Below are a few considerations. It’s important to note that nearly half of the history majors identified by the ACS went on to graduate school (see fig. These myths are largely based on misinformation about the prospective lives of those who major in history. However, in recent years, there's been more and more discussion of whether college is, truly, worth the cost . Members of the academy—including STEM faculty themselves—have repeatedly challenged assertions that majoring in the humanities is useless. Resources for History Departments I've made the decision on the degree I want to major in when I transfer to a 4 year and I picked history. The differences in median income among the humanities disciplines are not significant; the disparity between highest- and lowest-­paid humanities majors in the workforce is only a few thousand dollars (see fig. A combined degree also means you will graduate with two degrees, but instead, you complete them both concurrently in an integrated structure. Part of this is based more on field than on level of achievement; the work of engineers and computer programmers is better remunerated than that of, for example, elementary school teachers—even though our society demands good teachers. Until fairly recently, the value of college education was unquestioned - although tuition was a cost that needed to be considered, the ultimate benefit of obtaining a bachelor's degree was clear. Graduate students in History can expect to remain in school for at least 5 years and as many as 10 years. Science students often receive full tuition remission and a stipend during graduate school. For those in the legal occupations, the median is $100,000. The highest paying doctorate degrees are always in high demand. The “fries” myth is definitely not backed up by the data; only 1.7 percent of history majors work in food preparation, compared to 5 percent of the overall population. In a difficult economic climate, the question becomes even more perplexing. The American Historical Association welcomes comments in the discussion area below, at AHA Communities, and in letters to the editor. It is simple to see why - just imagine a world in which no one did this - we would have no academic discipline of history, in which case our understanding of our past would be greatly impoverished. But the sense persists that the push toward STEM comes at the direct expense of humanities majors; history enrollments have declined sharply since at least 2011. This license applies only to the article, not to text or images used here by permission. Annual tuition typically ranges from $20,000-40,000. Searching the annals of history for an answer. Phone: 202.544.2422Email:, History Is Not a Useless Major: Fighting Myths with Data, Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. A master’s degree in political science is a more in depth study of the broader topics that were covered in an Undergraduate Political Science curriculum. The decision to pursue graduate study in History, like other fields, is a complex one that is part emotional and part rational. A degree in political science can absolutely be worth it in terms of return on investment and pay off. He received a PhD in medieval studies from the University of Leeds and is a social science analyst at the Smithsonian Institution, as well as editor in chief of The Public Medievalist; What about kinesiology interests you? Historians' skills in reading, writing and argumentation skills are valued outside of academia. Methodological note: All ACS data cited in this article include only those individuals between the ages of 25 and 64 who were in full-time employment, who achieved a bachelor’s degree or higher, and who stated that their field of study for their bachelor’s degree was either history or US history. Over the past 20 years, warnings from a variety of sources—from career counselors to administrators to government officials—have convinced many prospective college students (and their parents) that the only safe path to a well-paying job is through a STEM major. Conservation or restoration work, archeological surveying, architecture, research, librarian work, tourism, etc. The proportion who become museum professionals—0.5 percent of the total—is a very small slice of the overall pie as well. Attribution must provide author name, article title, Perspectives on History, date of publication, and a link to this page. A double degree requires you to complete two separate qualifications – one after the other. History major, and couldn't have said it better than this comment. Peruse applications for the top Ph.D. programs in the field and you may encounter warnings not to apply if you do not have a particular score on the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) Verbal Test and a high undergraduate GPA (for example, at least a 3.7). Most people think the only thing you can do with a history degree is being a teacher or historian, but you can also be a lawyer, politician, etc. Of course people doing graduate degrees in history is hugely valuable. Please read our commenting and letters policy before submitting. When considering a degree’s ROI, think about what the earning potential is in your chosen field. On the other hand, certain specialized jobs require candidates to have a master’s degree—and some of those jobs offer salaries that make the additional education worth it. If you can get a degree for a relatively low cost, it may be worth it. With all these issues being commented on and discussed regularly in the media and around you, you could well be feeling that the payoff of going to university just isn’t worth it any more. If anyone can get in, the degree might hold less weight in the civilian world. Likely it is a combination of the two. She specializes in professional development for undergraduate and graduate students. Nearly one in five goes into education—just over half as primary-, middle-, and high-school teachers. Against all holders of a college degree, however, there was a modest difference: degree-holders overall had 4.1 percent unemployment, half a percentage point lower. But the ACS data imply that many history majors do not expect to become historians and that they find meaningful careers in a wide range of fields. 5). Answering these questions can help you decide if getting a master’s degree is the right call for your career. For example, graduate degree holders in History are skilled in reading, writing, and argumentation. At the undergraduate level, French and American systems are quite different: French curricula tend to be specialized early on – i.e. The amount of funding a student receives is important to his or her economic well-being long after graduate school. Many of the negative considerations in deciding whether to apply to graduate school in History emphasize the difficulty of obtaining employment in academic settings and the financial challenges that come with graduate study. But that does not mean that a degree in history is any less valuable. Another 15 percent enter management positions in business, and 11 percent go into the legal professions (most becoming lawyers). The degrees that lead to work are ones like dentistry, medicine, nursing, engineering,veterinary science, etc. A history degree is great fun – your primary occupation over the three (or four) years of your course will be to read, learn, talk about and debate topics you enjoy. The ACS data offer us a snapshot of these history majors across the country and at different phases of life: from recent graduates to those in retirement. PhD degree is a doctoral degree. History is a subject that is easily self taught. It is that the diverse range of occupations that a history degree prepares them for includes several important, but vastly undervalued, public service careers. History and other humanities students often take longer to complete their dissertations than science students do. Ultimately, though, it is your graduate degree that will determine your employability. Completing a PhD will open up a lot of doors in terms of career advancement, and it can be quick too if you go through one of the shortest doctoral programs.But knowing which one to take can be an incredibly tricky task. Follow him on Twitter @publicmedieval. Until recently, the answer was easy: not going to college. Yes, a history degree is absolutely worth it. Pros and Cons of a Graduate Degree in English, The 7 Best Online Colleges for 2020 Enrollment, What Is a Communications Major? The ACS found that 4.6 percent of history majors between the ages of 25 and 64 were unemployed at the time they were surveyed. Some degrees seem to have a better reputation like degrees in history… In fact, history majors go on to become much better educated than the average person, filling roles in a wider range of careers than holders of many other degrees. 