What can you do with a master's degree in history?

  • Historians interpret the research of other professionals to develop their own theories.
    Historians interpret the research of other professionals to develop their own theories.

    What can you do with a master's degree in history?

    A Master of Arts in History broadens students’ knowledge of the world’s most renowned events, people and conflicts. Here are some careers that require an advanced degree in History:

    History professor

    If you’re interested in teaching students how to interpret events and time periods of the past, you may be suited to a career as a history professor. You might have the ability to teach your specialty, such as Medieval Europe, African American history, Latin American studies or another niche topic. In other cases, you might teach an overarching U.S. or world history course.

    Becoming a college or university professor isn’t just enriching and rewarding, it’s extremely lucrative. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary of postsecondary teachers of history at colleges, universities and professional schools is $83,890. A few factors can affect your salary, including:

    • Location.
    • College/university funding.
    • Degree level.
    • Experience level.

    Many universities require their history professors to have a PhD in history. Other colleges are willing to hire candidates with a master’s degree in history. However, to get the most of this career path and to open doors for employment, you might consider getting a doctorate in history in the future.


    If you’re more interested in researching history than teaching it, you might be interested in a career as a historian. According to the BLS, historians typically perform the following tasks:

    • Analyzing historical information.
    • Using different sources to collect historical data and insights.
    • Writing articles and books on historical theories.
    • Teaching history to the public in the form of educational programs and presentations.

    The degree of pay for this career path is directly related to the sector in which historians work. While the overall median salary of this career is $59,120, according to the BLS, the median incomes of historians in different industries varies as follows:

    • Federal government: $94,800.
    • Professional, scientific and technical services: $60,180.
    • State government: $52,350.
    • Local government: $30,720.

    Although you can get hired as a historian with a master’s degree, certain sectors may only hire candidates with a PhD. For instance, if you’d like to work as a historian for the federal government or within academia, you typically need a doctorate, either in the form of a PhD in history or in a specific area of history.

    Museum curator

    With a projected job growth of 14 percent through 2026, as reported by the BLS, museum curators are in high demand. These professionals oversee historic collections and choose the theme and layout of museum exhibits. They might work in large-scale museums or might work directly with the government or academia.

    To become a museum curator, you will need to have a master’s degree, particularly in history, museum studies or a similar field. While small museums may hire candidates with a bachelor’s degree, you may benefit from pursuing an advanced degree so you can grow in your career.

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