In high school, students often are given the impression that the study of history simply requires memorization of names, dates, and other facts about events in the past. At the college level, however, the study of history facilitates the development of research, analytical, evaluative, and interpretive skills. The study of history involves a careful search through existing evidence to determine what happened in the past, but understanding how and why that evidence was created and then saved stands at the center of the discipline. It’s all about asking tough questions.

That’s why the History major at Western prepares students for many different careers. Due to the quantity of reading, writing, and discussion, History majors have strong communication and analytical skills, which are valued by all employers, including businesses and government agencies. History majors learn how to locate and access a wide range of sources, to analyze evidence, including textual and visual sources, to evaluate competing interpretations, and to develop and support their own interpretations. They can help make sense of the kinds of challenges faced by almost any organization or business.

Beyond the Classroom

Students often get involved with the National Honor Society, Phi Alpha Theta. Phi Alpha Theta offers many fun and scholarly activities to participate in through the chapter. Involvement with the chapter is a good way to expand your knowledge of history and the association with the honor society is a great way to make connections for future opportunities in history. 

The History department encourages students to find internships and explore their passions. Recent student internships include: 

  • Friedman Rubin Trial Lawyers: Investigation Intern 
  • Skagit County Public Works: Records Intern 
  • WA State Archive: Northwest Regional Intern

Careers and Graduate Studies

Liberal Arts and Sciences majors show some of the highest gains in critical thinking and analytical skills, the skills employers consistently say that they want most. History majors, in addition, learn to think about other cultures past and present, an important career skill in an increasingly diverse world. In short, History majors’ skills prepare them to be effective citizens, lifelong learners, and to have successful careers. Some choose to work in history-related fields such as teaching, library science, museum studies, or public history. The vast majority of History majors, however, go on to successful careers in business, government, and the nonprofit sectors. Studies show that History majors have some of the largest gains in earning over time because of their impressive skills.

Employers of Recent Western Graduates: 

  • Google
  • Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust: Processing Archivist 
  • Skagit County Public Works: Records Assistant 
  • United States Postal Service 
  • King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office: Legal Administrative Specialist 
  • Friedman Rubin Trial Lawyers: Investigator 
  • CEP Felipe II (Madrid, Spain): Language/Culture Assistant 

Western graduates who pursue graduate studies are doing so at such schools as: 

  • University of Maryland: Library and Information Science (MLS) 
  • Western Washington University: Archival Studies and Records Management (MA)

Sample Jobs

  • Foreign Service Officer 
  • Attorney 
  • Museum Curator 
  • Government Official 
  • Journalist 
  • Business Manager 
  • Social Studies Teacher 
  • FBI/CIA Agent 
  • Librarian 
  • Archivist 
  • Historical Preservation Specialist

Requirements and Course Details

To learn more about this program, including grade requirements, a course listing, how to declare the major, and more, see the Program of Study Details.