Published Date

January 1, 2014

Resource Type

For Departments, Program of Study

AHA Topics

Academic Departmental Affairs, Teaching & Learning, The History Major, Undergraduate Education

This resource was developed as part of the AHA’s Tuning project.

By Kate Lang

Institution: Univ. of Wisconsin–Eau Claire
Degree Name: BA/BS in History
Location: Eau Claire, WI
Year: 2014


Purpose of the Degree

History students become informed citizens who know how to think critically, communicate effectively, and understand and appreciate diversity while they evaluate and present different interpretations of the past. They uncover evidence and use it to explain the meaning and impact of events in local, national and global contexts.

Characteristics of the Program

Students can complete a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science in History at UW-Eau Claire in either the College of Arts and Sciences or the College of Education and Human Sciences. The BA option in Arts and Sciences enables students to combine their interest in history with foreign language study. The BS option in Arts and Sciences allows students to combine their passion for history with more extensive study in math and science providing a foundation for careers requiring that knowledge. All history students at UW-Eau Claire complete a senior thesis; many make use of the Archives and Special Collections department at McIntyre Library, which is an Area Research Center for the Wisconsin Historical Society. Students have opportunities to study abroad and in different parts of the United States where they can learn about global diversity first hand. Faculty in our Public History program can prepare students for work in careers where they preserve and interpret the past and the Northern Field Services Office of the Wisconsin Historical Society located in the history department can help them find appropriate internships. Our History and Social Studies Education program is selective in admission and focused on high-quality preparation of teachers for the middle school and high school history classroom. Students are supervised closely in both content and methods. Most education majors complete a BA degree, but those pursuing certification to teach math should pursue a BS.

Career Pathways for the Graduate

Majoring in History prepares students to work in a wide variety of fields. Most History graduates use the skills and knowledge they acquire in college to pursue careers in business or the public sector. They are able to conceptualize complex questions that do not have easy answers. They can read critically, manage and analyze information, build logical arguments, write persuasively, conduct independent research and work on teams. We encourage History majors to visit career services during their sophomore year to begin exploring career options. A small number pursue PhD’s and become history professors. Many go to law school, and some become middle or high school teachers. An increasing number of our students pursue the Public History Emphasis in the major to prepare for careers at museums, archives, historic sites or contract history firms. Students interested in working with American Indian tribes in Wisconsin and Minnesota should choose the BA in History combined with a minor or certificate in American Indian Studies. Those who wish to pursue careers in information management should consider the Certificate in Information Systems. Students interested in going to graduate school to pursue healthcare careers should choose the BS in History combined with the Pre-Professional Health Science minor. Academic advisers can help students explore other minors and certificates to enhance their employability or prepare them for specific graduate programs.

Educational Style

History classes vary in terms of size and methods of instruction. Students will have opportunities to practice history in small seminars (20 students) during the three-semester capstone sequence during which they complete their senior thesis and in the Public History seminar (15 students) where they create a product for a public agency. The faculty are committed to student centered learning, so while there are lecture classes, students can also expect to see hybrid classes, flipped classrooms and active learning pods where they can explore topics in history and present their work to the group. Lower division classes cap at 66-75 students and upper division classes cap at 28-30 because they are writing intensive. Online classes are available, especially during winterim and summer terms. We encourage students to study abroad. History faculty lead summer programs in England and Central Europe. History faculty also lead domestic intercultural immersion programs so that students can study African American or Native American history where it happened. History students can expect to be examined on their reading assignments, to conduct research, and to write papers in which they analyze both primary and secondary sources.

Program Competencies and Outcomes

History graduates will be able to:

1. Analyze diverse experiences of or viewpoints on past events or historical developments.

2. Recognize both continuity and change over time and describe their consequences.

3. Complete a substantial historical research project, identifying and interpreting primary and secondary sources and communicating results effectively in writing and orally.

4. Construct arguments that explain how history can inform the present.

5. Evaluate credibility, position, or perspective of various forms of historical evidence.

6. Compare and connect local, national, and global histories.

Public History graduates will also be able to:

7. Create complex interpretations of the past collaboratively with public audiences.