College of Arts and Sciences
- Humanities Division
- Kapelski Learning Center, Room 302
- tel: 610-499-4341
Rachel A. Batch, PhD
- Chair of the History Department and Associate Professor
- Kapelski Learning Center, Room 311
- tel: 610-499-1137
Find answers to frequently asked questions about the history major at Widener.
If you have additional questions, please contact us by phone or e-mail (see Contact information on left) or schedule a visit.
I love history, but what can I do with a history degree if I don’t want to be a teacher?
History majors land many types of jobs and become successful professionals in a wide variety of fields. You’ll love what you study in college, and you’ll gain research, critical thinking, and communication skills that employers demand. As the professional network LinkedIn shows, history majors are talented, versatile, entrepreneurial, and employed.
I would like to be a high school history teacher. Should I major in history or in education?
We recommend that you major in history to have a solid foundation of what you’ll be teaching to your students and that you seek a secondary education certification at the same time. You might also be interested in pursuing your bachelor of arts in history, plus certification and a master’s degree in education on a fast-track program we offer.
Aren’t my financial prospects better in a “more practical” major?
According to a recent study cited in the Wall Street Journal, the starting median salary for graduates with a bachelor of arts in history is higher than the median salary for graduates who have degrees in biology, criminal justice, graphic design, hospitality & tourism, health care administration, psychology, and sociology. The median mid-career salary for history graduates was also substantially higher than the median mid-career salary for graduates in those fields.
Is the history curriculum flexible enough for me to double major in history and something else?
Absolutely! We encourage you (and will help you) to explore other programs at Widener that will complement and extend your knowledge and interests. Some of our history majors pursue
There are many options for you to consider for a double major or a minor.
Can I get course credit for an internship in a historical field?
Yes! Our students do so and gain valuable experience in museums, archives, and libraries, and at historical sites. They share their stories with current students about the behind-the-scenes action and discoveries they make–like how high-tech public history is.
What are recent Widener graduates in history doing now?
Our recent graduates work in business, consulting, media solutions, and the telecommunications industry. They are also high school teachers, university administrators, and attorneys.
Which graduate programs have Widener history graduates attended?
Recent graduates have received graduate degrees from Villanova Law School, Rutgers Law School, Carnegie Mellon School of Business, Villanova Department of History, Brandeis University–Global Studies, University of Pennsylvania–Asian Studies, and Widener Center for Education.
Are there any famous and successful people who majored in history in college?
Famous history majors include
- Presidents and Vice-Presidents: Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Richard M. Nixon, George W. Bush, Joe Biden
- Business leaders: Chris Hughes (co-founder of Facebook), Samuel Palmisano (CEO of IBM), Robert Johnson (CEO of BET TV), James Kilts (CEO of the Gillette Corporation), Howard Stringer (CEO of Sony), Richard B. Fisher (Chairman of Morgan Stanley)
- Entertainers: Jeannine Garofalo, Steve Carell, Conan O’Brian, Julia Child, Katharine Hepburn
- Other successful people: W.E.B. DuBois, Wolf Blitzer (CNN), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, and on the U.S. Supreme Court, Justices Anthony Kennedy, Antonin Scalia, and Elena Kagan