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Intellectual Self-Confidence


Historians do more than research, write, and teach. But even these core activities consist of transferable skills: the ability to plan, evaluate evidence, synthesize vast quantities of information, think critically, edit and revise, manage a group of diverse people, create an agenda, and facilitate group work, to name just a few.

Intellectual self-confidence helps PhDs realize their capabilities beyond subject expertise. As it turns out, a history PhD is a powerful credential that works like a toolkit for a variety of professional circumstances—if you know how to open it.

History PhDs are equipped to do many things: teach a new course outside one’s content era, making a presentation to an audience of laypeople or experts, or taking on a new leadership role. Being flexible, creative, and adaptive is the heart and soul of intellectual self-confidence.

There are several places where graduate students can practice translating their skills to grow their intellectual self-confidence:

  • UCAN History Group: Reach out to a Michigan PhD in an area, field, or sector you know nothing about but would like to learn more
  • Internships: Embrace new work tasks for a term as you join an organization outside the department; available as an alternative to GSI assignments or during the spring-summer term
  • Rackham Program in Public Scholarship: Translate your research, teaching, and writing skills to help a humanities-based institution achieve their goals

Learn more about intellectual self-confidence as one of the AHA's five career diversity skills.