While many academic disciplines are concerned with learning about current developments and applying methods and theories to present day issues, this major is concerned about those of yesterday. History majors learn about the past, and how to interpret societies, countries, civilizations, objects, and documents from it. They also learn how to analyze sources and events to determine their importance, evaluate the works of published historians, and conduct independent research regarding things of historical significance.
A broad area of study, these types of programs typically consist of courses exploring the history of different countries, time periods, and topics. For example, some courses focus on specific geographic fields like American, Asian, European, Latin American, Middle Eastern and African history, while others concentrate on time periods such as Medieval Europe, Renaissance and Reformation, ancient Greece, twentieth century Russia, colonial America, the Crusades, Civil War and Reconstruction, and more. In addition, many courses also address topical fields in history like religious, military, art, and women’s history. Students will likely be required to take a course in historical skills where they learn about primary source research as well as how to critically analyze documentary resources, conduct historical reasoning, and prepare written reports.
The intellectual, research, writing, speaking, and critical-thinking skills characteristic of history majors, allows them to enter various career fields. Those who wish to advance in their education can become historians working as researchers, writers and editors, information managers, and advocates. A history major also serves as a solid educational background for those who wish to go on to attend law or graduate school. Other possible career fields include politics, health and human services, legislation, community development, library and archives, education, and more.