Historians seek to recover the past, but the pasts they uncover depend on the questions they ask, and those questions change as the world historians live in changes. Exploring civilizations across time and space, historians study all the creations of men and women—politics and governments, the arts and the sciences, economic and technological changes, public and private lives, nations and their peoples.
The history bachelor's degree program introduces students to history broadly, requiring study of ancient, medieval, and modern histories in several geographic contexts before expecting students to specialize. The BA program’s diverse course formats—lectures, seminars, and discussions—facilitate student engagement. Students earning their history BA have the opportunity to work closely with faculty experts who specialize in the history of women, the Holocaust, colonial America, the immigrant experience, East Asia, and many other areas of expertise.
History faculty have close, ongoing relationships with major historical institutions in Washington, D.C., such as the National Archives, Library of Congress, National Museum of American History, National Building Museum, and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. These provide excellent opportunities for student internships and for their engagement with public history, which is the presentation of history outside of the classroom. During the summer, students may participate in the department’s popular Civil War and Nuclear Studies Institutes.
The history BA degree program prepares students for careers in business, government, public interest fields, journalism, and other professions. Because training in history emphasizes research, writing, and intellectual problem-solving, graduates can pursue a wide array of careers and some go on to graduate or law school.