Careers in history

What do History majors go on to do? The following table suggests some common career pathways. While some of these pathways require graduate study, some do not; many are possible with or without graduate degrees.

Next steps for History majors

Role Employment setting How to get there
Information management Cultural institutions (archives, libraries, museums) Graduate study in archives, information management, or public records management
Curating/Public Programs Museums Graduate study in museum studies or curating
Research Universities, research institutes, cultural institutions, consulting firms, tourism Graduate research: Honours, MA or Doctor of Philosophy (Arts)
Policy advising Public service, nongovernmental or nonprofit organisations, special interest organisations Graduate employment programs with state or commonwealth public service (for BA or BA Honours), Graduate study in public policy or the Executive Master of Arts
Intelligence work Public service Graduate employment programs, for example with Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO), Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS), Department of Foreign Affiars and Trade (DFAT)
Teaching/Educating Secondary schools, Universities, Cultural institutions (museums, historic sites, state libraries) Graduate study (a teaching degree requires two ‘learning areas’), Graduate research (MA or Doctor of Philosophy (Arts))
Journalism and communications Media organisations, Corporate in-house communications; consulting firms Graduate study in journalism (Some cadetships are available; these are generally rural and regional), Graduate study in communications; graduate employment programs; some career-entry in the general job market
International relations or diplomacy Public service, International nongovernmental organisations Graduate employment programs with state or commonwealth public service (many departments have an international desk), Graduate study in international relations or history
International development and humanitarian work Public service (AusAID), International nongovernmental organisations Graduate employment programs with Australian Public Service, either with or without graduate study, Graduate study in development
Law Law firms, Public service, Corporations (in house) Graduate study in law
Indigenous history Land Councils  
Business Management Commercial organisations Graduate employment programs in corporations; or graduate study in commerce, management, Executive Master of Arts

Want to go straight to employment?

There are two pathways: general employment positions that are appropriate for new graduates, or Graduate Employment Programs, generally offered by large corporations or the public service.

For more information on Graduate Employment Programs, see the Melbourne Careers web page.

Want to get another degree?

Depending on your career goal, you may wish to get a research degree in History (MA or PhD) or to pursue a professional degree, such as a degree in Law or a Master’s in International Relations.

For more information on graduate study at Melbourne, please see the

How do I sell my skills as a History major?

The reading, writing, research, critical analysis, and argumentation skills you develop as a History major are core skills in a variety of fields. The UK graduate careers website has an excellent list of the skills History majors acquire:

  • critical reasoning and analytical skills, including the capacity for solving problems and thinking creatively, often through extensive reading
  • intellectual rigour and independence, including the ability to conduct research using different types of tools, such as information and communications technology, and sources
  • the ability to construct an argument by selecting and ordering relevant evidence and then to communicate findings in a structured, clear and persuasive manner, both orally and in writing
  • additional communication skills, such as negotiating, questioning and summarising
  • self-motivation and self-reliance with the ability to work without direct supervision and manage time and priorities effectively
  • the ability to discuss ideas in groups, accommodating different ideas and reaching agreement
  • the capacity to think objectively and approach problems and new situations with an open mind
  • an appreciation of the different factors that influence the activities of groups and individuals in society

How do I know which career is right for me?

Melbourne Careers offers a number of tools that can help you calibrate your strengths, interests and specialised knowledge to a career pathway. For more information, please see the Students Careers website.

More information