, History Is Not a Useless Major: Fighting Myths with Data, Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Likely it is a combination of the two. Admissions standards for many graduate programs, especially doctoral programs, in History are tough. Searching the annals of history for an answer. Most people think the only thing you can do with a history degree is being a teacher or historian, but you can also be a lawyer, politician, etc. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. A potent way to combat these myths is with concrete data. History major, and couldn't have said it better than this comment. The first thing to recognize when it comes to graduate study is that it is competitive. It is simple to see why - just imagine a world in which no one did this - we would have no academic discipline of history, in which case our understanding of our past would be greatly impoverished. Taken together at York or Warwick, they still aren't anything very remarkable. In addition, the reputation of your degree from American Military University may depend on what degree program you choose. If anyone can get in, the degree might hold less weight in the civilian world. The national average, by comparison, was 7.7 percent. Science students often receive full tuition remission and a stipend during graduate school. Please read our commenting and letters policy before submitting. The “fries” myth is definitely not backed up by the data; only 1.7 percent of history majors work in food preparation, compared to 5 percent of the overall population. Nearly one in five goes into education—just over half as primary-, middle-, and high-school teachers. For example, graduate degree holders in History are skilled in reading, writing, and argumentation. Some fields — such as teaching — can be immensely rewarding, but are notoriously low-paying. Apr 1, 2017. Most students pay for all of their education. I am currently studying history. I've made the decision on the degree I want to major in when I transfer to a 4 year and I picked history. The emotional side of the equation is powerful. Passion for a subject is wonderful— but you have to be able to market the degree. But knowing this, history departments must understand that it is imperative that they prepare majors for graduate school and offer guidance in educational and career choices. Majoring in history does not doom a graduate to a life of unemployment or underemployment. For history majors between the ages of 25 and 64 who are neither unemployed nor out of the workforce, the median income is currently $60,000 per year. In the USA doctoral programs include language requirements, coursework, and a dissertation. Each year in graduate school is another year without full-time income. In fact, history majors go on to become much better educated than the average person, filling roles in a wider range of careers than holders of many other degrees. Assuming you didn’t get a “zero” on the above assessment, there is a glimmer of hope that maybe your PhD is worth it. The degrees that lead to work are ones like dentistry, medicine, nursing, engineering,veterinary science, etc. Here are the 5 major reasons why it’s worth getting your PhD degree after all the time, energy, money, and effort it requires. History is a subject that is easily self taught. We've asked recent graduates and current students what they think. Data on the number of history bachelors’ degrees awarded in 2015 were gleaned from the annual National Center for Education Statistics via the NSF’s WebCASPAR system at https://ncsesdata.nsf.gov/webcaspar. Follow him on Twitter @publicmedieval. This feature is not available right now. If you're interested in making tons of money, here's a … Courses, Jobs, Salaries, Public Health Major: Courses, Jobs, Salaries, It's Never Too Late: How to Apply to Grad School When You're Over 65, 6 Tips Applying to Grad School for a Different Major, Thanking a Professor for Writing a Recommendation Letter, 3 Considerations in Selecting a Graduate Program, Pros and Cons of Earning a Master's Degree Before a PhD, What to Expect From a Teaching Assistantship, How to Write a Successful Personal Statement for Graduate School, Ph.D., Developmental Psychology, Fordham University, M.A., Developmental Psychology, Fordham University. All data were taken from the ACS’s 2010–14 5-year Public Use Microdata Sample (PUMS). From the ACS, we know that over the years 2010–14, some 29.7 percent of all American adults over 25 completed a bachelor’s degree or higher. The American Academy of Arts and Sciences Humanities Indicators project released an analysis of ACS data showing that those with degrees in the humanities earn less (in terms of median income) than those with degrees in engineering, health care, business, and the sciences (see fig. A Q&A with National University President David Andrews on how the pandemic will transform the business of higher education. you take a B.A. The idea that a history degree doesn’t lead directly into a profession is true only for students who expect to become professional historians or to work in a closely related occupation. In fact, history majors go on to become much better educated than the average person, filling roles in a wider range of careers than holders of many other degrees. Methodological note: All ACS data cited in this article include only those individuals between the ages of 25 and 64 who were in full-time employment, who achieved a bachelor’s degree or higher, and who stated that their field of study for their bachelor’s degree was either history or US history. But for those in education, it is $47,000, and for those who go into community and social services, the median is $45,000. Paul B. Sturtevant | The worst that