UBC Students attend the unveiling of the Friendship Bench that is to be installed on campus

History

History is a discipline of context and perspective. It examines and interprets people and civilizations through the significance of events and ideas from the personal to the global context.

Historians study the political, social, and cultural forces that have animated the past and shaped the present around the world. History majors study the histories of particular times, places and peoples, with special emphasis on: writing, research, primary-source analysis and public engagement. 

Get experience at UBC

Building your career takes more than attending academic lectures. Get involved with research and complement your studies with relevant research and applied experiences. Whether you choose one of the experiences listed below or one of the many other great opportunities available, you’ll learn new things, make new friends, network, and set yourself apart. It all counts.

History Student Association (HSA) and The Atlas

Partcipate or organize the events put on by the HSA, including speakers, informal networking with peers and faculty. The Atlas offers students the opportunity to publish their research or work on producing the peer-reviewed journal. 

History Department Internships

Develop research, writing and communication skills by working closely with faculty on their research projects. These unpaid internships are up to 12 hours a week.

Go Global 

Imagine studying World War Two history in Germany, learning about the Industrial Revolution in the United Kingdom, or taking part in a group field study in Hong Kong. From exchange to internships and global seminars, check out the range of international experiences.

Our recommended exchange destinations include, but are not limited to:

  • ASIA: National University of Singapore, Fudan University, Chinese University of Hong Kong
  • EUROPE: Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munchen, Universiteit Leiden, Sciences Po Paris
  • UK and AUSTRALIA: University of Nottingham, University of Melbourne
  • NORTH AMERICA: University of California (Los Angeles, Berkeley), Tec de MonterreyClick here to learn more about international opportunities recommended by the History department.

Learn more about international opportunities recommended by the History department.

Arts Co-op Program

Gaining paid, full-time, relevant experience will help you explore career options in non-profit organizations, government, and the private sector across Canada and abroad. Completing a co-op term can help put you on a fast track for a successful career in your field of interest. Graduate with career skills, experience, and a network of professional contacts that will give you a competitive edge after graduation. 

Arts Internship Program

Apply the excellent analytical, research and written skills you have developed through your studies in the workplace. Find what you are passionate about, gain valuable work experience and meet great industry contacts through part-time unpaid work opportunities. Internships are available at local museums, galleries and community organizations.

Community experience

Work and learn in community settings like non-profits, government and inner city schools. Take a course with a community-based experiential learning component and develop community development, research, policy, decision making and career skills.  Whether it’s a course or signing up for Trek & Reading Week placements, International Service Learning or a grant project in community, you’ll build skills in real-world settings and make invaluable connections with people in community

Student directed seminars

Student Directed Seminars put you in charge of your education. Participate in or initiate and coordinate small, collaborative, group learning experiences. You can develop a course on a topic you're passionate about, like this past seminar: History and Contemporary Relevance of Marxist Thought.

Using your degree

Today’s employers want fast and flexible learners, good communicators and alert researchers. History majors have these skills and more. Historians are adept at finding crucial information, at using context to understand the meaning and importance of that information, and at communicating clearly and convincingly.

Career possibilities

History graduates go on to pursue careers in a variety of fields. While this is not a complete list, it offers a starting point to researching options, including careers in education, public history positions, academic careers, and jobs in the media and arts.

While the most commonly considered careers have traditionally been teacher and lawyer, historians also work in government, non-profit, and corporate jobs including some of the options below:

Heritage Coordinator
Preservation/Restoration Specialist
Foreign Service
Archivist
Historical Interpreter
Media / Historical Consulting
Museum Administrator
Genealogical Researcher
Curator/Collection Manager
Public Policy Analyst
Corporate Historian
Resettlement Worker
Community Development Coordinator
Cultural Affairs Specialist
Commnuity Program Manager / Community Engagement
Immigration Officer
Political Aide
Appraiser
International Development Coordinator
Museum Educator / Programmer
Heritage Event Planner
Conservator
Documentary Editor
Communications Specialist
Research Assistant
Aboriginal Enhancement Support Worker
Community Engagement
University Administration
Journalist
Video Game Writer
Historical Fiction Write

Academic possibiliites

A History degree prepares you for further study in a variety of fields, including:
History
Education
Law
Public Policy

Alumni profiles

Brent Nielsen

History was a great foundation for my roles at Electronic Arts. “Writing all of my papers, collecting thoughts and creating an argument served me well for games. It helped me identify the creative core for a game, and to clearly and concisely articulate a vision for something. 

Jennifer Tsui

Jennifer's first Co-op work experience was as a Gallery Interpreter Information Coordinator at the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology in Drumheller, Alberta. She led gallery tours, interacted with tourists, and developed projects which gave her the organizational and project management skills she needed for her next two positions. Learn more.

Jongwoo Kim

As one of the co-founders of game development company Kitfox Games, History alumnus Jongwoo Kim (BA ’10) draws upon his love for storytelling in his work as a game programmer. Learn more.

Resources