Career Resources


What Can I Do with a History Major?

The short answer to this question is “everything.”  The history major has many career options because prepared with skills in demand in many fields, including writing, research and problem solving, critical thinking, and oral communication.  Moreover, these skills are transferrable—they are not field-specific but applicable in many ways for many different kinds of jobs. 

Many employers look at the college degree, not the specific major, and make their decisions about whom to hire based on which applicants best show that they understand the job, have the skills that will help their future employer, and possess a desire to work hard and succeed.

When you graduate and look for a career, know your interests (a visit to the Career Center is highly recommended:  http://www.gvsu.edu/careers/), know the skills you have gained, and think ahead by taking advantage of opportunities such as internships or career preparation events that will help you in the future. 

For further information, see:

University of Tennessee, What Can I Do with This Major? http://whatcanidowiththismajor.com/major/history/

American Historical Association, “Why Study History?” https://www.historians.org/teaching-and-learning/why-study-history

American Historical Association, “Careers for History Majors” https://www.historians.org/jobs-and-professional-development/career-resources/careers-for-history-majors

GVSU History Major http://www.gvsu.edu/cms4/asset/8E60AE8A-DD89-F38B-68F611A92AA5D47A/history_general_15-16.pdf

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_stru.htm

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections http://www.bls.gov/emp/

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON CAREER POSSIBILITIES, CLICK HERE OR SEE BELOW


The Options

Career Resources: The Options

Job Titles

  • Lawyer
  • Legislative aide
  • Foreign Service
  • Law enforcement
  • Public advocacy groups
  • Public office, staff administration, or campaign assistant
  • Legal aid or public defender’s office
  • Community organizing
  • Paralegal

Preparation Strategies

  • Complete an internship at a government agency or public policy group
  • Join Law Society of GVSU
  • Seek leadership roles in campus organizations, including student government
  • Join debate teams
  • Volunteer for community organizations, advocacy groups, or political parties
  • Complete a study abroad program

Resources

Potential Employers

  • Law firms
  • Federal, state, and city government
  • Lobbying organizations
  • Corporations
  • Non-governmental organizations (NGOs)
  • Public interest groups

Curriculum Suggestions:

BUS 201:  Legal Environment for Business

CJ 302:  Criminal Law
CJ 305:  Constitutional Rights and Civil Liberties
CJ 325:  Criminal Justice and Human Rights

CJ/LS 444:  Forensic Behavior and Law 
CLA 367:  Thinking Like a (Roman) Lawyer

COM 303:  Debate

HST 317:  History of American Foreign Relations
HST 328:  U.S. Constitutional and Legal History

LS 201:  Introduction to Law
LS 324:   Legal Research and Writing 

MGT 334:  Labor and Employment Law
MGT 432:  Grievance Arbitration and Collective Bargaining 
PHI 330:  Legal Philosophy
PLS 206:  American Constitutional Foundations

PLS 306:  Constitutional Law I (Federalism and Separation of Powers) 
PLS 307:  Constitutional Law II (Civil Rights and Liberties)
PLS 314:  International Law 
WGS/LS 370:  Women and the Law

For more curriculum suggestions, see http://www.gvsu.edu/polisci/pre-law-faq-45.htm

Students interested in becoming a lawyer will need to attend law school (earning a J.D.) (http://www.lsac.org/jd/), which requires taking the LSAT (http://www.lsac.org/)

Job Titles

  • CEO
  • Entrepreneur
  • Accounts manager
  • Systems analyst
  • Business manager

Preparation Strategies

  • Attend professional and career events sponsored by GVSU Career Center, including Job Fair
  • Gain relevant experience through internships and summer jobs
  • Join student organizations for business students
  • Talk to professionals in industry that interests you

Resources

Potential Employers

  • Manufacturers
  • Healthcare organizations
  • Banks and financial institutions
  • Real estate brokers
  • Insurance companies
  • Retail stores
  • Hotels and restaurants
  • Nonprofit management

Curriculum Suggestions

Interest in General Business:

ACC 212:  Principles of Financial Accounting
ACC 213:  Principles of Managerial Accounting

ECO 210:  Introductory Macroeconomics
ECO 211:  Introductory Microeconomics

BUS 201:  Legal Environment for Business

Interest in Marketing:

ACC 212:  Principles of Financial Accounting

ECO 211:  Introductory Microeconomics

BUS 201:  Legal Environment for Business

MKT 350:  Marketing Management

Interest in Management:

ACC 212:  Principles of Financial Accounting

ECO 211:  Introductory Microeconomics

BUS 201:  Legal Environment for Business

MGT 331:  Concepts of Management

FIN 320:  Managerial Finance

Alternately, history majors could complete the 12-credit Entrepreneurship Certificate offered by Seidman College of Business, which is designed as “a short track of courses to learn the process and tools, and to develop the skills and experiences necessary to identify and create a sustainable business opportunity.”  See https://www.gvsu.edu/catalog/2014-2015/program-view.htm?programId=10DDD75C-AE4C-AA32-20DEDAAA01C9176B

