Graduate Student Life

The prospects of financial aid while a student and gainful employment after receiving a degree are probably some of the most important elements of life as a graduate student in any discipline. Our document on financial aid will tell you about what aid is available, the document on employment as a historian will give you information about the areas in which you may work after receiving your degree, and the document on placements for our graduates will show you the types of employment recent graduates have found.

As a graduate student in history, you presumably will become a professional historian of some kind. The American Historical Association says that "professional historians share certain core values that guide their activities and inform their judgments as they seek to enrich our collective understanding of the past. These shared values for conducting and assessing research, developing and evaluating interpretations, communicating new knowledge, navigating ethical dilemmas, and, not least, telling stories about the past, define the professional practice of history." What are those shared values? Read about them in our discussion of standards of professional conduct.

While still a student, you will have opportunities to develop relationships with other historians by joining one or more of the graduate student organizations.

On a broader scale you can interact with other historians through the various discussion groups sponsored by H-Net, "an interdisciplinary organization of scholars dedicated to developing the enormous educational potential of the Internet and the World Wide Web," especially the group H-Grad. H-Net is much broader than history — it spans the humanities and the social sciences — and has discussion groups devoted to a very large number of interests (check the list of H-Net groups).

There are many professional associations of historians, ranging from international to local in scope. The American Historical Association, the most inclusive association in the United States, has a large index of affiliated societies that does not by any means include all historical associations. Your professors will know about associations in their fields — ask them. Many associations offer special membership rates for students.

The AHA also has several resources for graduate students, early-career historians, women historians, and minority historians.