So, you want to be a history professor, huh? First, snag yourself a Bachelor's degree in history or something close. Then, you'll need a Master's, followed by a PhD—and no, you can't skip the boring parts! Along the way, jump into teaching undergrads and running study groups; it's like herding cats but builds experience. Your research game should be strong, too—think Sherlock Holmes, but for old documents. Publish like your career depends on it, because it does. And keep learning because history's always got new mysteries. Curious about those last steps? Stick around and find out more.

Main Points

  • Complete a Bachelor's, Master's, and Doctorate Degree in history or related fields.
  • Gain teaching experience by assisting undergraduate classes and leading study groups.
  • Develop strong research skills to analyze, interpret, and synthesize historical data.
  • Publish scholarly articles, books, and conference papers to build your academic reputation.
  • Engage in ongoing professional development to stay updated with the latest historical research and methods.

Complete a Bachelor's Degree

To start your journey to becoming a history professor, you first need to earn a bachelor's degree in history or a related field. Think of it as the first piece of a big puzzle. During your undergraduate years, focus on improving your writing and research skills. These skills are very important for your future career.

Add some courses on education or teaching methods to your schedule. This will show that you're serious about teaching, not just about learning history. Also, try to get some practical experience through internships or research projects. This extra experience will make you stand out.

Don't forget to keep your GPA high. Aim for academic excellence, just like you'd go for the last slice of pizza at a party. Take every opportunity to shine, like joining history clubs or presenting at conferences. You aren't just studying history; you're also making it.

Pursue a Master's Degree

After you finish your bachelor's degree, you'll need to get a master's degree to keep moving forward on your path to becoming a history professor. I know, more school! But think about it—this is your chance to dive deeper into what you love teaching.

In a master's program, you'll focus on a specific area of history. It's like picking your favorite chapter in a book but with more research and fewer fictional characters. This focus makes you an expert in that area and helps you get published, where you can share your unique ideas, like medieval fashion trends or ancient cooking methods.

With a master's degree, you can start teaching at colleges and universities. Imagine shaping young minds and inspiring future historians. Plus, many history professor jobs require at least a master's degree. So, getting this advanced degree is like leveling up in the academic world.

Ready to take the next step? Go get that master's degree and make your mark on history!

Obtain a Doctorate Degree

So, you're thinking about getting that fancy Ph.D. in history, huh?

Well, buckle up!

You'll need to pick a research specialization, slog through heaps of coursework, and then defend your dissertation like it's the final boss in a video game.

Choose Research Specialization

Choosing a research area in history is a crucial step if you want to become a history professor. You can't just walk into a classroom and start talking about everything from Ancient Rome to the Cold War. You need to focus on one topic, just like picking your favorite pizza topping so you don't have too many choices at once.

So, how do you make yourself a good candidate? First, pick a topic that you really love. If you're fascinated by medieval knights, go for it. If the French Revolution excites you, then focus on that. Here's a simple checklist to help you decide:

  • Passion: Choose something you love to talk about.
  • Job Opportunities: Make sure there are jobs available in that field.
  • Resources: Check if there are enough sources for your research.
  • Mentorship: Find a professor who can guide you.

Once you've chosen your area, the next step is to get your doctorate degree. That's your ticket to becoming a history professor.

Complete Required Coursework

To become a history professor, you'll need to complete the required coursework for a doctorate degree in history, also known as a Ph.D. This involves a lot of studying, researching, and writing. Think of it as a marathon for your brain.

In history degree programs, you'll pick a specialization, like ancient civilizations or modern history, so you get to dive deep into your favorite time period. It's like choosing your own adventure, but with more footnotes. You'll study historical methods and theories until you know them inside out.

You'll need to complete coursework that focuses heavily on research and academic writing. This isn't like high school history class—no multiple-choice quizzes here. Instead, you'll spend hours going through old documents and writing papers that make you feel like a time-traveling detective.

Defend Your Dissertation

After finishing your classes, the next big challenge is defending your dissertation to earn your doctorate in history. Picture yourself as a gladiator entering the arena, but instead of a sword, you have a stack of papers and a laser pointer. This is your chance to show your academic skills to a panel of experts who'll question you thoroughly. It's your moment to shine—or sweat a lot.

You've spent years researching, writing, and maybe even doubting your choices. Now, you need to convince the committee that you know your stuff. Here's what to do:

  • Present Your Research: Explain all your findings, conclusions, and those moments when everything clicked.
  • Defend Your Methods: Be ready for lots of questions. Explain why you did things the way you did.
  • Show Your Knowledge: Prove that you understand your topic better than anyone else in the room.
  • Stay Calm: It's tough, but try not to panic. You've got this.

If you successfully defend your dissertation, you earn a doctorate and get closer to becoming a history professor. It's a big deal, so take a deep breath and go for it!

Gain Teaching Experience

Alright, so you wanna be a history professor, huh?

Well, you'll need to get your feet wet by assisting with undergrad classes and leading study groups.

Think of it as your teaching boot camp—minus the yelling sergeant, but with more essays to grade.

Assist Undergraduate Classes

Helping out with undergraduate history classes is super important if you want to become a good history teacher. Seriously, you can't just walk into a classroom and expect students to be all ears about the Byzantine Empire without some experience.

By assisting with lesson planning and managing the class, you're learning what it takes to handle a room full of students who might rather be somewhere else.

Here's a quick look at what you'll be doing:

  • Lesson Preparation: It's more than just copying from the internet. You'll help make lessons fun and interesting so students actually want to learn history.
  • Classroom Management: Think of it like trying to keep a bunch of cats in line, but with more eye rolls. You'll learn how to keep everyone focused without going crazy.
  • Grading and Feedback: Yes, you'll be grading papers, but it's not just about marking mistakes. Giving helpful feedback is super important to help students get better.
  • Student Interaction: You'll get to know your students, answer their questions, and maybe even inspire some future history fans.

