Department of History

Varner Hall, Room 416
371 Varner Drive
Rochester, MI 48309-4485
(location map)
(248) 370-3510
fax: (248) 370-3528

Careers in History

The study of history serves as excellent pre-professional training in a wide range of career fields that require skills in processing and presentation of complex information. Research, analysis and writing skills, together with intercultural understanding and the ability to come to balanced judgments of conflicting claims, are perhaps better developed by the study of history than by any other discipline. For these reasons, the major in history is highly valued as a foundation for graduate coursework in fields ranging from law to business and public administration. When combined with the appropriate technical skills, the study of history provides a superior foundation for a lifetime of achievement in almost any professional career.

Additionally, Oakland University's Department of History trains numerous students to serve as professional historians employed as teachers in high schools and colleges. Careers in college teaching and other forms of professional historical scholarship require post-graduate training.

History Students and the Job Market

Most history majors obtain jobs in the business world. History majors offer employers a broad range of skills: the ability to write effectively, research thoroughly, organize materials effectively and solve complex problems. The Department of History encourages students to combine their major with courses in pre-law, statistics, computer science, accounting and economics. Joined with technical skills in such areas, the traditional skills developed by the major in history provide a solid foundation for success in the job market.

The following is a sample of the career fields in which Oakland University history majors now work:

  • government service
  • university teaching
  • business management
  • the law
  • banking
  • research, political and statistical analysis
  • journalism
  • health care management
  • sales and marketing
  • insurance
  • the ministry
  • translation work
  • library management

To read about the successful career paths of just a few of the Department of History's distinguished alumni, see our alumni profiles.

Career Planning and Placement Resources

Students are strongly encouraged to consider plans for summer internships and to begin working with Oakland University's Career Services office early in their educational program.

The following resources have been compiled by the American Historical Association to aid history majors in assessing their career options:

For additional ideas, you may want to check the following books: