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:
GENED 1002: The Democracy Project 
FS 43C: Human Rights and the Global South
HIST 12F: Slavery in the Global Middle Ages
HIST 12Y: Capitalism, Crime, and Punishment in American History
HIST 1390: Democracy: The Long View and the Bumpy History
HIST 1405: American Legal History, 1776–1865
HIST 1776: The American Revolution

Spring:
GENED 1017: Americans as Occupiers and Nation-Builders
GENED 1140: Borders
HIST 1217: U.S. Foreign Policy in a Global Age
HIST 1921: The History of Law in Europe 

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:
GENED 1136: Power and Civilization: China
FS40J: Advice to Young Leaders
HIST 12W: The History of Energy
HIST 13T: Women in Economic Life
HIST 1056: The New Science of the Human Past: Case Studies at the Cutting Edge
HIST 1125: Reasoning from the Past: Applied History and Decision Making

Spring:
GENED 1068: The United States and China
GENED 1159: American Capitalism
HIST 12O: The Great Divergence and Convergence: Disparity in the Global Economy, 1500– Present
HIST 1067: An Introduction to the History of Economics

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

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.

Fall:
GENED 1002: The Democracy Project
GENED 1136: Power and Civilization: China
FRSEMR 40J: Advice to Young Leaders
FRSEMR 43C: Human Rights and the Global South
HIST 12W: The History of Energy
HIST 14Y: Between East Asia and the Americas: Migration, Diaspora, Empire
HIST 1026: The Rise and Fall of Postwar Japan
HIST 1036: Modern South Asia
HIST 1125: Reasoning from the Past: Applied History and Decision Making
HIST 1220: The Global Cold War
HIST 1390: Democracy: The Long View and the Bumpy History
HIST 1405: American legal History, 1776–1865
HIST 1511: Latin America and the United States

Spring:
GENED 1017: Americans as Occupiers and Nation-Builders
GENED 1068: The United States and China
GENED 1140: Borders
HIST 12Q: U.S. Latinx History
HIST 12X: The AIDS Epidemic
HIST 12Z: The History of American Conservatism from William F. Buckley, Jr., to Donald Trump
HIST 13C: St. Louis from Lewis and Clark to Michael Brown
HIST 13E: The History of Modern Mexico
HIST 14X: Conquering Pandemics: Medicine and the State in the Effort to Control Disease
HIST 15A: The Challenge of Making America Modern
HIST 89A: British Colonial Violence in the 20th Century
HIST 97M: What is International History?
HIST 1009: The Making of the Modern Middle East
HIST 1217: U.S. Foreign Policy in a Global Age
HIST 1221: Postwar Germanies
HIST 1223: The American Century?: A History of the United States since World War II

plus
ECON 10A/B: 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.

Fall:
GENED 1034: Texts in Transition
HIST 1056: The New Science of the Human Past: Case Studies at the Cutting Edge
HIST 1125: Reasoning from the Past: Applied History and Decision Making
HIST 1993: Introdiuction to Digital History

Spring:
HIST 12P: The History of Emotions
HIST 12S: Biography and Autobiography in Renaissance italy
HIST 12U: Quad Lab: Histories of Technology, Society, and Place at Harvard
HIST 1947: The Imperial Map: Geographic Information in the Age of Empire

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:
GENED 1044: Deep History
GENED 1147: American Food: A Global History
HIST 12W: The History of Energy
HIST 1056: The New Science of the Human Past: Case Studies at the Cutting Edge

Spring:
HIST 1947: The Imperial Map: Geographic Information in the Age of Empire
HIST 1973: Re-Wilding 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:
GENED 1002: The Democracy Project
FS 40J: Advice to Young Leaders
FS 43C: Human Rights and the Global South
HIST 14Y: Between East Asia and the Americas: Migration, Diaspora, Empire
HIST 60O: American Indian History in Four Acts
HIST 1017: Jews in the Modern World
HIST 1125: Reasoning from the Past: Applied History and Decision Making
HIST 1206: Empire, Nation, and Immigration in france since 1870
HIST 1222: The Great Migration: The Exodus that Transformed Black America and the United States
HIST 1390: Democracy: The Long View and the Bumpy History
HIST 1412: The African Diaspora in the Americas
HIST 1511: Colonial Latin America
HIST 1908: Racial Capitalism and the Black Radical Tradition

Spring:
GENED 1017: Americans as Occupiers and Nation-Builders
GENED 1140: Borders
GENED 1159: American Capitalism
HIST 12Q: U.S. Latinx History
HIST 12X: The AIDS Epidemic
HIST 13C: St. Louis from Lewis and Clark to Michael Brown
HIST 13E: The History of Modern Mexico
HIST 14Z: Modern Iran: From Empires and Revolutions to the Everyday
HIST 15A: The Challenge of Making America Modern
HIST 1009: The Making of the Modern Middle East
HIST 1067: An Introduction tot he History of Economics
HIST 1217: U.S. Foreign Policy in a Global Age
HIST 1223: The American Century?: A History of the United States since World War II

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