Majors & Minor

A degree in History is one of the most flexible and rewarding you can get. More>

MSU History Majors outdoors in England on a study abroad trip

Majors on study abroad in England, summer 2014

History Major

The History major is a rigorous bachelor of arts degree program that develops its students’ ability to understand human societies—both past and present—in context, with a social science emphasis on applying knowledge of the past to the resolution of enduring social, political, and economic challenges.

The major is structured to develop student skills in research, writing, digital methods, and oral communication across the curriculum. Students learn how gather and critically evaluate evidence from multiple types of sources; to conduct extensive archival or digital research; to explain the significance of their findings in scholarly and public venues; and to place historical events or phenomenon in a larger context.

Major courses enable students to build a strong foundation in historical knowledge; gain expertise in analyzing social, political, and economic dynamics in different societies over space and time; apply understandings of different cultures to explain historical conflict and resolution; understand how power is expressed and challenged in within and between nations; and incorporate diverse viewpoints to analyze historical change.

The Department of History’s research strengths allow students to focus on a range of geographic or thematic areas of study. Geographic areas include the U.S., Europe, Africa, Asia, Latin America, or the globe. Thematic areas include race, ethnicity, politics, religion, gender and sexuality.
By involving all students in the process of careful analysis of evidence and thoughtful, cogent expression of ideas, the department seeks to equip students with intellectual skills which have multiple uses in the larger society outside the university. The History B.A. provides preparation for diverse fields:  higher education; the law; federal, state, and local government; work in historical societies and museums; business, non-profits, and Web site development and research.

History Education Major

The Department of History plays the primary role in training MSU students for entrance to the Teacher Education (Social Studies) program in the College of Education. The History Education BA provides teacher education candidates with a Michigan Department of Education (MDE) approved social studies preparatory degree. The department’s contributions to teacher training at Michigan State extend well beyond the History Education major. History courses form the core of education majors and minors offered by other departments and colleges at Michigan State.

The History Education BA provides a rigorous disciplinary major degree program that sets its graduates apart. It has been developed in coordination with the nation’s premier Teacher Education program (TE) offered by the College of Education at MSU. The objective of the major is to provide students with breadth and depth of historical and social science knowledge, as well as advanced skills in research, analysis, and writing. The department’s strong research profile—and its translation into the classroom—distinguishes MSU TE graduates from their peers in Michigan and the nation. Our graduates are highly competitive on the market, having been trained as historians and educators.

The department contributes to teacher education as well through its undergraduate courses that align with the principles of the major. Students majoring in the History Education BA, the IDS Social Science Education BA (IDS SSE), the James Madison Teacher Education BA, and College of Education majors and minors take a significant number of credits in History to meet MDE certification standards. HST 140, 150, 201, 202, 203, and 48* are courses required for students enrolled in the History Education and IDS SSE majors.

Entrance into the TE program at MSU is competitive. Students must demonstrate outstanding ability in the History Education major—and across the curriculum—to qualify for admission. Students in other education majors and minors likewise must excel in required history courses.

The required history courses in the History Education BA constitute the minimum preparation a student must have to enter the TE program at MSU. Students also will use these courses as a foundation for taking the MTTC certification exams.

Global History Major

This major enables students who wish to concentrate on some area of the world other than the United States to develop considerable expertise in that area by focusing their study, completing a relevant minor, and learning a relevant language.

The major is ideal for students who wish to pursue a graduate degree in African, Ancient Mediterranean, Asian, European, Middle Eastern, or Latin American History or in Classical Studies. We also crafted it with the goal of launching students into careers in international development, law and business. And it is appropriate for those who plan to work for an NGO, humanitarian organization or the State Department.

For students who have entered the College of Social Science in or after the Fall semester of 2017, please note that, under certain circumstances, a minor that is used in partial fulfillment of the college requirements may also be used to cover the requirement of the Global History major for a minor in the area under study. This would apply to the current college minors in African Studies and Asian Studies, to the projected college minor in Latin American and Caribbean Studies, and perhaps to other projected minors.

History Minor

In addition to offering the History Education BA, which meets Michigan Department of Education (MDE) standards for teacher certification, the Department of History also offers a Disciplinary Minor in History for Elementary and Secondary Teacher Certification.

The Disciplinary Minor in History meets MDE’s minimum standards for certification in elementary and secondary education. The Disciplinary Minor in History is designed for students in other majors who wish to enhance their teaching opportunities upon graduation.

Students in the Disciplinary Minor in History receive the same high-quality education as student in the History Education BA, studying with top historians in their fields of expertise. The minor provides students with breadth and depth of historical and social science knowledge, as well as intermediate skills in research, analysis, and writing. The required history courses in the Disciplinary Minor in History constitute the minimum preparation a student must have to attain a social studies endorsement.

Students who wish to enroll in the Disciplinary Minor in History should contact their TE advisor, major advisor, or the History advisor, Dr. Emily Tabuteau

Additional information may be found in the Academic Programs Catalog

Defense Studies and Leadership Minor

The Minor in Defense Studies and Leadership, which is administered by the Department of History, provides students with a broad perspective on the military with analysis of all service branches of the Armed Forces from a historical and social scientific perspective. It also prepares current cadets for active duty service.

The minor is available as an elective to students who are enrolled in bachelor’s degree programs at Michigan State University.  With the approval of the department and college that administers the student’s degree program, the courses that are used to satisfy the minor may also be used to satisfy the requirements for the bachelor’s degree.

Students who plan to complete the requirements for the minor should consult an undergraduate advisor in the Department of History.