After Upham

Upham arch

Thinking about Post-Graduate Paths:  A Brief Guide for History Majors

Considering Your Options:  History majors take many paths after graduating from Miami.

Employment in an area that interests you, where you can leverage the skills you acquired in your major:

  • Law enforcement: police, the FBI, US Customs and Border Protection, Alcohol Tobacco Firearms (ATF)
  • Business:  consulting, sales, advertising, and marketing
  • Education:  teaching, museum work, public history
  • Government
  • Non-profit organizations, such as Peace Corps, Americorps, Teach for America, and USPIRG
  • Writing, editing, reporting, and blogging
  • Apply for a post-graduate fellowship, such as the Ohio Legislative Fellowship (for politics and government) or the Pickering Fellowship (for State Department work).

More Education:

  • A Masters Degree in History (M.A.) or a Masters of Education (M.Ed.) can open up careers in teaching, administration, museum outreach, and historical interpretation.
  • A Masters of Library Science (MLS) can lead to a career as a librarian, bibliographer, or information specialist for businesses and organizations.
  • A Law Degree (Juris Doctor or JD) can equip you for legal and political careers.
  • Medical Degree:  According to a 2012 study by the Association of American Medical Colleges, Humanities majors scored higher on the MCAT than those in the biological sciences.

Employers are looking, and History has It!

Each year the National Association of Colleges and Employers surveys employers to learn about the skills and qualities they are looking for in college graduates.  While the skills vary slightly each year, many of the skills that continue to surface are ones that you develop as a History major.

  • Verbal communication
  • Ability to work in a team
  • Ability to make decisions and solve problems
  • Ability to obtain and process information
  • Plan, organize, and prioritize work
  • Create and/or edit written reports
  • Ability to persuade and influence others

Be Confident, Because in Addition, You have These Skills:

Researching and information literacy:

  • The capacity to locate primary and secondary sources and to distinguish between the two
  • The ability to analyze and distill information into evidence
  • The knack for situating evidence in its larger context
  • The skill to recognize and succinctly summarize arguments

These skills are particularly marketable as employers are looking for employees who can make informed decisions based on data and provide a comprehensive rationale for the decisions.  This contributes to your competitive intelligence; that is, your ability to define, analyze, and distribute intelligence about customers, competitors or other aspects of a business.  Employers value this immensely.

Written Communication:

  • The talent for writing clearly
  • The ability to craft a convincing and well-supported thesis
  • The facility to develop an argument in an organized and persuasive manner

Employers are constantly stating that the ability to write succinctly and effectively is among the most important things a candidate can bring to the job market.  Your experience as a history major uniquely prepares you for this.

Critical Thinking:

  • The perceptiveness to question underlying assumptions and accepted categories
  • The confidence to assert opinions and engage in debates
  • The capacity to make comparisons and draw contrasts
  • The acuity to see change over time

Critical thinking is key to success in a global workforce.  Your ability to think critically about information, and identify holes and gaps in arguments or processes makes you extremely marketable.

Global Sensibility and Intercultural Sensitivity:

  • An understanding of the interconnectedness of societies and cultures, both within national boundaries and across them

In a global economy, your history major sets you apart from your peers because you understand how historical and cultural contexts shape perspectives.

Preparing for Your Future

History majors have many options, and they work in every industry and every location around the world.  Explore your options, and prepare yourself for your future.  Below are a few ways for you to plan for what is next:

Talk to your History Advisor and to a Career Services Career Advisor!

Consider a Co-Major or a Minor to complement your career interests:

When selecting your co-major or minor it is important to consider where your future interests lie.  For instance, if you think you might like to pursue a career managing a non-profit or working in business, you might consider a business minor.  A background in analytics or statistics could support your work doing research for a government agency or foundation.  If you are interested in technology, coupling your history major with a major or minor that includes coding could make you particularly marketable.  If law school or medical school is in your future, consider a pre-law or pre-med major.  If you are interested in talking more about your future interests and how to make yourself most marketable to employers, consider visiting the Career Services website or making an appointment with a Career Advisor.

Complete an Internship or find meaningful summer work that will help you build on your skill set and explore career areas of interest.

Attend the Career Night for History Majors (check Dept. Calendar):

  • Learn how to write a cover letter and a resumé that emphasize the skills you've acquired as a history major
  • Meet Miami history alums who work in business and non-profits

Attend the Grad School Night for History Majors (check Dept. Calendar):

  • Get information about Law School, a Masters in Library Sciences, or a graduate degree in History, English, American Studies, and related fields from Miami history alums
  • Learn about getting a teaching license for K-12 or completing the pre-med requirements

Reference the Resources of the Career Services Office in Hoyt Hall:

  • Unsure how to communicate your skills and interests?  Pick up the brochure titled "Telling Your Story."
  • Meet with a career advisor to define your interests, search for jobs, and prepare for your interview.  Career Services is not just for business majors.
  • Take one of the Career Services Office's workshops or earn the "Career Success Certificate."
  • Explore the job search links for your major and other areas of interest under the internship and job search section of the website.