PhD in History: Requirements, Salary, Jobs, & Career Growth

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What is PhD in History?

A PhD in history is the highest academic degree in history, given to persons who have completed extensive study and showed skill in historical subjects.

A PhD in history often necessitates several years of further study and research beyond the bachelor’s and master’s degrees, culminating in the completion of a doctoral dissertation, which is an original and substantial piece of research that contributes to the field of history.

Students pursuing a PhD in history conduct extensive research, critical analysis, and scholarly writing on historical issues. They may specialize on a certain field of history, such as ancient history, medieval history, modern history, or the history of a specific region or country.

PhD candidates in history frequently undertake archival research, examine primary and secondary sources, construct historical ideas and arguments, and engage in interdisciplinary historical research approaches.

How much money do people make with a PhD in History?

Academic salaries can range from $50,000 to $150,000 or more per year, depending on the institution, level (e.g., assistant professor, associate professor, or full professor), and location.

It is crucial to note, however, that entry-level professor posts may pay less than more senior or tenured positions.

Salaries for individuals with a PhD in history can vary greatly in non-academic domains such as government, non-profit organizations, museums, and cultural heritage institutes, depending on the organization and level of responsibility. Salary ranges from $40,000 to $100,000 or more per year, based on position and experience.

It’s worth mentioning that historical research and writing can also lead to freelance possibilities, with pay varying based on the individual’s projects, clientele, and success in obtaining contracts or grants.

What is expected job growth with PhD in History?

The job growth prospects for history PhD holders varies based on the field and specific work opportunities.

Overall, the job market for historians, even those with a PhD in history, is competitive, and academic roles in particular can be extremely competitive due to the limited number of tenure-track faculty posts available and the strong demand for those positions.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of historians, including those with PhDs in history, is expected to expand at a 3% annual pace from 2020 to 2030, which is slower than the national average.

It is crucial to note, however, that job prospects can differ based on the individual field and specialization within history.

Academic employment, such as tenure-track academic posts at universities or colleges, may have limited job growth as a result of reasons such as financial constraints, changes in demand for history courses, and an increased reliance on adjunct or non-tenure-track staff.

However, historians with PhDs in history may be able to find adjunct or temporary posts, as well as postdoctoral fellowships, visiting roles, and other short-term options.

Historians with PhDs in history may find employment in government agencies, non-profit organizations, museums, cultural heritage institutions, archives, libraries, and other related professions outside of academia.

Job development in these fields, however, might vary based on funding availability, government policy, and other variables.

What can you do with a PhD in History?

A PhD in history can lead to a variety of job opportunities outside of academia. Individuals with a PhD in history may pursue the following careers:

1. Academic Positions: PhD-holding historians can work as tenure-track or tenured faculty at universities or colleges, where they can teach history courses, conduct research, and publish scholarly work. They may also function as counselors or mentors to students pursuing careers in history.

2. Research and Consulting: Historians can serve as researchers and consultants in a variety of settings, such as government agencies, non-profit organizations, think tanks, and private research firms. They may do historical research, evaluate data, provide historical context and insights for policymaking, conduct studies on cultural resource management, or contribute to historical documentaries and exhibitions.

3. Museums and Cultural Heritage: Historians can work as curators, archivists, instructors, or researchers in museums, historic sites, and cultural heritage institutions. They may create displays, maintain collections, undertake historical artifact and document research, and engage in public outreach and education.

4. Publishing and Media: Historians can work for publishing firms, media outlets, and internet platforms as authors, editors, or content providers. They may write historical books, essays, or digital content, offer historical commentary, or contribute to historical documentaries, podcasts, or other media productions.

5. Government and Public Service: Historians can work for government agencies such as archives, libraries, historical organizations, and cultural resource management departments. They may conduct historical research, preservation, and documentation, give historical expertise, and contribute to policy development, public programs, and educational activities.

6. Education: Historians can serve as history teachers, curriculum planners, or educational administrators in secondary schools, museums, and other educational settings. They may generate instructional resources, design and teach history courses, and contribute to educational policy and program creation.

7. Freelance and Consulting Historians: Historians who operate as freelancers or independent consultants can provide historical research, writing, and expertise to customers in a variety of sectors, including genealogy, legal support, documentary filmmaking, cultural resource management, and heritage tourism.

What are the requirements for a PhD in History?

The specific requirements for a PhD in history can vary depending on the institution, program, and country. However, here are some common requirements for a PhD in history, presented in bullet points for easy reference:

  • Bachelor’s degree in history or a related field (some programs may require a master’s degree or equivalent experience)
  • Strong academic record and GPA
  • Transcripts from previous educational institutions
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores (some programs may not require GRE scores)
  • Statement of purpose outlining research interests and goals
  • Curriculum vitae (CV) or resume highlighting relevant academic and professional experience
  • Letters of recommendation from professors, employers, or other relevant sources
  • Writing sample showcasing research and writing skills
  • Foreign language proficiency, as required for the specific research interests
  • Research proposal outlining the proposed research topic and methodology 

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How long does it take to get a PhD in History?

The length of a PhD program in history can vary depending on a number of factors, including the country, institution, program structure, and the progress of the individual student. In general, the average time to earn a PhD in history is 4 to 7 years, with fluctuations on each side of this range.

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Do you need a Masters in History to get a PhD in History?

In most situations, a Master’s degree in history is not required for pursuing a PhD in history. Many PhD programs in history accept applicants with only a bachelor’s degree and provide students the opportunity to pursue a master’s degree as part of their PhD program.

Specific requirements vary by school and program, and some PhD programs in history may require applicants to have a master’s degree or similar expertise in a related discipline.

What are the Best PhD in History Degree programs?

1. Harvard University (USA)
2. Princeton University (USA)
3. Yale University (USA)
4. University of Oxford (UK)
5. University of Cambridge (UK)
6. Stanford University (USA)
7. University of Chicago (USA)
8. Columbia University (USA)
9. University of California, Berkeley (USA)
10. London School of Economics and Political Science (UK)

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