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Overview

An American History major is really just a specialized version of a regular history major. In practice, if you decide to major in American History, you'll take several American History courses but you'll also be required to take a wide variety of other kinds of history courses within the larger department.

No matter how thrilling (or dull) your high school American History and Civics classes have been, we can pretty much guarantee that American History courses in college will be a lot more exciting. You won't have to memorize a bunch of names and dates. No, there will be few - if any - matching quizzes in college-level history courses. Instead, you'll pursue major developments in American foreign policy from colonial times to the present; analyze the unique and fascinating contributions of the American West to the evolution of the United States; and discuss Jacksonian Democracy, Reconstruction, Progressivism, American Imperialism, and many other -isms.

Yeah, but can you get a job with a major in American History? Absolutely. If you major in American History, you'll learn how to think clearly and critically, to write clearly and convincingly, and to read intelligently. These are exactly the things all employers want.

SAMPLE CURRICULUM

  • African American History 1550-1880

  • American Democracy

  • American Economic History

  • Asian American History

  • Civil War and Reconstruction

  • Religion in American History

  • The American Revolution

  • The American West

  • The New Deal

  • The Sixties

  • The United States Constitution

  • United States History 1880 to Present

  • United States History to 1860

  • Women in Early and Victorian America


HIGH SCHOOl PREPARATION

History in general involves lots of critical thinking and a great deal of reading and writing. If you think you might major in American History, you obviously want to take as many courses in American history, civics, world history, and geography as you can. You should also take English composition so you can get good at writing essays. And, finally, take foreign language classes because you are almost certainly going to be required to take several foreign language classes as a liberal arts major.