An undergraduate degree in history provides a strong foundation for any career requiring research, analysis, and writing skills. It is excellent preparation for professional historical work, social studies teaching at the secondary level, archival maintenance, editing, and museum administration, and it also prepares graduates to enter business positions in a variety of fields. In addition, many Luther students use the history major as preparation for professional tests such as the Graduate Record Examination, Law School Admissions Test, Foreign Service Examination, and Civil Service Examination.

The American Historical Society has a compelling new website dedicated to the question, "Why Study History." All interested students should peruse it. 

According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), graduates with a history major nationwide most commonly obtained careers in the following fields:

  • Education (elementary, secondary teacher)
  • Federal, state, and local government
  • Paralegal and legal assistance
  • Accounting/auditing
  • Management

For a wide range of careers in history, visit the "What Can I Do With This Major" website list for History. 

Luther history graduates frequently enter occupational fields that include: 

  • Education (elementary, secondary, postsecondary)
  • Museum studies/services
  • Federal, state, and local government
  • Law
  • Finance 

Recent Luther history graduates have found employment with the following organizations: 

  • Education sector (various school districts, Coe College, Simpson College, Capella University)
  • Museums (Iowa Children’s Museum, Portland Police Museum, Puget Sound Navy Museum, Science Museum of Minnesota)
  • Federal, state, and local government (Wisconsin State Assembly; U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of South Dakota; Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation; National Park Service)
  • Nonprofits (AmeriCorps, Goodwill Industries, Minnesota Conservation Corps)
  • Private law firms 

Luther College aggressively tracks the career paths and outcomes of its graduates, from employment to graduate school to postgraduate service. View recent graduate statistics for further details.

Students interested in getting a masters or PhD in history or museum studies should talk to an advisor and history professors early in college about the proper steps to take. An ongoing important step to keep in mind is to continue asking what topics and themes (big and small) are most of interest in your classes and what unanswered questions you have about them. That will help guide you later when you have to choose the time period, region, and topic you want to specialize in. Please also consult the American Historical Association Guide to Graduate Study in History for more information.

All students will also find the Luther College Career Center helpful in figuring out their life after graduation.

"I'm still reading history regularly and loving it!"

-Brian Rude '77
Vice President, External and Member Relations Dairyland Power Cooperative
Member of the Board of the Norwegian-American Historical Association since 1993. President of the organization from 2010-2014.
Member of the Board of Curators of the Wisconsin Historical Society, 1985-2000, 2007 to present. Currently serving as president-elect, term to begin June 2016.