Why Study History?

Our field of study has been one of the core arts and sciences since the founding of North American universities, yet we also are in the vanguard of contemporary interdisciplinary scholarship--scholarship that cuts across conventional intellectual boundaries and promotes fresh, innovative ways of looking at the world.  Students everywhere are recognizing that History prepares them for almost any academic or professional endeavor they can imagine.

Students of history are drawn to the field for a variety of reasons. Some are deeply personal.  A grandfather’s stories of the Great Depression, a mother’s memories of working in a factory, or a friend’s experience of religious persecution and exile may spark a life-long fascination with how history shapes our lives and our sense of identity and place.  For others, the study of history is part of learning to be a good citizen, of understanding the rights and obligations that come with citizenship, and a tool for framing the moral and ethnical standards we apply to our participation in public life.  We also are drawn to history to learn the practical skills required for finding and assessing empirical evidence, weighing opposing interpretations, and putting theory to practice. Finally, many of us appreciate fine writing and the pleasures of reading a good book as much for its literary merits as its sophisticated historical scholarship.

What skills will you learn as a History major?

The major in History teaches you to:

  • study the past as it is recorded and remembered.
  • challenge your own preconceptions and those of others.
  • write clear, well-documented prose.
  • do your own historical research, taking advantage of the latest computer facilities in the University's library.
  • think logically and analytically.
  • recognize and evaluate competing interpretations.
  • muster evidence to prove an argument.
  • comprehend what you have read.
  • exercise a healthy skepticism, a respect for facts as the necessary components of any argument, a recognition that facts must be documented, an appreciation for the many sides of an argument, and a willingness to challenge established "truths" if new evidence calls these into question.
  • develop your historical imagination through working with primary source materials.
  • appreciate the "varieties of human experience," that is, the similarities as well as differences that characterize human societies over time. 
  • become a more cosmopolitan citizen of the world.

When I graduate, what can I do with my degree in history? 

The skills you acquire in the History major are highly marketable.  History majors excel in professions such as law, education, library sciences, museum studies, and government, but they also succeed in a wide variety of occupations -- from barista to CEO.  Here are just some of the paths taken by recent majors.

The Career Services Library in the Student Union, suite 411, has numerous resources to assist students with their career paths.  These resources include a career and employer library, career planning workshops, “Career Days” in Fall and Spring, and individual career counseling.  For more information, call 621-2588, or visit their web site at www.career.arizona.edu.


College of Social and Behavioral Sciences

Contact Us

Department of History
César E. Chávez Bldg.
Main Office, Room 415 
1110 James E. Rogers Way
Tucson, AZ 85721

Email: history@email.arizona.edu
Tel: (520) 621-1586
Fax: (520) 621-2422