As a historian, you will study the past by reading historical data from various sources, and conduct researches on various historical aspects and incidents.

What do Historians do?

Historians conduct researches to analyse, record, and interpret the past. They engage with the historical context of various things which is documented in government and institutional records, newspapers, electronic media, manuscripts and art products like photographs, paintings, films etc.

What does a typical day at work involve?

  • Checked Browsing through various sources including archives, books, and artifacts to gather historical data
  • Checked Analyzing and interpreting historical information to determine its authenticity and significance
  • Checked Writing reports, articles, and books on findings and theories
  • Checked Conducting educational programs and presentations for the public
  • Checked Performing archiving duties for preserving materials and artifacts in museums and libraries
  • Checked Holding classes and seminars for students in order to provide them guidance for research
  • Checked Taking part in discussions and meetings of academic and government committees to provide advice or guidance on historical topics and preservation issues

What are the various specialisations in history?

Indian history deals with the study of the Indian socio-political and cultural context, events and changes from the past.
It is a specialised discipline in history which deals with the history of the world and global events.
It is the study of the history of Britain, colonial empires and related events.
Archaeology is a branch of history as well as an independent discipline. It deals with the recovery and analysis of material culture which includes biofacts, cultural landscapes etc.

How to become a historian?

Step 1
Take any stream at the 10+2 level

Taking any stream in 10+2 would make you eligible for an undergraduate program in history. But in some institutes, preference is given for candidates with humanities stream background and history as a subject in their plus two.

Step 2
Take BA history

BA history is the most common undergraduate degree in this field. In most of the colleges, admission based on the marks obtained in the plus two examination and the duration of the bachelor’s courses are usually three years.

Step 3
Take MA history

An undergraduate degree in any specialisation would be a sufficient qualification for pursuing a master’s in history. Some institutions have separate tests and the eligibility criteria might also change depending on the institution.

Step 4
Take MPhil/PhD

A higher degree would help you pursue a career in the academia. Admission procedures and eligibility criteria would differ depending on the institution.

History Colleges

Name State District Type Website Course

Requirements for masters (MA) in history

Requirements for admission into a PG course in one of the top institutions to help you get an overall picture

In India (For MA History from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi)

  • The candidate should have a bachelor’s degree in any discipline from a recognised university and have 50% aggregate marks.
  • Must qualify in the JNU entrance exam for MA History in which the candidate’s knowledge in general social science, current affairs and specific periods/ areas of history will be tested along with proficiency in the english language.

Foreign (For Terminal MA program in History from Stanford University)

  • Two-year master’s degree following the three-year bachelor’s degree is required. (A three-year bachelor’s degree from India in any subject is not considered sufficient for graduate study at Stanford)
  • Statement of Purpose
  • 3 Letters of Recommendation
  • 1 Writing Sample on a historic Topic (10-25 pages; sent via Stanford's online application system only)
  • Valid GRE scores
  • Minimum TOEFL score of 100 in the Internet based exam.

To see the entrance exams, scholarships and UG admission details, click here

Skills Required

Analytical skills

Historians need good analytical skills to make relevant inferences from the data obtained by studying historical resources, artifacts and materials.

Communication skills

Good verbal communication skills are required for interacting with the public in the process of collecting information about places, events and people. It will also come in handy when presenting their findings to students and the public. Writing skills are also required to present reports and express their discoveries and views in the form of articles or books.

Problem-solving skills

Historians need to find answers to many questions about the past based on historical findings and will also have to decipher their relations to modern day issues.

Research skills

Historians must be able to do detailed studies on a vast amount of historical documents, texts and other resources to gather useful information from them. make and manipulate maps on the computer to understand land and population patterns, as well as development trends and processes. They have to be able to translate mapped features into a three-dimensional picture in mind, and understand how those features blend with the surrounding landscapes.