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This major provides students with the opportunity to study history that is relevant to the social sciences. History provides a window to the world, helping us understand and interpret the societies, cultures, people and events of the past. While awakening and expanding their historical horizons, students engage in disciplined, critical use of evidence and sophisticate their writing skills. Courses survey the histories of nations or regions (Australia, Europe, Britain, Asia and the United States), while others examine specific themes or events, such as the Arab-Israeli conflict, the Vietnam war, women’s history, or even film.
Employment opportunities for history majors exist in their discipline sector (i.e. universities, museums, heritage management) and also in other industries that value high-level written and verbal communication and proficient critical thinking skills. Postgraduate completion can lead to careers in teaching and law while Honours can further develop graduates skills and makes them particularly attractive to government employers. Some students choose to combine their history studies with courses from other disciplines such as human resources, marketing and journalism to further broaden their career prospects in these areas.
A placement elective is available to Bachelor of Social Science students, which involves completing a social science research project with a relevant organisation.
For more information about History, visit the School of Humanities and Social Sciences site.
Some occupations require a higher level of completed study than an undergraduate degree, and for this reason it is worthwhile considering the range of Honours, Research Higher Degrees (RHD), Postgraduate Coursework programs and additional study options available. These options may also be useful for specialising in a particular area, or to stimulate career change. Some of the future options following a major in History include:
Masters by Research
As the global job sector can be competitive, it is of great advantage to complete a postgraduate qualification, particularly by independent research (such as Masters by Research, or PhD). See examples of research areas within this discipline here.
After completing a degree there are a broad range of postgraduate options available in a variety of fields which can allow you to specialise in a particular area of interest or build upon your existing knowledge base. To explore such options please visit the Postgraduate Handbook.
The following list provides some example jobs available to graduates majoring in History. Some of these jobs will depend on the amount and level of study undertaken, level of experience, the combination of other majors and electives studied, while some may require further study.
- Architectural Historian
- Cultural Heritage Officer
- Cultural Interpreter
- Diplomat / Foreign Affairs and Trade Officer
- Intelligence Officer
Not everyone uses their degree in the same way and the transferable skills gained through university study may allow graduates to pursue a range of careers that might not be directly linked to their study. Below is a sample list of job titles that might be suitable for someone with the skills gained from a major in History.
- Campaign Manager
- Customs Officer
- Editorial Assistant
- Education Officer
- Graduate Programs - Public and Private Sectors
- Immigration Officer
Getting the Edge
Most employers seek to recruit people who have relevant work experience and an appreciation for their industry. Here is a check list of ideas about gaining experience and industry knowledge.
- Check the type of experience most employers in your field of interest expect. Don’t overlook the part time work you may be currently doing. Most employers understand that the skills are transferrable even if the work is not in their industry.
- Check your academic program for any courses that involve a placement or the opportunity to undertake an industry based project.
- Check your school for Summer Scholarships for research opportunities.
- Check vacancy sites for advertised traineeships, part time employment and vacation work opportunities in your field.
- Source and approach organisations directly about possible work shadowing or information interview opportunities.
- Source and approach organisations directly for paid work opportunities.
- Consider volunteering.
Note: Gaining experience may be important but not at the expense of your studies. Make sure you do not overload your timetable with unrealistic work commitments.
Graduates majoring in History find employment opportunities in small, medium or large organisations of varying industries. Below are some examples of organisations that may recruit those holding this major. Check employers’ websites for sections titled Employment, Careers, Graduate Programs, or for similar sections. Some employers may also offer vacation work opportunities.
- Allen & Unwin (International)
- Allianz (Australia)
- ANZ (Australia)
- Attorney General's Department (Australia)
- Australia Council for the Arts (Australia)
- Australian Bureau of Statistics (Australia)
- Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Australia)
- Australian Defence Force (International)
- Australian National Library (Australia)
- Australian Secret Intelligence Service (Australia)
- Australian Taxation Office (Australia)
- Australian War Memorial (Australia)
- Department of Human Services (Australia)
- Clemenger BBDO (International)
- Commonwealth Bank of Australia (Australia)
- Department of Finance and Deregulation (Australia)
- Fairfax Media (Australia)
- Masterfoods (Australia)
- National Archives of Australia (Australia)
- National Australia Bank (Australia)
- National Museum of Australia (Australia)
- NSW Department of Education (Australia)
- NSW Local Government (Australia)
- NSW Police Recruitment (Australia)
- Random House (Australia)
- Saatchi & Saatchi (International)
- Scholastic (Australia)
- The Sydney Morning Herald (Australia)
- Unilever (International)
- Wesfarmers (Australia)
- Westpac (Australia)
Some large organisations have specific graduate recruitment programs designed to employ the pick of graduates each year. You must be in your final year of study or recently completed to apply for these programs. The timing of these recruitment drives varies and may occur at any point in the academic year, in some cases starting as early as the first few weeks of the first semester or trimester.
