According to the American Historical Association, learning about history is not a choice, it's a must in order to "gain access to the laboratory of human experience."
It's so much more than just memorising the year something important happened.
The academic study of history allows us to gain a better understanding of how the different institutions of the world have worked with their citizens, and patterns that lead to evolution and change in aspects like science, health, education and business.
We can learn how different societies and cultures have mixed together over time, and use that information to better understand our own identities and the concept of identity in general.
And of course, we can also get training in practical skills that will help us in any business situation.
Like any science, studying history involves collating, reading and analysing large amounts of research and material, skills essential to most professional work.
Every major university or college in Australia offers education in history, whether it's a major as part of an arts degree, its own bachelor degree or even a master in specialist units like ancient history, archaeology or philosophy.
It's important to have passion for what we study, but also important to know what university courses are out there, how to pick the perfect one for you, and of course, whether they can actually land you professional work!
Which are the best university courses in Perth that I can apply for?
Luckily for any students in the Perth area, or looking to move to Western Australia, there is more than one university or college with great history courses to choose from.
The most popular for students to apply for is the University of Western Australia, but Curtin University, Murdoch University and others also offer interesting choices. Let's look the at courses offered:
University of Western Australia (UWA)
Bachelor Degree in Arts: This is the most basic history degree that the college offers. It's a 3-year course that looks at 4 units in each semester, with a major in history. Students can major in any of the following school:
- Classics and Ancient History
- History of Art
- Indigenous Knowledge, History and Heritage
- Studies in a specific language which include history units eg. Chinese Studies, Italian Studies, German Studies etc.
There's also the option to extend another year and graduate with a Bachelor of Philosophy (with Honours). To apply for this course, students will need a minimum ATAR certificate of 75.
Postgraduate Studies: If you want to continue on your history education journey with UWA, there are a few options that students can choose from. The subjects that have history components are:
- Heritage Studies
- Asian Studies
These areas are available to study at three different levels, a Graduate Certificate, Graduate Diploma or Master. Each level has its own entry requirements, semester-length and more.
Curtin University (CU)
Another popular choice for students in Perth, CU offers similar undergraduate options to UWA. Students studying a Bachelor of Arts can major in History units, which will take around 3 years full time to complete.
However, CU isn't offering postgraduate history courses at this time.
Online Post Graduate Studies
The choices in postgraduate studies are a little limited on campus in the Western Australian capital, however, there are plenty of courses across Australia that offer online learning.
Here is a list of the top 3 universities in Australia that offer Master's courses, in order of ranking based on the Times Higher Education list:
- University of Melbourne (#32): This well-known institution offers a Master of Cultural Materials Conservation, perfect for those looking to work in archaeology, taking care of ancient materials.
- Australian National University (#50): There is a range of courses offered here, from a simple Master of History (which spans ancient to modern history, and allows students to tailor their program to their interests), to a Master of Philosophy, Culture, History and Languages.
- University of Sydney (#60): This institution offers a Master of Museum and Heritage Studies course which gives students the skills to manage museum collections and assess heritage sites.
Of course, there are plenty of other great universities that offer Master's degrees, either by research or coursework online across Australia.
You can also choose a graduate certificate or diploma, which can last a year or two, depending on the course requirements for each semester.
Now that you have an overview of what you can study, let's look at where all of this academic training can actually take students...
What are my real job prospects if I get a bachelor degree in history?
Some students may be interested in studying history in their higher education, but have major doubts about the professional work possibilities.
Of course, the business opportunities a student may have will largely depend on the level and field of their academic diploma or certificate.
For example, someone who stops at the Bachelor of Arts or Philosophy (Honours) at UWA may be eligible to work in various fields from business management to academic work.
In contrast, students who complete a postgraduate certificate, diploma or master's will have more specific and tailored training, that will give them more work opportunities, albeit in a smaller niche.
Here are some of the main career options for any student who completes postgraduate history studies:
- Museum curation and collection management
- Conservation of cultural materials for different organisations
- Foreign affairs and diplomacy
- Journalism or consultant work
- Community Organisations
- Tourism operators
- School teaching
This is just a short list of the varied careers a history student could find themselves in. Your skills in research, analysis and writing will be essential in so many of these areas.
So why would a student choose Perth as the city to get started?
Perth: a great city for students
For both international and interstate students, the capital of Western Australia may not be the top choice and they may prefer bigger cities like Sydney or Melbourne. This is simply because they don't realise just how much Perth has to offer!
A lower cost of living
According to Numbeo, a site that aggregates the average cost of living in cities around the world, Sydney and Melbourne have much higher costs (when rent is included). In fact, of all Australian cities, Perth is only 8th highest.
This is mostly because the average rent fee is quite low in Perth, nearly half of what it is in Sydney. A one-bedroom apartment fee in the city centre will set you back around $2,600 a month in Sydney, and just $1500 in Perth.
It's so important for both international and interstate students to consider how their different costs will affect their happiness, health and quality of life in a given city.
Be surrounded by nature
For many international students travelling to Australia, part of the allure is the incredible wildlife and nature of the country.
The UWA campus itself is surrounded by greenery and is basically on the water.
For adventurers who want to study hard, but use their weekends to explore and discover, Perth is truly a great place to be.
You will have to opportunity to get in close contact with some of nature's wonders throughout the year.
Students can hop on the ferry and have an encounter with the world-famous quokka, or go whale watching during the first semester of the year when thousands of humpback whales come to the warmer Australian shores.
For people who like a little more luxury, there's Swan Valley, one of the oldest wine regions in the country, which is only around a half-hour from the city.
There you'll even find some fascinating historical information about the early colonisers of the area.
For history buffs who want to get more information about Indigenous culture and heritage, Perth is also full of rich stories. There are many tours and attractions across the city run by Whadjuk people, the traditional custodians of the land.
Never a dull moment
Of course, no student experience would be complete without some time spent hanging out with friends in bars, restaurants and clubs, all of which Perth offers in spades.
Referred to as a "hipster haven" by an article in the New York Times, the city truly offers everything a student would need to have an excellent experience, whether international or interstate.
There are constantly events like comedy and film festivals, gallery openings and organic markets, as well as an incredible range of restaurants that offer cuisines from Vietnamese to Ethiopian.
For people who want to try their hand at surfing, with just a short train ride, you can find yourself at Scarborough Beach and take lessons while checking out the incredible coastline.
You can also find nightclubs and bars that span every genre, from more commercial options like Eve or Villa to more underground destinations like Joe's Juice Joint or Sneaky Tony's.