If you have a passion for uncovering information, then a career as a research historian may be a good fit for you. Let’s take a look at the educational requirements for this type of career as well as your employment opportunities. Remember, creative thinking and extensive research skills are needed to be successful in this line of work.

What to do with a Degree in Historical research?

With a degree in historical research, you will have the experience and knowledge required to excavate pertinent information. This information can come from a variety of resources, including articles, online publishings, movies, films, magazines, books, and more.

There are many subjects to be studied in regards to historical research, meaning you can find a topic that piques your interest and that you are passionate about; this makes your job as a history researcher all the more enjoyable.

The primary goal for a research historian is to gain as much knowledge as you can about a particular aspect of history. Different examples of various fields of historical research include:

  • Past military campaigns
  • Current military campaigns
  • Egyptology
  • Byzantine folklore
  • American history

Regardless of the particular area of history you want to research, it is vital that you obtain a broad education in history. Also important is that you take lots of courses in research methods and practices. The sharper your research skills, the more knowledge you can excavate from the information you are researching.

Careers and Salary for a Research Historian

Historical research fuels many aspects of our society, including the healthcare field, education, and even our financial sectors. By having a deeper understanding of culture, customs, and religions, it becomes much easier to make well-informed decisions that advance matters taking place in all of these industries. And it is because of this that you will find career options for research historians to be extremely broad.

Here is a more in-depth look at the careers you can obtain that involve historical research.


Who do you think writes a history book? Writers, of course. When earning a degree in historical research, you are going to have to submit a variety of research papers and you may very well discover that you enjoy writing and all of the research that comes along with it.

If you choose to pursue this line of work with your credential, your pay will vary. Some research historian writers write on a freelance basis while others are able to secure employment through actual employers and get paid a salary. When working on a freelance basis, you will earn money for each book that gets published, and you may or may not be paid in royalty payments or a per-word basis.


You’ll need a master’s degree in historical research to land a job as a curator, however, you can expect your pay to serve as a high return on your investment (ROI). As a curator, you will spend your time working in museums, gathering materials that are to be put on display. You will also perform a lot of research to pinpoint which items should be on display and to determine the validity of such items. Some curators are known to make above $80k a year.


Many students who graduate with a degree in historical research will choose to become a librarian. This type of research historian spends his or her days organizing the layout of the libraries they work in as well as deciding which pieces need to be rotated out and which new items need to be rotated in.

A lot of historical research goes along with this job because librarians have to advice library board members of which pieces they need to invest in. If you work for a small local library, your salary will likely be somewhere around $30k a year. If you land a job as a librarian at a large library, such as a university library, you can expect to make upward of $70k a year.

Political Scientist

As a research historian, you can easily pursue the career of a political scientist. You will, however, need a master’s degree to enter into this line of work. If you have a passion for politics and political systems, this is a job role that will definitely be of interest to you and will bring about much fulfillment.

Much of your time will be spent carrying out historical research because you will be analyzing how political systems have changed throughout the years and how these changes have impacted different societies. This is another job that will bring about a high ROI, with an average annual salary of close to $100k.

Can a Research Historian Work in the Marketing Industry?

Even though it’s probably not the first industry that crosses your mind when it comes to thinking of careers that research historians can pursue, the marketing industry is actually quite open to employing graduates with a history credential.

Think about it. In order to become successful in the marketing industry, you must understand how the marketing system works. More importantly how the economy works. And when it comes to the economy, we all know that it is fueled, molded, and influenced greatly by our political systems. Who understands political systems? History graduates do!

Marketing also includes a lot of research and analyzing. Who understands how to conduct proper research and knows how to perform analyses? History graduates do, especially those who graduate with a degree in historical research.

When studying historical research, you are going to sharpen three very important skills:

  1. Research
  2. Writing
  3. Pinpointing significance and connecting dots

All three of these skills are the three most essential skills that any successful marketer will tell you are most important to their careers.

When performing research, you are going to spend hour upon hour studying historical figures. You are going to perform extremely in-depth analyses, which is vital to marketing. All of the methodologies you learn while earning a degree in history can propel you toward success as a marketing specialist.

You will study situations and understand them from various angles, which will help you identify targeted audiences in marketing and help you shape campaigns to meet the needs and preferences of these audiences.

Your writing skills are a necessity for marketing. As you create papers for your history degree, you will sharpen both your writing and editing skills and this can be of the utmost value in the marketing industry, especially when it comes to content creation and social media.

