United States History

Find out what you'd learn in a United States history program at the undergraduate or graduate level. Explore some careers you could pursue with a background in United States history, and check the outlook and salary info for positions such as history teacher and journalist.

Are Studies in United States History For Me?

Career Overview

Studies in United States history, also referred to as American studies, focus on the social, economic and constitutional past of America. One of many majors under the umbrella of liberal arts, United States history is an interdisciplinary field that promotes exploring the causes and effects of major events, such as American colonization, Asian and European migration, the Great Depression and the Holocaust on the social, economic, political, and cultural life in America. As a United States history major, you can build an educational foundation that can be used towards a wide range of careers, including teaching, government, politics, journalism and law.

Employment and Career Information

If you're interested in a career related to United States history, you should expect fair job competition over the next several years. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment growth of 6% is projected for high school teachers from 2012-2022; job growth of 19% is expected for postsecondary teachers during that same decade. During the 2012-2022 decade, employment increase projections are 10% for lawyers, 3% for writers and 14% for economists, per the BLS. A decline of 13% is projected for news analyst and reporter jobs during the same period (www.bls.gov). Those who are willing to relocate, as well as those with graduate degrees, can expect better job prospects.

Salaries vary depending on location, experience and specific job title, though the BLS reports that secondary school teachers earned a median salary of $55,050 in May 2012, and postsecondary teachers earned $68,970. During the same year, the median pay for lawyers was $113,530; it was $55,940 for writers, $91,860 for economists, and $37,090 for news analysts and reporters.

How Can I Work in United States History?

Education

Degrees in United States history are available at the bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree levels. These programs examine the colonization and founding of America and the years that have followed, up to the present.

United States history is available as a bachelor's degree program within most U.S. college and university history departments. Because history is a liberal arts major, you will likely also be required to take courses such as art, science, English, writing and oral communication as part of this degree program. As a United States history student, you may take core courses in areas such as the Civil War, imperialism and revolution, African American history, ethnicity in America, women in America and medieval Europe.

Graduate degree programs provide a more in-depth view of United States history, and programs at this level will often require you to choose a specialization. Areas of focus may include foreign policy, politics, culture, law and social sciences. Ph.D. students often earn this degree in order to become college professors, where they can conduct intensive research into America's past. As a graduate student in a United History program, you may take specific courses focusing on the American Revolution, the Cold War, political parties, Congress and the American presidency.

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