History is the study of past events, primarily those relating to a particular place or subject. History is a branch of knowledge that records, analyses, and explains the people, societies, cultures, events, and problems of the past.
In this article, we will be exploring the feasibility, worth, and difficulty of a history major. We will ultimately decide whether a degree in history is useless or not.
Is a History Degree Useless?
A history degree is not useless at all. A degree in history is not useless because it will help you learn several valuable skills, gain different perspectives, acquire relevant insight, read up on the mistakes of past individuals, and increase your general knowledge.
History is a liberal art major. The primary focus of liberal arts degree is to cultivate critical thinking, analytical skills, decision making, and problem-solving. The sole purpose of a liberal arts degree is not to make you more employable in the labor market.
Instead liberal art majors particularly history will help you understand the world better. In university, you will learn how to analyze a variety of resources in terms of their credibility, biases, and reliability. It will help you dive deeper and not believe things at first sight.
Moreover, a degree in history will provide you with the means to develop superior writing and research skills. Professors will let you explore the subject and give you long reading tasks to help you digest large chunks of information. You will then be asked to provide a summary and analysis of what you have read.
Studying and analyzing the actions and opinions of different cultures will allow you to become more open-minded and accepting of the world and its people. Understanding the cause and effects of historical events will help you gain insight and readjust your perspective.
Learning about the economic forces, military tactics, intellectual trends, ethical and moral dilemmas, literature, language, music, and poetry will increase your knowledge and appreciation of different cultures across history.
Majoring in history will help you become a more well-rounded individual. The countless skills that you will acquire from your history degree will make you a valuable asset for employers in a wide range of fields.
Is it Worth Getting a Degree in History?
It is worth getting a degree in history for most people who are passionate about the subject since it allows you to pursue a career in something you enjoy. Moreover, a degree in history will make you a more well-rounded individual and give you access to decent career opportunities.
Liberal arts majors are very flexible in terms of employment. The subject matter may be different but the skills learned are very similar. For instance, you may witness an archaeologist working as a historian, a philosophy major teaching literature, and a psychologist employed as a writer.
By the same token, history students will find employment in a plethora of fields. The core skills you learn during your history degree will enable greater career opportunities.
Here is a list of the careers that history majors typically find themselves working in:
- high school history teacher
- history professor
- museum archivist
- political scientist
- government historian
- public relations manager
As you can see for yourself, the bulk of jobs available for history majors are not very technical nor do they require immensely advanced skills. As a result, most of the jobs are average paying.
STEM majors on the other hand frequently manage to secure the highest paying jobs for themselves. Although the jobs for history majors might not be very financially rewarding they are often secure, fulfilling, and low-stress.
Overall, you can expect jobs to offer some form of retirement benefits, health and dental care, insurance, paid holidays, and vacation. But they will most likely not be as rewarding as the benefits you can find in other fields such as Tech and Medicine.
At the end of the day, it is up to you to decide what has greater worth for you: a lucrative job that you detest vehemently or moderate pay along with job satisfaction and enjoyment.
If your passion for history outweighs the financial reward of some other subject you don’t like then you know exactly what to do. If monetary benefits are of utmost importance then studying history might not be the best decision.
You may find a few careers that will help you get salaries in the upper end of the spectrum such as being a lawyer or a history professor but most will be pretty mediocre.
Is History a Hard Major?
History is a moderately hard major. A history degree is somewhat difficult because it requires a lot of reading, writing, and researching. However, a history major does not require any advanced technical skills or knowledge which help it from becoming too challenging.
History is an information-intensive subject. You will be handed out a lot of readings to complete in a short period. Furthermore, you will have to do a great deal of research around the subject.
As a history major, you will need to remember a tremendous amount of information. You don’t need an eidetic memory, but you must be willing to revise the material consistently and regularly.
History does not require very advanced technical knowledge nor is the material too complex to master. As long as you are willing to study hard you will not find history particularly challenging.
Is a Masters in History Useless?
A master’s in history is not useless but it is not very useful either. For most people, a master’s in history will not be greatly advantageous for their career advancement. However, a master’s in history will help those individuals who want to teach history at college or university.
If you plan to do a master’s in history after acquiring a bachelor’s in history then do not expect it to significantly improve your career prospects. A master’s will certainly enhance your career opportunities but the boost will be marginal.
Getting meaningful work experience instead of a master’s in history might be the way to go for many people. This is because most jobs relevant to history majors do not require an advanced degree such as a master’s or Ph.D.
However, for those individuals pursuing a Ph.D., a master’s degree is the necessary prerequisite. Professors wanting to teach at the university or college level do require a master’s or Ph.D.
Is History Just Memorization?
History is not just memorization. Although memorization is central to a degree in history, you will have to provide unique perspectives, insight, and analysis. Moreover, you will need to provide evidence to back your opinions.
History is much more than mere memorization. At the middle and high school levels, you might be accustomed to memorizing and rote learning everything to do well in the tests.
At university, you will be expected to provide evidence, insight, and analysis along with the facts and events. This is a step up from what you have been doing previously. It is important to quickly adjust to the new way of studying; to do well in college.
Are History Degrees Respected?
History degrees are moderately respected. History degrees are respected because they are relatively challenging and lead to decent career opportunities. However, a history degree is not highly regarded since it is a liberal arts subject and often graduates cannot get high-paying jobs.
A history degree does not focus on skills that are relevant to the job market. For instance, the skills computer scientists and engineers acquire, such as programming and calculus are very useful in the eyes of employers.
On the other hand, analytical, researching, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills are not very useful in gaining immediate employment. Moreover, students often fail to apply the skills and knowledge they have learned during their degree.
As a result, students cannot find high-paying jobs for themselves which diminishes the respect and regard the major has in the labor market. The number of jobs that are directly relevant to a history major is few and far in between.
Ideally, history majors should acquire technical skills to improve their chances of meaningful employment. They should also learn to apply themselves in other fields to increase their employment opportunities.
History is a great subject. Studying history will enable you to have a greater understanding of the past, human motives, culture, art, language, and religion. History will equip you with the skills and knowledge for good career opportunities, although they may not be as great as the ones offered by other degrees such as STEM, Medicine, and Law.