The History major is designed to be very flexible. Since only two courses are specifically required for the degree (the third-year History Methods and fourth-year Proseminar courses), this allows you to tailor the major to align with your own interests. Our faculty will work with you to craft a comprehensive program of study in order to ensure that you get as much as possible out of your time at UW. The Department also strongly encourages our majors to pursue a minor (or even a second major) in a field that will provide a complementary skill set to the History major. Popular options include Computer Science, Economics, Geography, Political Science, and foreign languages. In today's competitive job market it is important to master a variety of skills, and the flexibility of the major makes it easy to complete a minor or even a double major in four years of study.
Who hasn’t heard someone say, “I just love history?” Maybe that person is you? History is a vibrant and fascinating study of people, events, and institutions in the past and, for many people, that’s reason enough to earn a history degree. But there are larger and more practical reasons to choose history as your major. Here are a few of those reasons that historian Peter Stearns complied for the American Historical Association:
In addition to the historical content obtained in your coursework, the B.A. in History also provides excellent training in rigorous analysis and research skills, and the oral and written skills necessary to achieve success in any top-flight professional career. Typical career paths for History graduates include work in museums and archives, national security agencies (the FBI, CIA, and NSA all love to recruit History B.A. students), and the Department of State. The History major is also excellent preparation for various professional schools, such as law and medicine, as well as post-graduate work in the humanities and social sciences. We pride ourselves on placing our graduates in highly competitive careers and post-graduate masters and doctoral programs.
At the most basic level, history teaches how to assess evidence, to access conflicting interpretations, to arrive at convincing arguments, and to speak and write about these arguments to a wide variety of audiences. These skills make history one of the foremost majors that graduate and professional schools and employers seek when they admit graduate students or hire employees. Viewed from a practical perspective, a history degree provides lifelong skills that are in demand in fields ranging from teaching and law to government and business administration. History is a very useful degree.
The College of Education and the History Department offer ways for students to become certified to teach history at the secondary level. Visit their website for more information.