Why Major in History?

The Willamette History program is designed to encourage students to explore history in breadth while simultaneously developing a depth of expertise in congruent subject areas and mastering historical skills. Through small classes that focus on close reading, research, analysis, and historical writing, department faculty work to engage students throughout the major. Students of history are researchers, philosophers, and problem solvers. They come to understand the complex factors of historical change and gain appreciation for the diversity of human experience across time and space. Skills of historians are applicable to a myriad of careers and jobs, preparing students for work, both in the field and far beyond academia. Above all, a study of history bestows both perspective and empathy.


Where Can My History Degree Take Me?

The short answer is: anywhere! There is no single path to follow, and a history degree guarantees a diverse range of options. Employers often cite the skills gained through a liberal arts program, such as critical thinking, synthesis of abstract ideas, persuasive writing, and creative problem solving as the most desirable traits in candidates, and the History track is ideal for developing that skill set.

While many History majors gravitate towards education or academia, innumerable doors are opened to graduates. The fundamental skills acquired through our program can be applied to almost any career, from law and the STEM fields, to business and nonprofit management, to archival and creative fields. Alumni teach in public schools and universities, work as lawyers and paralegals, serve as political consultants in state and federal government, and promote a variety of social concerns through advocacy work and administration in nonprofit organizations.

Internship Opportunities

The Department of History encourages students to consider the possibility of an internship arranged through the department, of which there are numerous and diverse options. Students have found opportunities in a number of local locations and settings, both for academic fulfillment and career-building. If you have questions or wish to get involved with the History Department's program of internships, contact Professor Boring at wpeterse@willamette.edu.

Finally, many History majors pursue careers in non-profit or community work. For information on Internships in such organizations, the Office of Career Development offers extensive information on programs and resources to explore options.


How does the History Major work?

With a focus on small seminars and diverse courses that focus on close reading, analysis, and historical writing, students are encouraged to follow their own paths through the major.

Find Out How

Senior Theses

The History Department provides a firm foundation in the histories of Western civilization, American society and culture, and East Asian civilization.

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Willamette University

History Department

900 State Street
Salem Oregon 97301 U.S.A.
503-370-6061 voice
503-370-6944 fax

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