You may even find you have a deep passion for writing. If you do, you can always use your degree to become a content creation specialist. This type of marketing career allows you to work from home according to your own hours and you can literally make as much money as you want.

Did you know the average professional writer makes about five to 10 cents a word? For a 3,000-word article on the web, the writer will usually get paid anywhere from $150 to $300. For a person who specializes in this industry, writing a 3,000-word article will take about two to three hours. That’s really good money. In fact, it averages out to be anywhere from $50 to $150 an hour.

If you’ve been thinking about a career as a research historian and you’re wanting to work in the marketing industry, there’s never been a better time.

The Best History Research Guides to Fuel Your Studies

Regardless of the career path you choose to follow with your degree in history research, there are various history research guides you can use to fuel your studies. Let’s take a look at a few of these guides.

General History Research Guides

Going to the Sources

This guide is authored by Anthony Brundage provides practical insights relating to general aspects of historical research. You’ll acquire a thorough introduction to conducting research, including how to refine a topic, how to select authoritative sources, and how to engage with the readings you study.

The Pursuit of History

This guide was created by Josh Tosh and delivers a classic introduction to transitional history as well as how to research when using archives. The guide is available online and is cram-packed with all kinds of expanded examples as well as case studies that provide insightful perspectives coming from professional researchers.

Medieval History Research Guide

Understanding Medieval Primary Sources

One of the first things you will learn about when studying to become a research historian is the difference between primary and secondary sources. The Understanding Medieval Primary Sources research guide goes into detail regarding the different types of primary sources that can be used when studying medieval history, including manorial accounts and sermons.

Ancient History Research Guide

Classical Studies

Authored by Fred W. Jenkins, this research guide covers a variety of research topics, including those related to classical studies, art and archaeology, English-language works, Green and Roman civilizations, and many more. Another notable aspect of this guide is that it can serve as a core resource of reference for those who are working as a research historian out of their immediate areas of expertise.

Is it Possible to Find History Government Jobs?

The government sector is not commonly thought of when history majors search for a career. The truth is, though, the government offers multiple career paths for those with a history degree, and even better is that many of these careers are accompanied with good pay.

Intelligence Analyst

Many people who become government intelligence analysts possess a history degree. In this line of work, you will spend your time studying other governments and political systems and interpreting the moves they make. You will report your findings and interpretations to the government and make recommendations that outline how certain situations can be properly controlled. Although the typical pay will start out around $35k a year, you can work your way up to more than 100k a year, especially when working as an intelligence analyst for a government entity.

Government Historian

Want to become a research historian? Why not become one specifically for the government? If you pursue this career, you’ll likely work for a military branch, or if preferred, you can find employment through a state-funded group. Working for the government as a research historian is especially advantageous if you have served time yourself as a member. As a government historian, you can expect to earn a pretty penny, with the average annual salary being more than $60k.


If you’re looking for a tech-based job as a research historian, then you’ll definitely want to check out the career of a conservator. In this role, you will spend your time acquiring and preserving pertinent documents and photos for the government. A conservator can work directly for the government or for a government-funded organization, such as the Smithsonian. This is another line of work that will make you about $60k a year.

Where Are the Best Historian Colleges?

If you’re going to college to be a research historian, then you will want to carefully pick the school you go to. Ideally, you will want to choose one that has a strong reputation for its history programs.

Another factor you will need to consider is whether or not the school offers historical research programs online. If you don’t have the advantage of being able to devote your time to attend courses on a full-time basis at a campus, you can always take part in online courses. Not only do online classes allow you to avoid having to go to an actual campus to earn a degree, but they also provide much more flexibility in regards to being able to complete your coursework according to a schedule that works best for you.

Here’s a quick look at the top four historian colleges.

Harvard University

If you’re looking for a school that is highly reputable, you can always study history at Harvard. You will, however, have to meet certain admission requirements, which can be found here. Being that it is located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, this school is especially ideal if you enjoy the living a fast-paced life. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in history, the average student from here enters the workforce making at least $43,000 a year. And thanks to the school’s diverse student body, you will get to experience working alongside people from numerous cultures, which is essential for understanding history.

Barnard College

When it comes to getting the best bang for your buck, you can’t go wrong with earning a degree from Barnard College in New York, New York. The school has a partnership with Columbia and provides a first-class education. When earning your degree in history, you will have more than 10 concentrations to choose from. And thanks to the school’s small class size, you can take advantage of an intense and intimate learning environment.

