Through the study of history, students will come to appreciate the diverse and complex nature of humankind. The development of research and critical thinking skills used to form historical interpretations, question assumptions, think imaginatively and develop clear, well-reasoned assessments will be emphasized, along with a commitment to life-long learning.
One of the most common questions History students are asked is: “Why are you majoring in History?” On the surface, this seems like a simple question, but once you think about it you may find that it isn’t all that easy to answer. History is different things to different people, and even historians debate the meaning of historical events among themselves. 197 Ultimately, history is personal. History is a part of everyone’s life, and it affects us in ways we may not always think about. We live in a society that is the result of generations of development. The decisions, actions, attitudes, beliefs, knowledge, fears, hopes, and feelings of people who have come before us have brought about the world we live in today. Knowing about the past can help us both appreciate the present and understand how we as a people and a society have come to this point in time. Past experience, if carefully considered, may offer lessons for dealing with present-day situations. Some might even argue that the past may offer clues to the future.
But what can you do with a degree in History? The simple answer is anything you want to do. People in widely diverse careers attribute their success to studying history as undergraduates. For example, people with undergraduate degrees in History work as attorneys and paralegals, in business, as writers and journalists, government officials, intelligence analysts, researchers, policy analysts, politicians, broadcasters, museum curators and teachers. A list of career opportunities can be found here: https://www.historians.org/jobs-and-professional-development/aha-career-center
History majors at Notre Dame College also have the opportunity to work in numerous internships related to these careers. NDC History majors have interned in law offices, courts, libraries and historical societies, banks, fusion centers, think tanks and foreign embassies. And many NDC students who complete their undergraduate degrees in History eventually go on to earn graduate degrees.
Students completing a major in History will be able to:
- Demonstrate a command of key historical terms and distinctions.
- Use historical language in keeping with established professional usage.
- Apply key historical concepts effectively.
- Demonstrate the ability to use historical analogies effectively.
- Analyze historical questions and issues clearly and precisely.
- Formulate historical information accurately, recognize and evaluate key historical assumptions.
- Identify and discuss fundamental historical problems knowledgeably.
- Recognize and evaluate important historical implications and consequences.
- Identify and compare relevant competing historical points of view, evaluate them and argue effectively in support of a specific historical perspective or interpretation.
- Demonstrate excellent historical reasoning and problem-solving.
- Produce clear, precise, and well-reasoned work.