What History Majors Do
What do our majors do with an undergraduate degree in History? Trained to think critically and independently, do rigorous research, contextualize information, and communicate effectively, History majors have the versatility to succeed in a diverse range of careers. From tech and design to journalism and the law, UT History majors do it all! Meet some of our recent alums (below) to find out about a few of the areas where our majors are pursuing successful careers, and check out our UT History Instagram page!
Technical Recruiter, Google | U.S. Navy Reservist Petty Officer
Class of 2013
“My history degree at UT prepared me for a career working at Google in the tech industry, something I never dreamed possible while in school. We History majors develop critical thinking skills, especially communication and writing skills. Historians must gather all reliable evidence and arrive at evidence and data driven decisions. As a global company, we must ensure both our workforce and products reflect a globally-inclusive population. Learning about the histories of different peoples from all over the world helps me interact with folks from various backgrounds, identities, and more.”
Product Analyst | Pinterest, San Francisco, CA
Class of 2013
“A lot of analytics requires not only the technical skills from my math classes but also the storytelling and writing skills I learned while studying History. Analytics is about using data to drive decisions, but this requires more than just statistics; it requires the ability to communicate the meaning of the data effectively. The broad education I got at UT, especially my History degree and the Normandy Scholars Program, helped distinguish me from my peers and drive my career thus far.”
National Advocacy Counsel | American Immigration Council
Class of 2001
“My undergraduate degree in History helped to refine my writing and analytical skills in preparation for law school and a career in immigration law. Specifically, my experience in the History Honors Program solidified my interest in pursuing a career devoted to protecting the interests of non-citizens.”
Litigation Associate | Rudy, Exelrod, Zieff & Lowe, LLP, a plaintiff-side employment law firm
Fmr. Deputy County Counsel, Santa Clara County, CA (human trafficking, reproductive rights)
Fellow, ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project
Teaching Assistant in France, Lycée Savary De Mauléon
Class of 2006 (and J.D., Law, 2011, New York University)
Development Assistant, Corporate and Foundation Relations
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Brookline, Massachusetts
Class of 2018, B.A., History and Government
"As a Development Assistant in Corporate and Foundation Relations, I conduct prospect research, compose original written material, and coordinate special projects for my team. Majoring in History provided me with the necessary tools to critically engage with new ideas and analyze issues from different perspectives. Pursuing a career in development presented an exciting opportunity to transfer the skills I acquired as a history major to a mission-based environment. I enjoy working at a collaborative, philanthropic organization, and I remain extremely grateful for the opportunities I received as a history major at UT."
Job Quality Engineer
Class of 2019, B.A., History, and B.Sc., Mechanical Engineering
"As a QE in a plant with regulated food and drug products, I make sure products are made and tested in a manner that protects the customer and adheres to various regulatory boards. We also look at how we can work with other departments to improve, regulate, or initiate various processes. As I did when I was a history major, I write reports, I investigate to find answers, and I am a stickler for documentation. Additionally, I collect data and determine the best way to present it. Building historical databases, analyzing what is or isn't important, and determining root causes tied History and Mechanical Engineering together when I was at UT and continue to do in my career. My background in history helps me chase answers, consider the correct questions, and determine deeper meaning so I can administer the proper engineering solutions. I am grateful to have the best of both worlds."
Programme Coordinator | Canadian Aid Organization for International Society Rehabilitation (CAOFISR), Kurdistan
Class of 2014
Fascinated with World War II since childhood, Caroline took the majority of her history courses through the Normandy Scholar Program. She notes the importance that this program had in both her undergraduate experience and her career, writing, “This up-close look at how war plays out both politically and militarily, as well as how it impacts civilians, very much informed my work to prevent and resolve conflict.” Read more: “Caroline Corcoran: Applying skills gained studying history in her present-day humanitarian work.”
Freelance journalist | Istanbul, Turkey
Class of 2013
“I started my career in Cairo, Egypt in 2013 upon graduation. Since then, I have reported from Turkey, Egypt, Israel, Palestine, Uganda, Germany, and Mexico on global issues like migration and human rights. I moved to Cairo to a large extent based from what I learned about the MENA and Middle East regions in my History classes. This introduction to the region and the skills I acquired as a writer and researcher throughout the program had a defining effect on my career as a freelance journalist.”
Editor in Chief | Texas Monthly
Class of 2005
“What's the old saying? Journalism is history in a hurry. For me that has proven true. As a history major at UT, I found that as we studied history we read journalists: the Russian Revolution was John Reed's Ten Days That Shook the World; D-Day was Cornelius Ryan's The Longest Day. I remember one day thinking, you know, I think I might prefer doing the history in a hurry thing. Then I found magazines, and I was taken with how good magazine journalism could refer to history, emphasize narrative, and be a lot of fun to write. It was a fit for me. My time studying history at UT did help me prepare to think critically, be a quick study, evaluate evidence, find and tell stories, and form an argument. I'm so grateful to have gone to UT and be a product of the history department.”
