History graduates have skills in analysing, interpreting and presenting complex historical information and data that they use in a wide range of work settings.

History students develop their critical analysis and written communication skills to interpret historical events, trends and documents. They gain knowledge of specific historical periods and apply common themes and outcomes with past and present social, political and environmental issues.

Roles and career pathways

History graduates work in a wide range of roles that involve critical analysis, research, interpretation, and a high standard of written communication. Government ministries employ History graduates in research and advisory roles, as well as in roles relating to policy, stakeholder relations, and communications. First roles for graduates with undergraduate degrees may be in an administration or coordination role. A postgraduate qualification is usually required to work as an adviser or analyst in a policy team. History graduates also work as web content writers, journalists, programme coordinators, customer service managers, parliamentary researchers, and university faculty administrators.

Postgraduate study in History—such as an Honours or Master’s degree—is helpful for roles that require specialised, in-depth analysis. This could be a policy or research role or a position as an archivist or librarian. To work as an Historian, you normally need a Master's or PhD degree and postgraduate research experience. For students looking to work in the museum sector, a Master’s degree in Museum and Heritage Studies is a popular choice, as it includes an internship as a component of the course.

Adding another subject—such as Economics, Art History, Politics, Public Policy, Social Policy, or Pacific or Māori Studies—or completing a conjoint degree in Law can help broaden your employment options.

Completing a postgraduate diploma in secondary teaching (limited entry) is required to teach History at a secondary school level, and a second teaching subject is usually needed. For more information, see Teaching and Victoria University of Wellington Faculty of Education.

Where History graduates work

History graduates work across the private and public sectors. They may work in non-profit organisations, in government departments, or in history-related environments such as museums, archives, or libraries.

Recent History graduates have worked in organisations such as:

Build relevant skills and experience

Part-time work and volunteering during study all help to increase your job prospects when you graduate. The WFHSS Internship course run by the Wellington Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences helps develop practical workplace experience. Programmes such as Wellington Plus and Wellington International Leadership Programme (WILP) offer opportunities to gain diverse volunteer and leadership experience.

Make career connections

Making connections with individuals and groups during your degree can help your learn more about career and networking opportunities.

The Stout Centre for New Zealand Studies is an established institute based at the University and offers a range of seminars for students interested in this area. The New Zealand Historical Association offers discounted student membership. Wellington Chamber of Commerce and Wellington Young Professionals also offers various events and opportunities for networking. The Alumni as Mentors scheme also helps enhance your connections and employability while studying.

Graduate career stories

Head and shoulders photo of Griffen Ritchie in front of Wellington neighbourhood

Griffen Ritchie

A passion for storytelling fuelled Griffen’s interest in History, a passion he now puts to use in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

Head and shoulders photo of Rachel Nowicki laughing

Rachel Nowicki

Out-of-the-box problem-solving skills Rachel developed studying History laid the groundwork for several career leaps in the tech industry.

Head and shoulders portrait of Daniel Cruden

Daniel Cruden

The broad scope of History led Daniel into working for the Treasury and then postgraduate study in public policy.

Hilary Capon

Hilary Capon

Hilary uses the intellectual, analytical and technical skills honed from studying Classics and History daily in her public sector management role.