Data on the History Profession

Departments | Jobs | Salaries | Students | Other Surveys | Other Sources | Archive

A vital part of the Association's activities is the collection of data, principally from history departments at four-year colleges and universities. Data on the history job market is derived from the information in the annual Directory of History Departments and Organizations, job listings submitted to Perspectives, and an annual survey of history departments. Data on history salaries at colleges and universities comes from annual surveys by the College and University Personnel Association and the American Association of University Professors, with supplementary data from the annual survey of history departments. The Association has also developed some modest amounts of information about trends in the number of undergraduate and graduate students studying history, relying heavily on information from federal government. For reports more than two years old, please see our archive of past reports about the profession.

History Departments in the United States

At a Glance

According to the Department of Education, in the 2009–10 academic year, 141 institutions conferred associate’s degrees in history 1,218 conferred baccalaureate degrees in the discipline, 356 conferred history master’s degrees, and 141 conferred PhDs in history.


The Rise and Decline of History Specializations over the Past 40 Years (December 2015)

Decline of the West or the Rise of the Rest? Data from 2010 Shows Rebalancing of Field Coverage in Departments (September 2011)

History under the Hammer: Department Chairs Report Effects of Economic Woes (January 2011)

NRC Report Provides Wealth of Data on History Doctoral Programs (December 2010)

Putting Academic History in Context: A Survey of Humanities Departments (March 2010)

History in These Hard Times: Departments Struggle in a Depressing Economy (September 2009)

What’s In a Label? Changing Patterns of Faculty Specialization since 1975 (January 2007)

Historians Teach More and Larger Classes, but Make Less Use of Technology (April 2006)

Federal Faculty Survey Shows Gains for History Employment but Lagging Salaries (March 2006)

The State of the History Department: The 2001–02 AHA Department Survey (April 2004)

A Survey of Tenure Practices in History (February 2004)

Jobs for History Degree Holders

At a Glance

Where Historians Work (July 2018): an interactive, online database that catalogues the career outcomes of the 8,515 historians who earned PhDs at US universities from 2004 and 2013.


The 2022 AHA Jobs Report: A New Normal? (September 2022)

The 2021 AHA Jobs Report: 2019-20 Data Show Relative Stability in the Year before COVID (February 2021)

The 2020 AHA Jobs Report: New History PhDs Awarded Continue to Decline as Academic Job Market Remains Flat (February 2020)

The 2019 AHA Jobs Report: A Closer Look at Faculty Hiring (Jan 2019)

Every Historian Counts: A New AHA Database Analyzes Careers for PhDs (July 2018)

The Geography of History PhDs (May 2018)

The AHA Jobs Report: The 2016-17 Data Obscure as Much as They Reveal (February 2018)

Where Historians Work: How to Find Yourself in the Data (July 2017)

History Is Not a Useless Major: Fighting Myths with Data (April 2017)

Conflicting Signals in the Academic Job Market for History (January 2017)

Where Do Historians Work? An Interactive Snapshot from New AHA Data (January 2017)

The Troubled Academic Job Market for History (February 2016)

The 2013 Jobs Report: Number of AHA Ads Dip, New Experiment Offers Expanded View (January 2014)

The Many Careers of History PhDs: New Report Documents Diverse Employment Outcomes (December 2013)

Openings and New PhDs on the Rise: The 2012 Jobs Report (January 2013)

Gender and Success in Academia: More from the Historians' Career Paths Survey (January 2013)

What Makes a Successful Academic Career in History? A Field Report from the Higher Ranks (December 2012)

Underpaid and Underappreciated: A Portrait of Part-time Faculty (September 2012)

Small Signs of Improvement in Academic Job Market for Historians (January 2012)

The Ecology of the History Job: Shifting Realities in a Fluid Market (December 2011)

Job Market Sagged Further in 2009–10 (January 2011)

A Grim Year on the Academic Job Market for Historians (January 2010)
Figure: Trends in History PhDs Awarded and Job Openings Advertised, 1970-71 to 2008-09 (January 2010)

The Parlous Paths of the Profession (with Anthony Grafton, September 2008)

Salaries for Historians at Colleges and Universities

At a Glance

Table: Average Salaries for Historians, 2009–10


Feeling Compressed: Salary Study Indicates Challenges for Upper Ranks (April 2013)

History Salaries Lag behind Inflation and the Rest of Academia (May 2012)