Millsaps College

This school is located in Jackson, Mississippi and has an extremely small enrollment. In fact, only about 900 students graduate from the school each year. And while you might think its small size would limit its ability to provide a top-notch education, the opposite is actually true. While earning your degree in history, you will be required to take part in several valuable learning experiences, like engaging with other history professionals in an internship as well as submitting an honors project.

Flagler College – St. Augustine

If you want to complete your studies in the beloved Sunshine State, you’ll want to enroll in Flagler College located in Saint Augustine, Florida where you will find a very affordable undergraduate history program. In addition, you can continue your studies by enrolling in the school’s public history degree curriculum. Throughout your studies, you will be taught how to share your research of history with the public. This is an excellent choice for those of you who want to establish a research historian career within a museum or national park.

Pertinent Information

You are going to study a wide range of subjects and objects as you earn a degree in historical research. Your courses will cover everything from ancient writings to some of today’s most modern texts. Your professors will do their best to give you a clear understanding of what has happened in the past and why it took place. You will compile the information you learn into your own words and use them to develop your own conception of the story of humanity.

With a degree in historical research, you will find it simple to acquire employment. Depending on your educational background, you may even be able to secure a job as a history research teacher; this job, however, typically requires you to have a master’s or doctorate degree.

Generally, a master’s degree in historical research will qualify you to obtain employment through a museum, while a PhD is required to secure a job within an academic institution as a teacher or professor.

Salary Expectations with a Degree in History Research

With a master’s degree in historical research, you can expect to make upward of $55k a year. The job growth rate within this field is two percent. With a doctorate degree in historical research, you will enjoy a much higher job growth rate of 10 percent, and your salary will exceed $70k a year.

What does a research historian do?

To be successful as a research historian, you will need to have excellent communication skills — both verbal and written. You will be collaborating with other historians and archivists, sharing information and developing answers to research questions asked of you.

It is not uncommon for historian researchers to conduct interviews with people specializing in the fields they are studying. Interviews are especially important when collecting eyewitness information.

To help you determine which pieces of collected information are coming from authentic sources, you will benefit majorly from having a keen sense of analytics. If you believe the information to be hearsay, you will need to disregard it and not use it for your research.

In many instances you will have to verify collected information through several sources, meaning patience and diligence are essential to your success as a research historian.

Can a Research Historian Work on a Freelance Basis?

Absolutely, a research historian can work on a freelance basis. This type of work allows you to work according to a schedule that is convenient for you, giving you the option to conduct research from your own home.

Many people who work as a freelance research historian are given remote access to the information they are studying, but still yet, much travel comes into play for those who have to visit certain locations to conduct their research.

As a freelance research historian, you can usually make as much money as you want. The more work you take on, the more you will earn.

What Are the Minimum Degree Requirements?

Are you going to be able to secure employment as a research historian with an associate’s degree in historical research? Yes, you can, but your pay is going to be very low (probably under $30k a year) and your job duties are likely going to be minimal and not very fulfilling.

Almost all research historian professionals will advise you to earn a master’s degree. A bachelor’s degree is needed to obtain your master’s, so you can expect to spend at least four years in school right off the bat.

Depending on the program and school you enroll in, you may be able to complete your bachelor’s in as little as three years. Going on to earn your master’s will take an additional 15 to 24 months, and your doctorate will take another 24 to 48 months.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, those with a bachelor’s or master’s degree in historical research will earn a median salary of about $55k a year. With a PhD, though, you can almost double your salary, making it all the more advantageous to continue your studies and earn an advanced degree.

Subscribe for News and Updates

More Articles
Historian Salary: A Comprehensive List of Careers and Salary Prospects
History Careers List: A Guide To Careers In History
Top Jobs In History Majors: Here Is What You Can Do
Masters In Theology: An In-Depth Guide
History Of Immigration In The U.S.
More Quizzes
Do You Have What It Takes To Get a Degree In History?
How Much Do You Know About American History?
More Rankings
20 Great Scholarships for History Majors
The 20 Best Schools With Online History Degree Programs
Best Affordable Schools to Get Your Degree in History
The Best History Blogs To Follow In 2018-2019
29 Best History Books Of All Time
More Resources
Online History Masters Degree: An In-Depth Guide
Historian Salary: A Comprehensive List of Careers and Salary Prospects
History Careers List: A Guide To Careers In History
Top Jobs In History Majors: Here Is What You Can Do
Masters In Theology: An In-Depth Guide