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Old 11-05-08, 11:59 PM   #1
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History degree

Does anyone have a history degree (4yr)? If so, what kind of work do you do? My son really likes the history courses he's had throughout high school and was wondering what kind of jobs he could possilby get with such a degree.
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Old 11-06-08, 12:06 AM   #2
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My wife has a BA in History.

She currently works as a purchaser for the 2nd largest reprographics firm in the nation.

Prior to that she worked for 7 years as an admin for Siemens.

Prior to that she worked as an admin at a variety of companies.
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Old 11-06-08, 03:50 AM   #3
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My boyfriend has a history degree (B.A.), and he works outside of the field. His Associates degree in another area has generated more employment opportunities for him. Everyone else I know who majored in history went on to get a law degree.

My uneducated guess is that most history majors are working outside of their areas of study. There aren't a whole lot of people begging for history teachers at any level.

One area that seems profitable is specializing in curating/museum type stuff. The jobs are infrequent, but they seem to pay well. They usually call for a history major who specialized in the museum/collections/curating end of things. Library, public speaking, and management type training seem to dovetail nicely with that specialty, also.
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Old 11-06-08, 04:05 AM   #4
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Everybody I know with a history degree is either a teacher or a lawyer. From what I can tell, and from my own personal experience, a history degree means you're no good at math and science. Of course, if you're good at math and science you'll grow up to be a doctor.
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Old 11-06-08, 04:54 AM   #5
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Sort-of-history-major here (one of my majors was Russian & East European studies, which was basically Russian history with a bit more depth in social and political areas). Also had a minor in plain old history on top of that. I'm a journalist.

A good friend of mine here was a history major - he currently works in a business-focused NGO based out of DC.

I wouldn't go into history because of expectations of certain jobs, though. I'd go into it because it's interesting and because through it you can develop other skills (writing, critical thinking, analysis) that are widely applicable on graduation.

Other history majors I know are in the following areas:
- Accounting (ugh, from my point of view)
- Risk assessment/analysis
- Public relations and communications
- Academia (doing Ph.Ds)
- Politics (federal and provincial)
- Law
- Teaching

I will say that none of those job options would have appealed to me in high school, but now most of them seem at least somewhat interesting. I'd say your son shouldn't make the mistake of deciding too early what he wants as a career, unless he's really, really, really sure. I'm still figuring it out as I go along.
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Old 11-06-08, 05:10 AM   #6
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I love history. In fact I really wish I could have majored in it. I switched to nursing becasue I needed to make a living. But, if you love what you do you never have to work again (or something like that). If you plan on going into law it would probably be great though.
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Old 11-06-08, 05:27 AM   #7
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well, he's great at math & science but says they get boring to him. says history has been his favorite subject all through school. they had someone there recently that gave some sort of test to some of the seniors and his resulted in being more suited towards the business/management area. just something we'll have to look into....

thanks for the replies.
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Old 11-06-08, 05:51 AM   #8
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I know one person with a history degree. He works at a US Immigration administrative office.
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Old 11-06-08, 06:35 AM   #9
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A fellow cyclist I met when in physical therapy has a masters degree in history. He works in the university library research section. Not my kinda work but he says he loves it. Reading and researching old books, maps, papers.

He said the only other job he's considered is working for the Atlanta History Center.
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Old 11-06-08, 06:37 AM   #10
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My wife has a MA in Medieval History; she was thinking of teaching with it, but is still in the medical field.

No question people like getting these degrees for a love of the subject matter. I suspect jobs are there if you are diligent.
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Old 11-06-08, 06:38 AM   #11
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well, he's great at math & science but says they get boring to him. says history has been his favorite subject all through school. they had someone there recently that gave some sort of test to some of the seniors and his resulted in being more suited towards the business/management area. just something we'll have to look into....

thanks for the replies.
History is a great foundation for thinking about and engaging in his world, whether it be in analysis, politics, government, or the law. He will, of course, probably need another degree on top of it to specialize in preparation for a particular job (i.e., law school, public policy, foreign relations, journalism, etc.). Encourage him to continue taking math to lead at least to a minor or double major. The coin in this realm (i.e., modern world) is analysis of numbers, more so than analysis of words. Building skill in both will give him the best foundation.


