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.

HIST 1300 Western Intellectual History: Greco-Roman Antiquity  (Fall 2019)
HIST 1921 The History of Law in Europe  (Fall 2019)
HIST 84G  Harvard and Slavery    (Spring 2020)
HIST 14S Genocide, War Crimes & Human Rights  (Spring 2020)
[other History courses]

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PHIL 10: 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.

HIST 13T Women in Economic Life  (Fall 2019)
HIST 83A Markets & States: The History of Economic Thought Since 1750  (Fall 2019)
HIST 1028 Race, Capitalism, and the Coming of the Civil War (Fall 2019)
GENED 1159  American Capitalism  (Spring 2020)

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

Government & International Relations

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 census numbers and scientific data and also social science research, and other incomplete information—is important in government. Think about a cluster of History courses to prepare you for a career in the public sector or public policy.

FS 40J Advice to Young Leaders  (Fall 2019)
GENED 1136 Power and Civilization: China  (Fall 2019)
HIST 14L The Crisis of Social Democracy: Its History and its Future  (Fall 2019)
HIST 1017 The 20th Century United States: Politics, Society, Culture  (Fall 2019)
HIST 1125 Reasoning from the Past: Applied History and Decision Making  (Fall 2019)
HIST 1465 The United States and World Order since 1900   (Fall 2019)
HIST 12D Histories of the Third World: Asia, Africa, and Internationalism   (Spring 2020)
HIST 82F The Origins of the Cold War   (Spring 2020)
HIST 97M “What is International History?”   (Spring 2020)

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ECON 10a: Principles of Economics
MIT 15.703  Leading with Impact

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.

GENED 1034 Texts in Transition  (Fall 2019)
HIST 1902 Narrative History: Art & Argument  (Fall 2019)
HIST 1903 How Societies Remember (and Forget)  (Fall 2019)
HIST 1993 Introduction to Digital History   (Fall 2019)
HIST 1932 Fictions of Adultery  (Spring 2020)
HIST 1945 Slavery and Public History   (Spring 2020)

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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.

HIST 1056 The New Science of the Human Past  (Fall 2019)
HIST 1010 The History of Energy  (Fall 2019)
GENED 1117 Nature  (Spring 2020)
HIST 97D What is Environmental History?  (Spring 2020)
HIST 1054 From The Little Ice Age to Climate Change  (Spring 2020)
HIST 1610 Environments: China, Japan, Korea   (Spring 2020)

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.

FS 40J Advice to Young Leaders (Fall 2019)
GE 1095 Is War Inevitable? (Spring 2020)
GE 1108 Global Gandhi: Nonviolent Resistance (Spring 2020)
HIST 14M “Black Indians”: The Making of an Identity (Spring 2020) 
HIST 84H The Northern Side of the Civil Rights Movement (Fall 2019)
HIST 1330 Social Thought in Modern America (Fall 2019)
HIST 1913 Dirty Wars & Peace Processes (Spring 2020)
HIST 1945 Slavery and Public History (Spring 2020)
HIST 14N The Uses and Abuses of the Past: History in American Public Life (Spring 2020)
HIST 14S  Genocide, War Crime Trials, and Human Rights in the Twentieth Century (Spring 2020) 
HIST 1001 The War in Vietnam (Spring 2020) 
HIST 1919 Capital Punishment (Spring 2020) 

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ECON 980DD Globalization and Inequality
MIT 15.703  Leading with Impact