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Careers & Internships

The History Department offers Undergraduate Career Workshops to help students apply the skills they develop as history majors to a wide variety of careers. (photo: Anne Berg)

Putting Your History Degree to Work

History is a major that prepares students well for a variety of occupations and post-university experiences. Our students develop skills in critical thinking, analytical reasoning, eloquent writing, thoughtful reading, and the management of complicated projects requiring the integration of various forms of information. Above all, we encourage students to appreciate the complexities of the lived experience and the broader context in which individuals, institutions, and societies operate.

This is an approach that, we believe, not only enriches our students’ lives but also allows them to become sophisticated decision-makers. It is no surprise that employers, law schools, other professional schools, and graduate programs in a wide variety of fields look so favorably upon history graduates.

Learn more about what recent History graduates are doing in our Young Alumni series.

Leveraging Your History Degree

Across the board, our students insist, and our graduates have discovered, that there is SO MUCH you can do with a History degree. It teaches you a new way of thinking, one that comes with a carefully calibrated tool kit and a large collection of portable skills. History encourages you to question assumptions, do research, think critically, write, have compassion, understand people from different backgrounds, and be more culturally aware. It also provides you with lots to talk about, and a powerful way to understand the world. Most importantly, perhaps, it is precisely all of this non-quantifiable “stuff” that teaches you that you and your thoughts matter.

Our graduates go off to do amazing things—in law, business, journalism, teaching, non-profits, advocacy, government, the arts, and so on. They also become engaged citizens, using their training to help them think through the issues of today and tomorrow.


Internships can provide opportunities to discover and experience real-life career fields while you gain marketable job skills. They can help you make networking contacts and meet mentors who may be instrumental in your career path. In addition to providing summertime work, experiences outside the classroom can often help you make key decisions about your future. The College of LSA's Opportunity Hub helps connect students with valuable internship experiences.

Students who find historically relevant internships may be able to combine their experience with independent academic work, under faculty supervision, and receive credit through our History 395: Independent Study Course.

The History Department's Michigan in the World initiative is a paid May-June intership program for undergraduates. It provides the opportunity for students to create online, public exhibitions based on archival reseach about the history of U-M and its relationships with the wider world. 

Internship Resources

U-M Internships

Michigan in Washington Program
An opportunity for 20-25 U-M undergraduates from all majors to spend a fall or winter term in Washington, DC. The program provides a unique chance for students to combine coursework with field experience in an internship that reflects each student's area of interest.

Public Service Intern Program (PSIP)
Assists talented students from ALL academic disciplines in securing summer internship positions in Washington DC with congressional and congressional support offices, executive offices and agencies, judicial offices, special interest and lobby organization, arts/museums, non-profits, and print and broadcast media. PSIP is one of the nation's largest and most respected internship programs. Some previous positions were with the State Department, Congressional Black Caucus, US Attorney's Office, Common Cause, Republican National Committee, Sierra Club, Smithsonian, ABC News, and many congressional offices. Applications are accepted in early fall for the following summer.

Undergraduate Research Opportunity (UROP)
Research partnerships between U-M students and U-M faculty and research scientists. Fields include social sciences and humanities among others. You must apply to the program.

International Center
Resource for jobs and internships abroad. Join their listserve for current information.

Michigan Library Scholars Summer Internship
Michigan Library Scholars is an engaged learning opportunity through the University Library, which is designed to allow undergraduate students to gain real world professional experience, develop a deeper understanding of the role of academic research libraries in the context of higher education, and enhance their own research and learning skills. Underlying our program is a strong mentoring component that encourages students to hone their skills under the guidance of experienced library professionals. We foster flexibility and creativity by enabling students to develop and implement a capstone project with a global or international focus that will become part of their professional portfolio.

