What is the importance of the study of history

Studying history: courses of study, content and career prospects

The main reason why history is popular is that it is about exploring, not memorizing, history. In history you do not learn dry facts or dates. You will acquire knowledge of the course of history in different epochs and cultures and you will learn to understand how historical change works.

It does not matter whether you choose ancient, medieval or modern history - theory and practice are relatively balanced in the history course. This is the best preparation for a career as a history teacher or historian at university and in the private sector.

The history study in numbers: degree, job prospects, salary


In the history of the 2016 graduate survey, the average starting salary after the Bachelor's degree was € 26,200.


66% of all students who begin a history course at a university graduate.


Even up to 10 years after graduation, 99% of all graduates still have a job.


76% of all history graduates state that they are satisfied or very satisfied with the content of their job.

Entry industries for history graduates

Almost half of the history graduates work in the service sector

Salary history of graduates

After 10 years, the starting salary for history graduates more than doubles

History graduating class 2005

Where can I study history?

Almost all major state universities offer history courses. So the choice is huge. But if it is difficult for you to decide on a university, you should think in advance how you would like to use your history studies later. For example, the Humboldt University in Berlin relies on a practice-oriented way of working. In Trier, on the other hand, the number of doctorates is particularly high. Or would you like to study history to become a teacher? Here you can decide whether you want to teach at the Realschule or at the Gymnasium later.

What is the content of a history course?

When you study history, you deal with the history of individual regions or countries. Other subject areas are the history of international relations and the history of religions. History of science is also taught.

In the basic course you will also learn the basic techniques of scientific work.

You will deal with the following questions at the beginning of your history studies:

  • What working methods are there?
  • What are historical sources and how does their analysis work?
  • How can you properly use libraries and archives to obtain valuable information?
  • How do you write scientific papers?

In addition to these technical requirements, you will receive a thematic overview. These courses are on the plan:

  • Ancient history
  • History of the Middle Ages
  • Modern history
  • Economic, social and environmental history
  • Contemporary history
  • Historical auxiliary and archival sciences
  • Regional perspectives of history
  • Global history and cultural history
  • Eastern European history
  • Political history
  • History mediation
  • Theories and history of written sources and media

The study of history offers you an enormous variety of topics, for example with the history of the provinces of the Roman Empire or the discovery of America. During the course of your studies you will deal with general topics such as the Second World War or the Weimar Republic, but you can and should also specialize in a subject area. Depending on the university, you can then choose from seminars and lectures such as these:

  • Media and media company since the 19th century
  • History of the university
  • Slavery in Ancient Greece
  • Everyday life in the Middle Ages
  • Migration from the 19th century
  • Historical auxiliary and archival sciences

You can also focus directly on a subject area or on the history of a specific region and thus take up a specialized history degree. There are, among others, these courses:

  • Eastern European history
  • Global history and cultural history
  • European history
  • Political history
  • Military history
  • Economic and social history
  • Regional perspectives on history

What professions are there with a history degree?


If you have decided to study history to become a teacher, your career path is clear and you will become a teacher. You should choose the second subject carefully. With a combination like German studies / history you will have a harder time finding a job, as there are enough applicants with these subjects. A combination with popular subjects such as Latin or natural sciences such as physics is the smarter alternative.

If, on the other hand, you opt for a bachelor's or master's degree in history, these professions are possible:

  • journalism
  • Media and journalism
  • Public administration
  • Museums
  • Memorials
  • Archives
  • Libraries
  • Monument protection
  • tourism
  • Social and political interest groups such as foundations, trade unions and parties

If you have completed your history studies with a master’s degree, you can also pursue an academic career and do a doctorate. The entry takes place via the scientific collaboration at the faculty.


Your remuneration as a historian depends on the region, industry, your professional experience and your academic degree. In Germany, however, an average starting salary of around EUR 2,500 gross per month is normal. If you take on more responsibility over time, your salary increases noticeably and can be up to 6,000 euros gross per month.

Career prospects

Student teachers have good career prospects because history teachers are needed all over Germany.

As a historian in the private sector, on the other hand, you are very flexible and can be used across industries. History graduates are increasingly working as literary translators, corporate or PR consultants or journalists. Some also set up their own business with history agencies and write company chronicles.