Career Diversity Faculty Resources

This collection of resources is intended to help faculty integrate the ideas of Career Diversity for Historians into graduate teaching and advising.

The types of items available include sample assignments, syllabi for professionalization seminars, and how-to guides for setting up workshops and presentations that can prepare your graduate students for professional success inside and beyond the academy. Each resource is introduced with a statement of purpose that connects the content to the Career Diversity Five Skills: specific qualities graduate students need to succeed as professors and in non-academic careers.

Please check back periodically for new resources and updates. For questions and feedback, contact Emily Swafford, AHA's director of academic and professional affairs, at eswafford@historians.org.


Search by Skill

The Career Diversity Five Skills were first identified in focus groups of historians with PhDs who found careers beyond traditional academia-five things they hadn't learned in grad school but that they found they needed in order to succeed beyond the academy. These five skills are also essential to succeeding as professors.

  1. COMMUNICATION
  2. COLLABORATION
  3. QUANTITATIVE LITERACY
  4. INTELLECTUAL SELF-CONFIDENCE
  5. DIGITAL LITERACY

Browse Complete Resources

Syllabi & Assignments

Writing as a Historian (Univ. of New Mexico)

This syllabus is designed to provide faculty with a framework for developing a nonfiction writing workshop or course.

Historiography: Video Book Review Assignment (Univ. of New Mexico)

This assignment provides faculty with a framework to instruct students on the process of researching, developing, and presenting a scholarly video book review in an undergraduate or graduate historiography course.

Professional Lives of Historians Syllabus (UNC Chapel Hill)

This syllabus, developed for a course offered at UNC-Chapel Hill in Spring 2016, provides sample texts, discussion questions. and practical assignments that can be utilized in similar classes or seminars.

The Many Professions of History (UCLA)

This syllabus outlines course readings, in-class activities, and project assignments that can be useful in constructing a professional development seminar.

Teaching History in the University (Berkeley)

This syllabus is used to train graduate teaching instructors at UCB. It introduces graduate students to Scholarship on Teaching and Learning (SOTL) produced by and for historians.

Orientation to a Career in History Provisional Syllabus (Univ. of Washington)

This syllabus is designed to introduce graduate students in history to career diversity and life as a professional historian both within and outside academia. It covers topics including preparing for different kinds of job markets, finding support for successful on-time degree completion, and applying skills learned from academic training to a variety of professional settings. Informational interviews serve as the core of this professionalization course. Purnima Dhavan's blog post on teaching this class can be found on Perspectives Daily.

Introduction to Public History (Public History and Career Diversity) (UTEP)

This syllabus, developed for a course offered at the University of Texas, El Paso in Spring 2017, is a graduate seminar combining training in public history with a range of assignments designed around the AHA's five Career Diversity skills.

Proseminar on History Teaching (Univ. at Buffalo)

This proseminar, organized around a series of conversations on effective and thoughtful teaching of history, was offered at the University at Buffalo in the Fall of 2019. Taught by rotating series of guest instructors, the non-credit bearing course was required for new teaching assistants, but open to all history graduate students in the department.


Event Planning

How to Run a Public Speaking Workshop for Historians (Univ. of Chicago)

This guide provides an overview of how to launch a public speaking workshop for graduate students in your department, including the basic logistics of organizing the workshop and suggested topics and resources for each session.

How to Run a History Presentation Extravaganza (Univ. of Chicago)

This guide provides an overview of how to run a History Presentation Extravaganza in your department. This event challenges graduate students to distill some aspect of their research-a seminar paper, a dissertation chapter, an analysis of a primary source-into an engaging five-minute presentation followed by four minutes of questions from the audience. A panel of judges evaluates each presentation for style, substance, and accessibility, providing feedback to each student and awarding a prize to the top three presentations.

How to Run a Dissertation Lightning Round (American Historical Association)

This how-to guide is designed to take you through the steps of setting up and running a dissertation lightning round. We see it being particularly useful in the course of a graduate-level research seminar, but it could easily be adapted for any graduate-level topical seminar.

How to Run a Career Fair (Columbia Univ.)

This guide is intended to help graduate history department administrators or career counselors think through the process of organizing and running a career fair or networking event for graduate students within your department or from several universities in one area.


Programmatic Resources

Connected Academics Proseminar Syllabus (Modern Language Association)

This syllabus is a useful framework for organizing and selecting topics for a large- or small-scale workshop on prospective career paths. While this example is geared towards literature and language PhDs, the themes address humanities-wide issues.

University of New Mexico Internship Program

This internship program guide and the attached application packet are designed for history graduate directors and university student career officers who are interested in developing an internship program for PhD history students. While initially designed for PhD students, the guidelines can be modified for undergraduate or masters level students.

University of Washington History Gradline

When asked the question, "what do you wish you had learned in graduate school," alumni often report that their programs lacked a venue beyond the classroom to discuss employment horizons and find professionalization opportunities. This website and blog is a great model for departments who want to build a one-stop, user-friendly resource to fulfill these needs.

Modern Language Association Toolkit

This tool kit offers strategies and resources for departments and faculty interested in helping students understand the versatility of doctoral training and the broad range of occupations available to PhDs in the humanities.


Personal Narratives

Career Contacts

Since its launch in early 2015, the AHA's Career Contacts program has arranged hundreds of informational interviews between current PhD students (junior contacts) and history PhDs (senior contacts) who have built careers beyond the professoriate. Senior contacts work in a variety of fields, including academic administration, non-profit management, public policy, archives and libraries, K-12 teaching, as well as a range of positions in the federal government and private industry.

Career Paths

Career Paths is an ongoing series in the AHA newsmagazine, Perspectives on History.

Career Diversity in Perspectives

Career Diversity is an ongoing series in the AHA newsmagazine, Perspectives on History.

What I Do
What I Do: Historians Talk about Their Work is a web video series that answers some of the questions people have about where historians work and what they do. 


Conversation Starters

These short articles introduce important concepts behind the AHA's Career Diversity for Historians initiative, giving faculty and students ideas about how to frame conversations about PhD career paths.

  1. Jim Grossman and Emily Swafford, "The Purpose-Driven PhD," Perspectives on History (April 2019)
  2. Jim Grossman, "Imagining PhD Orientation in 2022," Perspectives on History (October 2017)
  3. Jim Grossman, "To Be a Historian is to Be a Teacher," Perspectives on History (November 2015)
  4. Anthony Grafton and Jim Grossman, "No More Plan B: A Very Modest Proposal for Graduate Programs in History," Perspectives on History (October 2011)