What Careers Are Available with a Master’s Degree in History?

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Here is a short list of career paths for master's in history graduates, although it is by no means exhaustive:


Some students use master's programs to enhance their credentials before applying to Ph.D. programs. A Ph.D. is a terminal, research-oriented degree that aspiring scholars pursue, most often in hopes that they will become tenure-track faculty members at postsecondary institutions. Obtaining a Ph.D. in history is extremely time consuming, usually requiring at least five years and sometimes more than ten years of coursework, research and writing. Students often apply to separate master's in history programs to obtain better grades and produce better scholarship than they did during their undergraduate careers, thus improving their chances of being admitted to the nation's top history Ph.D. programs after graduation and of securing employment after completing their doctoral studies.

Museums, Archives and Historical Organizations

Museums, archival facilities and historical organizations also seek out students who are pursuing or have obtained a master's degree in history. These employers need employees who are able to verify, authenticate, describe and contextualize artifacts, which will then be assembled into larger exhibits or file collections for public observation.

Primary and Secondary Education

There are a number of ways to become a primary- or secondary-level teacher with a master's degree in history. The most traditional route requires an undergraduate degree in education or, in a state where an education degree is not required, a degree or a certain number of credits taken in the subject area you wish to teach. In this case, that would be history as well as social sciences such as political science, sociology, economics and even psychology. You must be licensed to teach in the state where you intend to work. The less traditional route involves provisional licensure through Teach for America or one of many similar programs designed to provide traditionally underprivileged schools and their students with individuals from non-education academic backgrounds who have superlative credentials and wish to teach. Most such programs also require their participants to complete academic coursework that will lead to a master's degree in education and, afterward, official teaching licensure.

Publishing and Editing

It is safe to say that you would not have any amount of success in graduate-level history classes if you did not have at least some flair for writing, grammar, usage, rhetoric and argumentation. As a result, master's in history graduates are often successful in finding employment in the publishing and editing industry.


A master's degree in history is extremely versatile, offering graduates access to several different career paths. It can be used as a steppingstone on the way to a doctoral degree or as a final standalone credential. Either way, employers who seek out applicants with strong written and oral communication skills will jump at the opportunity to hire someone who has devoted so many years of his or her life to studying history.

Also see:

10 Most Affordable Online History Master's Degrees