popular history careers

Data from nortonlearningblog.com

What to do with a history major

Every aspect of humans' lives is shaped by political, environmental, cultural, and social factors.  Our students ask the historical questions to understand why the world is the way that it is and how they can change it for the better.  While our students can explore history major and minor options, the skills they learn in our courses prepare them for careers in a wide variety of fields including business, law, government, international business, education, research, public history, historic preservation, and numerous other areas. Regardless of what career you choose, you will be able to think critically, write persuasively, consider a problem from multiple perspectives, and ask relevant questions -- these are the intellectual skills that many employers demand.

Our career paths are designed to help you craft an academic plan for your specific interests and future goals. To find descriptions of the courses below, check out our online catalog - all the history course options are listed under the History Major Option.  Click on the course number to see the course description.

Pre-Professional Career Path

Pre-Law

History's emphasis on reading and interpreting evidence, understanding context, and writing makes it an ideal pre-law major. History students develop the ability to make clear and reasoned arguments, along with critical thinking, research, and writing skills that are necessary for the study of law.  In addition, lawyers often use primary sources (photographs, depositions, contracts) with secondary sources (case law) to develop their cases.  All history courses help to prepare students for law school, but here are some suggested additional options. 

World History courses

European History courses

U.S. History courses

All history courses contain critical thinking and writing components that will benefit pre-law students.

Public History

Public historians use many skills that we teach in our department.  From collaborating with community partners to giving research presentations to broad public audiences, public historians use a variety of methods such as museum exhibits, documentary films, oral histories, and digital media.  In their work, public historians make history interesting and accessible to the general public. Our students look at potential careers in museums, archives, research libraries, non-profits, cultural resource management, historic preservation offices with state and local governments, and National Parks, to name a few popular options.

HSTA 409 - Food in America

HSTA 412IH - American Thought and Culture

HSTA 416 - Race and Class in America

HSTA 450 - History of American Indians

HSTA 468 - History of Yellowstone

HSTA 482 - Technology and the Fate of Humanity

HSTR 105IH - Making Our World in Ten Events

HSTR 207CS - Sci and Tech in World History

HSTR 308 - Ancient Egypt

HSTR 331 - Archaeology, Exploration and Religion

HSTR 423 - European Intellectual History

HSTR 425 - Mapping the World

HSTR 467 - History of Mountaineering

HSTR 498 - Museum Studies

Education

Our history education students find jobs working in middle schools and secondary schools teaching history and history-related subjects across the nation.  In conjunction with the Department of Education, the department offers a teacher education program for students seeking careers teaching secondary level history or social studies. Students who want to be certified to teach should be enrolled in a teaching major. By  earning their degrees in the History Teaching Option, students may apply for state certification. For more information, go to the Department of Education website.

A variety of classes that fulfill history education requirements can be found at the History Teaching Option.

Government and International Relations

Critical thinking, problem-solving, and communication skills are invaluable for careers in the government sector and our history students learn all of these.  In addition, having an understanding of how the world has worked historically benefits students who are looking for jobs in international relations.

HSTA 311 - Early America

HSTA 315 - The Age of Jefferson and Jackson: The Early American Republic

HSTA 316 - American Civil War Era

HSTA 320 - Birth of Modern US: 1965 - 1945

HSTA 322 - Am History: WWII to Present

HSTA 406 - McCarthy, Populism and Fear in US Politics

HSTA 412IH - American Thought and Culture

HSTA 416 - Race and Class in America

HSTA 450 - History of American Indians

HSTA 470 - American Environmental History

HSTR 425 - Mapping the World

HSTR 105IH - Making Our World in Ten Events

HSTR 130D - Latin American History

HSTR 135D - The Modern Middle East

HSTR 140D - Modern Asia

HSTR 145D - Reinventing Japan

HSTR 322 - 19th Century Europe

HSTR 324 - 20th Century Europe

HSTR 345 - Modern China

HSTR 346 - Modern India

HSTR 350 - Modern Britain

HSTR 353 - Modern France

HSTR 359 - Russia to 1917

HSTR 362 - Modern German

HSTR 372 - The World at War

HSTR 376 - Twentieth Century War

HSTR 407 - Soviet Union: Rise & Fall

HSTR 423 - European Intellectual History

HSTR 435 - Latin America: Human Rights

HSTR 436 - Armed Conflict in Modern Latin America

HSTR 445 - Environ, Health & Sci in Japan

HSTR 446 - Science and Medicine in China

Business

An increasing number of history majors are going into business related jobs.  History majors learn skills that set them apart – outstanding reading and writing skills paired with strong communication and presentation skills are necessary for many jobs.  In addition, our students learn intangible skills such as a sense of perspective, an ability to make connections, and a willingness to see the world as a dynamic, ever changing place. 

All history courses have writing and research components that would be of benefit to students.

Thematic Study

Environmental

Our environmental history professors teach students how to use fragmentary data from the past to make strong and convincing arguments.  And in environmental history, they use traditional archives as well as interdisciplinary sources: scientific reports, public policy, and the laboratory of the outdoors.  Having experience in these areas helps our students to find jobs in environmentally related fields. 

HSTA 468 - History of Yellowstone

HSTA 470 - American Environmental History

HSTR 205CS - The World Environment

HSTR 208RH - Sci, Envir, Tech, Soc: Common Exp.

HSTR 445 - Environ, Health & Sci in Japan

HSTR 467- HIstory of Mountaineering

HSTR 482 - Animal HIstories

HSTR 484 - World Environmental History

Race, Gender, and Sexuality

These courses highlight how race, gender, and sexuality have profoundly shaped societies, religious beliefs, personal identity, and political mobilization across history and across the globe.  These interrelated historical forces have structured social hierarchies and inequalities and have intersected with one another to support and subvert social and political formations, such as identity, class, nation, and empire.

