A crowd of students wearing their graduation regalia including graduation caps

Famous History Majors

What can you do with a history degree? The possibilities are nearly endless. To demonstrate the many career paths available to those with undergraduate degrees in history, the AHA has assembled a list of notable history majors. 

Some of these history majors are famous, some are not so famous, and some are even infamous. The list is not comprehensive, and inclusion does not constitute an endorsement by the AHA. Since the focus of the list is on the breadth of careers available to history graduates, we have excluded individuals who currently draw significant income from writing or teaching about the past. 


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar — NBA 
Univ. of California, Los Angeles 

Grant Hill — NBA 
Duke Univ. 

Jackie Joyner-Kersee — Athlete 
Univ. of California, Los Angeles 

Shaka Smart — Athlete and College Basketball Coach
Kenyon College

Business and Nonprofits

Chelsea Clinton — Author, Nonprofit Leader, and Health Advocate 
Stanford Univ. 

Carly Fiorina — Businesswoman, Hewlett-Packard
Stanford Univ. 

Sam Kass — Chef, Nonprofit Leader  
Univ. of Chicago 

Robert L. Johnson — Entrepreneur, BET 
Univ. of Illinois 

Sam Palmisano — CEO, IBM 
Johns Hopkins Univ. 

John Pepper — CEO and Chairman, Procter & Gamble
Yale Univ. 

Martha Stewart — Businesswoman 
Barnard Coll.

Film and Television

Sean Astin — Actor 
Univ. of California, Los Angeles 

Ellen Barkin — Actor
Hunter Coll.

Sacha Baron Cohen — Comedian 
Univ. of Cambridge

Dean Cain — Actor 
Princeton Univ. 

Steve Carell — Comedian
Denison Univ. 

Julia Child — Chef, Author, TV Presenter 
Smith Coll. 

Larry David — Comedian 
Univ. of Maryland

Brian Dennehy — Actor 
Columbia Univ. 

Will Forte — Actor
Univ. of California, Los Angeles 

Cary Fukunaga — Director
Univ. of California, Santa Cruz 

Katherine Hepburn — Actor
Bryn Mawr Coll. 

John Lithgow — Actor 
Harvard Univ. (History and Literature)

Christopher Meloni — Actor 
Univ. of Colorado at Boulder 

Errol Morris — Documentarian 
Univ. of Wisconsin–Madison

Edward Norton — Actor 
Yale Univ. 

Conan O’Brien — Comedian 
Harvard Univ. (History and Literature)

Michael Palin — Actor 
Univ. of Oxford 


Ramtin Arablouei — Journalist, NPR 
Saint Mary’s Coll. of Maryland 

Chris Berman — Commentator, ESPN 
Brown Univ. 

Wolf Blitzer — Journalist, CNN 
Univ. at Buffalo, State Univ. of New York 

Terry Gannon — Sportscaster 
North Carolina State Univ. 

Seymour Hersh — Journalist, New Yorker 
Univ. of Chicago 

Charles Kuralt — Journalist, CBS 
Univ. of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 

Kai Ryssdal — Host, NPR’s Marketplace 
Emory Univ. 

Kristen Welker — Journalist, NBC 
Harvard Univ.


Eric Holder — Former US Attorney General 
Columbia Univ. 

Elena Kagan — US Supreme Court Justice 
Princeton Univ.

Joshua Matz — Attorney 
Univ. of Pennsylania 

Antonin Scalia — Former US Supreme Court Justice 
Georgetown Univ. 

Sonia Sotomayor — US Supreme Court Justice 
Princeton Univ. 


Jimmy Buffett — Singer-songwriter 
Univ. of Southern Mississippi 

Anthony da Costa — Singer-songwriter 
Columbia Univ. 


Jasmine Guillory — Author 
Wellesley Coll. 

Annie Proulx — Author 
Univ. of Vermont 


John Baldacci — Governor of Maine 
Univ. of Maine, Orono 

Joseph Biden Jr. — US President 
Univ. of Delaware 

Gordon Brown — UK Prime Minister 
Univ. of Edinburgh 

George W. Bush — US President 
Yale Univ. 

Tom Cole — US House of Representatives 
Grinnell Coll. 

Ken Dryden — NHL, Canadian Parliament 
Cornell Univ. 

Newt Gingrich — US House of Representatives 
Emory Univ. 

Orrin Hatch — US Senate 
Brigham Young Univ. 

Josh Hawley — US Senate 
Stanford Univ. 

Deidre Henderson — Utah Lt. Governor 
Brigham Young Univ. 

Richard Nixon — US President
Whittier Coll. 

Stacey Plaskett — US House of Representatives Delegate 
Georgetown Univ. 

Pat Robertson — Televangelist and Presidential Candidate 
Washington and Lee Univ. 

Franklin D. Roosevelt — US President
Harvard Univ.