Career Diversity Resources

Are you a graduate student in history? Recently finished? Or even just considering enrolling in a history PhD program? The following resources are designed to help you think about the usefulness of historical training in a variety of career paths, no matter the stage of your graduate education. 

Where Historians Work

Pie chart of career fields for WHW.

Where Historians Work is an interactive, online database that catalogues the career outcomes of the 8,515 historians who earned PhDs at U.S. universities from 2004 and 2013. Powered by Tableau, Where Historians Work provides the fullest picture of PhD careers available for any discipline, and signals the AHA’s commitment to transparency in discussions of careers for history PhDs. This new tool allows current and potential graduate students to understand the full scope of career options open to history PhDs and to research which departments best fit their values and goals, enables departments to better meet the professional development needs of their doctoral students, and documents the broad impact of doctoral education in history.

Where Historians Work

The Five Skills: Succeeding Beyond and Within the Academy

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. Incidentally, these five skills are also essential to succeeding as professors. This guide provides a description of each skill, followed by resources useful for developing that skill.

Learn the Five Skills

Faculty Resources: Bringing Career Diversity into Your Classroom

Student Jessa Dahl explains 19th-century maps of Yokohoma, Japan, in five minutes flat during University of Chicago's history extravaganza. Credit: Sabrina DatooThis 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.

Career Diversity Faculty Resources

AHA Career Contacts

CommunicateAHA Career Contacts is a new service that matches history PhDs employed beyond the professoriate with graduate students and recent PhDs who are interested in broadening their career horizons. It will help graduate students and recent PhDs appreciate and articulate how their training as historians qualifies them for careers other than as members of college and university faculty.

Find out more

The Many Careers of History PhDs: A Study of Job Outcomes, Spring 2013

Career PathsEarning a doctoral degree in history presents a range of choices, starting with questions about where and what to study, and how to pay for the effort. Too often those choices have to be made with a significant amount of guesswork as to their potential outcomes. As part of the American Historical Association's assessment of careers for history PhDs, the authors of this study undertook a detailed analysis of the current employment held by 2,500 history PhDs, all of whom earned their degrees between 1998 and 2009.

Explore the Study

Career Paths

Rob Townsend of the National Council on Public History speaks with Career Fair attendees at the 2015 annual meeting in New York City.Career Paths is an ongoing series in the AHA newsmagazine, Perspectives on History. Read about historians in a wide variety of careers, from policy and think tanks to public history and beyond. Learn how they got there and how their history education has helped them along the way.

Career Paths

What I Do

What I Do with LuAnn Jones screenshotAs part of the Career Diversity for Historians initiative, the AHA is producing and making available short videos of historians who work in unusual places talking about what they do.

Watch videos

Related Bibliography

Anthony Grafton and James Grossman, “No More Plan B: A Very Modest Proposal for Graduate Programs in History,Perspectives on History (October 2011)

Anthony Grafton and James Grossman, “Plan C,” Perspectives on History (November 2011)

Edward J. Balleisen, "The Career Question in History," Perspectives on History (December 2011)

Thomas Bender, “What’s Been Lost in History,” Chronicle of Higher Education (CHE) (February 12, 2012)

Megan Doherty, “The Humanities PhD at Work,” CHE (February 20, 2013)

Leonard Cassuto, “What if We Made Fewer PhDs?CHE (December 12, 2012)

Peter Coclanis, “Wanted: Dedicated Deep Thinkers,” CHE (March 18, 2012)

Leonard Cassuto, “Keyword: Placement,” CHE (April 9, 2012)

Maren Wood, “What Doors Does a PhD in History Open?,” CHE (October 30, 2012)

Ms. Mentor, “Who Are You Trying to Impress?CHE (October 27, 2014)

Paula E. Findlen, “Why Go To Graduate School?CHE (November 17, 2014)