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What it's like Majoring in History

5 min readโ€ขnovember 23, 2021

jessicakqiu

Jessica Q


College Processย ๐Ÿซ

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Introduction to Majoring in History ๐Ÿ“œ๐Ÿ“š๐Ÿ—บ๏ธ

Hello! Welcome to this guide on majoring in history!
You may be wondering, 'how do I know if history is the right college major for me?' ๐Ÿค”
If you enjoy writing โœ๏ธ, analyzing world issues beyond the surface level ๐ŸŒ, and comprehending intricate arguments and ideas ๐Ÿง, a history major may be the right route for you!
This article will discuss the types of history classes generally offered at colleges ๐Ÿซ, professional experiences to help prepare for work in history ๐Ÿ“•, possible career paths for history majors ๐Ÿ“–, and some top colleges for history majors๐ŸŽ“. Let's get right into it!
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Types of Undergraduate History Classes ๐Ÿ“š๐Ÿซ

Though the types of history classes you will take will vary depending on which college you end up attending, here is a short list of some of the possible topics for courses:
  • The Civil Warย 
  • The Enlightenment
  • The Holocaust
  • Western traditions of justice and the law
  • Chinese film history
  • History of science
For an example of history courses offered at a real University, check out this list from the University of Rochester.

Experiences of History Majors ๐Ÿ“š

Beyond course work ๐Ÿ“š, there are many opportunities for history majors. Working as a history research assistant and traveling to historical sites are two of them:

Working as a History Research Assistant

If you'd like to get more experience in the history field, working as a research assistant for a professor is a great option! You will be helping to collect and analyze data. This position is valuable because it will provide you with hands-on experience, totally different from just learning in the classroom. This can give you an idea of what type of job you want to pursue after graduating from collegeโœจ๐ŸŽ“!

Traveling to Historical Sites ๐Ÿงญ

Traveling to the actual sites ๐ŸŒŽ๐Ÿ—บ๏ธ you have learned about in the classroom can be an enriching experience. As with being a research assistant, hands-on experience is highly beneficial and a completely different ballgame from listening to lectures in the classroom. As a history major, traveling will allow you to see the events from your textbook with your own eyes! Check this guide out for an overview on how to gain work experience beyond the classroom!
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Resources:

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Looking Ahead: Possible History Guided Career Paths ๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€๐ŸŽ“

Education: History Teacher ๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€๐Ÿซ

As a history teacher, you will have a vital job: Teaching the next generation of students! As a teacher, you will be grading ๐Ÿ’ฏstudent assignments and encouraging classroom discussions. You will also prepare course materials and a curriculum and maintain knowledge in history by reading current publications.

Historian ๐Ÿ“ฐ

Let's dive into historians next. Historians analyze historical documents ๐Ÿ“š and do heavy research, so if you have a current interest in analyzing information, this may be a career path for you! Historians study written records to back up their interpretations, which is a skill heavily focused on in college history programs. Many historians pursue work in colleges and universities, either teaching, writing, or researching.

Social Activist ๐Ÿ™Œ

As a social activist, you will be responsible for advocating for social or political change. Having a history major is very helpful; with knowledge of historical trends and their effects on global society, you'll be ready to take on future societal challenges without repeating past mistakes!

Top Undergraduate History Programs ๐Ÿซ

If you're looking to major in history, you'll want to aim for a school that will provide you with an excellent education and readiness for the career field. Although many colleges and universities provide this, here are the top 3 schools for a prospective history major:

1. Yale University ๐Ÿ““

Yale University is currently the top school for undergraduate students pursuing history. It is a private Ivy League research university located in New Haven, Connecticut. History is one of Yale's most popular majors. Students in Yale's history department gain knowledge of the past to prepare to shape the future successfully. According to the History section of Yale's bulletin, history students will delve into topics like "politics and government, sexuality, the economy, cultural and intellectual life, war and society, and other themes in broadly humanisticโ€”rather than narrowly technocraticโ€”ways."

2. Williams College ๐Ÿ““

Williams College is another great school for history majors. It is a liberal arts college located in Williamstown, Massachusetts. A history major at Williams encourages students to critically understand the past and analyze how different historians have interpreted major events in history. According to a description of Williams' history major, students will be exposed to "the richness, diversity, and complexities of human history over long periods of time and in different geographic regions and to provide students with the opportunity to explore aspects of the past in depth."

3. Duke University ๐Ÿ““

Duke University is an excellent school for history majors, and it is a private research university in Durham, North Carolina. Students pursuing a history major at Duke University choose an area of concentration and use it as a lens to analyze important events in the past. History majors at Duke University also ask research questions, dig into evidence to support their own conclusions, and learn to write with clarity.
No matter which college you choose, history is a rewarding field. Check out this article if you're struggling with choosing a college!

Resources:

Conclusion

Congrats, you've made it to the end of this article! You should now have a better idea of some top colleges offering undergraduate history degrees, the types of topics covered in history classes in college, different experiences to expand your knowledge of the field, and possible career paths after college.
If you're still unsure about whether or not a history major๐Ÿ“œ is for you, don't fret! You don't have to know exactly what you want to do for the rest of your life during the college process. However, if you have an interest in the activities described in this article, take a few history-related classes and see if they are your cup of tea๐Ÿ’“!
๐ŸคConnect with other students studying History with Hours!

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