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What Can I Do with a History Doctorate?

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If you are looking into pursuing a history doctorate and are hoping to get some insight on jobs with a history Ph.D., you have come to the right place. Because achieving a terminal degree in history is often quite specific, you probably already have a finger on the pulse of what you would like to do once you publish your dissertation and call it a day. But maybe you don’t. History Ph.D. job prospects are not one size fits all. In fact, achieving a career once your program is complete is most likely going to be dependent on what specialization you emphasize in your doctorate studies, the connections you have made, and what scholarship you have created. However, job projections in the field of history have a positive outlook. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the history Ph.D. job market is going to grow by three percent in the next ten years. That may not seem like a huge increase, but it’s not going anywhere. This is good to know that the investment in your education will most likely not be in vain. History Ph.D. jobs are vast and expansive. Let’s take a look at some of the possibilities here. 

First off, when you complete a Ph.D. program in history, you most certainly will have honed your research, writing, and critical thinking skills. All of these are valuable tools for which to engage countless professions. Such skills come with the territory and will be deduced by employers, just by seeing the fact that you have made such an accomplishment. Maybe you have already achieved your master’s degree in history and are trying to determine if you should go further. This can get you far in business, project management, teaching/ education, journalism, and many related and unrelated paths. Many people assume that history Ph.D. jobs primarily consist of teaching and that is not the case. There are many options for you when it comes to history Ph.D. jobs outside academia. We will look a little more deeply at some of those options below.

Jobs with a History PhD

History Professor

Ok, I know. This is the most obvious job on the list. Many people equate the trajectory to achieve a Ph.D. in history to working towards a job teaching postsecondary history courses. While this is one of the most common goals for achieving a Ph.D. in history, it’s not the only job option out there. As aforementioned, there are many history Ph.D. jobs outside academia, but regardless this is an excellent way to contribute to the academy while, in many cases, being able to still write and offer research in your discipline. It might not be right away that you will be able to achieve a full-time professorship, but there is a lot to be learned from being an adjunct. You will also be able to help shape the next generations of thinkers and historians. 


Historians are charged with gathering information and going after origin and historical legacies. Historians often write books, comb through oral histories, research documents, and find information in places they are skilled to find. They may also be the ones responsible for finding information on old buildings and plots of land. Historians might choose to look specifically at a specific area, region, or population for which to place their focus. As far as history phd jobs go, historians can find a very rewarding career that is entirely in line with their own interests and passions. 


Archivists and curators have similar jobs. Archivists are generally responsible for working with documents. This can include historical records, maps, land deeds, articles, among others. They may be responsible for restoring documents so they will be able to have a lifespan beyond our own. Archivists might work for historical societies, institutions of higher learning, and even libraries. They are also generally the ones responsible for organizing the documents and setting up a protocol for how to handle the materials. The phd will be your ticket to the necessary research based skills you will need for this profession. 

Academic Dean 

Obtaining a doctorate is an amazing accomplishment, it takes years of hard work and dedication so it comes as no surprise that individuals that make it to the finish line would qualify to hold one of the high positions in a college institution. A college Dean is the key figurehead of a single aspect of the college like the Dean of the History Department, or Education. Achievement of a doctorate in education would qualify former history majors for a seat at the head of a department, and according to payscale, academic deans make an average of $92,201 each year.


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Ready to start your journey?

Ready to start your journey?