Examine the past while building skills in writing, analysis and communication.

Understanding and engaging with the greatest questions and best minds of the past is key to becoming a truly educated citizen. As you learn about how people thought and acted in different times and places, you will gain perspectives and develop such essential qualities as confidence and humility, which will prepare you to be a leader in your own time, whether in business, as a practitioner and fashioner of the law, or as a scholar and educator. 

Here, it’s not about memorizing dates and spewing them back on a test. At Ashland, we teach you how to think and analyze. You’ll explore original texts and great speeches from the past, which we’ll discuss in class in a seminar-style learning environment. At Ashland, thinking about the great questions and statesmen of the past is part of becoming a liberally educated human being. You’ll have access to great political minds of our day through presentations sponsored by the Ashbrook Center, an independent civic resource housed on campus. By the time you graduate, you’ll be able to think, read, write and speak on important topics in a way that is worthy of graduate school, and you’ll be ready to take on any educational or career challenge that lies ahead.

What You’ll Love About the History Major:

  • Rather than textbooks, you’ll study primary sources such as the speeches of Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King as well as the poems of Homer.
  • You’ll learn in a conversational classroom, not by lecture.
  • You’ll get to know your professors well in a small classroom setting.
  • You’ll get to see and hear some of the great political speakers of our day through guest presentations sponsored by the Ashbrook Center for Public Affairs. Past participants in Ashbrook Center presentations have included Ronald Reagan, Colin Powell, Margaret Thatcher and Henry Kissinger among others.
  • You’ll have an opportunity to travel abroad with your professors who lead an historical trip every other year. Recent excursions have visited World War II landmarks in England, France and Germany and “The England of Shakespeare and Churchill.”
  • You’ll have the opportunity to write a senior thesis, a major research paper you undertake under the guidance of your faculty advisor. This is excellent preparation for graduate school. Recent topics have included: European Immigration to America at the Turn of the Century, The Media’s Effect on the Vietnam War, Stars and Stripes Over Charleston: The Secession of West Virginia from Virginia and Operation Typhoon: The Turning Point of the Eastern Front.

Reach Your Career Goals

When you complete your degree in History from Ashland, you will be qualified to work in a number of diverse fields including the following and more:

  • Civil service
  • Journalism
  • Electoral politics
  • Public relations
  • Law

Enhance your career possibilities and knowledge by adding:

  • Minor in Journalism — Prepare yourself to use your excellent analytical and research skills in the field of journalism
  • Master of American History and Government – Focus your history education in a specific area

Faculty Who Are Great Teachers

  • Professors are deeply involved with students, not only getting to know them well in class, but also serving as advisors on senior theses and research.
  • Professors are actively involved in the study of history and are currently conducting research on American foreign policy, Thucydides, Winston Churchill and the American Civil Rights movement.
  • Professors teach every class in a seminar-style format that encourages the sharing of ideas.

Gain Real World Experience

Students are encouraged to undertake internships, which often open up career opportunities. Recent students have:

  • Participated in historical re-enactments in Colonial Williamsburg
  • Interned at the Ashland Historical Society
  • Prepared displays, guided tours and done research at Fort Meigs, Ohio’s War of 1812 battlefield

Some of the Interesting Classes You May Take

  • American History Through the Civil War — Explore the creation and development of a distinctively American civilization.
  • Ancient Greece — Examine the political, military and intellectual history of Ancient Greece, emphasizing the developments that have most influenced the Greco-Roman tradition in Western culture.
  • Age of Enlightenment — Study the intellectual and political reformation that swept Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries. Focuses on the revolution in modern natural science, the rise and fall of absolute government, the growth of the English constitution and the development of a new liberal philosophy.

Organization for History Majors

The Historical Reasoning Component

The Core Curriculum is a set of courses that all students at Ashland take in addition to and as a foundation for their particular major. Its purpose is to give you the broad background that a person needs to live well in our complex world, so that you can reason clearly, appreciate art and music, think about religion, and understand the basic principles of society and science. One part of this “common major,” the “Historical Reasoning” component, helps you to understand and evaluate the past or to “think like an historian.”

Career Outlook for History Majors

You can take your career in many different directions with a History major. Journalism and public relations are certainly options and with additional education, you can also go into law. If you choose to focus on being a social scientist, which includes being an historian, the experts predict growth in job opportunities of approximately 10 percent between 2006 and 2016. As an historian, you can expect to find work primarily in the areas of policy and research.