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Combine valuable skills and creativity
History may take inspiration from the past, but here you do history.
Scour primary sources. Excel at organizing, scheduling and keeping notes. Develop a research project that will lead to graduate school or a promising career right after graduation. Travel to conferences to present your work. Explore local historical sites. Work both with antique sources and the latest digital technology.
Do it all—here.
Debate issues from various perspectives. Find your place in the world while acquiring 21st-century skills relevant to many careers.
History majors are preparing to:
- Practice law
- Direct financial institution
- Work in higher education
- Pursue graduate degrees
- Work in museums
- Run a company
See history in action
Connect with people, and hear their personal history and how they fit into the larger historical narrative. Our students regularly have internships at renowned museums and libraries—both domestic and international.
We offer a diverse selection of courses, covering every continent and studying topics as varied as gender, medicine, hip hop, clothes, war, race, revolution, movies, food and many other things you might not expect in a history class. Adding a second major or minor is easy and broadens options for your future.
Recent graduates have worked at:
The Hershey Story Museum
Johns Hopkins University
LeggMason Asset Management
Library of Congress
National Park Service
New York Yankees
Pennsylvania Department of State
U.S. Court of Appeals
White House Historical Association
Who Do You Think You Are?
Recent graduates have been enrolled in programs at:
Carnegie Mellon University
The Catholic University of America
The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg
New York University
The Ohio State University
Pennsylvania State University
The University of Chicago
The Univerity of Delaware
The University of Maine
The University of Texas
Requirements for the History Major reflect the commitment to history as a way of knowing and thinking about the world.
Breadth courses (survey classes at the 100 level) focus on (a) the scope of civilization, usually in separate geographical areas, and (b) teaching students how to think like historians. They introduce students to broad developments while also using specific historical material to help students draw conclusions about these larger trends.
Depth courses are upper-division classes (200 or 300 level) that focus on more specific topics in a specific area or smaller thematic framework. These classes ask students to compare historical material and the arguments of other historians in order to craft their own conclusions about the past.
A methodology course, History Methods, taken in the sophomore year, teaches students the specific skills of the historian. This class then helps students learn to explain their analyses better in verbal and written form, with an eye toward the senior thesis.
Collective Inquiry in History, taken in the junior year, continues to teach students the skills of the historian and prepares them for their senior thesis.
Finally, in Senior Seminar, majors carry out detailed research on a topic of their choice and work one-on-one with a faculty adviser to write their senior thesis that is the capstone of their work as history majors.
In all three of these courses for majors, students spend time working on career plans (creating resumes, interviewing, discussing various career paths) and learning to explain the value of their history major.
Two more upper-division classes are required, at least one of which must focus on Asian, African or Latin American history.
The history major completes at least 40 semester hours in history, with grades of C- or better, and four semester hours in a related field outside of the major. Students must maintain a 2.00 GPA in their major courses. In summary, the major consists of the following courses:
|Semester Hours||View Full Course Catalog >>|
12 Breadth courses: three survey courses, each in a different geographic area
Choose from the following:
4 Africa (HIST-171 or HIST-172)
4 Asia (HIST-151 or HIST-152)
4 Europe (HIST-131 or HIST-132)
4 Latin America (HIST-180 or HIST-181)
4 United States (HIST-111, HIST-112 or HIST-115)
8 Depth courses: two history courses at the 200 and 300 level, related by geography, chronology or topic
4 Course in a cognate field complementing the depth course
|4 HIST-300 History Methods|
4 Another history course at the 300 level
4 One course at the 200 or 300 level in a geographic area other than U.S. or European history
|4 HIST-401 Collective Inquiry in History|
|4 HIST-410 Seminar in History|
|or HIST-501 Independent Study|
Transfer, AP or study abroad classes may apply to the major.
The Minor in History is designed to enhance nonmajors' interest in history; it consists of 20 hours or five classes. Students take two breadth (100 level) courses from different geographical areas, two depth (200 or 300 level) courses with a specific emphasis (e.g., a certain area of the world or a particular theme) and one more depth course of their choice. Students must earn a grade of at least C- in courses for the minor. Transfer, AP or study abroad classes may apply to the minor.
Teacher Certification. Coursework required by the state of Pennsylvania for admission to the teacher certification program includes successful completion of ENGL-100 Writing and Thinking or equivalent course, at least 3 semester hours in British or American literature, at least 6 semester hours of mathematics coursework (or other courses which satisfy the Central Curriculum Analytical Thought requirement), and at least one 40-hour externship.
Education course requirements for secondary education are EDUC-101 Introduction to Education and Society, EDUC-102 Historical and Philosophical Foundations of Education, EDUC-250 Educational Psychology, EDUC-260 Introduction to Special Education, EDUC-270 Instruction of Exceptional Students, EDUC-330 Technology in Education, EDUC-350 English Language Learners: Theory and Instruction, EDUC-380 Instructional Design, EDUC-479 Principles of Learning and Teaching in Secondary Education, EDUC-483 Differentiated Instruction and Classroom Management in Secondary Education, and the EDUC-500 Student Teaching package (EDUC-501, EDUC-502, EDUC-503, and EDUC-600).
In addition to completing the history major and the courses listed above, secondary education history students must complete certification in either social studies or citizenship. The requirements for certification in social studies are EDUC-425 Methods of Curriculum Instruction and Assessment in Teaching Social Studies, SOCI-101 Principles of Sociology, ANTH-162 Introduction to Anthropology, ECON-105 Elements of Economics, POLI-111 American Government and Politics, POLI-121 Comparative Government and Politics, PSYC-101 Principles of Psychology, HIST-322 Pennsylvania History or HIST-324 Pennsylvania's Pasts and Their Publics, 1 course in U. S. history (HIST-111, HIST-112 or HIST-115), 1 course in European history (HIST-131 or HIST-132), and 1 course in non-Western history (HIST-151, HIST-152, HIST-171, HIST-172, HIST-180, or HIST-181). The requirements for certification in citizenship are EDUC-427 Methods of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment in Teaching Citizenship, ANTH-162 Introduction to Anthropology, ECON-105 Elements of Economics, POLI-111 American Government and Politics, POLI-121 Comparative Government and Politics, HIST-322 Pennsylvania History or HIST-324 Pennsylvania's Pasts and Their Publics, 1 course in U. S. history (HIST-111 or HIST-112), 1 course in European history (HIST-131 or HIST-132), and 1 course in non-Western history (HIST-151, HIST-152, HIST-171, HIST-172, HIST-180, or HIST-181).
average number of students in upper-level classes100%
of students do original research7682
miles traveled for conference presentations last year
Not interested in teaching?
How do the skills you learn as a history major prepare you for your future?
An ability to analyze, problem solve and express yourself is useful in any career. About half of our students go on to non-traditional careers for history majors. We have alumni working for Homeland Security, in the finance and banking sectors, as writers and librarians, and even as a radio personality!
Many of our graduates go on to become amazing teachers. But if teaching isn't for you, we can help you find another path.