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History Major


Historians study the people and events of the past to better understand and meet the challenges of the future. Our history majors learn to think like historians, perform careful research, and communicate what they find in meaningful ways.





Total Credit Hours: 120

History Courses (39 hours)

General Education (45 hours)

Electives (36-57hours)

What You'll Study

  • 120 credit hours for a Bachelor of Arts in History, including Virginia Tech's Pathways 
  • 39 credits of history courses, including Introduction to the Research University, Historical Methods, and Critical Readings and Analysis
  • History Research Seminar, with an option to complete a senior thesis or semester-long research project
  • A sequence of two survey courses to give a broad overview of a region or theme in history
  • Deeper study of courses in the following themes:
    • Empires, Colonialism, and Globalization
    • Ideas, Traditions, and Cultures
    • Science, Technology, Environment, and Medicine
    • Conflict, War, and Peace

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What is a Major in History?

Studying history offers you new ways to think about people, places, and events in the past. In the process, it also helps you develop critical thinking skills, conduct research, analyze sources, craft arguments, and uncover the diverse ways that the past continues to shape the present.

Why Study History?

We pride ourselves on an innovative curriculum, an emphasis on learning outside the classroom, and close-working relationships between our award-winning history faculty and our students, who leave well prepared for graduate or professional school. Graduates often go into teaching, business, government, and other careers that value analytical thinking and strong research and writing skills.

Beyond the Classroom

Majoring in history at Virginia Tech means joining an active and welcoming community. Our faculty work side-by-side with you to advise you on pursuing research interests, presenting and publishing your work, and preparing you for a career after graduation. Our award-winning Phi Alpha Theta chapter and the history club hold regular get-togethers, service projects, and events like Stump the Chumps — our annual student-versus-faculty trivia challenge.



We place a strong emphasis on undergraduate research, so there are many opportunities to submit papers to conferences and publish research in peer-reviewed journals like Philologia or our own Undergraduate Historical Review.

History majors can also apply for the Undergraduate Research Scholarship. Details can be found here!



Immersing yourself in a culture is an important aspect of being a history major, so we encourage students to conduct hands-on study. We sponsor study abroad programs and partner with local historical organizations and public history projects, where you can participate in preservation and get valuable experience. Our department also operates the Virginia Center for Civil War Studies, which sponsors outreach opportunites for students.




Our program offers hands-on work in public and digital history as well as local, regional, and national internships. Work with faculty like Tom Ewing and Amy Nelson on digital history projects.



What Our Students Are Saying

Careers and Further Study

What do I do with a history major?

Our students earn real-world experience that helps them land a job when they graduate and history training that's relevant regardless of their career path. Many choose to go on to graduate school to pursue research interests and an advanced degree.

Here are some common jobs our graduates take after graduation:

  • Museum Curator
  • Legislative Staffer
  • Intelligence Analyst
  • Publishing Coordinator
  • Inventory Specialist
  • Law Associate
  • Secondary Educator