Helen Nader began her career at IU Bloomington in 1976 as an assistant professor of history in the College of Arts and Sciences. She was promoted from assistant professor to associate professor and appointed as a faculty member in the Graduate School in 1979. She received tenure in 1980, was promoted from associate professor to professor in 1988, and the additional title of professor of comparative literature was added in 1991. She was named associate dean of the Office of Research and the University Graduate School (1988-1992) and the Ruth N. Halls Professor of History (1994) before resigning in 1995 to accept a position as head of the Department of History at the University of Arizona. Nader obtained a B.A. from the University of Arizona, an M.A. from Smith College, and a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley. She served as the history department head and the acting director of the Division for Late Medieval and Reformation Studies and retired from the University of Arizona in 2006 as emeritus professor of history.
Nader was an educator, a researcher, and a Spanish history writer. She received a Tinker Postdoctoral Fellowship from Stanford University (1979), a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship for University Teachers to do research (1982-1983), and a John Simon Memorial Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship in Iberian and Latin American History (1983).
Nader passed away on September 24, 2018, in Oro Valley, Arizona.