find a home in. They work across the industry board and often supplement their history studies with other majors, such as education, business, or law.
An associate’s in history is truly just an introduction. Covering historiography, world history, and US history, this 2-year program won’t offer much when it comes to finding a career in history, but it can be a great stepping stone to a bachelor’s degree.
A baccalaureate in history is typically a 4-year program which, on top of the same basic education included at the associate’s level, will include specialized study and, often times, culminates in a capstone project or thesis. Areas of concentration include art history, military history, and European history, plus many more. Often lauded as a multidisciplinary degree, graduates often draw from other subjects like sociology or politics.
Entry-level salaries for history professions is among the lowest of any field, beginning at $38,000. However, the average median salary of history majors mid-career is $62,000, which is 25k higher than the national average. Many history majors find that the skills learned during their education, the abilities to read, think, and write critically, along with research and debate skills, make them apt for careers in a many fields, though they may not have “historian” anywhere in the title or job description.
If the career goal is to become a history teacher, many institutions now offer streamlined dual degrees combining history and education, or dual bachelor/master degrees to earn credentials with less expense. Dual majoring is a common habit for history majors in areas such as law, business, politics, library science, and theology.
At the master level of majoring in history, the primary outcome is usually to make an upward move in a teaching profession or pursue a doctorate. This is also another area where students will typically dual major, such as in law and history, resulting in a JD/MA. At this level of education, there will be numerous education courses coupled with intensely specialized study in a specific region or type of history. Programs usually take two years to complete.
Career paths for graduates with a major in history include: teaching, researching, archiving, curating, library science, law, business, marketing, human resources, media and journalism, business, public policy, public relations, theology.
PhD programs in history typically last three years and include coursework along with a dissertation. Many institutions now also have language requirement, as well. Work at this level is almost entirely specialized. After completing a doctorate, publishing peer-reviewed journals, teaching at a university, and presenting papers is all within your jurisdiction.