Graduate Education

Broadening Your Career Horizon: Practical Advice for Using the AHA’s Career Contacts Program

By Katie Streit

The challenging academic job market facing historians is one topic that is frequently discussed in graduate courses, academic journals, and job reports. While students are aware of the steep competition for limited positions, there are few resources available for identifying careers outside of academia and successfully marketing oneself for those positions. Fortunately, the AHA is trying to help with its Career Contacts program. The service connects graduate students and recent PhDs with historians working in various careers, including those employed in the government and nonprofit organizations.

Becoming an Assistant Professor: Things I Wish I’d Known as a Grad Student

By Jared Hardesty

As I gear up for another AHA annual meeting, I have been reflecting a lot about my own transition from graduate student to assistant professor. Mostly it’s because this will be my second year staffing the “Ask an Assistant Professor” booth at the annual meeting’s Career Fair. For those who can’t make it to the booth, and are mystified by life on the other side, here are some things about becoming an assistant professor that I wish I’d known as a graduate student.

A visualization of job titles for 2,500 history PhDs who graduated between 1998 and 2009. From "The Many Careers of History PhDs: A Study of Job Outcomes, Spring 2013."

Owning Our Graduate Education: Preparing for Career Diversity

By Jessica Derleth and Tiffany Baugh-Helton

Jessica and Tiffany
While attending the AHA’s 2016 annual meeting, Jessica and I—PhD candidates in history at Binghamton University in New York—had a revelation of sorts at the Graduate and Early Career Committee’s open forum on Career Diversity. Like many other history graduate students, we had accepted the “Plan A” culture that exists in so many institutions: “Plan A” is a tenure-track job in academia; “Plan B” is whatever we can do to avoid becoming baristas with PhDs.

November 28, 2016

Historians in Training: Interning at an Academic Journal

By Caroline Séquin

Last year I spent some time in Paris conducting archival research for my dissertation and working as an assistant editor for Clio, Femmes, Genre, Histoire, the French leading academic journal on the history of women and gender. Together, these two experiences provided me with an opportunity to apply skills acquired in graduate school to new work environments and develop new ones, and to experience working outside academia while remaining actively engaged with the historical literature in my field of expertise.

AHA Council Approves Guidelines for the Dissertation Process

The AHA Council has voted to approve this set of guidelines, drafted by the Professional Division, on the doctoral dissertation process. The guidelines aim to help both doctoral candidates and those who advise them to fulfill their respective obligations in ways that facilitate the work of students and allow them to graduate in a timely manner, while also respecting the many other duties and responsibilities carried by faculty.

A Historian in the Stacks: Finding a Professional Home in the Library

By Annie Johnson

Unlike most graduate students, when I started my history PhD at the University of Southern California, I knew I did not want to be a professor. Fresh out of the public humanities program at Brown, I was inspired by the work of public historians like Steven Lubar and Richard Rabinowitz. I figured I would go on and get a PhD, like they had, and then find a curatorial job in a history museum. Not even a semester into my first year, however, my plan began to change (although I didn’t quite realize it at the time).