Undergraduate Program


PSU history student studying in the library

History Bachelor's Degree and Minor Overview

The history major and minor encourages active engagement in historical inquiry, requiring you to master basic historical knowledge, ask historical questions, access and evaluate information and communicate what you have learned in both written and oral forms. A goal of all our history courses is to give you the tools to master the use of a variety of sources and tools to unlock the past.

PSU’s history program offers excellent training for a variety of occupations through the development of key skills such as critical thinking, research, analysis, oral and written communication, presentation delivery and problem solving. You can develop a concentration in public history as part of your major by completing specific courses in consultation with your advisor. Students in public history strive to discover and make known the unsung heroes and heroines of our past.

All of our students are encouraged to explore and develop their own passion for history through elective courses. Students can complete a history minor entirely online.

Degree Details

Location Definitions:

On campus:
100% on campus
100% online
Combination of online and on campus
  • BA
    Bachelor of Arts
    On campus
    Total Credits
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  • BS
    Bachelor of Science
    On campus
    Total Credits
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  • m
    On campus
    Total Credits
    Start Term

History Bachelor's Degree and Minor: Why PSU?

History students at PSU build strong relationships with faculty members who are experts in their particular fields, not only through our courses. These connections are strengthened through opportunities for career and academic advising, directed research and internships in the local community. History majors also can join dedicated student groups and gain exclusive access to scholarships, awards and other financial support.

The history department at Portland State is also the host for Friends of History, the Pacific Historical Review, a Public History project and the Heritage Tree Project. These programs give our students access to community partners, build the university’s connections to the community and amplify the continued need and importance of recording and studying history.

Friends of History promotes excellence in the teaching and study of history within the University and strives to increase awareness of this resource in the Portland metropolitan area.

Pacific History Review is a leading scholarly journal in the United States, this quarterly publication, covers the rich history of the North American West and the peoples and cultures of the Pacific World including Asia, Latin America, and beyond. The publication relies on work done by graduate student fellows, interns and other student workers.

The Public History program is a concentration in the history major that gives faculty and students the opportunity to work collaboratively on public history projects for and with community partners. Students also participate in public history internships throughout the greater Portland area and produce projects of their own design.

Portland's Heritage Tree program protects roughly 300 trees in the city, recognized for their historical significance, size or horticultural value. The Heritage Tree Project complements this effort, students use historical research in the local archives, and delve into the history of the city’s trees, helping to expand the historical programming and documentation of the city’s program. The Portland Heritage Tree Podcasts explore a few of the many trees within the program as well as a few trees that are not officially designated.

What can I do with a bachelor's degree or minor in History?

History degree holders often find employment in the field of law, in government and nonprofit agencies, in education, and in business. Many history majors go on to become teachers, but there are many possible career paths that naturally follow a degree in history. History majors can become historians, librarians and museum curators, which all require a great deal of analytical skill, research acumen and the ability to connect the past to the present. Our students have also gone into careers in marketing, human resources, translation, legal studies and writing. The skills students gain in PSU’s history program prepare them for a wide range of careers including those not specifically associated with history, such as college admissions and financial aid, business consulting, fundraising for political and nonprofit organizations, technology, auditing, social work, community organizing and advertising.

Our graduates have gone on to careers in government in jobs as human resources specialists, legislative assistants, social workers, law enforcement, policy analysts, education administrators, and Peace Corps volunteers.

In the private sector our graduates have gotten jobs such as a research analysts for a consulting firm, merchandise planning analysts for a specialty retailer and a research assistant for biotechnology company.

Featured Courses

  • HST 300 Historical Imagination (Intro the Major)
  • HST 490 Comparative World History (a comparative examination of a particular topic)
  • HST 491 Reading Colloquium (focused readings on particular topics)
  • HST 492 Research Seminar (research in a particular topic of interest)
  • HST 493 Intro to Public History (learning the tools of the public historian)
  • HST 494 Public History Seminar (advanced investigation of special topics in public history work, including archives, oral history, project design, and digital history)
  • HST 495 Public History Lab (development of public history techniques through close collaboration with faculty and Portland-area professionals)
  • HST 404 Internship (with area libraries, museums, archives, historical societies, KPSU radio)
  • HST 405 Reading and Conference (one-on-one directed readings for honors and public history students)


Students in history have room to pursue personal interests in virtually any field of history, through elective sequences in the ancient world, in medieval and early modern Europe and Russia, or in early modern Mexico, Latin America, or the Middle East. Students can explore the history of the United States through surveys focusing on the role of women or Native Americans, in-depth examinations of 20th century American history, or through specialized topics like Food and Power, Race and Ethnicity, or Civil Rights.


Portland State University is fully accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).