Career Development

We encourage all of our students to speak to a Career Advisor for individualized advice and information. Visit the Career Services website to make an appointment.

Our graduates pursue a wide variety of careers including education, law, journalism, business, and government, and the undergraduate program in history is designed to prepare students for these paths. To this end, we aim to help students develop a deep and discerning approach to the past and a broad knowledge of human experience that will prepare them to be educated and responsible world citizens. Our second aim is to equip our students with the critical thinking, research, writing and communication skills that are demanded in responsible positions in all occupations.

Extensive reading, major writing projects emphasizing the clear and concise use of language, and opportunities to speak before an audience and to discuss issues with peers are all essential parts of the training that we provide. Students who come through our program should acquire essential skills that make them readily adaptable to a changing job market and that enable them to contribute positively to society. To assist our students in making career choices we participate in the Faculty of Arts co-operative education program.

Co-operative Education

The Arts and Social Science Co-op Program is an experiential learning program for students in undergraduate, post baccalaureate diploma (PBD)/Second Degree programs, and Master’s degree programs. Co-op can provide you with:

  • Paid, professional  work experience during your studies
  • A well-rounded education that combines theory and practice
  • A network of contacts upon graduation, as well as practical experience, a high quality resume, and effective job search and interview skills
  • The ability to figure out your likes and dislikes in the career world, as well as the chance to gain a greater understanding of the job market and find out about career opportunities
  • And much more!

Possible Positions:

  • Co-op student to Child, Youth, and Social Development Studies Directorate at Human Resources Development Canada
  • Multicultural Health Fair Assistant at Affiliation of Multicultural Societies and Services
  • Enforcement Officer at Canada Border Services Agency
  • Junior Community Parole Officer at Correctional Service of Canada
  • Junior Research Assistant at Indian Residential Schools Resolution Canada
  • U.S. Trade Office Intern at U.S. Consulate General
  • Community Events Assistant at Lion’s Gate Rotary Cub

Once you’ve made the decision to find out what Co-op is about and how it can help you gain experience and achieve your goals, please visit the co-op website for more information (including application requirements and deadlines). If you have specific questions, contact a Co-op coordinator or program assistant

Career Services

The best thing about an Arts is degree is that you can do anything with it!  This can also be the worst thing if you don’t know how to narrow down your choices and find something you really want to do.

All students can benefit from a visit to Career Services.  The helpful counsellors assist students with determining their areas of greatest interest and the path they need to follow to get to the jobs there.  Aptitude testing, vast databases and personal assistance can all help students identify how they can go about landing the sort of job they really want. Click here to find out more information about their services.

Graduate Studies

If you are a high achieving student who loves History and wants to continue studying then pursuing a Masters Degree may be for you. 

SFU History has a very strong reputation at the graduate level.  Students who obtained their MA from our History department have gone on study at the PhD level at a wide variety of outstanding schools.  Visit our graduate studies page for more information about the program.

The key elements for graduate school admission are:
1) GPA – most schools are looking for a B+ average, but it if you have a B average or above it is worth inquiring at the school you are interested in.
2) Recommendations – you will generally need 3 letters of recommendation from faculty so get to know your profs!  Ideally at least 2 will come from regular teaching faculty (active or retired) in the discipline you want to pursue and do keep in mind that the strongest letters will come from tenured (or tenure track) faculty rather than sessional instructors (unless they subsequently take up a tenure track position here or elsewhere).
3) What you want to study – students need to clearly identify what they wish to study and find a faculty member at the school they wish to attend who is able to supervise them in that field.

If you are considering graduate school the importance of speaking with faculty cannot be overstated.  Faculty members will be your references and in many cases your guides through what can be an exhausting process.  Their expertise in their field of study can help you determine which schools and faculty would be the best match for you. 

Another way to strengthen your graduate school application is with an SSHRC grant.  The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council offers grants to outstanding incoming graduate students.  Students who are able to win a grant like this become very hard for graduate schools to resist!

As most graduate school admission deadlines fall between December and February for admission to the following Fall semester,  (it varies by school) set aside time in the summer or fall the year before you plan to attend to prepare your applications.  It is understood that most students will still be in classes when the applications are sent in so you do not need to wait until your final courses are complete before applying.

Professional Development Program

Many of our students study History as a path to teaching at the Elementary or High School level.  History is a teachable subject at the Major, Minor or Extended Minor level. 

As this program has many very specific requirements, it is strongly recommended that students obtain as much information directly from the Faculty of Education as they possibly can.  If you wish to teach Elementary School you need to follow those guidelines, while those wishing to teach History at the Middle or High school level must follow the Social Studies guidelines found here

The PDP program holds several information sessions during the Fall and Spring semesters.  Make sure to attend one as early in your program as you can to help with planning, and make sure to check back with them regularly to stay on top of any changes they make.

DO NOT rely on word of mouth to get your information on this program.  No other program has as many myths and inaccuracies about it floating around campus.  Always ask the PDP program staff to clarify any issues you are confused about.

For further information about admission into the PDP program, click here.

UBC and UVic also offer teaching programs.  UBC is a good alternative for students who want to study in the lower mainland as their program is much larger than SFU’s.

Law School

History is a great discipline for students interested in Law School and very highly regarded in the admission process because the schools understand how you have been trained to work with research and writing.  Law school entry is extremely competitive, and the top schools will demand outstanding grades as well as a high LSAT score.

We do not have a Faculty of Law at SFU but UBC and UVic have very well regarded programs.   SFU does have a student run Pre-Law Society through the SFSS that may be able to provide you with information about programs in BC and beyond.

LSAT Law School Admission Council
UBC Faculty of Law
UVic Faculty of Law