History is a multidisciplinary field which integrates the study of people and places, human nature, cultural movements and trends, politics, war and much more. Critical thinking, written and oral communication, thorough researching, analytical reasoning and informed prediction are all skills that history students develop, as well as global perspective and an appreciation for complex answers to questions. These skills are easily transferable to nearly any industry, which is why you will find history degree graduates working at major corporations, sole proprietorships, nonprofits and government agencies.
The American Historical Association (AHA) reports that about 18 percent of history degree graduates go on to work in the education sector.1 With a solid background in historical research and writing, you might choose to pursue a career as an elementary or high school teacher. If you opt to earn a graduate degree, you can teach at higher education institutions.
In addition to taking on a role as an instructor, history graduates can reach a broader audience by writing textbooks or writing non-academic history books. Historical nonfiction is a major market in the book publishing industry. According to an article published in EPJ Data Science, 33 percent of Americans identify historical nonfiction as their favorite nonfiction genre.2
Earning a history degree involves an intensive regimen of reading and writing. Students can expect to do a great deal of research, fact organization and academic writing. These skills naturally lend themselves to a career in journalism. Furthermore, students of history learn that accuracy is important above all. This pursuit of the truth is a natural precursor to a career in journalism. The Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) established a code of ethics for the profession.3
This code of ethics requires journalists to:
- Verify information prior to release
- Provide context to avoid misrepresentation
- Avoid the deliberate distortion of facts or context
- Encourage a civil dialogue while supporting the open exchange of views
Journalism is a highly varied career path. Some journalists work at the local level, contributing to small newspapers and other local publications. Others work for nationally-distributed publications, including digital productions. Furthermore, some journalists specialize in reporting on a sector, such as agricultural, health or political news. If you pursue a career in journalism, you can forge a path that best fits your own interests.
Students who study history often choose writing-intensive careers. Many of them choose to go into marketing. Copywriters are professionals who write informational or entertaining material intended to encourage sales by presenting the client’s products or services in a positive light. An understanding of political trends and history of business practices can help create content that represents a wide variety of readers. It is important to write in a way that is inclusive to people with varying viewpoints and diverse backgrounds. For this reason, history majors are very suitable for a career in copywriting.
Copywriting can also be an excellent choice for people who enjoy doing something new or different every day. Many copywriters work for marketing agencies, rather than within one company. This means they may write for multiple industries. Copywriting has a robust career outlook. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the marketing field will grow by eight percent through 2028—a rate that is faster than average.4
Some students enrolled in a history degree program may apply to law school. A background in history provides an excellent foundation for success in the legal field, as students develop their research, writing and oral communication skills. History students also study political thought and movements, which provides a strong basis for deeper explorations into constitutional law and the Bill of Rights. If you graduate from law school and pass the Bar Exam, you may choose to become an attorney who represents plaintiffs or defendants in civil law or criminal cases.
However, there are other career possibilities in the legal field they do not all require going to law school. Instead, you might decide to pursue a career as a law librarian or paralegal. Law librarians manage legal information and research, working for entities such as municipal or federal courts, law school libraries or major corporations. Alternatively, paralegals provide research and other support services to lawyers, working on cases behind the scenes.
At Grand Canyon University, history degree students explore the work of renowned historians as they develop multifaceted perspectives on different historical period. You can apply for enrollment in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences offers traditional or online history degree options through our Bachelor of Arts in History and Bachelor of Arts in History for Secondary Education programs, which leads to initial teacher licensure. If you already hold a BA, consider applying for the online Master of Arts in History with an Emphasis in Education to deepen your skillset and further your career prospects. To learn more about the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, visit our website or click on the Request Info button at the top of this page.