Career Outlook
Average Salary
Projected Regional Growth
  • Geographer
  • Grant Writer
  • Human Resources
  • Lawyer
  • Law Enforcement
  • Librarian
  • Museum Curator
  • Politician
  • Social Research Analyst
  • Teacher

For individuals who

Want to gain a deeper understanding of global perspectives. 

Looking for

Classes that look at history in a wide variety of global locations. 

To become

  • Geographer
  • Librarian
  • Museum Curator
  • Social Research Analyst
  • Teacher

The formal study of history dates to ancient Greece, yet the discipline has never been more relevant. Understanding the modern world requires a clear understanding of what has come before, especially in today's fractured and turbulent era. Studying history provides students with the critical thinking, analytical, and research skills to evaluate sources of information, engage in civil debate, make persuasive arguments, and contribute as productive citizens of their nation and the world. An undergraduate degree in History prepares students for careers in government, the law, public service, teaching, and business, as well as providing a foundation for graduate study in any number of fields.

The Program

Students can earn a BA, BS, or Minor in History at NDSU. There are also opportunities to major in Public History, History Education, and Social Science Education.

History major students take 39 credits in History courses in addition to University and College General Education requirements. 9 credits are devoted to foundational courses at the 100- or 200-level, which introduce students to basic content in a variety of historical subfields, as well as skills such as analyzing primary and secondary sources, asking informed questions about the past, and engaging in informed discussion and debate with their classmates. Students then take 18 credits of 300- or 400-level courses, distributed among North American History, European History, and Widening Horizons categories. These courses expose students to cutting-edge historical scholarship in each of these fields, while building writing, research, and discussion skills.

In their sophomore or junior year, students take Historical Research and Writing, which trains them to write persuasive, evidence-based, and clear arguments about the past. As a capstone experience, in their senior year History major students apply these skills in a semester-long writing seminar, where they produce an original research paper on a topic of their choice. The remaining 6 credits are electives that allow students to follow their own intellectual interests within the History curriculum. A listing of regularly offered courses can be found here.

A BA in History requires two years of study in a foreign language, and is recommended for those wishing to pursue graduate study. A BS in History requires completion of an approved minor.

History Minors take 9 History credits at the 100- or 200-level and 9 credits at the 300- or 400-level.

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the History major, students will be able to:

1) Employ historical thinking and empathy as central to engaged citizenship;

2) Analyze multiple viewpoints and perspectives about the past;

3) Explain and analyze the complexity of human experiences outside the western world in time and space;

4) Ask questions about the past, mindful of historical contexts; and

5) Craft a historical narrative and an argument that is reasoned and based on historical evidence in appropriate primary and secondary sources.


The NDSU history faculty consists of internationally-recognized researchers and teachers, several of whom have won national and University awards for their research and pedagogy. Areas of strength include North American History from the colonial period through the 20th Century, the Great Plains, Public History, Women's History, 20th-Century Southeast Asia, Medieval and Early Modern Europe, the Cold War in Eastern Europe, Colonial Latin America, and the History of Religion. Each faculty member has published at least one scholarly book in their area of expertise, and all regularly publish articles and present research papers at professional conferences. The department also regularly hosts regional and national history conferences and participates in colloquia and public-facing events. Find more on faculty teaching, research, and outreach activities here.

Study Abroad

The history faculty regularly lead study-abroad courses and are committed to expanding students' horizons at the international level. Recent and upcoming courses and destinations include the Hapsburg Empire in Vienna, European Religious Traditions in Rome, World War II in London and Paris, Japanese History and Culture in Japan, and the Early Modern Spanish Empire in Spain.

Cultural Diversity

The department is strongly committed to helping students understand the diversity of human experience. History classes help students understand how differences in race, gender, ethnicity, and social and economic class have affected people’s lives and influenced the modern world. Department faculty are also active in numerous efforts to promote understanding of diversity.

Public History

In 1982, NDSU launched the first public history program in the Upper Midwest. Public History is a vibrant field of study that trains students to work in archives, museums, historical societies and sites, historic preservation, historical editing, digital history and documentary film-making, and areas of the Federal Government such as the National Park Service. Public History is a professional major that can be easily combined with a History major or minor. More information can be found here.

Institute for Regional Studies

The North Dakota Institute for Regional Studies has close connections with the History program. The Institute collects, organizes and preserves materials on our region's historical heritage.

Humanities North Dakota

History faculty are active in programs sponsored and funded by Humanities North Dakota. In recent years, faculty have conducted grant-supported research, written books and articles, and delivered public presentations on North Dakota women's participation in the National Women's Conference of 1977, genocide in Bosnia, suicide and divorce in the Civil War South, the Dakota War of 1862, and French Colonial policies in Indochina.

Phi Alpha Theta

The NDSU History faculty sponsor a local chapter of Phi Alpha Theta, the History Honors Society, and NDSU students regularly present research papers at the Society's regional and national conferences. The department holds an annual initiation ceremony in April and several social events throughout the year for PAT members. Students with at least 12 credit hours in history with a History GPA of 3.1 or above are eligible to apply for membership.

Career Opportunities

History is a versatile degree, and students regularly go on to careers in government, education, journalism, editing and publishing, public service, the law, and business. The skills fostered by historical study - persuasive argumentation, critical thinking, analysis of information sources, and research, to name a few - are well-suited to any number of careers, as evidenced by the number of history majors helming Fortune 500 companies, serving in government agencies, and making contributions in the fields of journalism, entertainment, law, and politics. Indeed, more US presidents -- including George W. Bush and Joe Biden -- have been history majors than any other undergraduate field of study.

The American Historical Association has compiled more detailed information on career paths for history majors, including profiles of recent graduates, here.