History Department

Picture montage of Cal flag, Latin America, Welcome to Napa, etc.

Why study HISTORY?

The History major offers an excellent education in writing clearly, thinking analytically and reading with curiosity. In addition to introducing students to peoples, ideas, and cultures that may be unfamiliar to you, the study of history helps put our own world into perspective. Because the past is as big as the world itself, it offers something for everyone.

"History is always changing, and that is one reason why historians love what they do. It's not just that the historical record is being written every day, as we live it; it's also that our understanding of what's important in history, and why, changes too, along with the sources we use. Material culture and visual culture, including film, are texts that open worlds beyond writing to historical study. Learning to analyze evidence and write historical analysis is one of the best ways to develop your mind. Come and try it!"

-Susan Mann, UC Davis Department Chair

Career options for HISTORY majors

We believe that an undergraduate History degree has many advantages that will help prepare students in a variety of different career areas. The market for teachers in primary and secondary schools remains good in many locations, and students with a solid background in history will be well-suited to get teaching credentials in subjects such as history, social studies, government, political science, humanities, and general studies.

The rigorous research and writing requirements asked of history majors also offer excellent preparation for careers in law, journalism, public relations, technical writing, fund-raising, administration, domestic and foreign government service, to name the more obvious. Interestingly (and luckily for History majors) recent trends in medical and business school admissions suggest that these professional schools are looking for students who possess training in humanities and social sciences. Obviously students wishing to attend medical schools still need to take the necessary science prerequisites, but in an increasingly competitive market with growing competition, students who stand out with something unique such as a History honors thesis or a background in the history of medicine might call positive attention to themselves. 

History is who we are and WHY we are the way we are. History is not just the Past. History is the present.


Dr. James McGowan
History Department
(707) 253-3183

If you wish to contact an instructor and a number is not listed, please call the Division Secretary at (707) 259-8939 to leave a message.