Welcome to Georgetown's History major!

The study of history encompasses every dimension of human interaction, from social life to economy, from religious experience to artistic expression, from culture to family, from ideas to politics, etc., in their complex inter-relations over time. Students of history learn about individuals, groups, communities, nations, or empires from every perspective, employing a variety of approaches and techniques to raise questions and search for answers. The study of history is thus one of the best ways to challenge our ideas and assumptions about the world, because it leads us to question the simplified accounts of the world and of its problems that we all encounter in our daily lives. Because of the integrative approach that is at the core of historical study, knowledge of history moreover expands our ability to engage with complex causal analysis and gives us the opportunity to explore changes and continuities in all spheres of human endeavor, and to understand the human experience as a process of dynamic evolution. In doing so, history also teaches us empathy (a value of special importance within Georgetown's Jesuit educational and spiritual tradition) and global understanding.  Thus, knowledge of history is central to becoming an engaged and informed citizen, attuned to the complexities of the modern world and prepared to play a constructive role in it.

Moreover, the effective study of history necessitates awareness of the limits and challenges of our evidence and of all knowledge claims.  History as a discipline is fundamentally committed to dialogue and to skepticism about dogmatic or authoritarian interpretations.  Thus, the study of history is inherently linked with the development of one's democratic sensibility and intellectual humility.

Georgetown undergraduates who choose to major in history will benefit from the Department’s thoughtfully structured program and have access to a variety of courses on many and diverse world regions, time periods, and topics and themes. They will also improve their critical reading, writing, and analytical abilities and develop strong research skills, as well as grow as active and empathetic citizens of an ever more challenging and diverse world.  The history program also encourages majors to explore significant connections between history and other disciplines, and easily allows opportunities to study abroad.

History majors pursue all sorts of career paths: from medicine or law to education, from work as professional historians (in academia, museums, or other research institutions) to consulting or investment banking, from the military or security field to a variety of other public-service careers, from the media to international agencies, from artists to engineers, and so on. History does not give you a specialized skill set that automatically qualifies you for a specific job, but History teaches you creatively to process large amounts of evidence and information, to think, research, write, and analyze, and to engage the world we live in with confidence, subtlety, and a spirit of active service.  

If you are considering majoring in history, please explore the information available on this web site, and feel free to consult with the Department’s faculty and with current history majors.

Why History?

Pedagogical Aims and Methods of the undergraduate program in history

Learning Goals


May 2014