Careers with a History Degree
History teaches skills in critical analysis, problem-solving, and communication. These skills are in demand in various career paths.
A history degree does not limit to a single career path; it can lead to a variety of professions. Learn here about how history graduates find jobs with governments, in education, or in technology and administration.
A history degree can be instrumental to a variety of career achievements: this article provides data about the success of history graduates.
The majority of history graduates find work that is challenging, rewarding, and which pays a good salary. This article provides detailed data about the earnings of history graduates (for the US).
History for various careers
Santa J. Ono is a medical biologist and president and vice-chancellor of the University of British Columbia. In this interview on CBC, Dr. Ono explains why the study of history and the liberal arts is important for careers in the natural sciences.
Historians are needed to decipher fake news: listen to this episode of the CBC program "Ideas" to learn why.
Some popular career paths with a degree in history
History graduates are often fond of books and ancient documents; many opt for careers as librarians and archivists. The Canadian Librarian Association provides information about careers in the world of libraries and information studies. The website of the Association of Canadian Archivists provides information about what archivists do.
In the Atlantic provinces, Dalhousie University offers a degree of Master of Information. For those interested in distance learning, the University of Alberta has an MLIS (Master of Library and Information Studies) degree that can be completed entirely online from anywhere in the country.
Museums and public history
Historians care about remnants of the past and the built heritage, and are often passionate about explaining their importance to the broader public. The Canadian Museums Association provides information about programs and careers in museum studies.
The Museum Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (MANL) offers a Certificate in Museum Studies.
Various Canadian universities have programs in museum studies and heritage management. Athabasca University, for example, offers a Graduate Diploma in Heritage Resources Management as an online graduate program.
The Young Canada Works for Youth program promotes jobs and internships in the heritage sector.
A degree in history can be the gateway to a career in law. The Federation of Law Societies of Canada explains here how to become a lawyer in Canadian provinces and territories.
Before they study law, students complete a B.A. in a field of their choice, and then write the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). According to data from the American Law School Admissions Council, graduates with a B.A. in History are consistently among the highest achievers on the LSAT (see Michael Nieswiadomy, “LSAT® Scores of Economics Majors: the 2015-16 Class Update and 15-Year History,” The Journal of Economic Education 48,4 : 327-332). College Consensus even recommends History as the no. 1 undergraduate major preparing for law school.
Business and government
Skills in communication, critical analysis, and problem-solving that can be acquired through a history degree are in demand for careers in business, government, or non-governmental organizations.
Memorial University’s Master of Employment Relations (MER) is a joint degree from the Faculties of Business and HSS, including History. This “multi-disciplinary program provides advanced-level study of all aspects of the employment relationship as well as offers insight into the history and sociology of work cultures.” The program includes a research component that will appeal to many History graduates.
Other universities offer graduate programs that, added to a B.A. in History, can lead to exciting careers in governmental or non-governmental organizations. For example, the University of Prince Edward Island has a unique Master of Arts in Island Studies (MAIS).
Careers in education have always been popular for history graduates and schoolteachers are regularly in demand.
Memorial University’s Faculty of Education offers various degrees that can be completed after a B.A. in History (information about MUNL Education programs available here.
These include the B.Ed. Primary/Elementary as a Second Degree and the B.Ed. Intermediate/Secondary: both can both be completed after a B.A. with major or minor in History. These degrees are designed for careers teaching in primary, elementary, or secondary schools. For the Intermediate/Secondary degree, students must have completed 36 credit hours in one, and 24 credit hours in another of recognized academic disciplines, which include (among others) History, Canadian Studies, Newfoundland and Labrador Studies, English, French, Economics, Geography, Political Science, and Religious Studies.
The B.Ed. Post-Secondary, by contrast, prepares for careers in a variety of fields, including “academic, adult, community, technical and trades, and professional education.” Students who have completed a B.A. in History can take this multifaceted program full or part-time. It is offered entirely online.
Career development and advice
Memorial University offers various services to help students navigate their degrees and identify career goals.
Student Life’s Career Services offers one-on-one appointments, workshops, lectures, and events providing advice on transitioning from a university degree to a professional career. Students can meet with a career advisor to explore the possibilities offered by their degrees, their interests, and their skills. Students can book an appointment through the Navigate App.
EDGE (Enhanced Development of the Graduate Experience)is a platform offering workshops and resources designed to help graduate students and post-doctoral fellows build diverse skills and competencies for success in graduate school and beyond.
Although EDGE was created primarily for graduate students and post-doctoral fellows, events are open to everyone (e.g. undergraduate students, alumni, faculty, staff, family members or friends). Students of the humanities are especially invited to take advantage of these opportunities
Real people with history degrees
On this page prepared by the Canadian Historical Association, you can read about real people who made careers with history degrees: "History is a passport to many opportunities and careers, especially those involving problem solving, creative intelligence and excellent communication and writing skills."
Stephen Lee graduated with a BA in History and French in 2006. He has also successfully completed the certified sommelier program from the Court of Master Sommeliers. His past professional experience includes key management positions at Raymonds Restaurant 2009 - 2011 (2011 – EnRoute Magazine’s Canada’s Best New Restaurant), Rifflin’ Hitch Lodge (Labrador), and Atlantica Restaurant (2007 – Canada’s Best New Restaurant). Stephen is co-owner, general manager & sommelier of Mallard Cottage restaurant and co-owner of The Inn by Mallard Cottage in Quidi Vidi Village.
Examples of careers
With your degree in history you can be an educator, researcher, communicator or editor, information manager, advocate, or even a businessperson.
Here is a brief list of the career opportunities available to the undergraduate history major:
Historians as Educators
• Elementary Schools
• Secondary Schools
• Postsecondary Education
• Historic Sites and Museums
Historians as Researchers
• Museums and Historical Organizations
• Cultural Resources Management and Historic Preservation
• Think Tanks
Historians as consultants or working for consulting companies
Historians as Communicators
• Writers and Editors
• Documentary Editors
• Producers of Multimedia Material
Historians as Information Managers
• Records Managers
• Information Managers
Historians as Advocates
• Lawyers and Paralegals
• Litigation Support
• Legislative Staff
Historians in Businesses and Associations
• Contract Historians
• Historians in Corporations
• Historians in Nonprofit Associations
For more about career opportunities for history majors in Canada, please visit the Canadian Historical Association's career page.
For addtional information on careers with history degrees, see the websites of:
the Historical Association (U.K.) and