What Can I do with a Degree in History?
The largest group of history students at University of Missouri - Saint Louis plan to teach. Many complete a major in history as they pursue state certification in Secondary Education social studies. For decades, the History Department has recognized the importance of the training these students receive. Two of the Department's faculty members hold joint appointment in History and the College of Education and advise and supervise these future high school teachers. Most of these teachers remain in the St. Louis area and many of them return to The University of Missouri - Saint Louis to complete their MA degrees. Some students chose to continue their studies at the doctoral level and University of Missouri - Saint Louis alumni now teach history in colleges and universities around the country.
But, education is by no means the only career path open to history students. The discipline of history teaches information retrieval and organization skills and places a strong emphasis on clear and effective writing and oral exposition. With these skills, UMSL history alumni pursue a wide variety of careers in business, law, banking, library science and the foreign service. Moreover, a growing public interest in regional history has created employment opportunities for historians in museums, historical sites, archives, and historic preservation organizations. The History Department offers undergraduate majors a wide variety of internships through which they can earn credit toward their degree as they gain valuable career experience.
In the broadest sense, the discipline of history is central to the university curriculum and to the life experience. The ability to put events or developments into the context of the past is useful in evaluating public policy and determining social responsibility. It is also pleasurable as one connects one's individual experiences to wider human endeavors. The history faculty is eager to share their knowledge and experience with you. They are also eager to help guide you toward the exciting discoveries that the study of the past constantly reveals.
I've always loved history, so it seemed natural to pursue a degree in history at UMSL when I decided to go back to school. After completing my History and Education degrees, I was hired to teach at Hazelwood Central High School. My education at UMSL provided me with the skill, knowledge and tools to meet the needs of my students. Teaching history has been a real adventure. There is never a dull moment and I am constantly reminded of how important a working knowledge of history is in the modern world. My UMSL History degree has also given me the freedom to teach what I like. Many new teachers come in with general social studies degrees and get stuck with the low level, low interest classes that no one else wants. I, on the other hand, was hired to teach US, World, and AP European history.
- Donna Munro, 2002
Although I have taught American History for 15 years at the Community Colleges, I have also taught graduate students at Webster University in the International Relations Department for that same period. It is obvious why history has been important to my American History teaching. Yet, in some ways it has been equally important in teaching IRL. Fifteen years ago when I began at Webster University there was a trend away from using history to discuss IRL. Therefore, I was one of the few in that discipline continuing to emphasize history in the explanation of International Relations. Since that time, many have begun to rely again on history as case studies in the explanation of theory and policy in IRL. My background in history always made me question each theory in IRL. Equally, my studies in IRL forced me to ask history to be relevant. In other words, how could I use historic information to understand trends in the relations among nations? Not only political trends, but social and economic trends as well. I am so happy that I could combine my love for international politics and history in the discipline of IRL.
- Barbara Hufker
When I first came to the U.S. as a graduate student in history, I was really scared. Even though I had read books in English in my home country and known the English grammar well, I could hardly talk to Americans in coherent sentences. But UMSL history professors were exceptionally kind and warm to me. I quickly came to realize that they were not only my class professors but also my personal friends. They guided me through a very pleasant course of study in a variety of skills by focusing on research, examination, interpretation, and reflection. My two-year training at UMSL history department has been vital for my late successes in the doctoral program and the employment market. I have since studied history in three universities, and I cherish my UMSL experience the most.
- Liangwu Yin