Three careers you can pursue with a history degree from Marian University

by User Not Found | Jan 16, 2019

January 16, 2019

History Major and Degree Highlights

The study of history explores and defines essential elements of our identity—who we are, where we come from, and how we are connected. It considers how the past relates to the present and how individuals and societies can influence the future through historical knowledge.

If you’re thinking about majoring in history, here’s information about our program and three career paths from which you might choose.

Why study history?

Graduate with an essential framework for addressing and resolving challenging issues as well as a deep understanding of why and how past events occurred—and their continued impact today.

Dr. Adrianna Ernstberger, assistant professor of history, says historians study the past to create a “usable past.”

“Our history is filled with many horrors of past mistakes, but we also find countless examples of human perseverance and triumph. We teach students how to use the discipline of history to learn from past mistakes and build new successes,” Ernstberger explains.

“This means we do not study the past in an abstract sense, but in a way that explores the humanity, values, and perspectives of past peoples and key historical movements. This helps us build a present where we can sustain ourselves and our environment, broadly promoting core values like peace and justice.”

What makes Marian’s history program stand out?

Ernstberger says Marian University’s Bachelor of Arts in History curriculum is aligned with four key Franciscan values and grounded in ethical reflection and action.

Marian’s values-based curriculum forms a foundation that prepares you to synthesize ideas, clarify situations, identify trends, assess and interpret data, conduct research, and solve problems. We train you to be a critical thinker, exceptional communicator, and strong collaborator.

Our faculty advisors will help you explore your interests and career goals, advising you how your passions can be combined for a great career. They guide you through creating a personal plan of study for achieving career success, counseling you about internships and graduate study if you plan to pursue an advanced degree.

With small class sizes, you’ll develop lifelong relationships with professors and peers on our close-knit campus.

What else can you expect as a history major at Marian?

  • An emphasis on exploring concepts in economics, social dynamics, politics, and cultural formation, and the interactions between these forces in history.
  • Courses focused on five key learning outcomes: chronological thinking, historical comprehension, historical analysis and interpretation, historical research skills, and developing an argument.
  • A focus on building greater awareness and understanding of cultural contexts and perspectives along with essential methodological, analytical, and communication skills for career success.
  • A range of hands-on coursework, from traditional research papers and exams to creative projects, such as designing a graphic novel or writing a children’s book.
  • Research and service-learning projects in which you collaborate with community partners and present your findings during poster presentations and campus events.
  • Day trips to explore key historical sites like the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum in Chicago or the Eugene V. Debs Museum in Terre Haute. Four- and five-day trips to visit cities like Birmingham, Selma, and Montgomery and study Alabama’s role in the American Civil Rights Movement.
  • Study abroad and take short-term or semester-based courses in countries around the world.
  • Access to great internships and jobs in Indianapolis at organizations like the Indiana Historical Society, Indiana State Museum, Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art, AccessAbility, The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, Indiana Department of Natural Resources, and the Indiana General Assembly.

What are common careers for history majors?

According to the American Historical Association, an undergraduate degree in history will prepare you for a range of jobs in education, communication, information management, law and public service, and business.

Your career options will, in large part, depend on your plan of study. At Marian, many history students pursue a second major or academic minors and concentration areas along with the history major.

Many Marian history majors pursue elementary or secondary teaching licensure, with some earning master’s degrees in education. Others work for municipal, state, and nonprofit agencies, in politics, and/or go on to earn law degrees. Some work in public libraries and museums. In addition, many work in business and technology fields.

Here are three career career options for history majors. We’ve noted which careers require advanced degrees and state certification.

High school teacher
High school teachers shape the minds and make a positive impact on teens. Teachers must possess strong oral and written communication skills and show expertise and confidence in their classroom. They specialize in a specific content area, like history. They teach lessons designed to build the knowledge and skills their pupils need for college and employment success. To be a teacher, add a secondary education major to your plan of study. Employment of high school teachers, who must be licensed by the state in which they want to work, is projected to grow by eight percent through 2026. The average salary in 2017 was $59,170.

Archivist, curator, or museum specialist
Archivists appraise, process, catalog, and preserve permanent records and historically valuable documents. Curators gather, maintain, and oversee collections of historic items and may conduct public programs or service activities for a museum, institution, organization, or group. Museum technicians and conservators prepare and restore objects and documents in museum collections and exhibits. Employment in these positions is projected to grow by 13 percent through 2026. Most archivists, curators, and museum workers have a master’s degree in history or a related field. Salaries averaged $47,360 per year in 2017.

Historians research, analyze, interpret, and communicate about the past by studying historical documents and sources. Many historians travel and complete field work required for research projects. They often engage with the public through educational programs and presentations. Most historian positions require a master’s degree. And, if you want to work at a college or university, a doctoral degree is required. Employment of historians is projected to grow by six percent through 2026. In 2017, the average salary of a historian was $59,120.

To learn more about Marian University’s history program, contact our Office of Undergraduate Admission.

Call (317) 955-6300, (800) 772-7264, or email

Learn more about our history major

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