Forgotten Majors Series: What Can I Do with a History Degree?

by
Student, English Education, Purdue University

Mar   2012

Fri

02

This 10-part series will look at those forgotten majors: the ones that do not seem to have job fairs, the ones that people ask, “What will you do with that?” and the ones that students themselves ask, “I like the subject, but what do  I do with my degree now?”

Likes hearing about current events.

Watches the news every night.

Follows political races.

Knows about countries and geography.

These traits describe most people working towards a history degree and might even describe you. What would someone want to do with a history degree? Some people say that history is in the past, and people should live for the present or the future, but who will help us document our pasts and make sure that future generations know what happened in today’s world? And they say those who do not know or understand history are doomed to repeat it! History majors can be those documentarians to help make sure that history is never forgotten.

Librarian

History majors can help tremendously at libraries as they are the perfect people for researching and being able to find information for patrons. Librarians need to be able to have proper research skills and the ability to sift through information and find the key points and important facts.

Documentary professional

Creating and editing documentaries can be a perfect profession for history majors because they can focus on specific time periods, current happenings, and influential events that occur in history such as World War II or 9/11.

Historian

A career as a historian can be a valuable experience as it gives history majors the opportunity to research and explore parts of history that still are unclear and have unanswered questions. Historians have the chance to learn more about a specific time period or event that society wants to know more about or feels is important enough to continue exploring.

Museum curator/archivist

A career as a museum archivist can lead to opportunities for people by giving them the chance to explore other countries and areas of the world that are seen as having interesting artifacts and cultural items.

Journalist

A history major can also lead to a rewarding career in journalism, as articles need to be written that document specific times in history and current events. Journalists must have the ability to research, look at facts and decide what is accurate and appropriate, and decide what needs to be told in the story. Journalists also have the task of helping shape what information is archived in newspapers and important documents, creating and shaping the history remembered by society.

Political or government professional

History and politics often go hand-in-hand, so many students with history degrees will enter careers in government, the military, and nonprofit organizations. This field is growing, and these occupations are wonderful opportunities for those who want to make a difference in the lives of everyday individuals.

Skills history majors have:

  • Ability to research and explore important information
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Effective writing skills

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About Megan Sietsma

Megan Sietsma

Megan Sietsma is a student at Purdue University, pursuing a degree in English education with a minor in Linguistics and Reading, and plans to graduate in May 2012. Megan also currently works as a Technical Writer and Research Assistant with Institute for P-12 Engineering Research and Learning (INSPIRE) at Purdue University. Megan stays active on campus and in the community through her involvement with Purdue University Dance Marathon, Junior Achievement, and the Greater Lafayette Holocaust Remembrance Conference. Outside of school and work, Megan enjoys reading, creative writing, watching movies, and spending time with her family and friends.

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