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Why Study History?

Visit the: American Historical Association (AHA)



Thinking about majoring in History? Did you know that...

  • History is increasingly one of the top majors at many colleges.
  • History majors’ mid-career salaries are on par with those of business majors.
  • Employers in tech, business, law, communications, health care,
  • and public policy want people with humanities backgrounds.
  • Double majoring makes you even more versatile (History BA requires 36 hours; many combine with PoliSci, JMC, IS, ANTH...).
  • Political experts consider historical education to be key to a successful democracy.

More Reasons to Study History

“Students of history develop an understanding of change – how it happens and why it happens the way it does – that enables them to engage the world they inhabit. Employers value history students’ ability to analyze human and social behavior, to research pressing problems, and to express themselves clearly.”
Lisa Heineman, Professor and Chair, UI Department of History

As History returns to being Yale’s most popular major, the department believes “the present historical moment is enticing young people to join the discipline...economic and political models failed to predict several defining events of the post-9/11 era, most notably the 2008 financial crisis and the 2016 presidential election. Some are beginning to recognize that historians, due to the nature of their understanding of the past, could be better equipped to analyze and address global crises and trends.” American Historical Association blog

On the dangers of not understanding history: “From Turkey to China, strongmen rewrite the past to suit their ends. But democracies are not immune to this revisionism...Learning about history, and being able to question some of the narratives advanced in the name of politics is as important as knowing where to get reliable news.” The Guardian

In times of political crisis, citizens need “not just access to new narratives about the past, but also a broader ability to weigh evidence, balance competing arguments, and consider emotionally charged topics... Effective teaching can prepare and empower students for their role as citizens in ways that weaken the power of demagogic appeals.” American Historical Association