Field of Study Overview

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it" - George Santayana

For students interested in studying, preserving and learning from the past, History is an ideal field of study. Most students either major in General History or choose a concentration in an area of interest. This allows you to explore in depth the history of a particular time period, region or subject. Some examples are American History, European History, Military History, Women's History or Modern World History.

Coursework will involve various history classes in your subject of interest. Other classes history majors might take are English, language, philosophy and anthropology. The goal of the major is to discover the truth of the past and apply the lessons learned to improve our present world.

Required Skills

History majors tend to have great attention for detail and delight in learning obscure facts and dates. Be prepared to memorize vast amounts of information and spend a lot of time reading primary source documents, analyzing artifacts, visiting museums and writing lengthy research papers. Some of your assignments will involve conducting interviews, working on group projects, creating presentations and writing reports.

Some of the critical skills history majors need to succeed are strong reading, writing and analysis skills. Students will read a variety of texts including fiction works, biographies, first-hand accounts and historical journals. They will also visit museums and analyze artifacts from the past. Assignments will involve critically analyzing and researching material to find out the true story of what happened in the past.

Careers

History is a broad field of study that can lead to a variety of career paths. Many history majors go on to become teachers or college professors. Other career paths are that of historian, curator, museum director, writer or researcher. History is also a common background for students who go on to receive advanced degrees in law. Graduates can easily use their skills for careers in business, politics, or nonprofit work.

The average reported starting salary for graduates in the field of history is $36,974, with a mid-career salary of $73,589.

Field at a Glance

  • Yearly Graduations
    31,137
    (online) 1,552
    (associate) 119
    (bachelor) 31,018
  • Average Starting Salary
    $37,000
  • Average Mid-Career Salary
    $74,000

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College Ranking by Field of Study

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Salary data is estimated by College Factual using 2013 data provided by PayScale.
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