Bachelor in History

Allegheny College

Program Description

Bachelor in History

Allegheny College

Bachelor in History

The study of history helps us to understand the differences and similarities between our own lives, thought, and habits and those of a variety of past and present cultures. It allows us to understand other people better through seeing them in their own contexts, and to understand ourselves through serious self-reflection. We treat history as an interpretive endeavor, investigating from various points of view the ways in which individuals and social groups have sought to order and understand their world across time. As a department, we strive to provide wisdom in particular historical fields, and to assist our students in the development of conceptual skills, critical analysis, research competence, writing fluency, and sophistication in the uses and abuses of knowledge.

Major & Minor


The major in History leads to the Bachelor of Arts degree and requires successful completion of 46 semester credit hours of coursework in History, distributed as follows:

  • One course in the field of American History (4 credit hours)
  • One course in the field of European History (4 credit hours)
  • Two courses in the field of non-Western History (8 credit hours)
  • FSHIS 201 (4 credit hours)
  • One Junior Seminar (4 credit hours)
  • One Senior Project (6 credit hours)
  • A minimum of at least four courses (16 credit hours), excluding the Junior Seminar and Senior Project, must be taken at or above the 300+ level.


The minor in History requires successful completion of a minimum of 24 semester credit hours of coursework in History, distributed as follows:

  • One course in the field of American History (4 credit hours)
  • One course in the field of European History (4 credit hours)
  • One course in the field of Non-Western History (4 credit hours)
  • A minimum of at least two courses (8 credit hours), excluding the Junior Seminar, must be taken at or above the 300+ level.
  • One Junior Seminar (4 credit hours)

Why study History?

A major in history is of great value because it teaches you to:

  • draw connections between disparate societies and institutions.
  • assess subjects from multiple perspectives.
  • research, evaluate evidence, communicate, and problem solve.

Worried about studying History?: Facts to dispel the myths that make some people nervous about majoring or minoring in History. History isn’t about memorizing boring facts. The discipline is versatile; you don’t have to go into education! History teaches people to think; it doesn’t train you narrowly for today’s soon-to-be-outdated job world. Historical knowledge is a powerful currency for the 21st century. From the Boston University History Department, 2015.

Liberal Arts Disciplines Prepare Graduates for Long-Term Professional Success: Analysis of census data tracks long-term earnings and employment rates of liberal arts graduates. Findings counter stereotypes about the value of liberal education. Association of American Colleges & Universities, January 2014. “Whatever undergraduate major they may choose, students who pursue their major within the context of a broad liberal education substantially increase their likelihood of achieving long-term professional success.”

Why a History Degree is Useful in the Business World.
Christopher Brooks, American Historical Association, February 2015.
While studying in Germany, an American legal history graduate student took freelance jobs on the support staffs of various businesses to pay the bills. One day, he put in a bid for an assignment for a pretty big client and was invited to give his sales pitch. The company’s European head of research and development, a German, interviewed him. The discussion began with basic courtesies and talk about what the company needed; there was little discussion about the American’s academic background. About five minutes into the interview, the German pointed to a reproduction of a painting on the wall behind his desk and asked the American, “Who painted that?” The American replied, “Matisse, I think.” The German responded, “Good! Now, what are your thoughts on the Marshall Plan?”

And so the discussion went, for about 10 more minutes, after which time the American interjected: “Excuse me, sir, but why are you asking me all of these history questions?” The German: “Well, we had an American VP who was in a meeting recently with a French client, me, and my boss. The Frenchman looked up to the wall, pointed at the painting before him, this very one, and asked, ‘Who painted that?’ The American VP said, ‘I don’t know. I don’t need to know that stuff.’ At that moment, the French client left the room, along with his three-million-euro account.”

“Why did I ask you about history?” the German continued. “It is important for our business. And since you could answer my questions, you have the job.”

What can I do with a History major?

  • Career Options for History Majors: Data about jobs & employers and strategies to win the perfect job.
  • What Can I Do With This Major?: Table of links to career options for all majors.
  • Careers for History Majors: A miniguide from the American Historical Association.
  • Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Information: United States Department of Labor guide to career information about hundreds of occupations.

Learning Outcomes

The guiding principle behind these learning goals is to create a clear path of student development in keeping with the goals and philosophies outlined in the History Department’s mission statement.

  • Lower level courses (100 and 200s) seek to introduce students to the interpretative facets of history while providing them with a general level of knowledge about particular topics or national histories.
  • Upper-level courses (300s) seek to deepen the awareness of contingency, both culturally and temporally, with greater emphasis on the contested nature of history’s meaning.
  • The 500-level junior seminars are meant to prepare our majors for their Senior Projects by fostering more independent inquiry both in and outside the classroom. They also provide our many minors with a capstone experience that reinforces the distinctive practices and outlooks of historians.

