Q&A: Should I Major in History? (And Other Questions Answered)

Like any bachelor’s degree, earning a history degree is an investment — and ACS data shows it pays off. In 2017, the median income for employed history majors from ages 25-64 stood at $60,000, well above the national average. Equally importantly, a history degree prepares graduates for a wide variety of careers.

Three Reasons Why You Should Major in History

Should I major in history?

You might decide to major in history for a number of reasons, including:

Relevant knowledge

When studying history, you often learn about people and events that have an impact on modern-day objects and experiences. For instance, if you are interested in a particular style of music, you can research how it has evolved over time and how people have responded to it by studying historical events. Learning about past occurrences has relevance for both what has already occurred and what is currently taking place, which can help keep topics interesting.

Future planning

As a history major, you frequently examine patterns and circumstances from the past and assess their results. This can assist you in thinking about how current events may impact the future of your area or the entire world. For instance, you could assess the outcomes of earlier battles for equality to determine their outcomes. With this knowledge, you can plan how to apply or modify these techniques to enhance social interactions with people in the present. In fields like law or politics, the capacity to comprehend the decisions made by individuals or societies in the past can be an asset.

What is a history major?

You can obtain a degree in history that focuses on analyzing historical events critically. Students majoring in this program learn about human behavior and how these various elements shape global societies by examining occasions, people, and places. To understand people, you can research a variety of subjects, such as wars and conflicts, art, literature, politics, and culture. In order to draw connections and evaluate the significance of events, students who major in this discipline frequently research individuals and areas of the world that can span many time periods.

What skills do I develop as a history major?

History majors can anticipate that, like many liberal arts degrees, they will acquire a set of abilities that will enable them to learn through analysis and critical thinking. As you navigate primary and secondary sources, you frequently have to write research and argumentative essays, which can help you hone your research abilities. You can determine what information applies to your topics, how to identify trends, and how to identify reliable sources by using analytical thinking and problem-solving skills. As you participate in class debates, write essays, and give presentations about various parts of the world, you might also improve your communication and language skills.

What can I do with a major in history?

A history major has a wide range of professional or graduate degree options, including those in law, education, and business. You can pursue careers in various industries because you develop relevant skills like research, communication, and technology. If you want to pursue a master’s or doctoral degree, you can look into programs other than history. For instance, if you have a bachelor’s degree in history and pass any prerequisite exams, you might be admitted to law school. The following are descriptions of the various fields a history major can study:

Law

After receiving your bachelor’s degree, you can go to law school to pursue a career in the legal field. Numerous courses may offer specializations in subjects like constitutional law or American history that can help you gain the fundamental knowledge necessary to work as a lawyer or in another legal field. If you’re interested in historic legal cases or advancing justice, this could be a good career choice for you.

Journalism

While earning your history degree, you will frequently learn about a variety of subjects, such as the arts, culture, and historical news; you may decide to pursue a career in journalism. If you want to write about subjects that interest you and how they relate to historical events and figures, this can be helpful. Your research and analysis abilities can assist you in telling compelling stories about current events and experiences because journalism demands an objective viewpoint on a variety of subjects.

Politics

If you are interested in how governments function and how they have changed over time, you might think about a career in politics. You probably study the various forms of government, leadership styles, and how institutions create laws to help guide regions while studying history. Through discussions and argumentative writing, you can learn how to persuade others of the ways in which particular decisions can advance the welfare of a country and its citizens.

Education

You can pursue a career in education if you want to impart the historical knowledge you’ve acquired to others. If you have specialized knowledge in disciplines like art history or economics, you might teach these subjects. You can frequently teach at various grade levels with a history degree, including at colleges or universities. Depending on your location and the requirements in your area, jobs in education may require additional training or education, such as a master’s degree or a teaching certification.

Research

Your field knowledge can grow if you pursue a career in research. By conducting research throughout your degree program, you prepare for these careers by learning the techniques and equipment that are employed in the field. This can include work as a curator in a museum or as a historian or archivist. As a researcher, you may also use your communication abilities to accurately record and disseminate fresh information to the general public.

Business

Many business careers, such as those of a market analyst or economist, are open to history majors. Over time, you might learn about economic trends and how business choices might impact them, giving businesses a distinctive perspective on their performance and the market. When businesses use new strategies, your historical knowledge can aid them in developing new strategies based on what worked in the past and how the current industries are trending.

FAQ

Is history a regretted major?

72% of history majors regretted their choice.

Is majoring in history hard?

Because there isn’t as much lab work or technical writing required for history majors as there is for other majors, they might be thought of as easier. As a history major, you’ll devote a lot of time to studying old texts and writing essays about your ideas.

Is history a high paying major?

Earning Potential for History Majors According to ZipRecruiter, the average yearly salary for history majors is $59,731, with a 25th- to 75th-percentile range of $35,500 to $70,000. Top earners can reach the six-figure salary marker.

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