can be said of this situation is that many of those careers are socially undervalued. Please read our commenting and letters policy before submitting. The pride of becoming the first in your family to earn a graduate degree, being called "Doctor," and living a life of the mind are all tempting rewards. While it is true that having a degree, in general, puts you in a better position than not having one, if you are looking for a degree that will provide employment opportunities, Art History probably ain't it. The American Historical Association welcomes comments in the discussion area below, at AHA Communities, and in letters to the editor. Academic jobs in History are hard to come by. Data suggest prospects for potential history majors are good, but history departments must offer guidance in career and graduate school choices. The lessons of history will help you deal with everyday problems, understand human behaviours and psychology (much better than a psychology degree! While history majors do have a slightly higher unemployment rate, the data show that someone interested in the field should not be deterred; the difference is very slight. However, in recent years, there's been more and more discussion of whether college is, truly, worth the cost . With all these issues being commented on and discussed regularly in the media and around you, you could well be feeling that the payoff of going to university just isn’t worth it any more. O n their own, they aren't particularly remarkable. Below are a few considerations. Those that have a degree in history will be the first to say that their degree is not a waste and has helped them immensely. As student loans hit the $1.5 trillion mark and more and more graduates are faced wi… By Anything involving writing and argument is greatly assisted by knowledge of history, and just reading history will make you learn the techniques by imitation. Paul B. Sturtevant is a medievalist, social scientist, and public historian. The truth is very different. Pros and Cons of a Graduate Degree in English, The 7 Best Online Colleges for 2020 Enrollment, What Is a Communications Major? Competition for entry to graduate study in History is stiff. For those in the legal occupations, the median is $100,000. These considerations are less relevant for students who plan on careers outside of academia. History tends to be well respected by employers as a challenging academic subject, and the analytical skills it develops could lead to a career in an area such as education or law. On the positive side, a graduate degree offers many opportunities outside of the ivory tower. So unless you plan on being a historian or history teacher then it isnt particularly specific, but definetley not worthless. A history degree provides a broad skillset that has ensured that history majors are employed in almost every walk of life, with some notable trends (see fig. Many humanities PhDs work as adjunct instructors (earning about $2,000-$3,000 per course) for years. Most myths begin with a kernel of truth that is then warped beyond recognition. The Big Question: Is a College Degree Still Worth It? This means you need to complete the requirements of the first degree before commencing the second. Tags: Graduate students in History have fewer funding sources than science students do. But the sense persists that the push toward STEM comes at the direct expense of humanities majors; history enrollments have declined sharply since at least 2011. History: It’s Not a Useless Major. technically a history degree isnt giving you any real job specific skills. The vast majority of history majors, of course, do not become professional historians; according to the ACS, only 4.5 percent of history majors become educators at a postsecondary level (that is, mostly college professors). 1). You can always double major, but do something more marketable as well. Over the past 20 years, warnings from a variety of sources—from career counselors to administrators to government officials—have convinced many prospective college students (and their parents) that the only safe path to a well-paying job is through a STEM major. Some History students work as teaching assistants and receive some tuition remission benefits or a stipend. However it shows that you are clever, hard working, literate etc and that should make you desirable. A master’s degree in political science is a more in depth study of the broader topics that were covered in an Undergraduate Political Science curriculum. 3). Ultimately, though, it is your graduate degree that will determine your employability. A degree in political science can absolutely be worth it in terms of return on investment and pay off. As in the general workforce, it is the occupation of college graduates in the humanities, rather than their undergraduate major, that accounts for differences in income. But the ACS data imply that many history majors do not expect to become historians and that they find meaningful careers in a wide range of fields. A double degree requires you to complete two separate qualifications – one after the other. Until recently, the answer was easy: not going to college. Ph.D. You won't make as much money as you think. Numerous studies over the years have shown that individuals with college degrees significantly out-earn those with high school degrees by $1 million or more over the course of a lifetime. Go to a reputable state school where the tuition is reasonable and the degrees are accredited. Yes, a history degree is absolutely worth it. Many of the negative considerations in deciding whether to apply to graduate school in History emphasize the difficulty of obtaining employment in academic settings and the financial challenges that come