The History Department at WKU offers several programs of study for undergraduate students: a major or minor in History, a major Social Studies, and minors in African American Studies, Legal Studies, and Latin American Studies. Undergraduates also have the option of taking graduate courses through the JUMP program. For more information on all of these programs, see the links on the left side of this page.
Why study history?
When students (or their parents) ask this question, there are usually at least two other questions implied: "How can it help me make a living?" and "How can history make me a better person?"
How can it help me make a living?
Studying history conveys skills and knowledge that will contribute a great deal to your career. History majors pursue careers in politics, teaching, law, government, entertainment, and the business world. Famous history majors include President John F. Kennedy, Supreme Court justices Elena Kagan, Anthony Kennedy, and Sonia Sotomayor, Newt Gingrich, Robert Johnson (founder of BET), Susan Wojcicki (CEO of YouTube), CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer, ESPN anchor Chris Berman, Jimmy Buffett, Conan O'Brien, Steve Carrell, and Larry David.
Your history training will pay dividends. History majors earn as much as Business majors over the course of their professional lives, according to research. That's because the skills history teaches - critical thinking, data analysis, writing, and argument - prepare students to adapt and succeed in the rapidly-evolving employment marketplace. History students have a wide variety of potential career paths; for more information see "What can you do with a degree in history?"
How can history make me a better person?
This question is even more important, since making a living is only part of one's life. History is the collective experience of humankind. It provides perspective and knowledge which helps us understand the present and it presents a hope that we may avoid mistakes made in the past. As the most wide-ranging of all academic disciplines, history helps satisfy the curious mind which is not content with the present, but must query the past and attempt to peer into the future. History teaches us to collect, analyze and use evidence; such a trained mind is the most practical tool available to the human race.
Declaring a Major or Minor: The principal advisor for the undergraduate program is Dr. Jennifer Walton-Hanley (email@example.com). To set up an appointment, email Dr. Hanley, visit the department office, or call (270) 745-3841.