Why History? Founded in 1894, the History Department has long offered one of the most popular majors and broadest course selections in the undergraduate College. It is impossible to understand today's world without studying how people lived in the past. Historical forces have made every aspect of our contemporary existence, from political divisions to patterns of migration, technological innovation, and ecological devastation. Through history, we grasp that there is nothing "natural" or "inevitable" about our lives; they are the product of past generations' choices, contingencies, and challenges. But while the past fundamentally shapes our present, we can also use this knowledge to effect change; only by studying and understanding how we came to be can we create new possibilities for the present and the future.
Through studying history, you will also develop excellent writing, analytical, and above all, critical reading and thinking skills. In particular, history teaches you how to carefully read and assess different sources of information. History therefore offers an outstanding foundation for a wide array of careers: our majors work in every field from law, entertainment, and finance to education and social justice.