When it comes to training students for rewarding opportunities after college, “history is kind of the king.” Lafayette history majors acquire a set of skills highly valued by professional schools and employers in today's job market.

They gain a deeper understanding of the world by examining the creative, social, and human processes that have shaped it. Historians expand their mental horizons by exploring cultures very different from their own. They develop marketable skills by completing internships, engaging in study abroad, and learning how to write logical and compelling arguments. History is the investigation of the human past. To study the past does not primarily mean to master a body of established facts about the past; it means to take part in an ongoing process of discovery and analysis.

Historical study helps you develop:

  • Survival skills for the global marketplace: Students intensively study a diverse array of societies and cultures including the United States, Latin America, Western Europe, Eastern Europe and Russia, Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, and East Asia. This process cultivates the ability to think in new ways and to understand ways of living different from their own.
  • Written communication skills: Students write frequently in every history course. They learn how to bring order to a body of data, to organize an argument, and to communicate ideas effectively. Each student takes at least three intensive writing seminars in the department, and some choose to cap their college career by writing a substantial honors thesis.
  • Oral communication skills: Students develop their abilities as public speakers in classroom debates, seminars, one-on-one meetings with faculty, and presentations to classes and other audiences.
  • Analytical skills: In analyzing written texts, students learn how to pin down a writer’s exact meaning and to draw out the unspoken implications of his or her statements.
  • Research skills: Students are taught to use the full range of information resources including rapidly expanding electronic and digital methods to locate the specific information relevant to a problem.

Both the College and the history department counsel history majors about potential careers and maintain large collections of literature to assist them. Majors in history develops skills that are important for further professional study and are in demand for a wide variety of jobs. Law schools recognize that the study of history cultivates the kinds of research, analytical, and writing skills that lawyers must possess, and many recent history majors have won admission to prestigious graduate law programs around the country.

The same skills have opened up opportunities for history graduates in banking, marketing, business management, public relations, and advertising, as well as in journalism and public policy.

Recent Lafayette history alumni have enrolled in graduate schools such as the University of Chicago, the University of Michigan, Notre Dame, and the University of Pennsylvania. Fields of study include history, law, economics, teaching, business, health & public policy, information resources, and more.

Businesses and organizations that benefit from the skills of recent Lafayette history graduates include well-known names such as BBDO, Chesapeake Energy Corp., Deloitte & Touche, Massachusetts General Hospital, Princeton University, Random House, and Teach for America. Occupations range from teaching history and organic farming to equities trading and rare books auctioneering.

Requirements for the Major

The history major consists of ten history courses that must include the following:

  • History of the Modern World (HIS 105)
  • An Introduction to History seminar (HIS 110-149)
  • The Politics and Practice of History (HIS 206)
  • Two research seminars (course numbers 350-399)
  • An additional course at the 300 or 400 level
  • At least one course focused on the history of the United States
  • At least one course focused on the history of Europe
    (This includes all courses focusing on Western Europe, Eastern Europe, or Russia)
  • At least one course focused on the history of Africa, Asia, Latin America, or the Middle East

Requirements for the Global History Concentration

Students who major in history and fulfill all the other requirements of the major, but who also meet the following requirements, will be recognized as having completed a Concentration in Global History: the Concentration in Global History consists of five History courses, including HIST 105, a research seminar or colloquium that focuses on global history, plus three other courses that focus on global history. Students must satisfy all of the regular requirements for the history major. Courses can count toward both the general requirements for the History major and the requirements for the Concentration in Global History.

Requirements for the Global History Minor

The Minor in Global History consists of five History courses, including HIST 105, a research seminar or colloquium that focuses on global history, plus three other courses that focus on global history (see list of “global” history courses below). This minor is distinct from the History minor. Students may not double-minor in History and Global History.

Requirements for the History Minor

The History minor consists of five History courses, including History 206 and a research seminar (course numbers 350-399).

Global History Courses

These “global” history courses focus on historical processes that transcend or connect different geographical regions of the world. Courses are classified by the department as “global” 1) if the course materials engage students with perspectives generated from different regions of the globe and 2) if the historical analysis expected in student work includes consideration of either connections between these regions, comparisons between them, or both.

HIS 105: History of the Modern World – Staff
HIS 114: Introduction to History Seminar: Food Histories – Pite
HIS 115: Introduction to History Seminar: Crusades – Goshgarian
HIS 118: Introduction to History Seminar: Cold War – Sanborn
HIS 120: Introduction to History Seminar: History in Pictures – Barclay
HIS 212: Middle East in Mind of America, America in Mind of Middle East – Goshgarian
HIS 215: History of Technology – Jackson
HIS 238: Global Stimulants – Pite
HIS 261: Making African America – Zallen
HIS 265: Modern Jewish History – Weiner
HIS 275: Crossing the Americas – Pite
HIS 276: Conquest: A History – Rosen
HIS 310: Coll: Human Rights and Modern War – Sanborn