"The School of Athens." By Raphael, 1510-1511. Fresco in in the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican.
Since history is not a directed vocational program such as pre-med or pre-law, it does not necessarily push majors towards one specific career path. Instead, it offers them the opportunity to enter the world and decide for themselves which paths are best for them. History majors are armed with a broad but formidable skill set, based on the ability to research and write well, and they therefore have a wealth of career choices.
Private business, non-profit organizations, and government agencies are all in need of people with the skill sets that historians possess. Most starting positions, whether in the private or public sectors, require on-the-job training. Thus, small and large organizations alike often are not looking for people who already know the job, but rather for people who can learn quickly. They consistently place a premium on finding employees who can communicate effectively, think creatively, and solve problems. The successful history major is prepared to excel in all of these areas.
While most history majors will not go on to jobs where they can directly apply their knowledxge of the American Civil War and its cultural and political consequences, they will go on to jobs where they can apply their ability to research complex ideas and explain them in writing. These are the traits of a highly skilled employee, a person whose mastery of research and writing make them valuable co-workers and employees.
Teaching is a career choice that many students pursue after receiving their bachelor’s degree in history. Students interested in teaching after graduation may wish to consider Towson's History Secondary Education program.
However, history majors who want to find jobs working in history are hardly limited to the field of education. Public History also offers an array of opportunities, as do archives, libraries, and museums. In our region, non-profit institutions, including charities, advocacy groups, and non-governmental agencies are all in the market for the kinds of reading, writing, and speaking skills Historians posses. Many historians find employment in government, either on the state or federal level. Finally, private sector employers of all kinds hire historians to work as archivists, researchers, and consultants.
History majors often pursue more education to refine their career options. Law schools and business schools in particular look kindly upon history majors because of their superior research and writing skills.
Students looking to serve the public (and for adventure) should consider public service. History majors have long found success when applying for the Peace Corps, Teach for America, AmeriCorps or other service-based learning experiences.
Department of History
Liberal Arts Building, Room 4210 F (map)
Hours: Monday - Friday, 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.