Students

History degree?

[OP]
Newbie
Oct 19, 2017
1 posts

History degree?

Do you think it's worth 4 years of school to get one? A lot of people online are saying it's kind of useless.
17 replies
Deal Addict
User avatar
Aug 9, 2011
1873 posts
264 upvotes
GTA
What are you looking to do with a history degree? Masters? phD?
Deal Addict
User avatar
Nov 12, 2011
3442 posts
286 upvotes
Niagara-on-the-Lake
A degree is as useful as you make it. It's not so much about the subject material that you learn (at least in the arts/humanities), but more so the research, analytical, and qualitative skills you have learned. You just need to learn to frame them in a way for a prospective employer to look at you favorably.
Newbie
Jun 10, 2013
66 posts
20 upvotes
Don't...just...don't...If you want to learn history, borrow books from the library for free. If you're already independently wealthy and would like to study it out of interest go ahead. But if you're going to school for landing a high paying career, it's best to use your time learning skills that are in market demand. If I could do it all over again I'd go into computer science. You could do a minor in history if you wish...but your primary degree should be something for which there is a market (assuming you're going to school to later get a job and that you're not independently wealthy/early retired). Also, if you want to do medicine or professional school that requires a high GPA, and your love of history allows you to pump your GPA into the stratosphere, then that is likely another option albeit a riskier one.

P.S. I personally LOVE history but I use the library's overdrive book collection / audible to learn. You can get your research/analytical/arguing background by pontificating on a forum lol.

Anyway, if you an objective opinion. Go to Ministry of Labour or US Bureau of Labour Statistics to check employment rates and starting wages by major.
Newbie
Jun 10, 2013
66 posts
20 upvotes
Not the MoL or BLS but it generally follows the same trend:
https://www.forbes.com/sites/karstenstr ... 6319092343

Degree & Average Starting Salary

History - $38,361

English - $38,303

Psychology - $38,079

Special education - $38,002

Elementary education - $37,803

Anthropology/sociology - $37,672

Social work - $37,115

Pre-K & kindergarten education - $35,626

The top-paying bachelor’s degree, by the numbers, is electrical engineering. Though the starting annual salary average is $62,428, a job seeker coming out of school may see a variety of offers when scoping out the jobs market as the salary range for such a degree is between $25,000 and $130,000.

In second place, software design earns new graduates an average $61,466. The salary ranges one might see on the jobs market span from $25,000 to $134,000, depending on a variety of factors like experience and responsibilities involved.

In third place is chemical engineering – which claimed first place last year – which CERI discovered offers an average starting salary of $61,125. The salary range in the chemical engineering arena spans from $31,000 to $125,000.
And at masters level, same source as above:
Selected major Average Range
Computer science $72,071 $15,000 – $145,000
Engineering $69,729 $20,000 – $200,000
MBA $62,700 $10,000 – $151,000
Physical & biological sciences $59,204 $10,000 – $200,000
Accounting $58,159 $10,000 – $144,000
LIR/HR $58,125 $10,000 – $127,000
Health sciences MS & MSW $53,283 $10,000 – $175,000
Social sciences MA & MS $48,697 $10,000 – $150,000
Newbie
Jun 10, 2013
66 posts
20 upvotes
Another thing to consider is what fields will be hot when you're graduating...With AI/machine learning & outsourcing - accounting, law, pharmacy are in trouble. From what I could see so far, the pharmacists are being pushed to the outskirts (Thunder Bay) to maintain good salaries and are overworked (there is an RFD and reddit thread on this). My lawyer friends can't find jobs or are having a tough time (though some are successful but competition is fierce), accountants still seem to be doing just fine (all over 6 figs - CPA/CAs). I went to Waterloo, and what was baffling to me was their CPA, CA Arts Accounting program (they had math and science equivalents that make more sense). My buddies going through that arts accounting program are all over 6 figures but aside from the required AFM (accounting and financial management) courses, they were allowed to take a shitton of arts electives...It's competitive, probably because it's a hell of a lot easier than the Waterloo math accounting program (and science never had that much space). But I've been out of school for almost a decade so shit could have changed.

Go for a coop program if you can. I saw a lot of unemployed grads, even engineers working menial jobs. It gives you 2 years of real solid work experience. I took coop (and a useless degree in health sciences) but the coop allowed me to snag a 60k start while many of my peers were unemployed and forced to do more schooling. I also graduated debt free which is huge...
Newbie
Apr 10, 2017
63 posts
6 upvotes
East York, ON
I know a person who graduated with a history degree at UofT, they work at a large bank now as a risk analyst.
Newbie
Jun 10, 2013
66 posts
20 upvotes
zipperz wrote:
Oct 24th, 2017 3:53 pm
I know a person who graduated with a history degree at UofT, they work at a large bank now as a risk analyst.
I know one that is 47 and unemployed for 15 years (he told me history majors hit their stride at 50)...Another history degree guy that can only land low paying contracts. In all honesty it's probably based on IQ and temperament, but you'll have a better shot in the market once you have a hard skill that's in demand (lower barrier to entry and thus less competition). Plus, averages are averages, there will always be those above and below. One of my buddies dropped out of university twice and makes over 100k, first job paid 80k USD. If you're going to pay for a degree, it should be something that has a good return on investment. Degrees don't come cheap nor does 4 years of time, especially when there are so many free alternatives.
Temp. Banned
Apr 6, 2016
277 posts
8 upvotes
History recordings are slanted and sometimes blatantly misleading. Take the events in Syria for example ??
Deal Addict
User avatar
Mar 23, 2008
4728 posts
2307 upvotes
Edmonton
My brother got his history degree. The only way he made it worthwhile was by getting his PhD, and now he’s teaching. I think he makes about half what I do with my 2 year computer diploma, and racked up considerably more debt getting there, but hey... Math was never (obviously) his strong suite.

C
Deal Guru
Dec 31, 2005
13192 posts
667 upvotes
No degree is worthless. Plain and simple.
The challenge for most people is that they only see linearly...i.e. Take X and get Job Y.

As an example what is not uncommon. I work in a medical device company. The head of the service organization has a degree in Music specializing in Opera.

In the end, university is only there to open doors for most people. History may open less doors, but in itself is not an indicator of future success.

What is his/her passion? If it is history, then great. You will probably be more successful, develop better habits and likely will be able to see ways to use your degree. In the end, you will probably put yourself in a better position to succeed in life.
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Jul 12, 2003
7797 posts
911 upvotes
Markham
What kind of jobs that you would need a degree in history?
Teacher maybe, what else?
Retired Forum Moderator February 2009 - June 2015
Deal Guru
Dec 31, 2005
13192 posts
667 upvotes
MP3_SKY wrote:
Nov 9th, 2017 2:58 pm
What kind of jobs that you would need a degree in history?
Teacher maybe, what else?
again wrong mindset.
First, this can be a first step into countless fields.

Second, I can walk around the office and find people in almost every area of the company with a degree that wouldn't be what you expect. I, for example, head a marketing department. My field of study was Biology (Genetics). Country head for our Service organization has a degree in Opera. Colleagues in Sales, Marketing, Contracts, Proposals, logistics, communications, product management, IT, service leadership, technical support leadership all have a degree or diploma you wouldn't expect.

Top