History is the key to the present. This important fact is sometimes overlooked by some members of America's present-minded society. If one is to understand the present and approach the future intelligently, it is necessary to have a clear understanding of the past. Indeed, the present is the direct result of the past, and the great issues of the day can be dealt with competently only by use of the perspective provided by the past.
History is the keystone to a liberal arts education because everything is intimately related to history. It acts as a unifying agent that helps link other liberal arts courses together in a meaningful whole. But for many students who have an intense interest in history, the crucial question remains: "What is the job outlook for a history major?"
The skills and attitudes fostered by a history-oriented education can lead to careers in business, law, industry, government or teaching. These skills include the ability to analyze, communicate effectively, reason and think critically. They help provide insight into the complexity of human behavior.
Many students who major in history at North Dakota State University combine their history courses with an approved minor and pursue the Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree. Graduates have found jobs in such business fields as insurance and retailing. Opportunities also exist in banking, health services, and local and state government.
A second option is the Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree, which includes foreign language study. This degree program is recommended for students desiring a rich liberal arts education or planning to attend graduate school or law school. Recent graduates have entered graduate programs at the Universities of Florida, Nebraska and Texas. Many history majors go on to earn a law degree and practice law in North Dakota and other states.
Additional career options are outlined on the "Career Information" link on the history department website. More information on career opportunities in history can be found in the Occupational Outlook Handbook published by the U.S. Department of Labor.
Each of the degree programs requires basic courses in such areas as English, social and behavioral sciences, and science and mathematics. In addition, each program has a distinctive requirement—an approved minor for the B.S., foreign language proficiency at the second-year level for the B.A. and 30 credits in specified education courses for the history education degree. The curriculum in these degree options includes a variety of courses in North American, European and world history. After taking introductory courses, students majoring in history work with their advisers in selecting an interrelated sequence of upper-division courses.
A total of 39 credits in history are required in each of the options. Each option requires nine to 15 credits at the 100-200 level, a historical research and writing course and at least 18 credits in 300- or 400-level courses. Eighteen of the credits at the 300-400 level must meet geographic distribution requirements. A three-credit senior seminar is required of all history majors as a capstone experience.
Public History Major
In 1982, the Department of History launched a public history program, the first in the Upper Midwest, which introduces students to such fields as archival and museum work. Public History is now a vibrant field of study in the United States and trains students for a wide variety of careers. The Public History major is a 51 credit professional major. More information can be found on the history department web page.
History faculty incorporate multimedia presentations into many of their introductory classes. Some faculty work extensively with computer-aided teaching in the multimedia lecture halls to increase the visual impact and student learning from their lectures.
Active Learning in Classes
The department encourages active learning in many of its introductory classes by using techniques that include student portfolios, in-class exercises, role playing, computer simulations and library assignments. Faculty make prudent use of technology and encourage the examination of all sorts of primary sources, including films, novels and textiles as well as government documents and memoirs.
International Perspectives and Cultural Diversity
The department is strongly committed to helping students understand the diversity of human experience. In addition to the specific courses in non-western areas, other history classes help students understand how differences in race, gender, ethnicity, and social and economic class have affected people’s lives. Department faculty are also active in numerous efforts to promote understanding of diversity. These include women's studies and NDSU’s anti-racism team. The department encourages study abroad, and NDSU historians have designed programs in Vienna and Mexico City.
Each member of the NDSU history faculty of ten holds a doctorate from a leading university, among them UCLA, Cornell, Indiana University, Northwestern, and Notre Dame. Faculty members provide a wide range of academic experience and specialties. They have published books and articles on subjects such as Great Plains, Environmental History, pre-colonial Latin America, 20th-century Indochina, American women and families, the American Revolutionary War, Early Modern Europe, and Eastern Europe under communist rule. History faculty members frequently present scholarly research papers at professional historical conferences in various centers of learning. Faculty members have won college, university, state and national awards for their research. The department also hosts regional history conferences and lectures.
History Department Affiliate
The North Dakota Institute for Regional Studies is closely connected with the Department of History, Philosophy, and Religious Studies. The Institute collects, organizes and preserves materials on our region's historical heritage.
Cooperation with Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities
History faculty are active in programs sponsored and funded by the North Dakota Humanities Council. In recent years, faculty have written and presented on genocide in Bosnia, suicide and divorce in the Civil War South, the Dakota War of 1862 and French Colonial policies in Indochina.