Architectural Designer, Film Producer, Entrepreneur | Architecture, SCHAUM/SHIEH team for the White Oak Music Hall, Houston
Film, documentary in production about housing in America (COST/SQFT) and
Feature film based on the graphic novel, My Friend Dahmer
Class of 2006 (M.Arch, Rice University)
"Great storytelling (for me, at least) is not just about the details, but about context and about connecting back to a larger truth. Studying history is nothing if not a training in how to zoom into a point in time on a granular level, and zoom out to its larger context and externalities. That—to me—is how the best told stories operate. I was attracted to the script for My Friend Dahmer, not simply because it was an incredibly unique story and perspective. But because by telling a very specific story about a very specific character, it served to underscore a lot of the larger conditions surrounding the United States in the late 1970s. The unwinding of the American middle class. The unraveling of the nuclear family. Etc." See also: An interview with “Owned” filmmaker Giorgio Angelini," in Life & Letters.
Athlete | Mentor | Community Builder | Documentary Filmmaker
Professional basketball player, Memphis Grizzlies and overseas teams
Community Builder, Landessportbund BER, helping refugees assimilate via sports programs
Mentor, MAN-UP Dallas
Documentary filmmaker, producing film on sports influence on the world, inspired by his great uncle, legendary Olympian Jesse Owens
Class of 2002 (History and UT basketball)
Texas History Teacher
Class of 2007
"I made it through my first year (of teaching) and subsequent years by practicing what I learned at UT. I learn more to teach my students better. I am constantly asking questions about the world around me. I experience so much joy when I travel, read, revel in music, film and artistic performances. My friends and family keep me grounded and hopeful about life’s new challenges. I still have so much to learn from other master teachers at my school as well as the almost 2000 and counting students that have sat in my classroom. I have learned to appreciate what people give you; their talents, their effort, their products, and, especially, their time."
Learn more about Elsbeth and her journey to becoming a Texas History Teacher in Austin ISD, at:
Professor of Digital Media | American University, Dubai
Class of 2005
“I’m currently studying, teaching, and producing digital tech in one of the most innovative cities of the 21st century. My projects include launching two new podcast series, Digital Media & Tech in Dubai and the Dubai Wave Podcast, as well as the design of a next-gen interactive history book called ‘Big History Adventures,’ currently supported by an Oxford Fellowship, and with support from the International Big History Association.”
Matthew M. Heaton
Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies | History Department, Virginia Tech
Author of Black Skin, White Coats: Nigerian Psychiatrists, Decolonization, and the Globalization of Psychiatry (Ohio University Press, 2013) and A History of Nigeria (Cambridge University Press, 2008) co-authored with Toyin Falola.
Class of 2002 (Ph.D., History, 2008)
“My undergraduate degree in history from UT prepared me exceedingly well for graduate study and, ultimately, a career as a professional historian. Course offerings provided a wide range of opportunities to think about historical interpretation from a variety of perspectives, and the opportunity to write an undergraduate thesis gave me a full year to immerse myself in a unique primary source base that served as great practice for graduate research seminars, MA research, and the archival fieldwork I ultimately did in Nigeria and Ghana for my PhD dissertation. It also sparked an interest in the history of health, illness and medicine that has been central to my scholarship ever since.”
Ph.D. Student in History, Johns Hopkins University
Class of 2017, B.S. Biochemistry Honors, B.A. History and French
How a STEM major found the value of History: "Five years ago, up to my junior year, I was interested in graduate school studying host-pathogen interactions and microbiology – instead, here I am with a project on the Haitian Revolution. Switching to History has turned out not to be a disciplinary end point but has enabled an unceasing expansion of my horizons into fascinating new fields and ideas. History’s fundamental questions – how we think about ourselves, how we interact with others, and how we know – are applicable to every understanding we have about society and humanity, past and present, making engaging with such thinking, in my opinion, critical for how we live. My curiosity with such ideas, outside the purview of science, drove me to switch fields."
Manuscript Archivist and the Interim Head of Manuscript Processing | Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library, Emory University
Class of 2003 (M.S., Information Science, 2007)
“I’m responsible for the arrangement and description of manuscript collections such as the Southern Christian Leadership Conference records and the Ophelia DeVore papers. I’m also responsible for planning and general oversight of our processing program and supervision of project archivists. My history degree laid the foundation for my career in archives in part because the first time I ever interacted with primary sources was during my course work. The classes I took for my degree helped me understand how vital the preservation of the historical record is and how archives are one important way to help people tell their stories.”
Above: Quigley with civil rights leader C.T. Vivian, courtesy of Emory Photo/Video.