Explore the Past To Examine the Present

There’s an oft-quoted saying: “Those who cannot remember the past are doomed to repeat it” (George Santayana). History isn’t merely the record of past events and dates—it’s a constantly evolving discipline that can tell us a lot about our social, political, and cultural present. For example, the history of colonialism and globalization gives us critical context regarding the inequities that many peoples continue to face in the present. Similarly, understanding historical relationships between different countries and religious and/or ethnic groups provides essential insight into modern geopolitical tensions and alliances.

The study of history can have a huge impact on how we think, behave, and interact with one another. For those who know how to look, there are a lot of lessons to be learned from the past. Understanding the warning signs that preceded economic or political crises in the past can help us better anticipate and avoid future conflict or violence. What’s more, studying history is an excellent way to connect to our individual or shared heritages and learn more about the events, factors, and movements that continue to shape us—even if we weren’t alive when they happened.

History is an extremely broad discipline, and as such, historians and history majors often specialize in a specific area of history, whether that’s the history of a particular place, culture, or time period. A few examples include:

  • American History
  • European History
  • The History of Science
  • Medieval History
  • Ancient History
  • Black History
  • Women’s and Gender History
Lemoyne-Owen College Students

LeMoyne-Owen College Students

Careers in History

Majoring in history will allow you to cultivate valuable, transferable skills. As a history student, you’ll learn how to absorb and synthesize large quantities of information, balance contrasting sources and points of view, and develop coherent arguments. History majors by necessity are organized, analytical, and skilled at communication and critical thinking—all of which are valuable qualities in the professional world.

Below are a few of the careers that you might consider with a history degree:

  • Historian
  • Historic preservationist
  • Professor of history*
  • Museum curator or administrator
  • Archivist
  • Teacher
  • Writer or journalist
  • Politician
  • Lawyer*
  • Consultant
  • Administrative professional

*Require advanced degrees

Want to learn more about history as a possible major or career path?
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How to Prepare for Success

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Being a successful history student requires that you have excellent reading, writing, and critical thinking skills. To ensure that you’re prepared when you get to college, try to get as much experience as possible in the following areas:

  • English and Writing: As a history major, you’ll be doing a lot of reading and writing papers. Being able to interact with dense, sometimes difficult texts and documents and compose compelling research papers is an indispensable skill.
  • History and Government: Having some background in history and public policy will give you a good foundation, as well as possibly give you ideas for areas you might want to specialize in.
  • Psychology: History is, ultimately, the study of people. Having an understanding of how people think and what motivates them to do the things they do can only help enhance your studies.

UNCF Schools to Consider

Multiple UNCF-member schools offer degrees in history, including:

Professional Organizations

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If you’re thinking about majoring in history, it may be helpful to familiarize yourself with some of the programs, membership options, and resources offered by professional organizations. Exploring these will also give you a good idea of the scope and professional opportunities the field has to offer.

Scholarships Available

There’s no better way to start on your path toward a successful career in history than with a solid financial foundation. Fortunately, many scholarships are available through UNCF, including some specifically for history majors. Keep an eye on the UNCF website for current scholarship opportunities and announcements.

Search for specific scholarships and view those that are currently accepting applications here! Students should also check with each college or university to see if there are additional scholarships available to study history.

As you explore your options, be sure to use our guide to applying for scholarships and grants. You can also receive guidance by submitting a major interest form if you are interested in a career in history. Submit the form on our website to get started, and follow us on UNCF social media channels to receive notifications about our scholarships and member HBCUs. Reach out today!