How to become a Historian- A Complete Educational Guide


Do you think being a Historian is about reading “Did you know?” facts? 

Do you think being a Historian is about watching documentaries on Netflix? 

Do you think being a Historian is about remembering when which event happened? 

Do you think being a Historian is about visiting museums and admiring the age-old pieces of weapons or metals? 

Probably! Or Probably not. I mean these are the things that Historians might do as a part of their research process. But this is not all it. What they do with this information is a more important question to be asked.

With the information that is collected from multiple sources, a historian analyzes them to understand what exactly happened in the past, thus providing the current generation with mistakes that they need not repeat. 

If you are interested in becoming a historian and are a history buff, then read the blog further to know more about how to become a historian, and what the skills and education required in India and Abroad. 

Who is a Historian? 

Historians are the ones who compile and assess data from several primary sources to provide insights into historical occurrences. During their investigations, they may examine written documents, and tangible artefacts, and convert them into reports which frequently explain the significance of their findings and make connections between fresh discoveries and contemporary culture. They make it possible for people and civilizations to take lessons from the past and set themselves up for greater success in the future.

Learn more: Career as a Historian- A guide to Career Opportunities!

How to become a Historian? [Step by Step]

Step 1: Stream Selection 

This seems like an obvious thing to say…so I am just gonna say it! Take History as one of your subjects in your 11th and 12th grades. Humanities/Art is the only way to become a Historian. 

Step 2: Certificate and Project Courses 

If you are not sure whether you will like a career as a Historian, then you can take some online courses that might help you figure out “the vibe” of the subject. Here are some courses that you can try posting your 10th grade: 

Certificate Courses Duration 
The Modern World, Part One: Global History from 1760 to 1910 1-3 Months 
The Modern World, Part Two: Global History since 1910 1-3 Months 
15 Habits of great History Teachers 1.5 hours 
Big History: From Big Bang till today 1-3 Months 
Military History of the Classical Greek World 2.5 hours 
A Brief History of India 4.5 Hours 

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Step 3: Educational Qualifications to become a Historian

How to become a Historian after the 12th?  

A) Undergraduate/Diploma Courses in India 

The only few undergraduate courses that you can pursue to become a Historian are: 

Undergraduate Degree Duration 
B.A. With majors in History 3 Years 
B.A./B.Sc with majors in Archaeology 3-4 Years 
B.A. (Hons) in History 3 Years 
BA in Ancient Indian Culture 3 Years 
BA in Ancient Indian History and Archeology3 Years 

There are also certain diploma courses that you can pursue in order to get some specialized knowledge in the field: 

Diploma Courses Institute offering the course Duration 
Diploma in Ancient Indian History, Culture, and ArchaeologyKJ Somaiya Institute of Dharma Studies 1 Year 
Diploma in Manuscriptology UNIPUNE – Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU)1 Year 
Certificate course in Meusology Dhanaji Nana Mahavidyalaya

B) Top Colleges in India:

  • St. Xaviers college, Mumbai 
  • Jai Hind, Mumbai 
  • Devi Ahilya Arts and Commerce College, Indore 
  • St. Andrews College of Arts, science and commerce, Mumbai 
  •  National Defense Academy, Pune 
  • Christ University, Banglore 
  • Jamia Millia Islamia [JMI], Delhi 
  • Symbiosis School of Liberal Arts, Symbiosis International, Pune
  • St. Josephs College, Bangalore 
  • Wilson College, Mumbai 
  • Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, Vadodra

To become a historian abroad 

A) Undergraduate/Diploma Courses abroad

Some of the undergraduate courses to become a historian abroad include: 

Undergraduate Degree Estimated Duration 
BA Hons in Art History4 Years 
Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology4 Years 
Bachelors in History4 Years 
Bachelor of Science in Archaeology and Materials4 Years 
Bachelor of Arts in East Asian Studies4 Years 
BA in Ancient History3 Years

The duration and name of these courses might differ depending on the country you apply to. You can even go for some Diploma courses that might save you some time. Some of them that you might check out include: 

Certificate/Diploma Course Institute offering the course Duration 
Certificate in Art HistoryUniversity of South Florida 1 Year 
Diploma in AnthropologyUniversity of Waikato 1 Year 

Usually, diploma courses abroad have an eligibility criterion of having a bachelor’s degree. Thus, the options of diploma courses post 12th are very limited. 