with graduate study. I also went to public schools my entire life (including undergrad and law school) so my student loans are very manageable. Otherwise, you may be overwhelmed with debt as you start your career. The skills that you will hone as you pursue your graduate degree are valued in virtually all employment settings. And employers of STEM graduates say that they value skills cultivated in a wide-ranging curriculum. What’s more expensive than going to college? But for those in managerial positions, the median is $80,000. History degrees offer a good intellectual challenge and are well respected by employers. Thankfully, a massive repository of data, the American Community Survey (ACS), tells us much about the lives of history majors. In advising students, talking to parents, and listening to the priorities articulated by state legislatures, we continue to encounter widespread myths about the lives of people who graduate with history BAs. But that does not mean that a degree in history … History and other humanities students often take longer to complete their dissertations than science students do. Members of the academy—including STEM faculty themselves—have repeatedly challenged assertions that majoring in the humanities is useless. The ACS data offer us a snapshot of these history majors across the country and at different phases of life: from recent graduates to those in retirement. The differences in median income among the humanities disciplines are not significant; the disparity between highest- and lowest-paid humanities majors in the workforce is only a few thousand dollars (see fig. These data are then compiled and aggregated into one-, three-, and five-year estimates. This quick overview of pragmatic considerations in determining whether graduate study in History is for you highlights some of the challenges, but your academic and professional career is yours to make. But that does not mean that a degree in history is any less valuable. Conservation or restoration work, archeological surveying, architecture, research, librarian work, tourism, etc. Completing a PhD will open up a lot of doors in terms of career advancement, and it can be quick too if you go through one of the shortest doctoral programs.But knowing which one to take can be an incredibly tricky task. But history fares well in terms of compensation when compared to other humanities majors. Historians' skills in reading, writing and argumentation skills are valued outside of academia. A combined degree also means you will graduate with two degrees, but instead, you complete them both concurrently in an integrated structure. If the only consideration when choosing a major is whether you will be earning six figures by the age of 30, then history may not be the best field. Those who decide to seek full-time employment rather than reapply for academic jobs work in college administration, publishing, the government, and non-profit agencies. And it isn’t enough to appreciate the degree yourself. Resources for Undergraduates Thus, here is an article that gives you an idea of this degree in the aspect of gaining knowledge, career opportunities and salaries based on which you can make up your mind if it is worth getting a degree in political science. It's great for personal enrichment, critical thinking, writing and reading skills, and knowledge; but not for the job market. Students who plan, take advantage of an opportunity and remain open to considering a range of career options increase the odds of a graduate degree in History paying off in the long run. One fear is that history degrees do not offer a life of gainful employment or the job security that other careers might. The benefits of studying history go far beyond what you read about in history books, and the skills you learn can serve you in a … But as the cost of education increases faster than inflation, people are beginning to question how they spend their education dollars. If it is high pay, then no. The ACS found that 4.6 percent of history majors between the ages of 25 and 64 were unemployed at the time they were surveyed. Are you considering a master's or doctoral degree in History? Tara Kuther, Ph.D., is a professor at Western Connecticut State University. Myth 2: A History Major Does Not Prepare You for Gainful Employment. In short, it is not that history majors are underpaid. Majoring in history does not doom a graduate to a life of unemployment or underemployment. Many faculty members advise their students not to go into debt to earn a graduate degree in History because of the job market for college professors, especially in the humanities, is bad. It’s important to note that nearly half of the history majors identified by the ACS went on to graduate school (see fig. Ultimately graduate school decisions are complex and highly personal. These myths are largely based on misinformation about the prospective lives of those who major in history. In contrast, science students are often funded by grants that their professors write to support their research. But is a university degree really worth all that money? 5). It includes questions on a wide range of topics, from demographic details like age and race/ethnicity to situational data like housing and employment status. What about kinesiology interests you? In a difficult economic climate, the question becomes even more perplexing. I wanted to major in business, but I love history just as much. The proportion who become museum professionals—0.5 percent of the total—is a very small slice of the overall pie as well. Graduate study is expensive. 2)—a much higher percentage than the national average (37 percent) and higher than majors in English (45 percent) and the liberal arts (26 percent).