Find out if employers in your area/s of interest have graduate programs, when they typically recruit and what recruitment methods they use. Check with the Careers Service .
Job Prospects and Salary
For up-to-date information please see Job Outlook Australia. This site provides basic Australian labour market information including job prospects, skills requirements and salaries. You might try some of the classifications below as a guide on this site.
Societies and Associations
Associations and societies often provide relevant and up to date information about a variety of issues relating to specific industry sectors. These can be a good starting point to learn more about occupations through profiles, industry news, links to academic journals and information on research developments. Many also offer student membership, conference and professional development activities, newsletters and the opportunity to participate in projects.
- The Australian Historical Association (Australia)
- Australian Publishers Association (Australia)
- Australian Society of Archivists (Australia)
- History Teachers Association of Australia (Australia)
Don’t overlook student societies and associations. As well as student chapters of professional associations, some faculties or schools have discipline based student associations. Check your school or faculty web site; perhaps you might start one if one doesn’t exist.
Some academic disciplines run Seminar Programs that involve regular seminars presented by University of Newcastle academics, visiting academics and postgraduate students. Check your schools website for the timetable.
Job Search Sites
Searching job sites is a good way to gain an understanding of: industries recruiting professionals in this field; types of roles and the requirements or expectations of employers for these roles. There are many online job search sites, here are a few to start with:
Australian and International
- CareerHub: the University of Newcastle Careers Service careers and job search site for enrolled students and graduates.
- CareerOne: Australia wide job listings, all levels and industries including executive positions
- MyCareer: Australian and international listings
- Seek: comprehensive Australian job listings, also includes New Zealand and UK listings
- The Big Chair: Management and Executive Jobs
Graduate Attributes and Employability
Aboriginal Professional Practice
Bachelor of Aboriginal Professional Practice graduates majoring in History will have the skills, abilities and knowledge sought after by a broad range of employers. On completion of the degree, graduates can expect to:
- Hold a deep understanding of Aboriginal culture, history and political life in Australia.
- Have capacity and skills to identify, challenge and develop policy, work and social practice which are culturally and ethically inclusive of diverse cultures.
- Developed a competitive ability to gain employment and work effectively, autonomously, responsively in a collaborative work environment in and across a broad area of vocational professional careers.
- Developed a genuine understanding and advocacy of social justice in the workforce and community.
- Clear demonstration of the capacity to work productively and in a culturally appropriate professional manner, in partnership with Indigenous communities at all levels.
- Hold and practice the academic theory and skills to effectively expand and communicate their understanding of themselves as rational beings and their relationship with the broader community in the area of Aboriginal Studies and social justice.
- Capacity and skills to contribute to the emerging contemporary scholarly discourse and practice in Aboriginal affairs.
Bachelor of Arts
Bachelor of Arts graduates majoring in History will have the skills, abilities and knowledge sought after by a broad range of employers. On completion of the degree, graduates can expect to have developed:
- An in-depth understanding of at least one specialist area in the Bachelor of Arts
- The capacity for analytical thinking and for creative problem solving
- Information literacy: skills in locating, evaluating and using relevant information
- Effective and appropriate communication skills, written and oral, across a range of forms
- Ethical sensitivity, including an awareness of ethical issues and standards within disciplines
- Intercultural awareness: a respect for and understanding of cultures other than one's own
Bachelor of Social Science
Bachelor of Social Science graduates majoring in History will have the skills, abilities and knowledge sought after by a broad range of employers. On completion of the degree, graduates can expect to have developed:
- Advanced social research skills:
- In-depth knowledge and skills in the design and conduct of social research.
- The capacity to collect, organise, critically assess, and present information in written and oral forms.
- Specialist Social Science knowledge:
- Comprehensive knowledge of one or more specialist areas in the Social Sciences.
- Critical though and informed decision-making:
- The ability to structure and present logical arguments, critically analyse material and opinions, and make informed decisions.
- Effective management and teamwork skills:
- The ability to work autonomously and collaboratively, including effective leadership skills, teamwork, organisational and program management capabilities.
- High-level communication, interpersonal and presentation skills:
- Advanced level of written, oral, and interpersonal skills, including the effective use of information and communication technologies.
- Ethical and socio-cultural sensitivity:
- An understanding of ethical issues, standards, and public responsibility in relation to professional practice, including an appreciation of cultural diversity and sensitivity towards vulnerable and Indigenous groups.
You will recognise these attributes in the selection criteria listed in the following job ads.