History Faculty Salaries Fall Behind Inflation and the Rest of Academia (May 2011)

New Report Shows Little Growth in Salaries for History Faculty (May 2010)

History Student Enrollments and Degrees

At a Glance

PhDs ConferredFigure: BA's Produced in History AY 1970–71 to 2006–07
   (compared to other social science and humanities disciplines)

Figure: MA's Produced in History AY 1970–71 to 2006–07
   (compared to other social science and humanities disciplines)

Figure: PhD's Produced in History AY 1970–71 to 2006–07
   (compared to other social science and humanities disciplines)

Figure: History Degrees as a Proportion of All Degrees Conferred, 1970–71 to 2006–07


History Enrollment Edges Slightly Lower: Wide Variation Characterizes 2019-20 Enrollment Numbers (January 2021)

History Enrollments Hold Steady as Department Efforts Intensify (January 2020)

History Enrollments Stable in 2017-18: AHA Survey Shows How Departments Are Fighting Declines (January 2019)

The History BA since the Great Recession: The 2018 AHA Majors Report (November 2018)

Enrollment Declines Continue: AHA Survey Again Shows Fewer Undergraduates in History Courses (February 2018)

Declining Enrollments in History Courses: A Follow-up Report (October 2017)

Life After PhD: Making Sense of the Data on Where Historians Work (October 2017)

Why Study History? Survey of History BAs Provides Some Real Answers (January 2017)

Survey Finds Fewer Students Enrolling in College History Courses (September 2016)

Number of Doctorates in History Continued Moderate Growth in 2014 (May 2016)

The Decline in History Majors: What Is to Be Done? (May 2016)

New Data Show Large Drop in History Bachelor's Degrees (March 2016)

New Data on the History BA: Dynamic Growth Elusive, but Potential Still There (March 2014)

Data Show a Decline in History Majors: Could Have Adverse Implications for Job Market (April 2013)

Clio's Charm Holding Fast? History Major Numbers Continue to Rise at Most Institutions (March 2012)

Who Are the New History PhDs? NSF Snapshot from 2012 Provides Insights into Current Trends (March 2012)

New History PhDs in 2009 Surged to Second- Highest Level in 32 Years (March 2011)

A Profusion of History Degrees in 2008 (October 2010)

Other Recent and Notable Reports

What's in a Title? A Closer Look at History Dissertations (March 2013)

History E-books May Be Good for Reading, but Not (Yet) for Reviewing (May 2012)

Assimilation of New Media into History Teaching: Some Snapshots from the Edge (December 2010)

How Is New Media Reshaping the Work of Historians? (November 2010)

A Profile of the History Profession in Academia, 2010 (October 2010)

A Picture of Public History: Preliminary Results from the 2008 Survey of Public History Professionals (with John Dichtl, September 2009)

Other Sources of Information

From the AHA

Directory of History Departments and Organizations
This site features comprehensive information about historians and programs. The AHA Directory Online provides for detailed searching of faculty/staff and their field specializations, as well as the ability to do benchmarking comparisons between departments. The listings for departments offering PhD degrees include specific descriptions of the programs and statistics.

The Education of Historians for the Twenty-First Century
The full text of the Committee on Graduate Education’s report with an updated bibliography and earlier essays and reports published by the AHA on the training of history doctorates. For easier reading, we also encourage you to buy the print edition of the report from the University of Illinois Press.

Retrieving the Master's Degree from the Dustbin of History
The full text of the Committee on the Master’s Degrees report is also available in print though AHA Publications Sales.

From Federal and Other Sources

NRC Rankings of History Doctoral Programs, 2010
The Chronicle of Higher Education summarizes the National Research Council's ratings of history doctoral programs. The full data set can be obtained with registration from the National Academies Press.

National Center for Education Statistics
The annual Digest of Education Statistics provides for a broad perspective on postsecondary education. For more specific and comparative slices of the data from the Department of Education, see the WebCaspar database.

A clearinghouse for specific data about degrees conferred at all levels, although it requires a fair amount of effort to extract the information as you might need.

Another valuable resource from the Department of Education, which allows you to obtain information on colleges and universities in a specific locality or region.

Survey of Earned Doctorates
Currently prepared by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago, this survey provides a detailed snapshot of new Ph.D. recipients at the time of their degree. In addition to gross numbers, it also provides demographic details about who is receiving the degree, how long they spent working toward it, and their immediate employment plans and prospects.