What Can You Do With a History Degree? …. Pay Rent!

Dominican University, where I teach history, is a small tuition-driven private school. The classes are small. The students tend to be first generation college students. We’re diverse – over 50% Latinx in the last few entering classes. We’re relatively affordable, as small private schools go, and provide that intense, small-class, personal attention, that really can transform a person’s horizons.

And yet, as students arrive, they are being driven by their own concerns, their family’s concerns, and the wide array of career-oriented short-term pressures towards job training majors. And I have no problem with job training! I’ve just had way too many conversations with brilliant women of color, in particular, who say – I really love history, but my parents want me to major in accounting.

So, with permission, I’m sharing a few of Mikki Kendall’s tweets on her experience as a history major in the job market (hey, support Mikki’s patreon here! I do). I plan to show them to the next young woman in my office pondering her future. History departments everywhere should plaster them on the walls.

Moreover, it’s not just history, it’s the degrees that teach you to process information and then articulate your findings clearly. Honestly, my colleagues who teach in Business are completely dedicated to liberal learning, to making sure these kinds of broad skills are embedded in everything we teach. Our Business majors get great educations.

But there’s just no reason a student should choose one from simple instrumental fear of the future, rather than follow a subject that really speaks to her.

Because history majors can pay rent by analyzing information and writing it up.

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