Career Course Clusters

Gathering data from lots of sources. Synthesizing it quickly. Making an argument about it.  Communicating it in an effective way. These are the basic tasks of historians. They’re also what lawyers, businesspeople, consultants, non-profit directors, journalists, public policy leaders, government officials, and people in many other professions do. A small minority (less than 10%) of History concentrators go on to become professional historians. Most use the skills they learned in Robinson Hall—to gather evidence and make an argument about it narrative form—in other professions. Historical research skills prepare you for the job you think you want now as a first-year student, as well as the three or four jobs you will actually have during your career. We’ve drafted six clusters of History courses below. The courses listed are not a definitive list for that cluster, but rather some of the 2019-2020 History courses that would prepare you in some way for a career in that area.

Law

Historians use fragmentary data from the past to make arguments in a format anyone can understand. The ability to parse a variety of sources—contracts, depositions, photographs, business accounts—and integrate them with a specialized body of secondary sources (case law) is important for lawyers. Think about a cluster of History courses to prepare you for a career in law.

Fall:
FRSEMR 72G: The American Democratic Tradition: Past, Present, and Future
GENED 1002: The Democracy Project 
HIST 12I: Statelessness
HIST 1040: Fall of the Roman Empire

Spring:
HIST 84G: Harvard and Slavery
HIST 1005: The Earl American Republic: The United States from 1783-1837 

plus
PHIL 11: Philosophy of Law
GOV 94OF: Law and Politics in Multicultural Democracies

Business & Consulting

Historians use fragmentary data from the past to make arguments in a format anyone can understand. The ability to find a variety of sources—both quantitative data like sales numbers but also focus groups, market reports, and other incomplete information—is important in business. Think about a cluster of History courses to prepare you for a career in business.

Fall:
HIST 83A :  Markets and States: The History of Economic Thought since 1750
HIST 1939: Economic History of Modern China

Spring:
GENED 1159: American Capitalism
HIST 1602: Modern China

plus
ECON 10A/B: Principles of Economics
STATS 104: Introduction to Quantitative Methods for Economics
ENG-SCI 238: Introduction to Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Government & International Relations

Journalism & Writing

Historians use fragmentary data from the past to make arguments in a format anyone can understand. The ability to find a variety of sources—interviews, government documents, and court records but also quantitative data like the census and non-profit reports—is important in journalism as well. Think about a cluster of History courses to prepare you for a career in journalism or writing.

Fall:
GENED 1034: Texts in Transition
HIST 1902: Narrative History: Art and Argument
HIST 1993: Introdiuction to Digital History

Spring:
HIST 97I: What is Biography?
HIST 1919: Austrian History in Literature
HIST 1930: Literature and Social History: A View from Brazil

plus
ENGL CIJR Introduction to Journalism
DPI 675 Digital Platforms, Journalism, and Information

Environment & Environmental Policy

Historians use fragmentary data from the past to make arguments in a format anyone can understand. The ability to find a variety of sources—both quantitative data like pollution and reforestation numbers but also non-profit reports and other incomplete information—is important in environmental policy. Think about a cluster of History courses to prepare you for a career in an environment-related field.

Fall:
HIST 1973A: Rewilding Harvard

Spring:
GENED 1117: Nature
HIST 1610: Environments: China, Japan, Korea 
HIST 1973B: Rewilding Harvard

plus
ESPP 78 Environmental Politics
ESPP 77 Technology, Environment, and Society

Activism, Human Rights, & Service

Historians use fragmentary data from the past to make arguments in a format anyone can understand. The ability to find a variety of sources—both quantitative data like sales numbers but also focus groups, market reports, and other incomplete information—is important in in activism and non-profit leadership. Think about a cluster of History courses to prepare you to lead the world (or your community) to a better place.

Fall:
FRSEMR 43C: Human Rights and the Global South
HIST 12E Migrant Geographies: Between Asia and the United States in the Twentieth Century
HIST 12I: Statelessness
HIST 84H: The Northern Side of the Civil Rights Movement
HIST 1323: German Social Thought, Nietzsche to Habermas
HIST 1931: Slavery, Disease, and Race: Brazil in the Atlantic World

Spring:
HIST 12G: Atlantic Slave Wars
HIST 12K:  Arabs Jews, and “Arab Jews’ in the Modern Middle East
HIST 13C: St Louis from Lewis and Clark to Michael Brown
HIST 12L: Power and Protest: U.S. Social Movements in the 1960s and 1970s
HIST 1324: French Social Thought: Durkheim to Foucault
HIST 1937: Social Revolutions in Latin America

plus
ECON 980DD Globalization and Inequality
MIT 15.703  Leading with Impact