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Overview

Before we delve into the European facet, let’s say that as a history major, generally speaking, your goal is to study the past in order to gain perspective on the present—pretty straightforward, but not as easy as it sounds. You’ll learn how to think critically about historical events and cultures and apply what you learn to the analysis of our world. History isn’t set in stone—it’s always open to new interpretations, critiques, questions, investigations, and analyses. And as a student of history, you’ll be involved in those processes. As with any humanities major, you’ll learn how to communicate your ideas, both spoken and written, persuasively and skillfully. History majors become experts on the world and how it has taken shape—and they use their expertise in a wide variety of fields.

Your studies in European history might take the form of a major in some colleges and as a concentration or minor in others. If you’re romanced by the Renaissance and the Reformation, you’ll be right at home while you examine the lingering effects of each. War, conflict, angst, pain, triumph, and victory will all play a part in your whirlwind education, spanning from the rise and fall of the Napoleonic Empire, the Versailles treaty, and the rise of Fascism through the French Revolution, World War I, and World War II. You’ll dissect the role the U.S. has played in European affairs and vice versa. By studying these and other fascinating aspects of European history, you’ll gain a new understanding of the culture, attitudes, and politics of modern Europe.

Summers in Europe may not be a mandatory, or even optional, part of your studies in this major, but it’s a great excuse to get away anyway. Field trip!

SAMPLE CURRICULUM

  • Anglo-Irish Relations

  • Europe 1400–1600

  • Europe Since 1945

  • Ireland Since 1600

  • Nineteenth-Century Germany

  • Politics and Economics in Western Europe

  • Reading, Writing, and Research for History

  • The French Revolution and the Napoleonic Empire

  • The Holocaust

  • The Renaissance

  • Twentieth-Century France

  • Western Civilization

  • World Civilizations

  • World War I

  • World War II


HIGH SCHOOl PREPARATION

A solid background in the humanities will be your best preparation for a European history major. Fill your schedule with challenging courses in English, philosophy, religion, and of course, history. Take classes that will help you improve your writing and speaking skills. Language courses will be a great addition to your schedule—some European history programs might even require several semesters of a foreign language, so getting a head start now is a good idea.