History Major

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What will I study?

The History major introduces the student to a broad array of knowledge about humankind since the onset of civilization. Courses are offered in U.S., Latin American, European, Asian, Ancient, and Middle Eastern History. The major focuses on reading and interpreting primary sources to gain a first-hand experience and understanding of the context and meaning of events for those who lived in the past. Understanding the past is essential to understand the present and predicting the future.

Research papers, seminars, exams, and projects hone the skills necessary for an historian, and these same skills are necessary in many other fields, especially government and law, all fields of teaching, any projects requiring the collection, interpretation and analysis of data, and many corporate positions. The Senior capstone projects, including a choice of either an individualized Senior Thesis or Senior Seminar, help students demonstrate their mastery of analytical and expressive skills. The study of history is also essential to learn more about the great diversity of cultures in the past and in the contemporary world.

Students have the advantage of small class sizes, with introductory classes under 30 students and most elective History courses under 20 students. This gives you the ability to work closely with your professors and get the most out of your courses. 

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What facilities and resources are available?

Classrooms are equipt with modern, up to date technology, including computers and video projectors. The library offers solid collections of books and journals and an even larger collection of electronic resources, allowing a very wide range of documents and articles to research. The University's central location in southern Connecticut gives students easy access to other major area universities and to New York City, give them the ability to find other resources outside of campus. Our full-time faculty have graduate degrees from schools such as University of Connecticut, Yale University, Columbia University, Kent State University, College of William and Mary, and the University of Torontoersities and hold specialties in their sub-fields.

Will I have internship opportunities?

Yes, several well organized local-town historical societies offer internships with a variety of duties and projects. The Department of History assists students in attaining these desirable internships. Students in the history program have previously interned at the following locations: Fairfield Museum and Historical Society, Stamford Historical Society, Greenwich Historical Society, Connecticut Irish Historical Society (New Haven) and Barnum Museum (Bridgeport).

Aside from interning, student tutoring is available to upper level history majors. Well before their senior year when many students choose to follow the certificate in education and participate in a full semester of student teaching, students may elect in certain history courses to become involved in sharing their historical knowledge with primary and secondary students. Sacred Heart University has a special connection to Winthrop School in Bridgeport, where approximately 200 University students participate in various programs. Student tutoring is run through the Service Learning program at SHU.

Upper level history majors may apply to become a CLA (Classroom Learning Assistantships), which offers a stipend. CLAs assist in tutoring in the basic HI 101 course offered at the freshman level. They are assigned a number of office hours each week for student tutoring where they begin to get valuable training in pedagogy and working with students. While they do no grading, they assist students with understanding the primary sources and the secondary-source textbook.

Will I be able to study abroad?

Yes, Sacred Heart University has run trips to China, Latin America, and Europe, in which the department of history has played a major role in planning, touring, and teaching electives in the field. Sacred Heart University has established campuses in Ireland [Dingle, County Kerry] and the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, as well as official connections with the American University of Rome, University of Notre Dame in Fremantle and Sydney, Australia, and the University of Granada, Spain. Also, the Department of History sponsors a trip for students during Spring Break to Guatemala each year.

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Will I have research opportunities?

Yes, research opportunities include, but are not limited to: summer stipends for research, senior capstones that grant 6 credits for well-developed projects, work study's often assist faculty on research projects and internships.

What co-curricular activities are available?

Students can seek greater involvement through membership in Phi Alpha Theta, the international history honors society, through the SHU History Club and the Celtic Club. There are many more distinctive departmental programs and trips, such as: annual long weekends history trips (Gettysburg, Harper's Ferry and Charlottesville, VA) as well as  several local field trips in Connecticut and New York City (Tenement Museums, Metropolitan Museum of Art and The Cloisters).

Sacred Heart University is a leader in the State of Connecticut in Service Learning. In addition to several outstanding connections to the urban and suburban community, such as the SHU Campus Chapter of Habitat for Humanity, the Thomas Merton soup kitchen or the SHU Community Connections program, history students have directly offered their skills and time through oral histories, community language studies and tutoring.

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What are my career options with a History degree?

A large number of our alumni have been hired by school districts throughout New England, New York and New Jersey to be Social Science teachers. Aside from teaching, other careers our alumni have pursued have been for the government, corporations for management and finance, banks, legal firms and paralegals.

What graduate schools have your students enrolled in?

Alumni in the history program have pursued graduate degrees at the following schools: University of Connecticut, Arizona State University, University of Kentucky, College of William and Mary, Fordham University, National University of Ireland, Galway, CUNY Queen’s, St. John’s University, Kingston University, Brown University, University of Massachusetts, Leeds University and University of New Hampshire.