Major, Minor

Critical thinking, reading, and writing form the core of historical inquiry. What values, texts, and circumstances influenced decisions made by individuals in the past?

As a history major, you will master the "five Cs of historical thinking": change over time, causality, context, contingency, and complexity. In addition to these analytical skills, you will develop an ability to craft compelling narratives filled with characters, conjecture, and an appreciation for competing arguments. Given such diverse learning outcomes, historians are social scientists as well as humanists, who thrive in a wide array of careers.

From broad introductory surveys to regional requirements and specialized seminars, history majors cap off their education here with a senior thesis. This rigorous, year-long capstone project will allow you to dive into the archives, navigate the historiography, and create an original contribution to historical scholarship. You develop solid project management skills that will transfer well into the position of your choice.

We encourage history majors to pursue internships and spend at least one semester abroad. In the junior seminar, you will receive career development training, and in close collaboration with faculty, you will receive advice on how to find your ideal vocation.


"The past is never dead. It's not even past." — William Faulkner

"We inherit a great river of knowledge, a flow of patterns coming from many sources. The information that comes from deep in the evolutionary past we call genetics. The information passed along from hundreds of years ago we call culture. The information passed along from decades ago we call family, and the information offered months ago we call education. But it is all information that flows through us. The brain is adapted to the river of knowledge and exists only as a creature in that river. Our thoughts are profoundly molded by this long historic flow, and none of us exists, self-made, in isolation from it." — David Brooks

"Are you now free to choose your destiny because today is the first day of the rest of your life? Or does the sequence work rather differently, like this: either we acknowledge that the past weighs like a nightmare on the brain of the living, shaping and determining us in the present, forcing us back to the primal scene of our crimes, making us change our stories, or we pretend that we're weightless, free of all ties and obligations to this hollow shell we call the past, able to sample it at our leisure as if it's a song on the iPod?" — James Livingston