History: What to Expect
History majors will have the opportunity to learn in one of the University’s “Centers of Excellence” from outstanding faculty scholars in fields ranging from North America, Latin America, Europe, and the non-Western world. The History Department at USC is the largest in South Carolina and offers the most comprehensive course of study in the state and one of the most competitive in the region and nation. As a History major, through in-depth analysis of the evolution of social, economics, cultural-intellectual, and political patterns and events, you’ll develop an understanding of and appreciation for the life and development of various cultures, institutions, and civilizations. You will become an expert at answering the question “Who are we and how did we get here?” You will learn how to situate yourself in the long continuum of human experience and how to find meaning in the past. The skills you develop as a History major at USC will give you the capacity to make the voices, stories, and events of the past come alive and to give shape to the experiences and processes that have defined the interaction of humans with each other and with the world around them. You can expect diverse learning environments including lectures, class discussions, research projects, writing assignments, and internship opportunities.
The following courses fulfill some of the course requirements for a Bachelor of Arts with a major in History:
- The Historian’s Craft
- A course from U.S. History
- A course from European History
- A course from African, Middle Eastern, Asian, or Latin American History
- Senior Seminar
Students also have the option of pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in History with Distinction by completing additional requirements.. A detailed list of degree requirements can be found in the Undergraduate Bulletin.
Enhancing your Experience
Study Abroad allows you to earn academic credits toward your USC degree while seeing the world! Every year, the History Department sends a small group of students to the University of Warwick. The University of South Carolina – University of Warwick Exchange has been in existence since 1966 and is the oldest and one of the most prestigious exchange programs at the University. By participating in the exchange program, you will benefit from a year abroad at what is now the UK’s second highest-ranked History Department. Exchange Scholars return to USC with heightened academic skills and appreciation of what it is like to live and work in a different culture. You may also choose to intern, volunteer, or conduct research abroad. You are encouraged to visit the Study Abroad Web site for more information on opportunities to broaden and extend your knowledge and perspectives.
Student Organizations can be instrumental in helping you adjust to life on campus and network within your field. The University of South Carolina has a family of nearly 300 student organizations. As a History major, you can get involved in the Phi Alpha Theta History Honor Society. Getting involved in an organization that interests you can help you network, meet new friends, and develop leadership skills. You can also seek out volunteer opportunities that relate to your major. Find a student organization on campus that interests you!
Graduate School is one of many possibilities following graduation. Graduates often pursue graduate programs in Law, Medicine, History, Political Science, and Business.
Distinguished Faculty can help enhance your overall academic experience while at the University. The History Department is home to a diverse group of award-winning scholars and has one of the nation’s top research facilities. Every faculty member teaches undergraduate courses, including the survey classes, and is passionate about making the past meaningful to students and guiding students carefully through their courses of study.
Departmental Scholarships may be awarded to outstanding entering freshmen or current students. Each year, the History Department awards the Coolidge Awards, the Phi Alpha Theta Award, and the Hampton-Rogers Award to outstanding History majors. The History Department offers additional scholarships each year.
Internship and Research Opportunities
Internships can be an important asset to your overall educational experience. Internship experiences often help you confirm your career interests, give you hands-on experience in a professional setting, help build your resume, reinforce what you’ve learned in class and can often lead to full-time employment. Likewise, pursuing professional research opportunities as an undergraduate student can also help enrich your academic experience while at the University. As an undergraduate student, you can work closely with faculty research mentors and explore a discipline that interests you. Both internship and research opportunities help you build a competitive edge in the job market. History majors at the University have had a wide range of exciting and unique internship opportunities. Students are able to intern in a public history internship with a local institution as well as conduct historical research.
An exciting research opportunity took History major Christian Buckson overseas for seven months. Christian traveled to London, England and Brussels, Belgium. He conducted independent research at the British Library while in London and worked in the NATO Parliamentary Archives during his stay in Brussels. Christian spent this time collecting notes and primary documents for his research paper and getting an insight into the historiography of his topic, NATO history. “The most important thing I learned was time management,” he said. “Considering the sheer volume of information on my topic, generally, NATO history, I had to learn what resources demanded more time and which didn’t.” Christian’s connections at USC helped prepare him by assisting him in getting into contact with experienced researchers abroad. His experience in Europe helped him develop a wide range of skills and knowledge. “I learned how hard it is to write a research-based history paper,” he said. “I learned to understand the proper ways in which to conduct historical research, how to look through archival material, and things of that nature.” Christian encourages current students to get involved in research opportunities while at the University. “I would definitely recommend finding, or initiating, some sort of independent research project,” he said. “Not only will you develop your own research and writing skills, you’ll get to experience a myriad of things that you wouldn’t be able to do ordinarily. My research experience has definitely become an important aspect of my overall college career.”
History majors often pursue careers in teaching, research, law, business genealogy, and historical preservation and restoration. Graduates may also seek employment at museums; historical associations; historical societies; and state, federal, local, and private industries and agencies.
About the Department of History
The Department of History is one of the University’s “Centers of Excellence” and offers a strong and diverse program for both undergraduate and graduate students. The Department has been praised by the Chronicle of Higher Education and The State Newspaper. The department offers a Bachelor of Arts with a major in History, Masters degrees in History and Public History, and a Ph.D. in History. The Department of History is in the College of Arts and Sciences.
Points of Pride
According to the prestigious National Research Council, the History Department is ranked 14th among all public universities. It is ranked seventh in the South for program quality and sixth for faculty research. It is ranked 29th in the nation.
- Faculty have won numerous awards for articles and books, received prestigious fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Council of Learned Societies, the American Philosophical Society, the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars, the Princeton University Center for Human Values, the Davis Center for Historical Studies and Princeton University, and served as President of the National Council on Public History and as officers of numerous national organizations.
- Bobby Donaldson was the 2010 winner of the Michael J. Mungo Undergraduate Teaching Award, and Mark Smith won the 2011 Michael J. Mungo Graduate Teaching Award. Recent graduate Paige Fennell was a winner of the James Madison Fellowship and Chase Stoudenmire was the winner of a Fulbright Student Grant.
- Students work closely with the department’s award-winning faculty on cutting-edge research projects and are frequent recipients of Magellan Fellowships. In recent years, several students have traveled to Europe and Africa to conduct firsthand research.
- The University’s South Caroliniana Library houses a celebrated Southern archive and is the largest single repository of resource materials for South Carolina History.
- Our Public History Program, offered in cooperation with Kiplin Hall, North Yorkshire, England, is one of the oldest and largest graduate academic training programs in the United States.