What can I do with a degree in History?
Through their History degree, graduates develop a valuable set of skills that are transferrable to a range of careers, including:
- Consideration of the long-term outcomes of actions and decisions
- Evaluating persistent belief systems
- Understanding of the development and processes of conflict
- Logical and quantitative thinking
- Problem solving skills adaptable to differing contexts
- Thinking critically, creatively and challenging ideas
- Interpretive and analytical thinking
- Oral and written communication
- Research and computing skills.
Opportunities to apply your learning outside the classroom through work and other experiences also exist and can deepen your skills set and employability. Work and other experiences can also support and inform learning and skill development in the classroom.
The future, we are increasingly told, will belong to knowledge-workers, those who collect, evaluate and communicate information. History graduates leave university with a distinctive mix of skills which are useful in almost any job that involves information-processing. Studying History allows you to practise making balanced and impartial judgments. It trains you to research masses of material, make sense of it, draw conclusions and report in readable, concise prose.
Many History graduates join government departments, journalism, broadcasting, publishing, librarianship, archives, business administration, banking, the diplomatic service and the Waitangi Tribunal.
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Graduates with this degree are employed in a range of jobs including conservator, writer and policy analyst.
Some of the jobs listed may require further study at postgraduate level. Postgraduate study can contribute to your employability. It enables you to extend your knowledge and skills, indicates your motivation and ability to persevere at a high level academically and can make you more competitive in the job market. Postgraduate study may be a prerequisite for certain jobs.
- Analyses the history in terms of periods, locations and/or groups
- Publishes findings
- Maintains organisations and agencies historical records
- Chooses items for display at museums or galleries
- Manages collections
- Conducts research around pieces or collections for display
- Categorises and catalogues library materials
- Selects materials for library use
- Assists in customer use of library materials and finding information
- Museum officer
- Plans museum programmes
- Ensures safe transportation, insurance and security of items
- Provides information to museum visitors through a variety of methods
- Stores and organises materials in an accessible way
- Advises organisations as to what should be kept/archived and assists in locating materials
- Maintains and updates databases
- Secondary school teacher
- Prepares and delivers instructional activities and lessons in specialised subjects
- Observes and evaluates performance in order to provide feedback
- Develops and marks tests and assessments
- Policy analyst
- Researches and analyses information to assist in policy planning and development
- Reviews and interprets existing policies
- Prepares and presents reports
- Family genealogist
- Examines and analyses the personal information of a client in depth
- Creates family trees and stories, often including photographs
- Writes reports of findings
- Heritage manager
- Organises the maintenance, renovation and conservation of heritage buildings
- Markets the building to attract visitors
- Gains income from commercial use, such as venue hire
Entrepreneurship and innovation are increasingly becoming an important part of the world of work and should be considered as a career option. For more information about UC student innovation & entrepreneurship, related internships, scholarships, courses and activities go to Careers, Internships & Employment
For further information on job titles, please see the latest UC Graduate Destinations Survey
As they progress in their studies and into a career, our students and graduates often join professional bodies specific to their area of interest. These organisations offer graduates the opportunity to network and collaborate with others within the same community. Other relevant organisations are also listed.
- Professional Historians’ Association of New Zealand/Aotearoa
- New Zealand Military Historical Society
- Canterbury History Foundation
- New Zealand Society of Genealogists Inc.
- Australian Historical Association
Social media networks, such as LinkedIn (including LinkedIn groups), Facebook and Twitter can provide avenues for students and graduates to keep up-to-date with current industry knowledge and ‘best practice’, networking opportunities, industry-related events and job vacancies.
It is possible to study at postgraduate and graduate level in subjects both directly and indirectly related to your degree. For a list of postgraduate and graduate study options, go to Courses, Subjects and Qualifications
History graduates may continue on to the one-year Bachelor of Arts with Honours programme. Students who have completed an honours degree may proceed to the masters or doctoral programmes (PhD), both of which involve thesis work. Many Arts graduates do additional training in teaching, library, journalism or management.
Postgraduate scholarships enable the most able students to proceed to the History masters or PhD, either at the University of Canterbury or overseas. Postgraduate study can also lead to an academic career pathway in teaching and research.
Carefully consider your motivation for study, how it fits in with your long-term career plans and whether it is likely to enhance your employment prospects.