Track Down Scholarship Sources in History and Related Majors

Talk about an expansive major….History students have many career pathways open to them: Teaching, research, archeology, journalism or communications, library science, and many more. There are also many more careers for which an undergraduate degree in History serves as a perfect foundation: political science, business, public administration, Law, museum curatorship, etc.

The federally funded Truman Scholarships are fair game for History students intending to pursue careers in government. This prestigious scholarship is open to high school juniors getting ready to enroll in a graduate degree program. These valuable awards max out at $30,000. Since 2005 the Truman Scholarship is a '–for service' program. Recipients must be willing to work for no less than 3 years in a selected public service area.

History Scholarships from Schools

It's nearly a given that your college or university History Department will offer some form of student history scholarships. Examples:

  • The History Department at the University of Michigan-Flint offers a number of private scholarships to students majoring in the field. These scholarships are designed for students majoring in American History, cultural studies, and for students in their junior or senior year of the major.
  • Wartburg College History majors may apply for one of 4 History scholarships. Students with financial need, academic leadership and those pursuing political science are all possible contenders.
  • The University of Buffalo annually awards thousands of dollars in scholarship money to department majors based on a variety of criteria.
history scholarships

Private Sources

Sources like professional or academic societies are also excellent fonts for scholarship support. Most require you to be a student member to qualify.

  • The American Historical Association has been supporting the work of historians and other related professionals for over 125 years. The organization not only acts as informational clearinghouse, but also sponsors fellowships and research grants, some for doctoral students in the throes of dissertation work.
  • The Society of American Archivists maintains a well-endowed list of scholarships and awards for archival professionals and students. The Donald Peterson Student Scholarship provides $1,000 in funding to help a student member attend the annual SAA conference.
  • The National Foundation for Women Legislators (NFWL) pairs up with the National Rifle Association (NRA) to sponsor a Bill of Rights Essay competition. This national contest provides seven winner with scholarships of $3,000 each, to be used toward college tuition at any college or university in the U.S. Winners also receive an all-expenses-paid trip to Des Moines, Iowa, to attend the NFWL Conference.
  • The Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) offer a number of scholarships as well: The Enid Hall Griswold Memorial Scholarship provides $1,000 for a junior or senior undergraduate student pursuing history, government, political science or economics.
  • The J.E. Caldwell Centennial Scholarship offers a $2,000 award to a student pursuing graduate work in Historic Preservation.
  • DAR also offers the Dr. Aura-Lee A. and James Hobbs Pittenger American History Scholarship to a high school student studying American History and Government. This generous gift is renewable up to four years if the student maintains eligibility throughout school.

History Scholarships for Minority Students

Under-served populations have seen far too few minority students becoming historians upon graduation from college. Because the field is hungry for minority engagement and involvement, many sources offer minority-specific history scholarships.

  • University of Michigan's Harry Reed Endowed Scholarship in History is specifically awarded to an ethnic minority student or a female in the History department.
  • Nike's Spoken Word Showdown Scholarship competition is held during Black History Month. Competitors may be rappers and poets and the event is lively. Awards are $1,000 and new Nikes.
  • Indiana's Black History Makers of Tomorrow program is sponsored by McDonald's. These competitive awards recognize the potential in high school juniors and seniors that have proven leadership skills and have been heavily involved in community service programs.
  • The Harold Pinkett Minority Student Award is sponsored by the Society of American Archivists. The scholarship is intended to encourage underrepresented students in the field.

Other Funding Sources

History buffs are not only lucky to find funding assistance through federal, state and private sources – they also have good odds working specifically with the college of their choice. But that's not all; there are additional resources at hand.

The U.S. Institute of Peace offers the National Peace Essay Contest. This ambitious awards program offers $1,000 to the winning high school essayist who is planning to study History in college. The winner can then go on to compete nationally, to potentially be able to win up to $10,000!

The honor society Phi Alpha Theta is another organization seeking to offer aid to undergraduate and graduate History majors. Scholarships range from $400 to $1,000 for students pursuing subjects such as Modern European history to the American Experience in World War I.

Who knew that going for a history degree could offer so much in the way of financial assistance? Well we did, and now so do you. Don't forget that in addition to the more general funding options to be found you will also do well to really look at what makes your educational course and your financial and life circumstances unique; chances are there's money out there just waiting for you to find it.