What is History?

The study of history is absolutely crucial to understanding the modern world. It is impossible to comprehend a war, an election, or the story of your own neighborhood without first and foremost understanding its backstory. History is far from a dry, irrelevant collection of facts–it is the examination of how the past has created the world we inhabit and how the past remains present in all we do (even in ways we cannot perceive). Related to sociology, psychology, economics, demography, anthropology, ethnography, the field of history is truly dynamic, as historians interpret fresh evidence and ask new questions to create narratives about the past that are always changing or being revised. Historians examine how the interrelation between historical structures (weather, diasporas, large-scale economic and technological change), major events (wars, famines, revolutions, elections, political movements, inventions), and local communities and individual people. In recent decades historians have greatly expanded their range of inquiry to include the experiences of people (minorities, women, workers, immigrants) whose pasts had not been previously included in the “master narrative” of the American nation.

What Can I Do With a History Degree?

The skills that students acquire from the study of history prepare them for a great number of professions. History requires students to assess evidence, interpret conflicting versions of the facts, communicate information, and how to understand the ever-changing, twenty-first century world society in which they live. This training leads to a broad number of career paths, including law, teaching, and public history. Increasingly, employers seek university graduates who can read, write, think critically, and possess a diverse skill set centered on research and communication. The adaptability of historical training equips its students for a variety of fields in the modern workplace.

How Does Albany State’s History Program Work?

To give its graduates the fullest possible academic experience, the History program at Albany State University favors classroom instruction which is both traditional and technologically-advanced as well as such hands on experiences as internships in academic research, law, and government service. The History program works with such local institutions as the Albany Civil Rights Institute, the Ritz Cultural Center, and the Thronateeska Heritage Center to give its students the opportunity to contribute in the recovery of the fragile past of their own community.

The Bachelor of Arts degree with a concentration in History is comprised of three emphasis areas:

  • American History
  • European History
  • Non-Western History

The History program is supported by substantial library holdings at Albany State University and throughout the University System of Georgia as well as from such large on-line databases as Galileo and JSTOR. The Department of History, Political Science, and Public Administration also has access to a computer laboratory for use by students.

Double Major in History and Political Science

The double major in History and Political Science allows a student to gain the skills associated with the two majors and to do so with a maximum of 133 academic hours. With only one extra semester, a student can attain all of the basic skills of the two majors. After taking the core courses required in both of the majors (60 academic hours), the student will take the major components of the two disciplines. In History, he/she will take courses from three separate areas: American History, European History, and Non-Western History. In Political Science, he/she will take courses from the following areas: International Relations/Comparative Government; American, National, State, and Local Government; and Constitutional Law. The student will then choose a subject in either History or Political Science for his/her senior research project. This concentration will provide students with a very effective program of courses for Pre-Law while also giving them the tools for success in graduate studies.