Excelling in the study of the past, looking towards the future still holds importance for the history students of Washburn.
So the main question students ask after getting their undergraduate degree is simple, what happens next?
“Well, it depends,” said Tom Prasch, chair of the history department.
“We have had studnets pursue advanced studies in a variety of venues: pursuing PhDs in history, of course, but also graduate degrees in museum studies and in library science,” Tom explains. “We have had a few graduates head to seminary as well, and history is one of the favored BA degrees for those bound to law school.”
But that doesn’t exactly mean that graduate school is perfect for every history major.
“It must also be said that most graduating seniors probably will not, and really should not, go on to advanced degree programs. Those have also been intended for a relatively small proportion of students.”
You’re graduating, but the concerns for someone graduating with a libral-arts degree like history often pertain to the job market that is available to them. While staying away from graduate school means less debt from student loans, can history students really make it in the professional world without a masters or PhD?
“A lot of too-often-ignored evidence suggests that history and other liberal-arts programs are real assets in the job market.” Prasch continues, “Employers are looking precisely for those characteristics that history degrees provide: the ability to express yourself clearly (in both writing and oral presentations), critical-thinking skills, and the ability to evaluate evidence.”
Prasch goes on to explain that nearly half of the history department is made up of history-education degrees, with their goal being classroom jobs. With the state budget crisis and the perilous position schools have been put in, Prasch points out that finding a classroom job can be a little difficult right now, but it’s not impossible. Prasch and his associates usually don’t a problem in finding places for their graduates to teach at post graduation.
Outside of teaching jobs, success for history students can still be seen, “in the military, in banking, in in government work, in private business, whatever. Many such jobs do not require advanced degrees,” Prasch said.
So worry not history students, if you’re still looking for your place to belong, the history department can give you a helping hand. And if you’ve had this all worked out from the start, then kudos to you, go have a happy graduation in historical fashion.