Lead Study Groups

Leading study groups is a fantastic way to gain hands-on teaching experience and improve your communication skills if you aim to become a history professor. Imagine being the enthusiastic leader of a small group of history fans, sharing your passion for the subject. You're not just another student; you're the one making history exciting and engaging in each discussion.

Running these study groups isn't about speaking in a boring, monotone voice. It's about encouraging lively debates, explaining complex historical events, and practicing your teaching skills. Think of it as preparing for the day when you'll have your own classroom.

You might start by helping your group understand the basics of the French Revolution, but soon, you'll be discussing interesting details like Robespierre's influence. This experience helps you improve your communication skills and shows your commitment to teaching.

Plus, having 'Led Study Groups' on your resume is impressive. It shows that you have teaching experience and are well-prepared.

Develop Research Skills

To become a great history professor, you need to develop strong research skills to analyze and understand historical events and sources effectively. Think of it like being a detective but with history books instead of crime scenes. Dive into primary and secondary sources, using different methods to uncover the interesting details that bring history to life. Remember, you're not just reading old books; you're figuring out what really happened in the past.

Research skills are essential for writing those amazing scholarly articles that people love to reference. Stay curious and keep learning—history always has new surprises.

Primary and Secondary Sources: Primary sources are like original posts on social media, direct and unfiltered. Secondary sources are the comments and shares. Know the difference and use both.

Historical Methods: Think of these as your detective tools. They help you dig deeper and ask the right questions.

Scholarly Articles: Publishing your work is important. Write, review, and contribute to discussions about history.

Continuous Learning: History isn't set in stone. New discoveries can change what we know. Stay updated and keep your lectures interesting.

Publish Academic Work

Publishing academic work is important for building your reputation and contributing to the field of history. Imagine trying to be a history professor without sharing your research; it's like being a chef who never cooks. You need to publish to get noticed and respected in the academic world.

You'll be writing scholarly articles, books, book chapters, and even conference papers, all while managing the rest of your life. Sounds exciting, right?

Think of your publications as your career's social media posts. The more you publish, the more recognition you get. Getting your work into reputable journals and publishing houses is like being featured on a popular TV show. It's a big deal, and it helps advance historical knowledge.

Research and publications aren't just about adding lines to your resume; they're your ticket to career advancement. They show you're actively contributing new insights to the field.

Seek Tenure

Getting tenure is super important for becoming a stable and respected history professor. Think of it like having a Wi-Fi signal that never goes out—it's amazing. Tenure gives you job security and the freedom to explore interesting historical topics without someone constantly checking up on you.

But getting tenure isn't easy. You'll go through a tough evaluation process. They'll look closely at your research, teaching skills, and how much you contribute to the academic world. It's kind of like being judged on a reality TV show, but with more books and less dramatic music.

When you get tenure, you're not just showing you're good at your job; you also get some great benefits:

  • Job Security: You won't have to worry about losing your job every semester.
  • Academic Freedom: You can teach and research what you love without anyone stopping you.
  • Higher Salary: More money to buy all those interesting history books.
  • Recognition: You'll be seen as an important person in your school, kind of like a rock star but with more tweed jackets.

Continue Professional Development

Continuing Your Professional Growth

After securing tenure, it's important to keep growing in your field through ongoing research and learning. Think you're finished? Not really. Teaching is just the beginning. Dive into continuous research like a detective solving a mystery. Publish your findings because staying updated is essential. Plus, who doesn't appreciate a bit of academic recognition?

Next, attend conferences like they're exciting events. Seriously, they're fun! You'll meet people, exchange ideas, and maybe even get some free goodies. Also, make time for workshops and seminars. These are great for soaking up knowledge and networking.

Feeling extra motivated? Aim for advanced certifications. It's like leveling up in a video game. More qualifications mean more respect, and you get to learn interesting things.

Work with your colleagues on projects. It's like being in a band, but with less noise and more research papers. Collaborate, share tasks, and see great results.

Don't forget mentorship. Find an experienced history professor to guide you. Their advice is invaluable. Keep pushing, keep learning, and enjoy the journey!

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Does It Take to Become a History Professor?

It takes about 8-12 years to become a history professor. You'll need to earn a bachelor's, master's, and Ph.D., while gaining teaching experience. It's a long journey, but the freedom to explore history deeply is rewarding.

Is Becoming a History Professor Hard?

Oh, becoming a history professor is a breeze—just kidding! It's tough. You'll need a Ph.D., impeccable research, and publications. Plus, you'll compete fiercely for tenure. But hey, who doesn't love a good challenge for freedom?

Can You Become a History Professor Without a Phd?

You can become a history professor without a Ph.D., but it's tougher. Some colleges may hire you with a master's or if you're a Ph.D. candidate, but the freedom of tenure usually requires that doctorate.

How Much Do US History Professors Make?

Imagine yourself lecturing in a grand, ivy-covered hall. In the U.S., history professors earn an average salary of $85,630. This satisfying income gives you the freedom to explore your passions and share knowledge with eager minds.


So, you want to be a history professor? Easy peasy—just spend a decade or two in school, publish a ton of research, and magically get tenure. No big deal, right?

You'll juggle teaching, endless grading, and maybe even a social life if you're lucky. But hey, at least you'll get to correct everyone's historical inaccuracies at parties!

So, go ahead, dive in—just don't forget to come up for air once in a while.