Contemporary History

History is, at its most basic level, about storytelling. Historians write narratives that explore the past, and are relevant to the present. Everything has a history, but the way this history is told is often highly contested. In the history program, you will develop a body of knowledge about the past, but more importantly, they will learn how to critically examine the past through writing and in-class discussion. The ability to tell a compelling story, that is both backed by evidence and that makes a serious point, is of utmost importance no matter what career one ends up in.

Fast facts

  • History majors on average have the highest median salaries of humanities graduates.
  • History is a natural fit for students looking to go on to law school or other graduate programs.
  • Famous history majors include Theodore Roosevelt, John F Kennedy, Joe Biden, Steve Carell, Katherine Hepburn, H.G. Wells, Julia Child, Wolf Blitzer, Carly Fiorina and more.

What You’ll Study

In addition to traditional course offerings on subjects like the Civil War, History of the South, World War 2 and Modern Europe, the program includes new courses that reflect the latest changes in scholarship and that coincide with the evolution and growth of Lees-McRae. Examples include a course on the history of disease and epidemics and a course on sports history. In these courses, you will read works from historians, conduct research on primary sources and practice writing and discussion skills.

Beyond the Classroom

You'll have the opportunity to complete internships at local historic sites like Horn in the West, the Banner Elk House Museum, the Hickory Ridge Museum and more.

After Graduation

Common Career Areas

History majors go on to a wide range of careers. Students can work in the field of history, as academic or public historians. History majors often go on to graduate study in law school, library school, or history. Education is also a common field for history graduates. Employers value the critical thinking and original insights that humanities majors provide so it is no surprise that many history majors end up in the business world.

More broadly, history majors learn to master research, analysis, writing, and communication skills, which are essential for many professions. Even if you don’t go on to a career in history, employers value the critical thinking and original insights that an education in history provides.

Alumni Success

  • MA in History East Tennessee University
  • Ph.D. in Political Science University of Texas at Dallas
  • Founder Ally’s Bar (and professional cyclist)
  • Assistant Professor of History Wright State University
Program taught in:
  • English

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