4). Myth 2: A History Major Does Not Prepare You for Gainful Employment. Is a degree from a second rate university worth the paper it’s written on? Most myths begin with a kernel of truth that is then warped beyond recognition. When evaluating the actual dollar cost of your degree, don’t forget … Graduate study is expensive. You can always double major, but do something more marketable as well. The idea that a history degree doesn’t lead directly into a profession is true only for students who expect to become professional historians or to work in a closely related occupation. A Q&A with National University President David Andrews on how the pandemic will transform the business of higher education. Paul B. Sturtevant is a medievalist, social scientist, and public historian. Each year in graduate school is another year without full-time income. The skills that you will hone as you pursue your graduate degree are valued in virtually all employment settings. The Big Question: Is a College Degree Still Worth It? Data on the number of history bachelors’ degrees awarded in 2015 were gleaned from the annual National Center for Education Statistics via the NSF’s WebCASPAR system at Graduate students in History have fewer funding sources than science students do. The emotional side of the equation is powerful. But for those in managerial positions, the median is $80,000. By If you're interested in making tons of money, here's a … Competition for entry to graduate study in History is stiff. One fear is that history degrees do not offer a life of gainful employment or the job security that other careers might. And it isn’t enough to appreciate the degree yourself. I wanted to major in business, but I love history just as much. O n their own, they aren't particularly remarkable. Many faculty members advise their students not to go into debt to earn a graduate degree in History because of the job market for college professors, especially in the humanities, is bad. They paint life with a degree in history as a wasteland of unemployment and underemployment—that careful study of Asoka’s conquests or the Industrial Revolution leads to a life of “Would you like fries with that?”. This means you need to complete the requirements of the first degree before commencing the second. So unless you plan on being a historian or history teacher then it isnt particularly specific, but definetley not worthless. Students who plan, take advantage of an opportunity and remain open to considering a range of career options increase the odds of a graduate degree in History paying off in the long run. Each paper you write in graduate school requires that you compile and integrate information, and construct logical arguments. This might be because law, management, and education require advanced study. Majoring in history does not doom a graduate to a life of unemployment or under­employment. 3). If it is high pay, then no. But knowing this, history departments must understand that it is imperative that they prepare majors for graduate school and offer guidance in educational and career choices. In addition, the reputation of your degree from American Military University may depend on what degree program you choose. Academic jobs in History are hard to come by. Resources for Undergraduates These considerations are less relevant for students who plan on careers outside of academia. I am currently studying history. History: It’s Not a Useless Major. Those who decide to seek full-time employment rather than reapply for academic jobs work in college administration, publishing, the government, and non-profit agencies. Ph.D. The vast majority of history majors, of course, do not become professional historians; according to the ACS, only 4.5 percent of history majors become educators at a postsecondary level (that is, mostly college professors). Here are the 5 major reasons why it’s worth getting your PhD degree after all the time, energy, money, and effort it requires. Assuming you didn’t get a “zero” on the above assessment, there is a glimmer of hope that maybe your PhD is worth it. I also went to public schools my entire life (including undergrad and law school) so my student loans are very manageable. you take a B.A. As in the general workforce, it is the occupation of college graduates in the humanities, rather than their undergraduate major, that accounts for differences in income. Because of the diversity of careers that humanities majors—particularly history majors—go into, there is a wider-than-­average distribution of incomes based upon field of work (see fig. In contrast, science students are often funded by grants that their professors write to support their research. However, the decision of whether to apply to graduate programs in History also entails pragmatic considerations. A history degree provides a broad skillset that has ensured that history majors are employed in almost every walk of life, with some notable trends (see fig. On the positive side, a graduate degree offers many opportunities outside of the ivory tower. Many humanities PhDs work as adjunct instructors (earning about $2,000-$3,000 per course) for years. Otherwise, you may be overwhelmed with debt as you start your career. The benefits of studying history go far beyond what you read about in history books, and the skills you learn can serve you in a … Go to a reputable state school where the tuition is reasonable and the degrees are accredited. But for students who are inspired by work in which the greatest rewards may not necessarily be financial, a history major remains an excellent option. These data are then compiled and aggregated into one-, three-, and five-year estimates. History tends to be well respected by employers as a challenging academic subject, and the analytical skills it develops could lead to a career in an area such as education or law. Please try again later. Thankfully, a massive repository of data, the American Community Survey (ACS), tells us much about the lives of history majors. Those that have a degree in history will be the first to say that their degree is not a waste and has helped them immensely. If you really want to pursue a degree in political … The worst that can be said of this situation is that many of those careers are socially undervalued. If the only consideration when choosing a major is whether you will be earning six figures by the age of 30, then history may not be the best field. Are you considering a master's or doctoral degree in History? But is a university degree really worth all that money? In fact, history majors go on to become much better educated than the average person, filling roles in a wider range of careers than holders of many other degrees. There are loads of avenues apart from teaching. The first thing to recognize when it comes to graduate study is that it is competitive.