Beyond the Degree

What can you do with a graduate degree in history? That question motivated the American Historical Association to create the Career Diversity Initiative and invite universities from around the country to join. With funding from the AHA and the Mellon Foundation, Iowa State University participated in this exciting effort to uncover and publicize the numerous career opportunities for Historians. The AHA initiated the Career Diversity Fellowship, which the History department at ISU morphed into a Career Diversity Assistantship.

The Career Diversity Assistant (CDA) works with faculty and administrators to research job opportunities and internships, organize conferences and special events, and help the ISU History community learn about the incredible range of careers for which a History degree prepares you. The CDA collaborates with alumni to share their career paths and inspiring stories; meets with people across campus and around the state to learn how Historians can apply their skills in the workplace; and brings you the information you need to make informed decisions about your future.

Although he AHA-Mellon Career Diversity Initiative officially ended in 2020, the CDA continues to help the department rethink graduate education at both the doctoral and master’s degree levels. How can we better prepare you for your careers after graduate school? How can we restructure the graduate program to create problem-based courses that apply historical inquiry to real-world issues? How can we locate and publicize internships that encourage you to use critical thinking and research skills? These and a variety of other questions are driving us forward and we hope you will join us for the ride. If you are interested in these and other issues we face today, or if you have any questions about this program, please contact our Career Diversity Assistant.

About Career Diversity

During the summer of 2018, ISU’s history department was awarded an American Historical Association-Mellon Foundation grant to pursue career diversity. The goal of this grant is to better develop the variety of skills necessary to fit into academic and non-academic careers. Owing to the unique nature of the R.A.T.E Ph.D. program at ISU, our students have a close relationship with the STEM and other applied fields. Using those ties, we invested in a network of resources that will allow our masters and doctoral students to pursue innovative career pathways. The AHA-Mellon grant originated in 2010, allowing us learn from and build on the experiences of other universities. Using successful programming from this initiative, we hope to develop a system of long-term career diversity strategies that will assist students in developing and achieving their career goals.

Alumni pave the way for career diversity, and this webpage will provide information regarding professionalization events, the diverse career paths our alumni have taken, and the many ways you can put your History degree to use after graduation. The goal of creating this webpage is to help you organize your career pathways and hone the analytical, research, and communication skills needed to help you achieve professional success. These tools will assist students of all levels in establishing smart goals, attaining transferable skills, and putting career planning into action.