HSTA 402 - Sex and Sexuality in America

HSTA 407 - Gender in the US & Canadian West

HSTA 408 - Gender in America

HSTA 416 - Race and Class in America

HSTA 450 - History of American Indians

HSTR 430- Latin Amer Social History

HSTR 431 - Race in Latin America

HSTR 434 - Gender in Latin America

HSTR 435 - Latin America: Human Rights

HSTR 443 - Gender in Asia

Science, Environment, Technology, Society (SETS)

The SETS major offers students a multi-disciplinary course of study that analyzes science, technology, and the environment within their broader cultural contexts, including intellectual and social history, environmental history, religious studies, and philosophy.

A variety of classes that fulfill the SETS major can be found at the SETS option.

Regional Study

American West

Specializing in the History of America and the American West, the department offers advanced level coursework in topics ranging from "Montana and the West"  to "Food in America" to "History of American Indians."

MSU's history department offers many courses that relate to the American West.

HSTA 160D - Introduction to the Am West

HSTA 320 - Birth of the Modern US: 1865 - 1945

HSTA 322 - Am HIstory: WWII to Present

HSTA 407 - Gender in US & Canadian West

HSTA 409 - Food in America

HSTA 416 - Race and Class in America

HSTA 450 - History of American Indians

HSTA 460 - Montana and the West

HSTA 464 - Trans-Mississippi West

HSTA 468 - History of Yellowstone

American History

Gaining a strong background in American history helps to understand the evolution of the country and what it means to be an America.  Our faculty cover all periods of American history in their courses which give students a broad perspective and context on current and historical events.

MSU has introductory American history courses available.  Other notable American history courses:

HSTA 311 - Early America

HSTA 315 - The Age of Jefferson and Jackson: The Early Republic Years

HSTA 316 - American Civil War Era

HSTA 320 - Birth of the Modern US: 1865 - 1945

HSTA 322 - Am HIstory: WWII to Present

HSTA 402 - Sex and Sexuality in America

HSTA 406 - McCarthy, Populism and Fear in US Politics

HSTA 407 - Gender in US & Canadian West

HSTA 408 - Gender in America

HSTA 409 - Food in America

HSTA 412 - American Thought and Culture

HSTA 416 - Race and Class in America

HSTA 450 - History of American Indians

HSTA 470 - American Environmental History

Asian History

Asia has shaped our world’s history and will continue to do so.  Our courses give students the background on historical factors in the development of modern Asian nations and insight into the cultures and peoples found on our largest continent with almost sixty percent of the world’s population.

HSTR 140D - Modern Asia

HSTR 145D - Reinventing Japan

HSTR 340 - Age of the Shoguns

HSTR 342 - Japan's Meiji Revolution

HSTR 345 - Modern China

HSTR 346 - Modern India

HSTR 375 - Eurasian Borderlands

HSTR 443 - Gender in Asia

HSTR 445 - Environ, Health & Sci in Japan

HSTR 446 - Science and Medicine in China

HSTR 484 - World Environmental History

European History

The study of Europe, as the source of many of the ideas that have shaped our country and the world, remains central to understanding processes that shape our lives.  From the development of ideas about the nation-state, democracy, and capitalism to the invention of the printing press, the railroad, and other

HSTR 105IH - Making Our World in Ten Events

HSTR 302 - Ancient Greece

HSTR 304 - Ancient Rome

HSTR 322 - 19th Century Europe

HSTR 324 - 20th Century Europe

HSTR 350 - Modern Britain

HSTR 353 - Modern France

HSTR 359 - Russia to 1917

HSTR 362 - Modern Germany

HSTR 372 -  The World at War

HSTR 375 - Eurasian Borderlands

HSTR 376 - Twentieth Century War

HSTR 407 - Soviet Union: Rise & Fall

HSTR 423 - European Intellectual History

HSTR 425 - Mapping the World

HSTR 467 - History of Mountaineering

HSTR 468 - From Empire to Republic

HSTR 484 - World Environmental History

Latin American History

Students interested in transnational studies or the history of Latin America will find a variety of courses available to them.  Research interests of faculty are wide ranging and include social, cultural, and political history, and the study of migration, labor, politics, environment, gender and race relations, and popular movements.

HSTR 130D - Latin American History

HSTR 330 - History of Mexico

HSTR 430 - Latin Amer Social History

HSTSR 431 - Race in Latin America

HSTR 433 - Latin American Perspectives

HSTR 434 - Gender in Latin America

HSTR 435 - Latin America: Human Rights

HSTR 436 - Armed Conflict in Modern Latin America

HSTR 484 - World Environmental History

Middle Eastern and Egyptian History

The Middle East has long been a the center of human history - from some of the world's first civilizations to today's news. Courses explore the birth of world religions, the rise and fall of great empires, the development of scientific and mathematic and philosophical ideas, the rise of global political movements, and intellectual production and ownership of antiquity.

HSTR 135D - The Modern Middle East

HSTR 150D - Religion, Conflict & Politics

HSTR 160 - Modern World History

HSTR 207CS - Sci and Tech in World History

HSTR 210IH - History of the Bible

HSTR 308 - Ancient Egypt

HSTR 331 - Archaeology, Exploration, and Religion

HSTR 366 - Middle East/20th Century

HSTR 372 - The World at War

HSTR 376 - Twentieth Century War

HSTR 425 - Mapping the World

HSTR 484 - World Environmental History