What can I do with a degree in History?

Students looking at historic manuscripts full size

History is crucial to the health of a people, exploring past events in order to inform us about today and about who we are.

Studying history develops skilled analysis of evidence and arguments, and the ability to put things in perspective. Such skills developed from studying History can be applied in a wide range of careers.

History graduates have a distinctive mix of skills which are useful in almost any job involving discovery, analysis, interpretation, independent thought and communication. These include:

  • Thinking critically and creatively
  • Interpretive and analytical thinking
  • Oral and written communication
  • Research
  • Digital and computing skills
  • Problem solving skills
  • Ability to make balanced, impartial judgements
  • Consideration of multiple perspectives, materials and outcomes.

Opportunities to apply your learning outside the classroom are available in this major. Undertaking an internship, for example, can deepen your skillset, awareness of others, working knowledge, and employability.

History graduates enjoy a variety of destinations. Recent UC graduates have been employed in:

  • Heritage organisations eg, Te Papa Tongarewa Museum of New Zealand, Archives New Zealand
  • Publishers eg, Reed Business Information Australia, PocketGuide
  • Media outlets eg, APN News & Media, TVNZ
  • New Zealand government eg, the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Justice, and Business, Innovation and Employment; the Treasury; Parliament; Department of Internal Affairs; the New Zealand Defence Force; Inland Revenue
  • Treaty of Waitangi administrative bodies eg, the Waitangi Tribunal, Office of Treaty Settlements
  • Education eg, tertiary sector and high schools
  • Non-government organisations eg, Asia New Zealand Foundation
  • Not-for-profits eg, NZCare Disability
  • Regional councils and affiliates eg, Ashburton Council, CERA, Environment Canterbury
  • Public and private organisations in other countries eg, Australia, the UK, the USA
  • Private companies in tourism, archaeology, insurance, legal, IT, and other sectors.

Graduates with this degree are employed in a range of jobs — see some examples below.

Note: Some of the jobs listed may require postgraduate study. See the ‘Further study’ section.

Historian

  • Analyses sources to uncover the history of a period, place, person, group or aspect
  • Publishes findings and shares knowledge
  • Maintains historical records

Policy analyst / advisor

  • Identifies and investigates issues and opportunities eg, in society, law or governance
  • Interprets and consults on existing policies
  • Prepares reports and recommends changes

Secondary school teacher

  • Plans and delivers instructional lessons
  • Evaluates performance and provides feedback
  • Sets and marks assignments and tests

Librarian

  • Categorises and catalogues library materials
  • Selects materials for library use
  • Helps customers find and use materials

Communications / media advisor, journalist

  • Develops information, media and communication strategies
  • Researches, writes, edits and produces content

Archivist

  • Stores and organises materials
  • Advises organisations on what to keep and how
  • Maintains and updates databases

Museum officer

  • Plans museum programmes
  • Ensures security of items and arranges logistics
  • Informs museum visitors

Teacher of English for speakers of other languages

  • Assesses a student’s reading, writing, speaking and listening skills and needs
  • Designs and prepares learning materials
  • Presents lessons or tutorials

Heritage manager / advisor

  • Organises the maintenance, renovation and conservation of heritage buildings
  • Markets the building to attract visitors
  • Gains income from commercial use eg, events

Academic / learning advisor

  • Develops learning resources or courses
  • Uses technology to deliver training
  • Advises how to develop skills or plan studies

Author / writer

  • Researches and writes stories, articles, scripts, poems, instructions or plays to entertain/inform
  • Works with a publisher or producer to promote and disseminate it

Publisher / editor

  • Plans and commissions content for publication
  • Edits and organises online and print materials
  • Liaises with other staff to oversee production

Research analyst / advisor / assistant

  • Organises and conducts research surveys
  • Tests theories and interprets the results
  • Writes reports and makes recommendations

Marketing officer / manager

  • Collects and analyses market insight
  • Prepares and implements marketing plans
  • Works with others to promote goods or services

Customer services officer / representative

  • Provides information or advice to people
  • Starts the next steps in the process

Entrepreneur and CEO

  • Gets involved in a start-up
  • Offers services as a freelancer/consultant

Get started with Entrepreneurship here

As they progress, students and graduates often join professional bodies or organisations relevant to their area of interest. These organisations can provide regular communications and offer the chance to network with others in a community.

Social media networks such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter can provide avenues to keep up-to-date with industry knowledge, networking opportunities, events and job vacancies.

Learn from our students' experiences

For more information

see the History subject page