What is a professional historian?

The practice of history is a professional skill. Historians are trained to critically assess evidence and events of the past and place them into a broader political, economic and social context. Good research and communication skills are essential.

The basic professional qualification is an Honours degree or equivalent in the discipline of history from a recognised tertiary institution. Many professional historians hold additional postgraduate qualifications. These credentials must be recognised by Professional Historians Australia under the National Standards for Accreditation of Professional Historians in Australia. Some professional historians are also qualified in related fields of publishing (such as editing and indexing), archives and library work.

Professional historians work in a variety of fields including education, government, museums, mass media, legal research, heritage, planning studies, writing organisational histories (for schools, companies and interest groups) and local histories. They are also called on to advise allied professionals such as archaeologists, archivists, architects, town planners and valuers. Some professional historians are on the staff of government agencies or private organisations. Others are independent consultants available to carry out commissions for historical research and writing.

Did you know?

Professional historians accredited by PHA are academically qualified to bring broad historical knowledge, objectivity, and strong research and writing skills to a history project.