The B.A. in History will provide you with a broad knowledge of human history, taking you from the United States to the Middle East, Latin America to Europe. Along the way you’ll learn to read and think critically, to ask good questions and find the resources to answer them, to write and speak persuasively, and to treat others with empathy and respect.
We’ve kept the History major flexible (only 2 required courses; all other requirements have choice built in) and relatively small to allow you to study off-campus, earn a second major, or finish your degree in 3 years. Most of our courses also carry general education credit, and several are accepted for requirements in other majors and minors.
Why should I study history?
Ask our students why they picked this major, and they all start with some version of “I love history!” From taking classes, visiting museums, reading books, or watching movies, they know that they enjoy studying the past and seize the opportunity to spend 3 or 4 years of their lives following that God-given passion.
In the process, History majors equip themselves for the years to come. They learn skills that are valued by employers, like research, writing, speaking, teamwork, and critical thinking. They better understand and relate with people from the wide variety of cultures and religions that they’ll encounter in their workplaces and neighborhoods. They’re well prepared to make informed choices as consumers and voters. And they learn how to learn, whether that means getting another degree, adding skills for a new job, or more informal lifelong learning.
Maybe most importantly, our students find that majoring in History helps them to grow as the persons God means them to be. They don’t just add knowledge or skills; as they study other people created in God’s image, they become more humble, more hospitable, more curious, and more comfortable with complexity.
What can I do with this degree?
There is almost no college major more versatile than History. Nationwide, the single most popular career for history majors is law, and that only accounts for 15% of us.
But while we’ve had alumni go on to work in corporate, family, military, and other forms of law, business and education are even more common careers for Bethel History majors.
- Almost 30% work in business fields like marketing, recruiting, financial services, sales, and human resources.
- Those interested in teaching middle or high school students can pair a History major with a Social Studies Education 5-12 degree (the two overlap considerably), or return to school and add a graduate degree in teaching. Some of these educators later become school principals.
- Other History majors choose to work in higher education. Just at Bethel our former students play leading roles in admissions, web services, church relations, and athletics.
- And a few of our students become professional historians, pursuing graduate degrees from schools as prestigious as Columbia University, the University of Edinburgh, the University of Virginia, the University of Minnesota, and Rice University.
But the list of careers stretches much longer than law, business, and education. Our recent graduates work as social entrepreneurs, pastors, political lobbyists, military officers, social workers, nurses, and more.
Don’t take it from us: you can read interviews with about 20 of our alumni at our department blog!
What skills will I develop?
Three stand out: when we asked our alumni, over 95% said that majoring in History at Bethel improved their abilities in research, writing, and critical thinking. Through a History major you’ll learn to find patterns in data, evaluate the quality of sources and arguments, understand causation and context, and write everything from a 250-word summary to a 25-page report.
Increasingly, majoring in History at Bethel is a great way to pick up digital-age skills as well. In courses or independent projects, through internships, or by working with our archives and digital library, you’ll have opportunities to learn about documentary filmmaking, podcasting, blogging, and digital preservation.
What unique experiences or opportunities will I have?
- Learn about teaching, administration, and research as a departmental teaching assistant
- Work in our archives or digital library
- Get an internship with the country’s best state historical society
- Partner with a professor on a summer research project, and conduct your own original research in local or digital archives for your Senior Seminar paper