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.

Institution: Wingate University
Degree Name: Bachelor of Arts in History
Location: Wingate, NC
Year: 2014


Purpose of the Degree

Wingate University history majors critically analyze evidence from the past to make sense of the human experience in its local, national, and global contexts. They research in libraries, archives, museums, and the internet and engage in conversations with diverse peoples to find the answers to questions and solve problems. They thoughtfully and creatively construct written and verbal arguments and narratives based on the critical analysis of primary and secondary sources. They use these skills to enhance their own understanding of current issues and debates, and to contribute to a variety of professions, including business, science, the arts, and the humanities.

Characteristics of the Program

Wingate University history majors can complete a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science History degree. The BA option enables students to combine their interest in history with foreign language study, while the BS option allows students to combine their passion for history with the study of math and sciences to better prepare them for careers requiring that knowledge. All Wingate history majors take an Introduction to History course which introduces them to a variety of career opportunities for their major, helps them to better understand historical methods, theories, and current debates, and prepares them to make the most out of their time at Wingate. Wingate history majors take survey and upper-level courses in United States, European, Latin American, Asian, African, and Global history, providing them with a solid foundation of knowledge of all the world’s history, as well as explorations of more specific topics of interest to them personally. Wingate history majors can choose to do a local, national, or international internship with an organization of their choice to help them get a head-start on their career. Wingate students also have many opportunities for international study, volunteer-work, and travel. Lastly, Wingate history majors do a Senior Thesis on a topic of their choosing, with a professor of their choosing as their mentor through the process of selecting a topic, conducting the research, analyzing the sources, writing an essay worthy of publication, and presenting their research to public audiences. This Senior Thesis allows the history major the freedom to passionately pursue investigation of a specific historical question or problem and creatively construct a solution or answer to their question, and share this accomplishment with the public, employers, and graduate admissions officers.

Career Pathways for the Graduate

Majoring in History prepares students to work in a wide variety of careers. Their problem-solving, communication, and research skills are valuable assets in business and government positions, and their understanding of the past helps them to succeed in Public History (such as museum, archival, and historical preservation work), Academic History, Legal careers, Elementary and Secondary History Education, and historical sciences, such as archeology and anthropology. A 2014 survey of Wingate history major alumni indicates that roughly 30% of our history majors go to graduate school and 70% enter employment following graduation. 75% of Wingate history majors found employment within six months of graduating, while another 21% found employment within one year. Our graduates have careers as teachers, sales associates, military personnel, research assistants, lawyers, museum workers, history professors, and judges. Roughly 20% of our alumni now make more than $100,000 per year, 20% make between $50,000-$100,000, and 30% make between $25,000 and $50,000 per year. Obviously, Wingate’s history majors are a diverse group of people with a wide variety of career paths!

Educational Style

Wingate University history professors research and present, guide student research and internships, and lead W’international classes all over the world. We have at least one specialist in all regions of the world so that no matter what part of the globe interests a student, he or she can work with a professor who shares that passion.

Wingate’s history classes vary in size from 5–15 students in upper-level courses to 20–28 students in our survey-level courses. With these small class sizes, our professors can give our majors individual attention and get to know them one-on-one. History faculty employ a variety of teaching methods, from cooperative group problem-solving, to tutoring one-on-one, to engaging lectures built around interesting audio-visuals. Students actively participate in class discussions, learning from each other as well as from their professors. Students practice their critical thinking, writing, and speaking skills in every class.

Wingate students write an original research paper for their Senior Thesis, have numerous opportunities for internships, and take comprehensive examinations to demonstrate what they have learned at the end of their tenure at Wingate, all of which are considered “high-impact practices” by the American Association of Colleges and Universities.

Program Competencies and Outcomes

Similar to the learning outcomes supported by the American Historical Association, Wingate University’s History faculty have developed the following six learning outcomes for our history majors:

  1. Students are able to explain main themes of global history, including issues and events significant to areas outside the United States and Europe
  2. Students understand and apply basic research methods in history, including using search tools, gathering primary and secondary sources, and assessing critically those sources
  3. Students demonstrate an ability to comprehend and explain major issues and trends in historiography
  4. Students communicate ideas clearly, concisely, and convincingly, in both written and oral form
  5. Students develop skills of historical analysis and interpretation
  6. Students demonstrate an ability to understand current events in their historical context

While history majors demonstrate these knowledge, skills, and abilities in many classes, they are formally assessed through completion of assignments in the Introduction to History course, Senior Exit Examination (a set of comprehensive essays graded by all history faculty), Senior Exit survey administered to all graduating history majors, and completion of the requirements of the Senior Thesis paper and presentation. These learning outcomes and assessments have been approved by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools accreditation organization.

Caroline Hoefferle
Caroline Hoefferle

Wingate University