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Specialized Degree: Education

What Can You Do with a Graduate Degree in History?

December 2021

Once you’ve decided to pursue your grad degree in history, your family and friends are probably saying, “What are you going to do with that? Teach?” And your reply may even be, “Yes.”

As a secondary teacher, many districts prefer their teachers to have a master’s in a specialty such as, say, history. A master’s degree will usually provide a bump in salary as well. If postsecondary teaching (or college professor) is on your radar, then a doctorate degree in history will be required.

But while a master’s in history may seem limiting when it comes to viable occupations and teaching is often the assumption when it comes to career options, there are other occupations that are popular amongst graduate history degree holders.

Alternatives to teaching

A natural career option outside of teaching, historian is an avenue that is often pursued by students in this field of study. While this profession requires a minimum of a master’s degree, many historians pursue doctorates as this is a highly research-heavy occupation. Just as it implies, historians research and analyze historical documents and texts, studying and interpreting historical data and facts. Publishing articles and books based on their findings and areas of expertise are often in their wheelhouse as well.

It's not just about teaching

Other occupations that fare well with a graduate degree in history are:

  • museum archivists and curators
  • lawyers, where a knowledge of history can often be helpful when interpreting law, but which will require obtaining a law degree
  • consultants for various businesses that require an historical perspective, such as preservation or a specific time period
  • park rangers, especially in national parks that have deep-rooted ties in history
  • writers and editors, many of whom may become political speech writers or publication writers
  • librarians, who need to be familiar with many types of publications, especially historical ones

Although a graduate degree in history may not make the top 10 list for fastest growing fields, like most subjects, the student must have a passion to pursue it because it does require a great deal of work. But the occupations associated with this type of degree are on the plus side of growth and worth pursuing if this is where your interests and career goals lie.

Finding the right program

If you are contemplating or have decided to pursue a graduate degree in history, there are many well-reputed programs out there, and finding the right one is a matter of researching ones that meet your priorities and areas of interest.’s organizational tools can streamline this process so you can ultimately make the best decision for you.

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