Last Updated: May 03, 2021
Studying History in the USA
Taking History as a degree after high school may seem to be a continuation of the approach students were taught during their History classes. But when History meant memorizing dates and events that took place in the not-so-recent past during high school, students attending college will be surprised to learn that it is more about analyzing the past than memorizing it.
Due to the vastness of the course, students will have the choice of selecting from their field of interest and eventually focusing on them as their research area. Students often do not conclude their educational endeavors after their Bachelor’s. Most of them move on to do their Master’s and Ph.D. in order to excel in the field they are focusing on.
History can be an interesting subject option for students with an inclination in subjects and events that shaped the country to what it is today. Several career options in the USA are available for students who want to bury deep into the annals of time and carve a career out of it.
B.A. in History
Students who are interested in the History of the United States of America can opt for a B.A. in History since the course deals with multitudes of topics that impacted the country and brought both development and crisis to it. Students will have to learn about the different political leaders from the different centuries along with other topics like the industrial revolution and the scientific advancements from over the years. Despite having a focus on the history of the happenings within the country, students will have to learn about World Civilization, Progress of Feminism, Progressivism, etc. during their Bachelor’s which will help them place the country’s history within the context of world history.
Course Duration of B.A History
Undergraduate courses in History often deal with the basics of the subject by laying the foundations required and letting students study the historical approach to texts and events before they focus on the events in themselves. The approach makes them evaluate and analyze history all the while tracking patterns that are both sociological and political to learn their present through the past.
Completing a B.A. course can take a duration of 3 to 4 years in all depending on the place the student is planning to study in.
Courses Taught in B.A. History
Students are given foundational courses in World History before they focus entirely on U.S. History which helps them understand and place historical events in the right contexts. The courses that are generally taught are
- Ancient/ Medieval History
- Asian History
- Middle Eastern History
- Latin American History
- African History
- European History
- United States History
M.A. in History
M.A. in History can be pursued by students who want to expand their job opportunities and also for learning more about the American Government and Administration. The course generally contains information relating to the Civil Wars, African American History among other topics. Overall, the course will deal with an extensive account of American Culture and its journey to the present day.
It is not uncommon for colleges to recommend foreign language studies to students in order to gain their efficiency in reading texts during their Master’s. There will be advanced coursework that helps them develop their historical approach further and also allow them to write their theories in the thesis they have to submit. Some colleges also let students take up internships in museums or libraries which can help them gain the exposure they require and also give them practical knowledge of the work field.
For those individuals who are interested in studying history, there is also a Post Master's Certificate Program in History available for the Master’s degree holders where topics like Federalism, Democracy, Internationalism, etc. are covered. A Master’s degree is required for gaining admission to this program. The top two schools for the graduate program in history in the US are the University of Michigan Ann Arbor and the University of Pennsylvania.
Application Requirements for M.A. History
The general application requirements for a graduate program in History are-
- Undergraduate Degree with at least upper-level history courses completed.
- GPA of 3 and above in B.A.
- Official Transcripts from previous colleges.
- 2-3 Letters of Recommendation
- Duly-Filled out Application Forms
- Statement of Purpose
- GRE. If required.
Course Requirements for M.A. in History
The course content for a Graduate’s degree in History can range from the different seminars students are expected to attend to the subjects they have to deal with in different semesters of the course. The subjects included in the curriculum may be titled differently by different colleges though the content can remain nearly the same as long as the ages the course deals with are similar.
Generally speaking, popular departments like the Department of History in The American University has split the content for M.A. students as
- History Concentration and
- Public History
Students are expected to complete a set number of credits in each of these courses where the history from 1789 till 1900 will be covered.
Ph.D. in History
Unlike other courses, taking a Ph.D. in History is a long course that can be completed anytime between 5 to 8 years of extensive research and study. This path offers a lot many career opportunities for students and yet very few people take the journey due to the diligence and hard work required to achieve the degree. The minimum requirements for a Ph.D. are the required coursework and a dissertation which has to be originally written and defended by the candidate.
Before applying for the course candidates must be aware of the field of study they have chosen considering the vastness of the field and the many theoretical approaches they can use for studying the same.
Candidates who have completed their Bachelor’s degree in History can work in different fields though they cannot in fact seek high-paying jobs due to being underqualified in general. Despite this, they can still find work as a Museum Educator who speaks at museums trying to familiarize tourists with the artifacts and historical happenings of the place.
Graduates and Master's degree holders can find jobs in the USA at political arenas, information and archivist fields, museums, and also legal professions. Students can apply for the post of a campaign worker, lobbyist, librarian, and many more. Students can also seek fields like journalism, publishing sector, business sector, charity, and voluntary services sector. They can also don the hat of a history teacher, museum curator, politicians to name a few. With a Ph.D. degree, one can even become an archivist, historian, intelligence analyst, information specialist, nonfiction historical writer, librarian of historical works, the options are endless.
Notable professions for students in this field are-
- Historian- They can work in academia by focusing on their research and furthering the conclusions made on historic events by constantly analyzing and studying old texts. The median pay for being a Historian is $63,100 per year.
- Museum Curator- They get to make the decisions on the artifacts that have to be both purchased and displayed by the museum due to their relevance. They are also generally provided with the duty of overseeing the museum and its working conditions. Their average salary is around $52,140 per year.
- Archivist- They have to archive texts according to their historical significance and hence can work both for the public and the private sector. According to their qualification, they can get an average salary of $56,760.
- Provost- This job is for people who want to work at the top-tier of academic administration. Students who have completed their Ph.D. can apply for the post after they have worked as a professor for a set number of years. The average salary for the job is around $149,020 per year.
- Museum Educator- Candidates who have completed only their Bachelor’s degree in History can take up jobs in museums where they will be required to explain the artifacts and monuments involved to the tourists and other visitors who visit the place. The average salary they receive is around $50,610.
- Museum Technician/ Collection Specialist- Candidates who have a Bachelor’s degree in History can take up this job which deals with the safety of the artifacts in the museum and the technical works associated with the preservation of the same. The average salary they receive is around $52,140.
Candidates can also move into professions like teaching, publishing, preservation or they can move on to other fields of study with the wisdom they have earned in this field. The other fields that are commonly taken up by students are law, arts and even journalism where the historical approach taught in the subject can be extensively used.