History, BA

Why History?

History courses don’t simply introduce past eras of the world:  they teach students to write, research, and argue effectively.  History majors gain the skills for a wide range of successful careers, from teaching to law to environmental science to business management. Small classes, student camaraderie, internship opportunities, and faculty mentoring in the History Department create a stimulating and rewarding undergraduate experience. 


Students of any major can take History classes. Student can pursue a deeper interest in History through a:

  • Major or a minor in History
  • Major in Archaeology and History (through the Anthropology Department)
  • Minor in Native American and Indigenous Studies, or
  • Minor in Science, Medicine, & Society: Past and Present

Graduates can also pursue a Masters Degree through our active and innovative Masters in History program, which includes an M.A. in History that can be pursued either face to face or online, with programs specializing in Public History and in Archives.

Satisfy Requirements and Satisfy Curiosity

History Department courses allow students to investigate a variety of topics while satisfying University General Education requirements.

Some of those requirements and courses include:

  • Intermediate Seminar: Revolutionaries: HIST 224G
  • International Diversity and World Cultures: Survey of Contemporary Asia: HIST 115L
  • Humanities: American History Before 1877: HIST 265
  • Social and Behavioral Science: Modern World History: HIST 214

Active Teaching & Effective Learning

Find a classroom experience that works well for you in our History courses.

Both HIST 101 and our research capstone courses—the beginning and ending courses for our History majors –are capped at small enrollments, to ensure careful one-on-one work with our professors.

In other classes, faculty use innovative pedagogy to explore broader themes or to engage larger classes. Professors use object lessons and guest presenters to make abstract concepts come alive  Our lecture halls buzz with conversation, as students work through a problem with each other or discuss the details of a day’s reading. 
Some courses involve field trips or visits to local archives. Students studying medieval history read primary-source texts in translation and look at artwork from the period to understand the lives of people long gone. We listen to music—from protest songs of Rio’s barrios to campfire songs of the American Civil War. 

Courses in genealogical research provide hands-on learning. Students in our courses have staged art exhibits, learned to take oral histories, and discovered new meaning from local architecture and neighborhoods. We take the university out into the world, and we bring the world into our classrooms. 

History majors begin with our HIST 101 “boot camp,” which introduces historical methods and skills through exploration of topics ranging from the Roaring 1920s in the United States to American Indian history. 

Students then choose their own specific courses, guided by requirements that they take courses at all levels of the curriculum and in a variety of geographic areas and broad time periods.  History majors gain an understanding of many times and places, with the ability to focus on themes ranging from Urban History to Immigration to Ancient History. 

Our research and methods capstone course helps History majors pull together all they’ve learned by exploring a topic in depth and then creating a project of independent research.

History Provides a Career Foundation

History Department graduates go on to make fascinating careers in a variety of fields. Among our recent grads: 

  • one recent graduate reports that her writing skills helped her get a managerial promotion
  • a History major with an interest in gaming launched a career in game production
  • one Peace Corps volunteer wants to go on to do future international humanitarian work
  • many graduates teach History in local school districts
  • another graduate teaches English in Japan
  • a graduate who went on to study library science is now working in the Boston Public Library
  • one veteran is working toward a degree in Public History, with the goal of interpreting American military sites as a park ranger or historical interpreter
  • another veteran is pursuing an MA in public policy based on the historical grounding and the research skills gained in our program
  • and a graduate who went for study abroad liked the experience so much that she is earning an MA at Oxford and hopes to do further work toward a PhD

Student Learning Objectives

  • Understands the nature of change over time
  • Knows course content and can place it in historical context
  • Able to understand and think critically about source materials
  • Uses primary and secondary sources effectively in historical analysis
  • Cites sources accurately according to the conventions of the discipline (Chicago Manual of Style)
  • Understands how scholars’ time and place influence how they ask questions or interpret past events
  • Writes and presents in a well-organized and clear manner​