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Major in History

Article by Rachelle Wiggins

“The supreme goal of God in history from beginning to end is the manifestation of his great glory… It should become our own goal… Love becomes the chief means by which we join God in the open display of his glory, and accomplish his goal in history.” ~John Piper

History is inescapable. Every country, business, family, relationship, trend and invention have a unique history. As we seek to make sense of the world around us, we cannot help asking questions like: How did we get here? Where did we go wrong? How can we avoid repeating our mistakes? Where do we go from here? The answers to these questions can be found through an honest evaluation of history. From the truthful analysis of history, change and growth are possible. A history major focuses on evidence and theories of past events. To study history as a major is to delve into a deeper understanding of specific time periods, cultures and social issues. It is a broad, interdisciplinary major that sharpens skills in logic, writing, communication, reasoning and research, effectively preparing students for careers in a wide range of occupations in everything from business to government to education to communications.

If you are intrigued by the stories of history and enjoy understanding various interpretations of the past, then majoring in history may be the next step for you. In addition to an interest in earlier times, a history major should possess other important traits. Communication skills are extremely important in this major, since you will write many papers, interact in group discussions and give oral presentations. Because of the amount of research required, it is helpful to be a strong reader and to tune into the right details.

As a history major you will take classes that are commonly arranged by regions of the world such as American History, European History, Nonwestern History or History of Latin America. Depending upon your program, you are sometimes encouraged to choose an area of concentration—a specialization that interests you. At the least, you will likely be asked to write a senior thesis on a topic of your choice. This allows deeper exploration of a specific topic. Often you will be able to choose various electives. These courses might include:

  • 20th Century Russian History
  • History of Modern China
  • The Holocaust
  • Ancient Rome

Unlike some majors, a history major does not directly lead to one specific career. Some students use this degree as a stepping stone into further education. Not everyone who majors in history will become an archaeologist, anthropologist, geographer or historian, though that may well be your goal. History graduates can be found working in a hugely diverse range of fields. Some common history-related careers include:

  • History teacher (*additional education license required)
  • Librarian or archivist
  • Editorial assistant
  • Research analyst
  • Journalist/Writer
  • Curator for museum or historic site

Only those with a true understanding for where we’ve been can effectively shape the future. If you desire to guide others to a better future in any number of career settings, then consider a major in history as a way to glorify God with the passions and gifts He has given you.

 

 

 

A future in History

By Amber Gragert

Getting a degree as a history major means you are someone who loves studying and learning all you can about the past and how it might shape the future. Perhaps your long term goal is to go into law or education? It is one of the most diverse degrees and can lend itself to a wide array of career options because it touches upon all forms of human endeavors from arts and languages to science and economics.

College history is not typically built around textbooks or tests, but instead, it is the heart of historical study that teaches you to move beyond yourself and imagine other worlds materially as well as actual human existence and character. History is both a science and an art which blends the intentional study of evidence with compelling storytelling.

Having a solid knowledge of history is a powerful currency for our century. History increases cultural understanding and sensitivity. You will learn to take into account several different points of view and how that impacts the changing climate of our world. You will also learn how to collect, evaluate and arrange a wide array of sources into compelling arguments and narratives. By interpreting the past, you will better understand yourself. Those who know their history help to shape how people see themselves in the present and what they hope for in the future.

Studying liberal arts teaches you critical thinking as well as imagination, empathy and resourcefulness. You will learn how to do good research, evaluate evidence, communicate well, write persuasively, document thoroughly and problem solve effectively. Majoring in history teaches you how to learn for a lifetime. It teaches you not what to think but rather how to think.

It is worth understanding most history majors do not become professional historians; however, most go on to become lawyers, librarians, businesspersons, writers, archivists, researchers, teachers, politicians and even entertainers. To get your thoughts flowing about potential career avenues available to you with a history degree, consider using it to become a White House aide, a literary agent, documentary filmmaker, working for the US Justice Department, working for a congressional campaign or as management consultant. There are career fields in every industry, from business to the arts. Historical study plays an important part in fostering well-rounded intelligent people and instills valuable career skills in many areas.

Keep in mind companies want to hire smart, creative people and often value those with educational backgrounds that set them apart from the crowd, who have a well-rounded knowledge of the world and what brought us to this present day in history.