B.A. in History

Historians explore the processes of change that cross societies, connect cultures, and link our increasingly complex and global present with the past. By offering a range of courses covering the diversity of historical experience across the globe and from ancient times to the dawn of our own century, our History curriculum presents a rich field of narrative and analysis.

Students gain a deepening awareness and curiosity about the past, acquire the essentials of the historian’s craft, and develop a sense of historical connection with the wider world. By exploring narratives and analyzing patterns of change and continuity, students will develop the skills of critical thinkers and writers; learn to independently identify and interpret sources; practice the construction of meaningful arguments; and become proficient at the clear explanation and compelling expression of evidence and ideas.

The Department of History and Political Science offers a major and minor in History and students can also prepare to become middle school and high school teachers through our Integrated Social Studies Teacher Licensure Program.

Curriculum Information

History majors begin by taking a 1000- level and 2000-level course, then the sophomore level methods and theory course, and finish the major with the senior research seminar. Other requirements include electives in each of our four main geographic areas of specialty: Asia, Africa, Europe, and North America. See the Otterbein University Catalog for the complete History major requirements.

Faculty Expertise

Otterbein’s history faculty have a wide range of expertise and interests. Our areas of research and teaching span the globe to include Africa, the Americas, Asia, and Europe, and stretch across time from pre-modern to modern history. In our scholarship and in our teaching, we show students what it means to consider issues through a variety of historical approaches including cultural, intellectual, economic, political, and social history.

Study and Internship Opportunities

Otterbein students have many opportunities to experience history outside of the classroom:

  • Students can join the department’s chapter of Phi Alpha Theta, the national history honors society, and present their work at Phi Alpha Theta’s regional and national conferences for undergraduates.
  • Students can make connections between classroom learning and the community by participating in service learning. History students have collected oral histories from immigrant communities in the Columbus area, traveled to archives in Washington, D.C. and the University of Michigan to conduct research, and have gone to Detroit to explore that city’s industrial and working-class history.
  • Students can engage in firsthand, independent research through an the Honors or Distinction Programs.
  • History majors have done a range of internships, including in state and local government, at Columbus law firms, and at the Ohio History Connection in Columbus.

Career Opportunities and Future Paths

A degree in history provides students with the training and background needed to attain success in a variety of professions and pursuits, including teaching; working in public history, museums, libraries and archives; government service; all types of business; journalism; and non-profit organizations. Majoring in History also prepares students well for law school and graduate school in history and related disciplines. For further information about what you can do with a History major, we suggest that you visit the American Historical Association’s Careers for History Majors web site. Faculty advisors in our department are also available to help you develop a career plan.

For those interested in teaching, we work with Otterbein’s Education Department to prepare students for careers as middle school and high school social studies teachers. Students interested in 7-12 grade social studies teaching major in History while also completing the teacher licensure program in the Education Department.