Career Center
The Career Center's Handshake service offers connection to employers seeking to hire U-M students for internships and permanent positions. It includes job and internship listings, online resume collections, employer presentation information, as well as on-campus interviewing opportunities. Handshake is one resource to assist in your job and/or internship search and should be used in combination with additional resources and strategies. Register on-line at the Career Center website

Alumni Association
Students have free access to all services, including inCircle (job/internship postings, networking with alumni), Alumni NetWorks (contacts with volunteer alumni in many fields), 30-Minute Mentors (individual interviews on campus). Special services available just for current students.

Government, Non-Profit, Public History, and Other US Internships

The Henry Ford, Dearborn, Michigan Historical Resources Internship Program
Volunteer interns work directly with a curator, registrar, archivist, librarian, or conservator who serves as a mentor. In addition to completing specific project assignments, historical resources interns are encouraged to participate in the larger life of the institution in order to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the varied aspects of museum work.

Intern in Michigan
Connects students attending Michigan public universities with employers from around the state. 

US State Department
The State Department manages several student employment programs that enable students to get experience in a foreign affairs environment through on-the-job experience. Some students work in Washington, DC, and others have the opportunity to work at an embassy overseas.

Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
Interns work alongside the Wilson Center staff and who have an interest in, coursework related to, and/or experience working on a variety of issues consistent with the work of their various offices, programs, and projects.

The Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars
Combines internships with academic seminars in the Washington, DC, area.

Smithsonian Institution Office of Fellowships
An internship at the Smithsonian Institution is a prearranged, structured learning experience scheduled within a specific time frame.

Library of Congress
There are many internship, fellowship, and volunteer program opportunities throughout the library.
One-stop shop for information on government agencies with student internship and employment

Gilder Lehrman History Scholars Program
The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History invites college sophomores and juniors with a serious interest in American history and academic excellence in the field to apply for one of 15 History Scholarships that encompass a six-week residential research program in New York City running from June to July. Fifty awards for runners-up, who will be named finalists, are invited to an all-expenses-paid, week-long program in New York City.

Johns Hopkins University - Center for Talented Youth
Assist in teaching at summer enrichment programs for talented youth in the eastern and western US Residential and day programs. Room and board and a small salary are provided. Application consideration begins at the end of January for the summer programs. Apply in January for the following summer.

The Carter Center
Unique and diverse opportunities for undergraduate juniors and seniors, recent graduates, and graduate/professional students who are interested in contemporary international and domestic issues.

The National Assembly Directory of Internships 
Database lists over 2000 internships in more than 500 non-profit service organizations.

Student Conservation Association, Inc. (SCA)
Environmental conservation internships, some with public history situations.

Rising Star Internships
US internships listed by area of interest.

Searchable list of internship postings.

Entry-level jobs and internships.

International Internships

CDS International 
Professional internship programs abroad.

Winant and Clayton Volunteers 
Summer community service volunteer projects in the UK (especially London).

BUNAC offers US students and young people work/travel programs to Britain, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada. Each program offers a unique insight into life in a completely new culture and a chance to spend extended time working and travelling overseas. In addition BUNAC USA offers a volunteer placement program in South Africa.

Right to Play International Through SportWorks 
Through SportWorks program, sport and play activities are implemented to enhance healthy child development and build community capacity in more than 20 countries throughout Africa and Asia. Funded, one-year positions in Africa, South and Southeast Asia.

Amity Institute's Intern Program offers teaching opportunities in a variety of countries for intern teaching assistants and for experienced teachers. Assignments range from 2 months to a full academic year. Apply 3 to 6 months before you wish to start teaching abroad.

Foundation For Sustainable Development (FSD)
Internships in Africa and Latin America. 

Funding for Internships

U-M International Institute 

Individually Developed Overseas Internship Awards. Grants to fund overseas internships for students who will be returning to campus.

U-M Program in International and Comparative Studies 
Students are eligible to apply in the Winter term if they have secured an internship with an organization, preferably working in the areas of one of these three themes: 

  • human rights 
  • international development 
  • international security and cooperation.