B) Top Colleges abroad

  • University of Toronto, Canada
  • The University of British Columbia, Canada
  • Harvard University, USA
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA
  • Texas A & M University, USA
  • McGill University, Canada 
  • Stanford University, USA 
  • University of Oxford, UK 
  • University of Manchester, UK 
  • Monash University, Australia 

Also read: How to become an Urban Planner

Step 4: Job Preparation required to become a Historian 

Being a Historian comes with a lot of responsibilities as what you say will be taken as words coming from an expert. Therefore it is important for you to be prepared for a job. Some tips include: 

  • Try getting an internship:

Any relevant experience you list on your resume will help you stand out as a more competitive applicant. Many programs leading to undergraduate degrees provide internship opportunities. If yours doesn’t, search for ways to help with fieldwork or internships so you may gain practical experience and training from seasoned historians.

  • Get connected with Historians around the world: 

With rising technology, getting connected with experts from the field becomes easy. LinkedIn is one of the ways you can do that. Or even the blogs or college websites would mention their email ids. 

  • Visit sites: 

So it is likely that an interviewer is gonna ask you if what you are saying – your research findings are based on any secondary sources or if have you personally observed your findings. This might be your moment to shine when you can proudly say that your findings are a product of your travel to such sites. 

Skills required to be a Historian 

  • Problem Solving 
  • Sourcing 
  • Corroboration 
  • Contextualization 
  • Research skills 
  • Communication skills 
  • Analytical skills 
  • Scepticism 
  • Organization skills 
  • Pattern analysis 

Salary of a Historian 

Salary in India of a Historian 

The salary of a Historian depends on the years of experience they have, along with where they are working. However, the typical income for an entry-level historian (with 1-3 years of experience) is 5,88,967 INR/Year in India. 

Salary Abroad of a Historian 

Even Abroad, the change agents remain the same. However, a general overview of the salaries is given below: 

Country USA UKCanadaGermany New Zealand Spain 
Entry level salary/ year $42,427£29,933$53,23339.782 €$21,450 26,640 EUR 

Top Recruiters in India 

Historians are usually hired by Historical associations or Governmental organizations. Some of them are: 

  • Indian Council of Historical Research
  • Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage
  • Centre for Studies in Civilizations
  • Art Deco Mumbai
  • Youth for Heritage Foundation
  • Calcutta Historical Society
  • Andhra Pradesh Department of Archeology and Museums

Other than these, historians are usually employed by schools as history teachers, or by editing and publishing houses as historical writers/editors.  

Top Recruiters Abroad

Similarly, the most common job for historians abroad is of a research fellow or of an assistant professor. Thus, some of the top Universities/ institutes that offer historian jobs include: 

  • Mahindra Humanities centre at Harvard University 
  • UCLA 
  • The University of Naval Academy 
  • John Hopkins University 
  • Boston University 
  • the University of Pennsylvania 
  • Yale University
  • Dudek 
  • Cayuse holdings  

Also know about: How to become an Activist

Other than these you can even be a part of various historical associations around the world or be an editor for such associations. 

Thus, becoming a Historian is fun if you like knowing about events that happened in the past, why they happened, and how is “history going to repeat itself” which can then guide the current generation. Hope this information provides you with a guiding light on your journey to become a Historian. All the best! 

Turn Your Favourite Subject into a Career

FAQs about how to become a Historian

What credentials do I require to become a historian?

A bachelor’s degree in history is necessary to work as a historian. The majority of historians then pursue a master’s or doctoral degree, during which time they conduct research and create a thesis in a field of study of their choice.

How can I study history in India after my 12th grade?

Candidates must complete a bachelor’s degree program after completing their 12th grade in order to meet the minimum requirements for the position of a historian. History must be studied as the primary subject in any reputable university where a bachelor’s degree is awarded.

How can I work for the Indian government as a historian?

–Choose any stream that is 10+2. You could enrol in a history undergraduate program if you took any stream in 10+2.
–Consider BA history. The most typical undergraduate degree in this area is a BA in history.
–Take an MA in history or an MPhil or PhD.

Are Historians in demand? 

From 2020 to 2030, the employment of historians is expected to expand by 5%, which is slower than the average for all occupations. Over the next ten years, there are expected to be, on average, 300 openings for historians, notwithstanding the modest expansion in employment.

Is becoming a historian a rewarding profession?

A historian can find employment in editing and publishing, education, historical associations, governmental organizations, the research industry, etc. after earning their degree. How much money does a seasoned historian make? In India, a seasoned historian can make up to 16 LPA and more.

What tasks do historians perform?

–Investigate recorded histories.
–Providing historical context for current events; chronological thinking; historical interpretation; historical comprehension; historical interpretation; historical comprehension
–Teacher of history, curator or archivist of a museum, historical advisor, etc.

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