Undergraduate Program History
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.
History Bachelor's Degree and Minor: Why PSU?
Studying the past helps us better understand not only where we’ve been, but where we may be going. Historical knowledge has the power to be both individually and collectively transformative, and there is no better place in the Pacific Northwest to gain a critical understanding of the past than the PSU History Department. Our award-winning and internationally recognized faculty offer courses that span the globe and cover chronological periods from Antiquity to the Present, with concentrations in U.S. history since 1800; modern Europe and East Asia; Latin America, Africa, Russia, and the Middle East; ancient Rome and medieval Europe, environmental history, public history, and more.
The study of History cultivates appreciation for the diversity of human experience and fosters empathy for the stories, traditions, cultures, and world views of historical groups and individuals. It also provides the foundation for informed participation in the local and the global community, by teaching its students how to apply critical thinking skills to solving problems. Our History majors learn valuable and broadly applicable skills in making arguments from evidence, collecting and interpreting data, and communicating ideas clearly both in writing and orally.
History students at PSU are able to build strong relationships with faculty members through coursework, departmental and community events, and student groups. These connections are further supported through opportunities for career and academic advising, directed research, and internships in the local community. All of our Majors engage in hands-on experience in our seminars through the development and completion of a research agenda.
Students at PSU can also join both the national History Honors Society—Phi Alpha Theta—or the History Club, where they can share their research and love of history with their fellow students. We offer a variety of competitive scholarships and awards, and our majors and minors have gone on to succeed in a variety of different occupations and professions, including business, government, non-profit administration, law, and education, to name just a few.
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 a degree in 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 research analysts for a consulting firm, merchandise planning analysts for a specialty retailer, and research assistant for a biotechnology company.
- 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).