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The History Department aims to provide our graduate students with outstanding training not only in their research fields, but also as future teachers and leaders in an array of professions within and beyond institutions of higher learning. We place great value on excellent mentoring of students by individual faculty, from the beginning of the admissions process through to graduation and beyond.  Providing training for, and access to information about, future careers is an integral part of the mentoring process. Together with faculty mentoring, several other practices and services exist to help you find an appointment in the career of your choice.

Kidada Williams (PhD 2005) discusses her recent book at the History Department's 2015 Martin Luther King Day Symposium.

Career Resources

Preparatory Coursework and Mock Interviews

All graduate students receive hands-on training as teachers in the undergraduate classroom through their service as Graduate Student Instructors (GSIs). In addition to weekly meetings with faculty instructors, students receive written and verbal feedback from them at the end of each term, and provide feedback, in turn, to the instructor. All pre-candidate students enroll in three semesters of GSI training (HIST 808, 809, 810), a sequence of workshop-like courses that provides training, peer mentoring, and theoretical grounding in the principles of effective and inclusive pedagogy.

Advanced graduate students may enroll in History 898, a year-long Job Skills Colloquium that helps students research, develop, and practice the job skills they require to succeed in their chosen profession. This practicum-based course covers such issues as elements of an application and teaching dossier; tenure-track versus postdoctoral positions; interviewing and campus visits; and professional opportunities for historians working outside the academy.

Students who anticipate presenting an academic job talk may arrange to give a practice job talk to peers and department faculty and hold a mock interview with members of the History Department faculty.

Placement Statistics

Placement data for U-M History grads shows that our graduates enjoy strong success on the job market, with only 3 of 19 graduates in the last two years reporting themselves as unemployed at graduation. Among students graduating from the 2010-14 cohorts, 76 percent accepted academic positions (23 percent tenure-track, 22 percent postdoctoral fellowships, and 31 percent full-time researchers, administrators, or lecturers) in universities in the US as well as in South Africa, France, Ecuador, and Canada. 

Our graduates have also pursued careers outside of academia; recent graduates have taken jobs at Apple, Inc., US Department of Health and Human Services, the International Social Science Council, the Kettering Foundation, and the Center for Naval Analysis Corporation.

Since 2005, Michigan graduates have received tenure-track offers at the following academic institutions, among many others:

Auburn University
Brown University
Dartmouth College
Harvard University
Johns Hopkins University
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Notre Dame University
New York University
Oberlin College
Ohio State University
Princeton University
Southern Methodist University
SUNY Binghamton
University of California at Los Angeles
University of Georgia
University of Virginia
Williams College


Job Announcements

All graduate students receive regular email announcements of job openings from the Department Chair, the Director of Graduate Studies, and individual faculty as openings become known. Students should also consult The Chronicle of Higher Education Vitae, the American Historical Association’s journal Perspectives, and the H-Net Job Guide for a thorough overview of open positions.

Rackham’s Career Center is another valuable resource for graduate students interested in pursuing academic careers or careers beyond the academy. Among other things, the Career Center provides job search workshops and other programming, guidance on how to write effective resumes and cover letters, and assistance with locating internships and jobs.