Job Titles

  • Elementary and secondary school teacher
  • School administrator
  • College professor
  • Higher education administrator
  • Higher education student support services

Preparation Strategies

  • Volunteer in schools (25 hours of experience with children or youth required by College of Education for admission)
  • Seek experience with youth, such as summer jobs at camps, churches, or youth organizations
  • Complete a relevant internship, for example, at a literacy center
  • Complete a study abroad program
  • Complete a senior thesis (HST 498) if considering graduate school

Resources

Potential Employers

  • K-12 schools
  • School districts
  • Community colleges
  • Colleges and universities

Curriculum Suggestions

EDF 315:  Diverse Perspectives on Education

EDI 337:  Introduction to Learning and Assessment

EDT 370:  Technology in Education

PYS 301:  Child Development

SST 309:  Social Studies for Elementary Teacher (for elementary teaching minor)
SST 310:  Strategies for Social Studies Teachers (for secondary teaching certification)

HST 498:  Senior Thesis (if considering graduate school)

Students interested in elementary school teaching can major in Social Studies and must complete the Elementary Education Minor

Students interested in college teaching will need to earn a graduate degree in history (Ph.D.).  All students considering graduate study should major or minor in the foreign language(s) relevant to their interests

Job Titles

  • Government historian
  • Museum Curator
  • Cultural resource manager
  • Conservator
  • Park service historian
  • Historical consulting
  • Historic preservation specialist
  • Archivist or records manager

Preparation Strategies

  • Complete an internship in public history
  • Volunteer at local museums, historical societies or other organizations relevant to public history
  • Complete a study abroad program
  • Complete a senior thesis (HST 498) if considering graduate school

Resources

Potential Employers

  • Museums
  • Historical societies
  • Federal, state, and local government
  • Nonprofit organizations
  • Corporations
  • National Park Service

Curriculum Suggestions

ANT 220:  Introduction to Archaeology
ANT 314:  Bioarchaeology

HST 405:  Local and Community History
HST 420:  Public History*
HST/CLA 415:  Museum Studies*
HST 490:  History Internship

Students interested in careers in public history often obtain a master’s degree (MS or MA) in history or museum studies

Job Titles

  • Academic librarian
  • Services librarian
  • Liaison librarian
  • Metadata librarian
  • Library director or manager
  • Health science librarians
  • Archivist
  • Conservator
  • Children’s or young adult librarian

Preparation Strategies

  • Volunteer at a public or school library
  • Gain relevant experience through part-time jobs in libraries
  • Seek experience with youth, such as summer jobs at camps, churches, or youth organizations (for school librarians)

Resources

Potential Employers

  • Public libraries
  • Academic libraries
  • School libraries
  • Corporations
  • Government (including National Archives and Records Administration)

Curriculum Suggestions

CIS 160:  Programming with Visual Basic
CIS 238:  Internet Media and Programming

COM 201:  Speech
COM 371:  Media and Society

If interested in children’s or young adult librarianship:

ENG 304:  International Literature for Children and Young Adults
ENG 309:  Teaching Literature to Children
ENG 311:  Teaching Literature to Adolescents
ENG 334:  American Multicultural Literature for Children and Adults

A strong liberal arts background is the best preparation for a librarian.

Most professional-level library positions require a master’s degree in library and information science (either MLS, MLIS, MSIS, MSLS, MA in LIS, or MS in LIS)

Job Titles

  • Journalist
  • Editor at trade or university press
  • Editor at newspaper, website, or magazine
  • Publisher
  • Documentary film producer
  • Grant or technical writer
  • Media planning
  • Media relations specialist

Preparation Strategies

  • Gain relevant experience through internships and summer jobs
  • Seek leadership roles in campus organizations, including student programming
  • Work for campus newspaper, radio station, and similar outlets
  • Volunteer to be announcer at college and local sporting events
  • Volunteer to create or maintain websites for local organizations
  • Maintain a personal website or blog to showcase work

Resources

Potential Employers

  • Websites, newspapers, or magazines
  • Radio and television stations
  • Trade and academic presses
  • Corporations
  • Federal, state and local government
  • Colleges and universities

Curriculum Suggestions

CFV 225:  Film Culture

CIS 160:  Programming with Visual Basic
CIS 238:  Internet Media and Programming

CMJ 236:  News in Society
CMJ 256:  News Reporting
CMJ 284:  Broadcast News 1
CMJ 290:  Journalism History

COM 201:  Speech
COM 220:  Media Literacy
COM 271:  History of Communications Technologies
COM 371:  Media and Society

ENG 261:  Foundations of Language Study

LS 324:  Legal Research and Writing

WRT 200:  Introduction to Professional Writing
WRT 219:  Introduction to Creative Writing
WRT 253:  Document Production and Design
WRT 350:  Business Writing
WRT 351:  Writing for the World Wide Web