The Department of Historical Studies

Historians work to understand past events, societies, and individuals and how they have changed and developed over time. We seek the meanings of change in relation to our present experiences. We are in dialogue with the past and with our contemporaries in order to better understand ourselves and the world around us.  

Studying history adds value to any field of study and professional training. Historical studies develop critical thinking and leadership skills that apply in many 21st-century careers.

Why choose a degree in historical studies?

Historical studies will teach you how to:

  • Conduct research to gather and validate the relative strength of evidence
  • Scrutinize and judge the accuracy and bias in various texts, media and material sources
  • Acknowledge and respect multiple perspectives
  • Analyze and evaluate the merits of conflicting interpretations
  • Determine cause-and-effect relationships
  • Synthesize information and define your own arguments
  • Develop written and oral communication skills

Studying history may lead to careers in:

  • Teaching or research institutes
  • Law or public service
  • Journalism or other writing-intensive professions
  • Media or the arts

In the public sector historians may work in:

  • Museums
  • Historic preservation societies
  • The National Park Service

Historians may conduct interviews to provide oral histories for a variety of public agencies, private businesses and corporations, or individual families. 

 Studying history inspires us to define our own identities through studying our collective past. We become engaged citizens and participants in current social, economic, and political debates with appreciation of the complexity of these issues over time.

Nondegree Students

Taking individual courses as a nondegree student is also possible and will offer you the same range and depth of courses and rigorous standards as matriculated undergraduate students. Even if you’re not pursuing a degree, you can take courses to prepare for college-level study, stay current in your field or improve your job skills.