Taken as a whole, we believe that these learning goals reinforce the complex relationship between past and present, promote greater awareness of difference, and develop the skills—research, writing, and analysis—that are essential parts of the historian’s craft.

Program Outcomes

  1. Acquire knowledge of particular historical contexts
  2. Analyze historical sources
  3. Understand how historians interpret the past
  4. Develop a historian’s skills, including reading, writing, speaking, and critical inquiry
  5. Be able to execute guided and independent research projects, up to and including the Senior Comprehensive Project in History

100-Level Courses

  1. Students are introduced to geographic, regional, or national histories that emphasize broad processes, themes, and developments
  2. Students have the opportunity to work with primary sources and critically assess competing historical arguments
  3. Students are introduced to history as an open-ended process of interpretation
  4. Students are introduced to history as a scholarly discipline or profession
  5. Students develop written communication skills in the discipline, including proper citation

200-Level Courses

  1. Students receive an introduction to a historical topic that nurtures an interest in history and prepares them for a more in-depth and comprehensive study of the past
  2. Students are introduced to different sources of the past (primary, secondary, literature, visual media, etc.)
  3. Students are introduced to historical debates (or history as an interpretative scholarly endeavor)
  4. Students engage in the development of a historical perspective (origins, circumstances, processes)
  5. Students develop oral and written communication skills

300-Level Courses

  1. Students engage the past around a particular theme or set of themes in a regional or temporal context
  2. Students become familiar with the historiography and are able to evaluate historians’ arguments and interpretations regarding the course theme(s)
  3. Students develop skills of assessing and utilizing both secondary and primary sources
  4. Students develop research skills and work on generating their own historical interpretations
  5. Students can write papers with critical analysis and historical inquiry, utilizing proper citation

500-Level Courses [course numbered 550-589]

  1. Students make an advanced exploration into a specific historical topic
  2. Students will read, discuss, and evaluate contrasting historical interpretations
  3. Students conduct research with primary and secondary sources, develop their own arguments, and write a research paper with proper citations according to the Chicago Manual of Style
  4. Students engage in the communication and exchange of ideas with peers at an advanced level and present the outcomes of their research
  5. Students in the major prepare for the writing of their senior project with well-defined themes, proper research methods, and appropriate sources; students completing a minor build upon the content and methodology of other courses for the minor to produce a research essay that serves as a culminating capstone experience.

History 600

The Senior Project is the capstone experience at Allegheny College. The Project and its oral defense provide students with an opportunity to integrate discipline-specific scholarship with the communication and research skills they have been developing since their First Year at the College.

The object of the Senior Project in the Department of History is to enable students to pursue independent historical research on a topic of their own choosing and to report their findings in a substantial paper. The goal of the Senior Project is for a student to explore independently a historical topic of their own choosing, understand the views expressed by historians about their topic, and craft their own interpretation of their chosen subject in a substantial paper. Students will have the counsel of a member of the department chosen by the student as the project director, but it is the student’s responsibility to take the initiative in seeking advice.

Student work is evaluated on:

  1. The quality of their research,
  2. The originality of their thesis,
  3. The strength of their argument,
  4. The nature of their sources, both primary and secondary,
  5. Their clarity of written expression, and
  6. Their clarity of oral expression.

Evaluation of the Senior Project is conducted by a board of examiners consisting of two members of the Department of History, or, if the project is undertaken in conjunction with another department, by one member of the Department of History and one member of the other department. Students are examined orally by this board on the general field of knowledge and period of time with which the Project is concerned, the specific information contained in the paper, and their methods of research.

History 600 Learning Outcomes

Students will:

  1. Choose a Senior Project Topic
  2. Write a historiographical essay including major secondary sources about their chosen topic.
  3. Identify key primary sources critical to their Project.
  4. Compile an extensive bibliography, utilizing The Chicago Manual of Style, including primary and secondary sources for their project
  5. Complete a chapter outline of the Senior Project.

History 610 Learning Outcomes

Students will:

  1. Conduct extensive research in primary sources on the topic of their Senior Project.
  2. Read and master the interpretations of the major secondary sources on their topic.
  3. Develop a clear and persuasive thesis for their Senior Project.
  4. Write an extensive paper on their topic which conforms to The Chicago Manual of Style in notes and bibliography and contains minimal stylistic and typographical errors.
  5. Articulate why they have chosen their topic in an oral examination.
  6. Answer questions beyond the immediate scope of their project, demonstrating contextual awareness, in their oral examination.
This school offers programs in:
  • English

Last updated February 11, 2018
Duration & Price
This course is Campus based
Start Date
Start date
Sept. 2018
Full time
USA - Meadville, Pennsylvania
Start date: Sept. 2018
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info
Sept. 2018
USA - Meadville, Pennsylvania
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info