History and Political Science College Major Guide 2024

What is a History and Political Science Major?

Diving into a History and Political Science major means you're setting yourself up for an engaging exploration of the past and the present, understanding how societies are built, governed, and how they interact on a global stage. It's not just about memorizing dates or political theories; it’s about comprehending the forces that shape our world. You'll learn to critically analyze events, policies, and cultures, and understand the complexities of social dynamics, power structures, and governance.

Top Courses Required for the History and Political Science Major

When you choose to major in History and Political Science, your coursework will span a wide array of subjects, offering a comprehensive look at the multifaceted nature of human societies. Here are some of the top courses you can expect to take:

  • Introduction to World History: This foundational course covers significant historical events across different periods and regions. It lays the groundwork for understanding global historical trends and contexts.

  • Political Theory: Delve into the ideas that have shaped political thought throughout history. From ancient philosophers to modern political scientists, this course examines how different theories of governance and power have evolved.

  • Comparative Politics: By comparing political systems across different countries, this course offers insights into how and why societies organize their governments in particular ways. It explores themes such as democracy, authoritarianism, and state development.

  • U.S. History: Focusing on the United States, this course examines key events, figures, and movements that have shaped the nation. It provides an in-depth look at American development from colonial times to the present.

  • International Relations: Explore the dynamics between countries on the global stage. This course covers theories of international politics, foreign policy analysis, and issues like war, diplomacy, and international organizations.

  • Research Methods in History and Political Science: Learn the tools and techniques for conducting research in history and political science. This course covers everything from archival research to statistical analysis, preparing you for advanced study or professional work in the field.

  • Public Policy Analysis: Understand how policies are formulated, implemented, and evaluated. This course examines case studies in various policy areas, such as healthcare, education, and environmental protection.

  • Civil Rights and Liberties: Dive into the legal and constitutional aspects of civil rights and liberties in different societies. It covers significant court cases and legislations that have shaped individual freedoms and societal norms.

These courses are designed to equip you with a broad knowledge base and critical thinking skills necessary for a wide range of careers or further academic pursuits. Whether your interest lies in becoming a historian, working in government or public service, or pursuing law or journalism, a major in History and Political Science offers a solid foundation to build upon.

History and Political Science Major FAQs

What can you do with a History and Political Science major?

With a strong foundation in history and political science, you're well-equipped for a variety of careers. Here are some paths you might consider:

  • Law: Many graduates go on to law school, as the major provides a solid grounding in understanding historical legal precedents and political theory.
  • Education: Teaching at the secondary or post-secondary level is a common route, either in history, political science, or related fields.
  • Public Service and Government: Positions in local, state, or federal government agencies are a natural fit, including policy analysis, diplomatic service, or working for elected officials.
  • Nonprofits and NGOs: Work on social issues, policy research, or international development with organizations looking to make a difference.
  • Journalism and Media: Covering politics, history, and current events for newspapers, websites, or broadcast media.

How does this major prepare you for law school or graduate studies?

The skills you develop in a History and Political Science major are directly applicable to advanced studies:

  • Critical Thinking and Analysis: You'll learn to critically evaluate sources and arguments, an essential skill for law school and graduate research.
  • Writing and Communication: The emphasis on writing prepares you for the extensive research papers and dissertations required in graduate programs.
  • Understanding of Historical Contexts and Political Systems: A deep understanding of societal structures and governance can provide a strong foundation for specialized legal or political science studies.

What skills do you gain from studying History and Political Science?

The interdisciplinary nature of this major helps you develop a broad range of valuable skills:

  • Analytical Skills: Assessing historical events and political theories helps sharpen your ability to analyze information.
  • Research Skills: You'll become adept at conducting thorough research using a variety of sources.
  • Communication Skills: Presenting your findings through written reports and oral presentations hones your ability to communicate complex ideas clearly.
  • Critical Thinking: Evaluating different perspectives on historical events and political issues fosters critical thinking.

Are there opportunities for internships or co-op programs?

Yes, many programs encourage or even require internships as part of the curriculum. These opportunities can provide:

  • Practical Experience: Apply what you've learned in real-world settings, whether in government agencies, law firms, historical societies, or nonprofit organizations.
  • Networking Opportunities: Build connections that can lead to future job offers or mentorship opportunities.
  • Skill Development: Further refine your research, writing, and analytical skills in a professional environment.

How can you specialize within this major?

Many programs offer concentrations or electives that allow you to focus on specific areas of interest. Examples include:

  • International Relations: Study the interactions between countries, focusing on diplomacy, conflict, and international organizations.
  • Public Policy: Focus on the development and implementation of public policies at local, national, or international levels.
  • Legal Studies: Prepare for law school with courses focused on constitutional law, legal history, and jurisprudence.
  • Cultural History: Explore the cultural aspects of history including art, literature, and philosophy.

Remember that choosing a concentration can help tailor your education to your career goals, but the broad skills you develop will be valuable in a wide range of fields.

History and Political Science Major Resources

Professional Associations

As a History and Political Science major, joining professional associations can significantly enhance your career prospects by offering networking opportunities, professional development resources, and industry insights. Here are some top associations you should consider:

Industry Publications

Staying informed about the latest research, trends, and discussions in your field is crucial for success. These publications are highly regarded within the History and Political Science communities:

  • The American Historical Review
    • Offers articles, reviews, and scholarly discussions on historical topics.
  • Journal of American History
    • Focuses on various aspects of American history.
  • Political Science Quarterly
    • Covers current political issues and theoretical problems.
  • International Security
    • Provides discussions on global security concerns.
  • Public Historian
    • Dedicated to making history relevant in public contexts.

Other Resources

To further enrich your knowledge and skills in History and Political Science, explore these additional resources:

  • H-Net: Humanities and Social Sciences Online
    • An interdisciplinary forum for scholars in the humanities and social sciences.
    • A digital library offering access to thousands of academic journals, books, and primary sources.
  • Project MUSE
    • Provides access to contemporary scholarship in the arts, humanities, and social sciences.
  • Career.Guide
    • Your go-to resource for career advice, resume tips, and job search strategies tailored for History and Political Science majors.

By leveraging these associations, publications, and resources, you can stay ahead in your field, find opportunities for growth, and make informed decisions about your career path.

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