P.s. Pres. Elect. Obama, however, shows what a mastery of words can do.
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Old 11-06-08, 07:23 AM   #12
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Ive always thought of undergrad degrees as "educational" and graduate degrees as "vocational"

Hence my music degree/ business degree combo
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Old 11-06-08, 07:26 AM   #13
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Everybody I know with a history degree is either a teacher or a lawyer. From what I can tell, and from my own personal experience, a history degree means you're no good at math and science. Of course, if you're good at math and science you'll grow up to be a doctor.
and if your good at history . Your a worthless person. Too bad. What if he keeps on going. Would history have more offerings at the university level.
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Old 11-06-08, 07:27 AM   #14
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Ive always thought of undergrad degrees as "educational" and graduate degrees as "vocational"

Hence my music degree/ business degree combo
I like that! Seems to make a lot of sense.
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Old 11-06-08, 07:53 AM   #15
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I have a BA (advanced) in history and political studies and my plan was to become a teacher but when I started teachers college I really hated it. I went back to school and I am now a social worker and it is a perfect fit. I started my Masters last year but I am not sure if I will finish it as I am sick of studying.
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Old 11-06-08, 08:01 AM   #16
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Isn't a history degree kind of like an english degree? "Would you like fries with that?"
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Old 11-06-08, 08:09 AM   #17
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Isn't a history degree kind of like an english degree? "Would you like fries with that?"
Or Biology. Those are great for continuing study in the same field but tricky outside of them.
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Old 11-06-08, 08:31 AM   #18
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i know...history was my favorite subject as well...started out as a history major, went to political science, then to computer science, which i got my first degree in. i'm sure he'll (we'll) figure out something.
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Old 11-06-08, 08:48 AM   #19
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How does your son feel about political science? He could go back and get a masters. It would go well w/ his history degree and allow him plenty of opportunities to expand on it. He could also focus on learning a foreign language. Then maybe he could get work w/ big brother at an embassy or as someone's aide.

EDIT: Re-read the original post and I guess you're son's just going into school? How about history/pol sci double major?
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Old 11-06-08, 08:58 AM   #20
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A foreign language is a good idea... but, unless you are really passionate about the history and culture of a place, it's probably a better use of your time to study other things in university, and then go to the country that speaks the language you want to learn and immerse yourself in it.

I'm thinking specifically of Chinese here, but I'd imagine the same is true for other languages. I know a guy who majored in Asian Studies and studied Chinese for four years in university before coming to China -- he could read classical Chinese poetry, but could barely give directions to a cab driver. The cultural background is nice to have, but it's the day-to-day language that you need in life and business.
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Old 11-06-08, 09:06 AM   #21
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He could be a politician. There's a shortage of those who know history well enough to actually learn from our mistakes in the past. I think our country would benefit from having some historians running certain things.
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Old 11-06-08, 09:15 AM   #22
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I would be thrilled to see more politicians who are economists, not poli-sci people.
Economists understand cause and effect. Most politicians are pretty stupid when it comes to that.
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Old 11-06-08, 09:15 AM   #23
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My wife got a 4-year degree in History in 2005, at age 42. She has taught high school history ever since. Last year, she was designated as the Lead Content Teacher at her school for History and Social Studies, but this is more due to her life experience and classroom management skills than it is due to her field of study. (i.e., since she started teaching hight school at age 42 and had two teenagers at home, she kind of knew how to handle her students.)
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Old 11-06-08, 09:15 AM   #24
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From the responses here, it doesnt sound like the history degree will give you a specific advantage, unless the goal is teaching or a niche career. Its great that he's found something he likes already, but for the tuition/money at stake here, shouldnt you get more out of it than just fun? He can always take history classes as electives or just keep it as a hobby. Library books are a lot cheaper than college text books. I'm not saying to choose something only for the paycheck after he graduates, but its not a bad thing to consider.

Using it as a springboard to law school also seems risky to me. If he wants to do that, try to figure out what area of law he wants to go into and choose the undergrad accordingly. some areas may have a preferred background (business, finance, or technical degree).

I think we need more historians, economists, and engineers in politics
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Old 11-06-08, 09:21 AM   #25
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My wife has a history degree. A B.A. She's a business reporter.
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