Why A Major or Minor in History?

In these days of tightening job markets and two-earner families, undergraduates are more concerned than ever that their studies bear fruit in the marketplace. What, then, is the role of the liberal arts college? What of majors like History, which may often seem to neglect the practical skills required of those entering today's job market?

In the best spirit of the liberal-arts college, the major and minor concentrations in History provide students not simply with a "useable past," but also with skills and abilities directly bearing on their ability to cope with an ever-changing world. A solid grounding in the forces which have shaped the modern world may equip graduates with capacities which transcend a narrow education in technological knowledge.

In the fast-changing world of today's dynamic careers, the humanities major boasts important skills: an ability to shift rapidly to new circumstances, to acquire quickly the skills required of emerging technologies, and to convey clearly the facets of an increasingly compartmentalized world to a general audience. These are likely to be the hallmarks of the next millennium's successful breadwinners. History, by providing a rich context for the changes our society experiences, equips its students with the most important capacity of all - a facility with learning.

The value of a Bowdoin concentration in history is evident in the wide range of occupations our graduates have pursued: from high school teaching, to work in art galleries, to assisting in law offices. The concentration in history is perhaps most valuable to those contemplating a return to school for graduate or professional training. In these cases, an undergraduate background in history may provide a rich foundation of learning upon which more specialized knowledge can be built. Our students have gone on to law and other professional schools, and graduate programs in history and related disciplines. Check out the alumni page to see what some recent grads are doing with their history degrees.

Related Websites:

Careers for Historians:  From the Organization of American Historians
Careers for History Majors:  From the American Historical Association
Careers for Students of History: Table of Contents :  From the American Historical Association