History is a dynamic discipline which sees the past as a vibrant, living world which has left its legacy all around us in the achievements, failures, dreams and monuments of countless generations.
No longer "one damn thing after another," history is an ever changing field waiting for you to raise new questions and rediscover the great human experiment.
As you study the written records of hundreds of years of human activity, you will develop crucial life skills in conducting research, thinking critically, writing clearly and making impressive presentations. And you will discover more about yourself and the world in which you live, helping to shape your future and keep you involved, interested and entertained for a life time.
What is it to study History?
Few of the usual perceptions of the field really capture the essence of the discipline. For example, we may think of history as the study of human experience in a past that is removed from us.
Yet many historians today deal with events and social developments so recent as to be virtually contemporary.
Today's history embraces social, cultural, and economic history – the history of everything – and deals with the history of all people, not just political and social elites.
Where can History take me?
To the student, history offers a dazzling array of fields, approaches, challenges and opportunities.
The study of history demands imagination, flexibility, a sense of realism, curiosity about people and their experience and an intense love of a good story.
Its rewards are more than just intellectual.
Historical study provides an excellent foundation for careers in secondary and advanced teaching; for archival and museum work; for the post-graduate study of law and administration; and for careers in politics, journalism, public service, policy development, business, the foreign service, or work abroad. For more, visit our Career Connections page.
Alone or combined with the study of other disciplines, history offers a liberal educational foundation for the subsequent pursuit of most careers and professions.
How does History relate to other disciplines?
The essence of history as a field of study is its comprehensiveness. While other disciplines of the modern university claim particular elements of human experience and human concerns, history boldly tries to embrace them all.
On the one hand, it articulates the uniqueness of the individuals, cultures and events that constitute the human past and the human present.
On the other, it explores the great commonalities of human experience and social existence.
Most historians agree that historical understanding differs from other forms of knowledge mainly in its insistence that nothing human can be fully understood except in terms of its historical evolution.