Should I get a history degree?

Do you enjoy learning about the past? Is it easy for you to analyze data? Have you ever constructed arguments or solutions to problems? If yes, then you’d probably enjoy the history department. A history degree teaches skills and hands-on experience to help students see the world around them in an effort to move forward better.

Are there different kinds of majors in the history department?

Generally, students major in just history, but many schools offer this major in conjunction with the A/YA (Adolescent/Young Adult) licensure option through the education department. An A/YA license prepares graduates to teach high school history, government and social studies courses. There are also minors in this department like history, international studies or pre-law.

What skills do history students have?

History majors typically are good writers, skilled researchers, effective communicators and promising young intellectuals. They learn how to construct and defend arguments and to think on their feet. These are all skills that serve them well as teachers, lawyers, archivist and librarians, among other career fields. Historians need a variety of skills to effectively interpret the past to the present. They must be critical thinkers, excellent writers and adept oral communicators. They need to analyze and evaluate historical data, and come up with interpretations of their own which are consistent with the evidence they have uncovered. 

What are some courses in the history department?

Most colleges require course competencies, one of which is usually history. History majors typically need to take the U.S. and world history survey courses. From there, they can choose among a number of upper-level courses, either in European or U.S. history. Examples of European history courses are World War I and the Rise of Extremism, Nazi Germany and the Holocaust, and Cold War Europe. In U.S. history, students can take Civil War & Reconstruction and African American History. Higher-level students with a history major may need to complete history methods courses or history research seminars. Plan to meet with an advisor from your school to look into what types of history courses are available to you.

What kinds of internships, field experience, or travel opportunities could I have in the history department?

Possible internship opportunities can be found in museums, courthouses or other historical institutions. You could always study abroad for a semester and do internships elsewhere. Exciting places to intern at are the Smithsonian Institution and the U.S. Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. You could also find internships at local courts or museums.

These intern and travel opportunities give a new outlook to students studying history giving them cultural and social first-hand experience in the world around them.

To learn more, check out our blog on finding the right internship for you!

What careers could I get with a degree in history?

There are many jobs that you could get with a history degree. Possible careers include a historian, a librarian, an archivist, an analyst, a history teacher or even a reporter. If you are interested in a career in law, then it is strongly recommended to complete a pre-law minor or major in history. History classes not only teach you knowledge and memorization of important facts, but they prepare you for a career. You will be ready to enter careers in business, secondary education or voluntary service, or graduate programs in history, law and library science.

At Bluffton University…

At Bluffton, you will develop history skills and more with the help of a Fulbright scholar, published authors and historians teaching your classes and preparing you for your next steps. In addition, our history professors approach the study of history in conversation with the university’s Mennonite peace church heritage. 

Schedule a visit today to explore all that the history department has to offer!

Written by Kaylee Rauch ’26, public relations student assistant, with information from Dr. Perry Bush, professor of history, and Dr. Martina Cucchiara, associate professor of history.