History

Major / Minor

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In the History major, we believe that history is not something you know; it’s something you do. We believe that it’s not just about knowing what happened, but about how the knowledge, skills, and perspectives gained by studying history prepare us to solve real-world problems today.

We offer more than 40 courses in U.S., European, Asian, Latin American, and World history, including “Music and Politics in 20th Century Europe,” “Religion, Identity, and Politics in Asia,” “Race, Medicine, and Society,” and “Early Black Women’s History.” Many students complete independent studies and honors projects based on independent research at places like the French National Archives, the University of Birmingham (UK), and the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library.

Whatever path they take, students actively engage in discussion, conduct original research, and present well-crafted arguments. They leave our classes with a broad and deep knowledge of the past and the techniques of the historian. They also graduate with the know-how to succeed in a range of graduate programs and careers. Our graduates work in libraries, archives, museums, and National Parks as well as in fields like law, education, non-profit management, and law enforcement. Our recent graduates have attended top law schools and graduate programs in fields including History, African-American Studies, Museum Studies, Public and International Affairs, theology, and social work.

Our program also offers a History minor, allowing students of various backgrounds and interests to engage with our department, and students can also pursue affiliated programs, including African-American Studies, American Studies, and Gender & Women’s Studies.

Beyond the Classroom

Students in our program have many opportunities to augment their classroom work with real-world experiences in the Greater Pittsburgh Area and beyond. Our students have excelled as interns at the Heinz History Center, Washington County Historical Society, U.S. Department of Defense Historical Office, the Library of Congress, and the Mount Rushmore National Memorial, to name a few. Each year, our Gordon E. Swartz History Fellowship allows a student to intern at a historic site or conduct independent research that leads to an honors project.

Our students also regularly partner with local and national organizations to construct exhibits that allow the public to better engage with history. These include oral history programs with local Vietnam veterans and the museum exhibit “Down but not Out: Baseball after September 11, 2001,” which students created for the Flight 93 National Memorial in 2018.

History Faculty

History Events

“I Got My History Degree… What Now?” Alumni Panel

November 12, 2020 @ 6:00 pm

Gain insight from W&J alumni who have utilized their history degree in a variety of career paths since their graduation …