Jun 24, 2024  
2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog 
2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

History, B.A.

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Programs by Type

About the Program

To study history is to be trained in open-minded discussion based on evidence; studying the lives of diverse peoples and societies across time and space builds human empathy; trying to understand the people of the past enables us to better understand ourselves as similarly situated in contexts both constraining and liberating; learning how to read, analyze, and communicate effectively and to engage in sustained debate and revision are skills needed in a world of accelerating change and interaction; in the current environment of ‘post-truth’ disinformation, history’s commitment to the evidence and to open-minded discussion are urgently necessary.


By fostering awareness of the influences that effect change over time, the History program at Arcadia aims to reject simplistic explanations of the past, in particular by stressing the global and interconnected nature of historical events.


The History major is housed within a multi-disciplinary Department providing numerous opportunities to carry out interdisciplinary work with professors and students of philosophy, religious studies, political science, law, and international studies.


Small class size enables close work with student peers and professors.

  • Professors are as strongly committed to teaching effectiveness as they are to their research and scholarship.

  • Students learn how to read critically and construct historical explanations based on evidence, logic and the latest historical debates; to write and speak with clarity; and, in their senior year, to write an extended research essay on a question of their own choosing.

  • Arcadia’s nationally renowned study away programs make the study of history become more vibrant, meaningful, and personal. With multiple opportunities to study away in diverse locations, students learn and interact with professors and fellow students from a broad variety of backgrounds. 

  • Given the school’s proximity to Philadelphia, there are notable opportunities for internships at renowned institutions.

List of Skills and Careers

History majors graduate having acquired the skills to:

  • Master a foundation of historical knowledge on topics of interest, including by concentrating in a particular geographical or thematic area.

  • Think creatively and carefully about the nature and production of historical knowledge. 

  • Develop expertise in independent research. 

  • Write and generally communicate analytically. 

  • Use evidence and logic to craft persuasive arguments about the causation and consequences of historical events.


Because of the historical knowledge and research skills that you develop as a History Major, the major can lead to a wide range of careers, such as:

  • Law school and the legal field

  • History teacher in schools (The addition of a minor in Secondary Education provides a path to state certification directly from undergraduate coursework)

  • Working in archives, museums, and local historical societies

  • Government positions (legislative aide, Foreign Service, and so on)

  • Nonprofit world (policy or country researcher, aid worker)

  • Private sector researcher or analyst.

Study Abroad

History majors are expected to spend a semester or year studying overseas. Exciting opportunities are available through Arcadia’s College of Global Studies and are relatively easy to arrange. With prior approval, courses taken at foreign universities can be transferred to Arcadia to fulfill Undergraduate Curriculum requirements, including major requirements. A list of History courses that transfer is available from the Program Director.


Generally, the sophomore and junior years are the most convenient time for Arcadia students to study abroad, although the second semester of the freshman year and the first semester of the senior year are also possibilities.


Arcadia University has special arrangements with universities or runs its own programs in China, England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, Australia, France, Greece, Italy, India, Ireland, South Africa, Spain, New Zealand and Tanzania.


Visit the University’s website for more information. Since it is important that students plan ahead for study abroad, they should consult with their advisers as soon as possible and make their intentions known to the Divison of Civic and Global Engagement.


(48 credits as listed below, plus Undergraduate Curriculum requirements and electives to total 128)


Twelve History Courses


  • HS 110  The West in the World

  • Two 100-level History electives


  • HS 201   History Research Writing

  • Three 200-level History electives


  • Three 300-level History electives


  • HS 490  Senior Thesis Seminar I

  • HS 491  Senior Thesis Seminar II


In addition to a generalist History BA, those wishing to concentrate in a specific historical theme can choose among the following concentrations: The West and the World, Contestations of Power, War and Peace, or United States History: the Global in the Local.


Each concentration requires HS110 The West in the World, HS201 History Research Writing, and the Senior Thesis Seminars (HS490 and HS491), and at least five electives from the chosen concentration, with no more than two courses at 100-level and at least one course at the 300-level within the concentration. The concentration electives are to be drawn from the list of electives below, but electives not listed may satisfy major and concentration requirements with approval from the HAPS-Humanities Program Director or the Department Chair.

The West and the World

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Programs by Type