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Historians use a variety of historical documents and sources to study, research, analyse, and interpret the past.

  • Entry-level education

    Master’s degree

  • Job outlook

    1 2 3 4 5

What does a Historian do?

Historians use a variety of historical documents and sources to study, research, analyse, and interpret the past.


Work activities

As a historian, you would:

  • gather historical data from sources such as archives, court records, diaries, news files, and photographs, as well as collect data sources such as books, pamphlets, and periodicals
  • conduct historical research as a basis for the identification, conservation, and reconstruction of historic places and materials
  • present research findings in reports, museum exhibitions, journal articles and lectures
  • present historical accounts in terms of individuals or social, ethnic, political, economic, or geographic groupings
  • organise data, and analyse and interpret its authenticity and relative significance.

Key skills and interests

To become a historian, you would need:

  • well developed analytical and problem-solving skills
  • an enquiring mind
  • an interest in understanding human behaviour and society
  • an interest in the past and its relationship to the present
  • good research and written communication skills.

Working hours and conditions

Working Hours

Most historians work full time, although a growing number are self-employed and work on a contract or project basis.


Historians work in government agencies, museums, archives, historical societies, research organisations, and consulting firms. Some travel to carry out research.

Some historians undertake teaching qualifications and work in secondary schools or universities.


How to become an Historian?

Entry Level Education

Although most historian positions require a master’s degree, some research positions require a doctoral degree. Candidates with a bachelor’s degree may qualify for some entry-level positions, but most will not be traditional historian jobs.


Job outlook

  • 1 2 3 4 5

Employment of historians is projected to grow slower than the average for all occupations.

Many organisations that employ historians depend on government or public funding, and even donations. Thus, employment growth will depend largely on the amount of funding available.


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