Career outlook

What can I do with a degree in history?

A history degree prepares you to conduct research, evaluate information, think critically, and communicate clearly and persuasively, skills valued in most industries. In fact, college planning resource BestColleges reports that history is one of the most versatile degreesAccording to Payscale, the average salary for someone holding a bachelor's in history is $68,000. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a similar mean salary for people working as historians. 

History majors commonly work in education, museums, libraries and archives, government, international relations, business and finance, nonprofits, tourism, publishing, and the law (some of these career paths require additional training through certificate, professional, or graduate programs).

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Transferable skills

Analytical thinking

History students synthesize primary and secondary sources to build evidence-based arguments and identify and analyze trends.

Communication

History students are adept storytellers who develop strong verbal and written communication skills by writing persuasive essays, engaging in class discussions, and giving oral presentations. 

Research

History students are proficient in basic research skills, including identifying reputable sources, locating relevant information, and analyzing data.   

Project management

History students design and execute complex projects for which they must develop feasible timelines and determine incremental steps to move from initiation to completion. 

Careers insights by degree

Graduate study

A history major provides a solid foundation for graduate study in:

Notable history majors

  • Joe Biden (U.S. President)
  • Alexis Ohanian (Reddit founder)
  • Sonia Sotomayor (Supreme Court justice)
  • Jasmine Guillory (Writer)
  • Susan Wojcicki (CEO of Google)
  • Grant Hill (former basketball player and sports analyst)
  • Louis Theroux (documentary filmmaker)
  • Steve Carell (actor and comedian)
  • Susan Rice (U.S. national security advisor)