A Degree in History is Key: Explore the Past to Examine the Present

An education in history gives a critical lens with which to understand the problems of the present. Whether in times of tumult or calm, history is something that grounds one’s experience in the world. Those trained in history have a unique sense of place, equipping them to be better citizens, community members and humanitarians. What we find is that despite thousands of years of progress, commonalities exist across all of our experiences, and we repeat problems as groups and societies.

A historical education is more than assembling a collection of facts. Graduates of history are skilled writers, researchers and communicators. They are also skilled critical thinkers, capable of analyzing complex documents and ideas.

Unlike other disciplines, history is often classified by geography rather than methodology. Most universities will offer courses in history relative to specific nations, peoples or regions. In addition, popular subfields include the history of specific groups. A sample list includes:

  • Black History
  • American History
  • Women’s History
  • European History
  • Middle Eastern History

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Careers in History

There are a few careers that require a degree in history. However, the degree develops numerous skills that can be used outside of these industries.

  • Historian: Professional historians are the primary researchers in the field. Usually working for universities, they engage with primary sources and historical texts in order to advance our collective understanding of history. A career as a historian is a stable field, but usually requires an advanced degree. Their median salary is $63,000 per year.
  • Archivist: Archivists work in museums and archives to acquire, display and preserve historical materials. Museum work is a growing field at a rate of 7% over the next decade, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • Teacher: Commonly, those with degrees in history choose to pursue a career in teaching. Most primary schools will hire teachers with a bachelor’s degree, but post-secondary teaching will require an advanced degree. 

Want to learn more about this possible career path and college major?
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How to Prepare for Success

Those interested in history should have a basic understanding of their national or regional history. In addition, writing and research skills will help tremendously during your college career.

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UNCF Schools to Consider

Twenty UNCF-member schools offer programs for students wishing to work in the field of history, including:

 

Professional Organizations

There are thousands of organizations in various fields of history that offer more insight into working in those fields. A sample list includes:

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Scholarships

Several scholarships are available through UNCF. Scholarships such as the Crown Castle Opportunity Scholarship may be of interest to history students. This award offers up to $10,000 and is renewable for one year. The UNCF General Scholarship Awards are an excellent opportunity for any student going to a UNCF-member college, regardless of their major.  The Frederick Douglass Bicentennial Scholarship Program awards a $10,000 scholarship to one exceptional HBCU senior each year who has demonstrated high academic achievement, strong leadership skills, commitment to community service and unmet financial need.

(Please note: UNCF scholarships have opening and closing application times; a scholarship application may not be available when you visit.)

Students should also check with each college or university to see if there are other scholarships available to study history.

Reach out for guidance by submitting a major interest form if you are interested in a career in history. Submit the form on our website to get started. And follow us on UNCF social media channels to receive notifications about our scholarships and member HBCUs. Reach out today!