Why Major in History?

Do you have a passion for the past? Do you want to connect with the people and events that have shaped our world? With Penn State Altoona’s History degree program, you can make those connections while developing skills and insights that will help prepare you for a wide range of careers.

At the college level, the study of History involves not simply learning facts about people and places of the past, but also sharpening your skills of analysis and interpretation. As a History major, you will develop your talent in research, reporting, evaluating evidence and artifacts, and gaining understanding of your own and foreign cultures. Importantly, you’ll learn to effectively analyze the past, while also preparing to become a critical thinker and leader of tomorrow.

Doug Page, Tabetha Paterick, Mark McNicholas

Fall 2017 Commencement

Congratulations to Tabetha Paterick, student marshall for the Division of Arts and Humanities, and December 2017 graduate!

Program Highlights

As a Penn State Altoona History major, your studies will begin with a broad exploration in two of three central historic perspectives:

  • western civilization
  • American history
  • world history.

You will also choose among courses on a wide range of topics and eras in American, European, Asian, and world history, from the ancient Mediterranean and China to contemporary America and the Middle East, and focusing on such subjects as madness, the environment, major wars and their eras, women’s history, and public history — the practice of working with historical artifacts and documents and making them accessible to the public.

As a senior, you will choose a capstone experience that lets you apply your knowledge and skills through either a major research project or a hands-on internship of your choice.


The bachelor of arts degree in History, with its emphasis on analytical and communication skills, helps prepare students for a broad spectrum of possibilities in business, sales, law, government, and museum and library careers. Our alumni have gone on to become educators, museum administrators, park rangers, and professionals in a variety of private-sector settings.