Pursuing a career as a historian can be a great choice if you are a logical self-driven individual who has a passion for history. This career path offers an opportunity to have a strong earning potential and the capacity to learn new historical facts. As a result of this, most professionals in this field find this career path exciting.


A historian is a professional in the social sciences who researches and writes about historical occurrences such as political turning points, armed conflicts and social movements. Additionally, they examine, interpret and record historical data. A career as a historian will make you spend the majority of your time undertaking field research, analysing historical records and interpreting them.


This career path requires you to become familiarised with the knowledge and skill set needed to excel as a historian. In this piece, I will discuss the steps necessary to pursue a successful career as a historian.


Steps to Becoming a Historian

  1. Obtain a Bachelor’s Degree

    The first step to becoming a successful historian is by building a strong academic foundation with a bachelor’s degree. You can apply to an accredited university and study to obtain a degree in history. Additionally, you can also obtain a degree in social sciences, humanities, legal studies or English. This can also position you to start a career as a historian.

  2. Gain Practical Experience

    You can gain relevant experiences through internships. You can apply for internship opportunities that can enable you to conduct fieldwork in your career pursuit. Furthermore, you will be able to obtain hands-on experience and learn practical skills directly from professional historians.

  3. Choose an Area of Specialisation

    As a historian, you need to have a particular niche or area where you specialise. You must have an area of specialisation earlier as it allows you to have a focus. Additionally, it makes you appear knowledgeable to potential employers.

  4. Pursue a Master’s Degree

    You can advance your career by pursuing a master’s degree. This can help you get a deeper grasp of the area of specialisation you wish to concentrate on as well as a more comprehensive understanding of all history. Additionally, you can gain new perspectives and insights into the subject matter you are learning.

  5. Obtain a Doctorate Degree

    This is not a compulsory requirement however, you will need a PhD if you wish to teach in the university. Additionally, you will need a PhD degree if you decide to focus on historical research. PhD applicants may focus on a particular period, historical subfield, or geographical region.


Areas of Specialisation in History

  1. Social History: This area examines how historical events have influenced the experiences of individuals, influencing social standards and customs, and personal relationships. Additionally, it is concerned with the history of people, their businesses, and their experiences.
  2. Scientific and Medical History: This is the study of important historical people in medicine and science. Additionally, they study how they influenced the modern world.
  3. Political History: This field is concerned with the evolution of laws and political systems. Additionally, it focuses on the emergence and demise of various political structures.
  4. Women’s History: This field entails researching women’s roles throughout history such as the evolution of feminism and women’s literature. This is one of the prominent branches of History.
  5. Economic History: This branch of history covers marketplaces, businesses, methods of manufacturing and consumption. It also studies how historical events changed economies.
  6. Diplomatic History: This entails studying battles, treaties, allegiances and international exchanges between nations.


Universities in Africa that Offer History


  1. Cairo University, Egypt
  2. University of Lagos, Nigeria
  3. Rhodes University, South Africa
  4. University of Johannesburg, South Africa
  5. Alexandria University, Egypt
  6. University of Witwatersrand, South Africa
  7. Mansoura University, Egypt
  8. University of Cape Town, South Africa
  9. Assiut University, Egypt
  10. University of Sfax, Tunisia
  11. Ain Shams University, Egypt
  12. University of Nigeria, Nigeria
  13. Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia
  14. University of Ibadan, Nigeria
  15. Moi University, Kenya
  16. Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria
  17. University of Ghana, Ghana
  18. Makerere University, Uganda
  19. University of Ilorin, Nigeria
  20. Covenant University, Nigeria
  21. Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana
  22. University of Calabar, Nigeria
  23. Ahmadu Bello University, Nigeria


Furthermore, as the world is always changing, a career as a historian is essential for synthesizing and documenting the past. It will enable individuals and societies to draw lessons from the past to set a better course for the future. An aspiring historian must have critical thinking as well as analytical reasoning. Additionally, you need to have strong research and communication skills.


Good luck!

Click to discover an extensive list of local and international schools offering courses and programs in various career path
Share This Post: If you think this post can be helpful to somebody else, please share it using the buttons below!