Career Choices for History Students

December 20, 2013,
Career Choices for History Students

Life may not always be as exciting as Nicholas Cage’s in National Treasure - jet setting across continents, close shaves with the bad guys, discovering the world’s oldest and most revered treasures in history but it will definitely come close if you have chosen history as a subject and as a career choice.

Train future historians…

The most obvious option for a career in history is teaching. With a Masters in the subject and after clearing the NET you can apply for a teaching position in universities. If you wish to teach school/high-school students, a BA B.Ed in History will qualify you for the same.

Digging for lost treasures, dynasties and civilizations…

The entire earth is a historian’s field both literally and figuratively. By doing either a Masters in Archaeology/post graduate courses/ a doctorate in the subject, you can dig away to your heart’s content! You may encounter the occasional cursed Mummy but there are also chances of discovering the El Dorado!

The Institute of Archaeology (New Delhi) of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) offers a two-year post-graduate diploma in archaeology.

Similarly, the Xavier’s College (Mumbai) offers a Masters in Ancient Indian History, Culture and Archaeology.

You can also choose to do a doctorate in the subject and super specialize in archaeology of a certain civilization/country etc if you wish to.

The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) offers various job opportunities that will be of interest to you as an archaeologist with perhaps the odd occasion when you will have to supervise the digging of a site because a seer dreamt of great wealth being hidden under it…

Preserving ancient treasures…..

You may consider preserving history for future generations. While discovering ancient relics, remnants of past civilizations is important, conserving them and making the general populace aware of their existence and significance is equally important.

The National Museum Institute (New Delhi) offers Masters as well as doctorate programs in conservation as well as museology.

With these degrees you have the entire gamut of museums across the country as your prospective workplaces with positions ranging from Director to Curator for you to consider. Who knows you may well have your own Night at the Museum to witness!

Bringing artifacts under the hammer!

Going, going gone! It is not just the one conducting the auction that does all the work in an art auction house. As a student of history if art is an area of interest to you, then there are quite a few lucrative options for you to pursue. Auction houses like Sotheby’s and Christie’s have a flourishing world business in the field of art.

The National Museum Institute (New Delhi) offers a Masters program in the History of Art and also a number of short-term courses. If you are interested in art but are unsure of what within the domain to take up you may consider beginning with these short term courses.

Sotheby’s also has an art institute offering masters programs in a wide variety of specializations as well as several short-term and online courses in art.

Serving the nation…

A number of people choose History as a subject at the graduation level in order to have an edge in the Public Service Commission (both state as well as Central) examinations. If you wish to continue your engagement with history even after having cleared the civil service examinations, you can choose to pursue a post-graduation in the field and apply to work with the various government ministries/departments such as National Museum Institute, National Archives of India, Ministry of Culture etc to name a few.

Writing or rewriting history…

In recent times, there was a raging debate over history textbooks being re-written from the perspective of a certain political party. There is a need for historians and history writers to be able to analyse, interpret and re-write history from various perspectives and provide room for narratives of more than one kind to be represented. As a sensitive historian, you can write history books/contribute to journals and publications with such narratives. After all history is not just the story of the vanquished from the perspective of the victor.

Money matters and strange writings…..

Since times immemorial, money has been a medium of trade and exchange across the world. Over centuries, currency has evolved to what it is today and is still undergoing changes. If your interest in money is beyond just earning, spending, saving and investing it, you may find yourself a suitable career as a numismatist – studying currencies ancient and modern. Similarly, ancient artifacts, signs and symbols etc written in a certain era are indicative of a number of things of that era. As an epigraphist, you can decipher the writing on the wall (literally) and its significance in history.

There are several universities across the country offering post-graduate degrees in numismatics and epigraphy.

Employment opportunities range from state archaeological departments to national ones as well as foundations and commissions engaged in the activity of promotion and preservation of ancient coins as well as inscriptions.


Now who would have thought that a subject like history could lead to such numerous career options? The opportunities are endless and quite diverse for that matter. Often a underestimated subject, history in fact can lead to quite a satisfying and successful career, provided one has the aptitude and knack for it. It is quite unfortunate that our society thinks that an Arts subject should be pursued only by those who do not have much talent or who are not able to score any marks.

As a result, many people end up choosing a career which is wrong for them just because of biased pre-conceived notions.

This is precisely why, students must carefully deliberate over what career they would like to get into and only after careful consideration should they take the plunge. A scientific analysis of one’s inherent strengths as well as some tips and career guidance by the experts will only help in increasing the level of confidence for the career choice that one plans on making.

So if history is a subject that you are planning on pursuing, make sure that you take an online aptitude test and online personality test to scientifically understand your talents and thereby consult the experts to make a confident and informed career choice.


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