Careers for History Majors and Minors

What can you do with a history major or minor at Western Michigan University?

A LOT! Western Michigan University Department of History majors and minors go into careers in teaching, public history, academics and much more. In a recent survey, 71 percent of history alumni were actively engaged in their field.

History education

WMU is a leader in teacher education, and has been since its founding in 1903 as a “normal” (teachers’ education) school. About half of WMU history majors and minors are training to be history educators at the elementary, middle school, or high school (secondary) level. WMU offers an interdisciplinary Social Studies major, which will prepare you to excel in the classroom.

WMU graduates in history education work as teachers throughout Michigan and across the United States. 

Public history

Kelsey Ennis on internship at the Music House Museum

Kelsey Ennis (far right) on internship at the Music House Museum

Are you passionate about history and want to help bring it alive for a broader public? Then public history is for you! Public historians work in a wide variety of fields, such as museums, memorials, historical and archeological sites, as interpreters, tour guides and re-enactors, in archives and libraries, for national parks and other government organizations, and more. WMU’s Department of History offers a public history major (one of only three undergraduate public history programs in the country).


Some history majors and minors choose to continue their education at the graduate level, earning master’s or doctorate degrees in a variety of fields. 

Other career paths

Studying history will prepare you for a wide range of careers. Employers in the private and public sector routinely say they are looking for college graduates who possess excellent critical thinking, analytic, writing and communication skills more than they seek any one job-related skill.

As a history major or minor, you will learn and refine your critical thinking, writing, and research skills. You will be trained in the art of making arguments supported by evidence. Your knowledge of past events, combined with your ability to understand the big picture will make you a valuable asset in many different kinds of organizations.

History majors and minors from WMU commonly go into: 

  • Law
  • Government, including national security
  • Politics
  • Non-governmental organizations and non-profit organizations
  • Business
  • Journalism

Videos from History undergraduate alumni who value their education