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What Can I Do with a Master’s in History?

A master’s in history can help you gain entry into job roles such as archivist, curator, political scientist and more.
A curator with a master's in history, gesturing to a sculpture of a head during a museum tour.

Know before you read
At SNHU, we want to make sure you have the information you need to make decisions about your education and your future—no matter where you choose to go to school. That's why our informational articles may reference careers for which we do not offer academic programs, along with salary data for those careers. Cited projections do not guarantee actual salary or job growth.

A master's in history allows you to deepen your knowledge of the people, places and events of the past and make meaningful connections to what's happening today.

Whether you're interested in ancient history or the causes and implications of the Civil War, a graduate degree in history can prepare you for careers in which you can share your understanding and interpretations of the past with others.

Master's in History Jobs

There are many jobs for history majors, but a master's in history prepares you for more advanced roles. You could be well on your way to becoming a teacher, historian, archivist, political scientist — or even an archaeologist, just to name a few options.

In addition, a master's degree in history builds a solid foundation for doctorate programs that may be required for some career paths (doctorates in history are not currently offered at Southern New Hampshire University).

Here are a few popular careers to consider with a master's in history:


An icon of a white-outlined magnifying glass set on a blue backgroundInterested in working at historical sites, analyzing ancient artifacts and filling in gaps in history?

Archaeologists analyze, document and preserve evidence of human activity from the past, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Tools, pottery, artwork and building ruins are some of the things you would study as an archaeologist to make inferences about the history, customs and culture of people in earlier time periods. They also oversee and protect archaeological sites, BLS noted, such as national parks or historical sites.

A master's degree in history can help you develop your research skills and strengthens your knowledge in a specialized area. It's important to note that you may also need an advanced degree in anthropology and have experience in the field, according to the Society for American Archaeology. (Graduate degrees in anthropology are not currently offered at SNHU.) However, some entry-level positions may be available to those without the specialized graduate degree program, BLS reported.

The median annual wage for anthropologists and archaeologists was $63,800 in 2023, according to BLS.*


An icon of an open bookDo you have an interest in organizing and interpreting historical documents? Archivists authenticate, process, catalog and preserve records and historically valuable documents, according to the BLS.

At a museum, you could expect to prepare and restore objects and documents in specific collections and exhibits. BLS also said you could be responsible for managing an electronic records system and making digital copies of historical documents and material.

Archivists earned a median salary of $59,910 in 2023, according to BLS.*


Curators, who are sometimes called museum directors, are largely responsible for acquiring and exhibiting collections, according to BLS.

The day-to-day of a curator can vary depending on the type and size of institution you work within. BLS reported that you might be the face of public engagements, manage research projects or specialize in a specific area.

Curators earned a median salary of $61,750 in 2023, according to BLS data.*


A blue and white icon of a pencil writing on linesHistorians write, preserve and interpret history in several professions. BLS reports that most historians work in museums, government agencies and historical societies. However, they are also needed within research organizations and consulting firms.

The analytical and research skills you learn in your graduate program can prepare you for historian jobs, and internships and knowledge of a foreign language can further enhance your employability, BLS said. For example, interning in a museum might give you more experience interpreting artifacts and creating exhibits.

The median annual wage for historians was $72,890 in 2023, according to BLS.*

Political Scientist

 An icon of a yellow-outlined leader talking to two white-outlined colleaguesIn a political science career, you can expect to study the origin, development and operation of political systems in the United States or abroad, BLS said. Other duties include researching political ideas and analyzing governments, political policies and trends, according to BLS.

A master’s degree in history helps you develop the skills you need to analyze historical documents and government policies. In addition to looking at past policy, political scientists forecast economic, policy and social trends and test political theories.

The median annual wage for political scientists was $132,350 in 2023, according to BLS.*

Post-Secondary Teacher

An icon of a teacher presenting a lesson to three studentsIf you’ve ever wanted to teach at the community college level or university level, a master’s degree is a minimum requirement, according to BLS. Some employers may require you to have a doctorate or other terminal degree as well.

Strong knowledge of a particular historical period — such as American, European or even military history — along with good critical thinking, speaking, interpersonal and writing skills helps you conduct original research and guide your students.

In 2023, post-secondary history teachers earned a median salary of $82,140, according to BLS.*

Find Your Program

Is History a Hard Major?

Today's history graduate programs go beyond memorizing dates and facts. For example, students enrolled in the online master's in history program at SNHU analyze historical data, hone their research skills and learn to use historical knowledge to make informed decisions about the future.

Whether you want to specialize and develop expertise in a niche time period or develop skills to help you land a management role, a graduate degree in history sharpens your research, writing and critical thinking skills.

The best history graduate programs incorporate new technology into their programs, too, ensuring that you are able to access information and present your research on the web and in other digital formats. That's why coursework often requires tapping into high-tech programs to conduct research, digitize records and catalog artifacts.

In fact, many world heritage sites have been re-created by historians, thanks to technologies such as 3D digitization, projection and printing, according to a commentary in Fortune.

With the effort it takes to earn a graduate degree in history, you'll be well-equipped to apply your research and understanding of the past in a rewarding career that allows you to share your passion in a variety of ways.

Read more: Why is history important to study?

So, Is Getting a Master's in History Worth It?

One perk of a history degree is its versatility. It's not tied to any one career path; you can pursue a variety of jobs in the public, nonprofit and private sectors. 

Audra Kantor, a 2021 SNHU graduate with a Master of Arts in History with a concentration in Public History.Audra Kantor '21G decided to earn a Master of Arts in History with a concentration in Public History at SNHU to push forward in her career. "I wanted to find a program that would allow for advancement in my career in the museum field," she said.

Finding a program that was entirely online was a necessity. At the start of her program, Kantor worked two part-time jobs with schedules that would make it impossible to attend in-person classes. Once she transitioned to full-time work halfway through her master's in history program, she found she was still able to balance the online coursework with her other obligations.

Kantor found the courses within her public history concentration to be the most beneficial to her — particularly "Museum Collection Management" and "Digitization of History."

Kantor was able to apply what she was learning in her public history concentration to her work in a military museum in Chicago. "These courses provided me with practical knowledge that I use in my job of programming and managing the macro-artifacts I oversee," she said.

The project she completed for her capstone course, which focused on creating a public program about STEM in the military, also gave her actionable takeaways she could take into her career.

"I am incredibly pleased with my experience at SNHU," she said.

Discover more about SNHU's online master's in history: Find out what courses you'll take, skills you'll learn and how to request information about the program.

*Cited job growth projections may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions and do not guarantee actual job growth. Actual salaries and/or earning potential may be the result of a combination of factors including, but not limited to: years of experience, industry of employment, geographic location, and worker skill.

Krysten Godfrey Maddocks ’11G is a writer who covers K-12 and higher education topics, including policy and the role of digital technology in education. She spent almost a decade working in various marketing roles at an educational assessment company before launching a strategic marketing company. Maddocks earned a master's degree in marketing from Southern New Hampshire University and a bachelor's degree in English/ journalism from the University of New Hampshire. Connect with her on LinkedIn.

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