As a History major you will learn to think critically, read widely, and communicate effectively through written and oral presentation. History is an expansive and exciting field of study that allows you to examine all aspects of past societies, cultures, and civilizations. As such, it is an incredibly versatile major that you can customize to reflect your own passions and interests, both about the past and about the present that grew out of this past. You will also gain critical skills in evidence-based research, analysis, and argumentation, all of which are valued by employers and postgraduate programs. Most History majors will not go on to become professional historians, and our alums pursue successful careers in market research and analysis, entrepreneurship, law, medicine, politics, library and archival management, and education. For more information on future careers and internship opportunities, please visit the Office of Personal and Career Development.
Still not sure if you should major in History? Explore the below links for more information about the intellectual and civic importance of history, as well as professional and career opportunities.
Why Study History?
- Katharine Brooks, Executive Director of WFU’s Office of Personal and Career Development, considers the lasting value of the history major in “Why Major in History?”
- Cecilia Gaposchkin, an Associate Professor of History at Dartmouth College, offers advice about how you should choose a major in the Chronicle of Higher Education: “If Students are Smart, They’ll Major in What They Love.”
- Kenneth Pomeranz explains why history is an unusual–and exciting–discipline.
- The American Historical Association has put together a guide on “What can you do with an undergraduate degree in History?”
- Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce shows that history majors earn higher median salaries than all other humanities majors and earn the same or more than those who majored in education, communications, or international relations. Twenty percent of those history graduates were employed in management positions.
History and Healthcare
- Learn more about Wake Forest’s Interdisciplinary Humanities Pathway to Medicine Program
- So your doctor majored in history? The MCAT now includes a new behavioral sciences section — a step that recognizes the importance of the humanities to the future of medicine.
- David Jones et al. make the case for studying history as a part of a medical education.
History and Business
- Christopher Brooks discusses why business leaders seek out history majors.
- An essay by Chris McNickle from Fidelity Worldwide Investment on historians and history in the world of business.
- The Wall Street Journal reports that business and finance companies need flexible thinkers with innovative ideas and a broad knowledge base derived from exposure to multiple disciplines.
- A Harvard Business Review article on why to hire humanities majors.
- Jeff Robinson discusses how his background in public history contributes to his work with Americorps.
- Archivist positions: Society of American Archivists, Employment Bulletin
- Historical societies: The American Association for State and Local History, Dispatch
- Museum positions: The American Association of Museums.
- State and local government: use this list of links to check the web sites of individual states and cities.
- The National Council on Public History (NCPH) and the Society for History in the Federal Government also post employment advertisements.