History | College of Liberal Arts
skip to content The University of Texas at Austin

Undergraduate Program

B.A. degree, History major

Students come to the UT History department for a wide range of reasons. Some are curious about the origins of their families, hometowns, or religious and cultural traditions, while others want to learn more about the current state of the world—how it came to be the way it is today. Still others like to read about the grand sweep of hum an history, with all its attendant drama driven not only by fascinating individuals and big ideas, but also by the choices of ordinary people and the imperatives of everyday life. 

Studying history alerts us to the ways that people contend with and shape the natural environment, and the reasons why people gather into groups and identify themselves in certain ways.  History is a story more lively and intriguing than a novel because it is real--as best we can determine from the available evidence! Doing history means playing detective in order to locate, study, and then piece together information gleaned from documents and other kinds of materials, with the aim of telling a true story about the human past.

Regardless of students’ reasons for wanting to study history, they find that majoring in history here at UT offers them a number of real benefits.  History majors learn to write well and think critically. They become skilled in evaluating different kinds of evidence, and in organizing large research projects.  They study with professors who are distinguished not only for their scholarly research but also for their classroom teaching, men and women who inspire as well as instruct. Possessed of the skills that are the hallmark of an educated person, our majors go on to careers in any number of fields-- education, business, law, finance, policy-making, government service, entertainment, and more.

The history major prepares students not only for diverse workplaces, but also for a life of engaged citizenship, as all of us confront an ever more complicated and interconnected world. As a history student, you will study with some of the finest teachers at UT, graduate with the skills that every job-seeker needs today, and learn about the U. S. and its relations with the rest of the world. Few other majors in the university offer comparable benefits—and such interesting and lively lectures and reading assignments ripe for discussion and debate!

See also: "Why Study History?" from the American Historical Association.