Major Description

History imparts the vital skills of discernment and synthesis through critical thinking, reading, and writing skills. It confronts students with worlds, times, places, and cultures, including their own, in ways they never before considered. To study history is to engage intellectually in the confrontation of peoples, ideas, and values because the past, no matter the society, is a foreign country.


History offers two different concentrations.


General concentration in history that can lead to work in a variety of different areas.

Intended for students planning to complete the Teacher Education Minor in Secondary School Teaching. Also take a look at the Teacher Education Minor in Secondary School Teaching.

Courses That Introduce the Major:
  • HIST 100—Global History
  • HIST 103—Big History
  • HIST 104—Black Music
  • HIST 141/142—Western Civilization to 1660 / Western Civilization since 1660
  • HIST 171/172—US History to 1877/US History since 1877
  • HIST 200—Introduction to Historical Interpretation

Students should consult with an academic advisor regarding course selection prior to the advanced registration period.

Possible Career Opportunities:

History provides a solid foundation for careers in a number of fields, including in government, law, social work, museum and library science, marketing, publishing, business administration, education, and labor and industrial relations.

  • Ability to communicate ideas and information clearly and effectively
  • Ability to appreciate diverse perspectives
  • Ability to collect/organize historical data
  • Ability to conduct/explain scientific research
  • Ability to identify/evaluate records of the past
  • Ability to interpret complex material
  • Ability to make observations/solve problems
  • Ability to observe people/data
  • Ability to see relationships
  • Proficiency in reading comprehension
  • Strong writing skills
  • Anthropologist
  • Archeologist
  • Archivist
  • Community Relations Director
  • Consumer Advocate
  • Criminologist
  • Demographer
  • Economist
  • FBI or CIA Agent
  • Foreign News Correspondent
  • Foreign Service Officer
  • Genealogist
  • Government Official
  • Historian
  • Historic Preservationist
  • Intelligence Analyst
  • International Relations Specialist
  • Journalist
  • Lawyer
  • Librarian
  • Market Research Analyst
  • Media Consultant
  • Museum Curator
  • Peace Corps or Vista Worker
  • Political Scientist
  • Public Relations Specialist
  • Sociologist
  • Teacher
  • Travel Agent
  • Urban Administrator
  • Writer or Author

Some careers may require education beyond an undergraduate degree.

Enhancing Your Academic Experience:
  • Participating in undergraduate research
  • Applying for a study abroad experience
  • Take advantage of individual mentoring offered by award-winning faculty. 
  • Take advantage of robust internship, scholarship, and career development opportunities within the department.
  • Utilizing resources of The Career Center and LAS Career Services
  • Joining a Registered Student Organization (RSO) related to this major, such as:
    • History Undergraduate Journal: The Undergraduate History Journal at Illinois leads the effort to publish original undergraduate research. Join the journal team and develop skills in research, editing, and writing, or submit your original research and possible be featured in the next issue!
    • Model United Nations: Provides opportunity for students to learn about the purpose, structure, and history of the United Nations through open forum discussion of issues pertaining to real world scenarios.
    • Phi Alpha Theta: A professional society that promotes the study of history.
    • The Society of Minority Students in History: Supports racial, ethnic, and LGBTQ+ students and strives to dismantle the misconception of what studying History looks like and who scholars of history are.
Further Information:

There are numerous professional organizations dedicated to History. Their websites might be able to provide a glimpse in the world of History.  These organizations include American Historical Association and Organization of American Historians