Torontonian131 Posted January 19, 2012 Share Posted January 19, 2012 Hey, guys. I've recently applied to some MA programs here in Canada and I'm excited to start my research if I'm accepted. My plan has been to eventually do a PhD in history, but after reading all the statistics and sob-stories online (not here at grad cafe, just online) and speaking with some of the staff at my university, I'm starting to reconsider this. I'm very passionate about history and I want to build a career out of it, but I also want to have a job stable enough and salary high enough to start a family near my thirties (I'm 22). I was wondering if anybody could suggest some career paths for someone with my interests. My field is the history of democracy and republicanism, meaning I specialize in political and intellectual history. My MA research will involve the development of republican thought in early modern Europe, though I have also explored republicanism and democracy up to the present, as well as in the classical world. I think it's a very relevant and important field and was hoping to use my expertise to address modern issues in democratic statecraft, in both developed and developing countries. I have also looked into some areas of democracy promotion. It's admittedly a wishy-washy dream job, but I'm very interested in it. I was hoping that being a professor could allow me to inspire a new generation of students to better understand their representative governments, how the concepts they take for granted came to be, and how they can solve problems related to republican thought. I have plenty of transferable skills and experience: I have lived abroad for one year, have a good knowledge of nearly three additional languages, participated in my university's foreign affairs society and model UN, tutored students in academic writing, have been published in an undergraduate journal, and have received an award for one of my other essays. Unfortunately, the job market for History PhDs, especially those interested in intellectual history and European history, seems to be shrinking and shows no signs of picking up again. I've read stories about history scholars searching for many years for a permanent teaching position, making meagre pay, and shouldering large graduate school debts. By the way, I don't want to offend anybody on this forum who is pursuing a PhD or has already obtained one. If it's something you're passionate about, it's always worth it. But as I said, for my purposes, I want to live somewhere stable and raise a family, and this really concerns me. Therefore, I've looked at several more professional paths I could take after completing my MA. The first is pursuing a career in international law. I'm aware this would still mean some relocation, but it could allow me to play an active role in helping people around the world get access to democratic rights. Whether this is a viable path will depend on my LSAT score and performance if accepted, but that's another story. I've also considered some kind of government job, but I don't specialize in Canadian history specifically. I'm not entirely tethered to Europe; I've studied American political history as well as some Middle Eastern and Latin American history. I'm really just interested in the origins and development of modern democratic republics and how we can improve them. My third possible career path - and believe me, it was very hard to come to this - is technical writing. I have relevant experience and education, it generally pays well and it's a moderately secure career. But I wouldn't be doing what I enjoy most - this is really the fall-back position. If I end up doing this, I could study history on the side, as a hobby. I'm not sure if History MA's are generally able to publish books or articles, but it would be nice if I could still contribute to the historical community on the side. So, I really have a two questions: - If I were to go through with the PhD option, are there any ways I could significantly increase my chances of employment at a university? - Can you suggest any careers or organizations for someone with my particular interests (e.g. in democracy promotion, democratic law, politics, etc.)? Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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