Department of History

Department of History
Department of History

Why Study History at Queen's?

When you study History at Queen’s University you’ll follow in the footsteps of thousands of alumni who have occupied and currently hold positions in the commanding heights of government, law, business, education, management consulting, public relations, advertising, journalism, publishing and the heritage sector. Our recent graduates manage web sites and write press briefings for corporations. Several own their own companies. Increasingly, alumni find jobs as research and policy analysts for government ministries. They are segment producers at major Canadian and American television stations, newsprint journalists and researchers for non-governmental organizations. They are bankers, crown prosecutors and Bay Street lawyers. We invite you to read the interviews with alumni contained in the 2011, 2012 and 2016 Newsletters.

In a post-industrial, ‘information society’ with less than 14% of workers employed in the manufacturing sectors of rich nations, there has never been a greater need for highly educated ‘symbolic analysts.’ As the Baby Boomers retire the future will be bright for many graduates. Admittedly, it’s not unusual for some recent grads to spend one to four years in temporary positions before they secure a permanent position. Recent History PhDs who do not continue in academia are often employed in the upper ranks of the civil service, where their research and writing skills are highly valued. Several work as institutional data managers and analysts--company historians--in the private sector.

A Queen’s History degree continues to carry a certain cachet. And for good reason--this department offers one of the most rigorous seminar-based educations in North America, with tutorials and small seminars from year 1 through year 4. Other highly ranked Canadian schools offer small classes only in year 4. The best Queen’s students are just as good as their peers at elite American schools but they will acquire a comparable education at a fraction of the price. Thanks to our seminar system students do not feel like ‘numbers’ in the Queen’s History Department. Recent B.A. and M.A. graduates have been admitted to the world’s best graduate programs in several disciplines (law, business, history) at Harvard, Stanford, Columbia, Oxford, Cambridge, McGill, and Toronto, to list just a few.

Alumni who thrive in the business world believe that History taught them how to process large amounts of information and to discern trends and biases in it. Indeed, come to Kingston to study History and you’ll learn how to weigh different viewpoints and how to find your own voice. You’ll be well prepared to make presentations and to deliver research reports in a corporate or government setting. The friendly intellectual jousts you’ll enjoy in seminars might lead to a career as a negotiator, a conflict-resolution professional. Alumna Lindsay Moore Geros is a Senior Policy Analyst for the government of Canada who works with representatives of countries seeking to eradicate the scourge of human trafficking. Alumnus Marcus Arndt is an emergency room doctor (see 2016 Newsletter). Our graduates seem unanimous in their belief that their rigorous training equipped them well in the ‘real world’ of work. And that’s because when you come to Queen’s you’ll learn so much more than the names of kings.

Professor Tim Smith
Department of History

So what are you going to do with a History degree? What to tell your uncle over Holiday dinner.

Careers for History Majors

Canadian Historical Association - What can you do with a history degree?