The history major at Penn State Altoona seeks to train students broadly yet also allow them the flexibility to pursue special areas of interest. A minimum of 37 credits in history is required for the major.
History majors begin by laying a strong foundation for studying the past by taking two of the three survey sequences in U.S. history, European history, and World history. Students in the major must also take the undergraduate seminar, History 302W, sometime in their sophomore or junior year. This course introduces them to essential questions concerning the philosophy of history, research methodologies, and historiography (which is the history of how history has changed over time). Students will then be prepared to meet the higher expectations in the areas of critical reading and research found in the 400-level courses, 12 credits of which they must complete.
The final requirement of the history major is the senior capstone, which forms the most distinctive feature of the Penn State Altoona history program. Students may pursue either the research track or the applied track, depending on their interests and career plans. The research track entails the writing of a senior thesis under the direction of a faculty thesis adviser on a subject of the student's own choosing. The applied track consists of an internship experience, again under the direction of a faculty adviser, at a site where the student can use and develop their essential skills in a professional setting commensurate with their intended career.
History graduates at Penn State Altoona will thus be both well trained and positioned for success as they then move on to either post-graduate study or right into a profession.