Bachelor of Science in History

Bachelor of Science in History

Learn from the past, prepare for the future

History does more than give you a window into the past. It also helps you make better sense of the world we live in today and gain a better understanding of how people and organizations behave.

That kind of insight doesn't just make you a good historian. It also prepares you for countless careers that rely on one-on-one relationships, such as law, business, finance and more. See how a bachelor's degree in history from Clarkson University can get you started.

Why Major in History at Clarkson?

At Clarkson, we use history as a way to look forward. You'll learn about distant lives, times and places. But, you'll study them with an eye toward building your ability to think critically about the world we live in now. And, always, with your own future in mind, as well.

All your classes will develop the habits and techniques employers look for — skills like communication, innovative problem-solving, research skills and teamwork.

What You'll Learn

In addition to your pre-professional classes, you'll take a series of electives that span from ancient times to the post-World War II era. Classes look at science, medicine, technology, society and war studies and the ancient, medieval and modern world. Some of those courses include:

  • Ancient Medicine and Magic
  • History of Women and Gender in America
  • Modern Sex: Sexualities and Genders in Modern America
  • The Construction of Nazi Germany
  • Voices of the Past
  • War and Society
  • War in the Middle Ages

The history program consists of 31 credit hours in history and 15 credit hours in pre-professional external fields. 30 credit hours are in free electives, which is enough to complete a minor or second major if you so choose.

All courses are 3 credits unless noted.

Click here for a sample curriculum schedule

Clarkson Common Experience

The following courses are required for all students, irrespective of their program of study. These courses are offered during the fall semester, with FY100 First-Year Seminar being required of only first-year students. Both FY100 and UNIV190 are typically taken during the fall semester of the first year at Clarkson.
FY100 First-Year Seminar (1 credit)
UNIV190 The Clarkson Seminar (3 credits)

History Core Requirements

Students are required to complete the following courses:


  • HSS120 Introducing the Liberal Arts (1 credit)
  • HSS480 Major Research Seminar

Professional Experience

Students are required to complete the following Professional Experience:
HSS480 Major Research Seminar

History Core Electives

Students must complete nine of the following courses, including one pre-modern and one modern history course:*


  • HIST343 War in the Middle Ages
  • HIST345 The Civil War
  • HIST346 America: 1790-1850
  • HIST347 World War I in History and Literature
  • HIST348 World War II: The European Theater
  • HIST349 Cold War History: 1945-1955
  • HIST350 History of Nazi Germany
  • HIST320 Medicine & Society in America
  • HIST351 History of the Holocaust
  • HIST323 War Literature II
  • HIST352 European History: 1789-1914
  • HIST325 Sexuality & Health in America History
  • HIST353 Medicine and Medical Ethics During the Third Reich
  • HIST326 Modern Sex: Sexualities and Genders in Modern America
  • HIST354 The Construction of Nazi Germany
  • HIST327 History of Women & Gender in America
  • HIST328 History of Gender and Sexuality in the Transatlantic World
  • HIST356 Nazi Germany at War
  • HIST355 Secret War: Codebreaking & the Clandestine Services in WWII
  • HIST329 History of the American Family
  • HIST360 Voices of the Past
  • HIST380 Middle Ages & Renaissance Survey
  • HIST331 Ancient Medicine & Magic
  • HIST390-99 Special Topics
  • HIST332 Documenting Social Activism
  • HIST391 ST: Medieval Survey
  • HIST333 Science, Technology & Society in the Renaissance
  • HIST398 The Virtual Past: Local History goes Digital
  • HIST334 Crime and Gender in Early Modern Europe
  • HIST459 Neuroscience and Society
  • HIST335 History of Medicine in Europe and North America
  • HIST485 Advanced Topics
  • HIST338 Women, Gender and Science in American History
  • HIST490 Independent Study
  • HIST340 Warfare in Ancient Greece
  • HIST342 War and Gender

*Students should work with their academic advisors to find the courses that best fit their interests.

History Electives

Pre-Professional External Field Electives

Students must complete five courses in a pre-professional external field, such as business, communications and media, pre-dentistry, pre-law, pre-medicine, pre-occupational therapy, pre-physician assistant, pre-physical therapy, pre-veterinary, etc. This pre-professional concentration provides students with opportunities to increase career choices while exploring a wide variety of interests through their major.


Although not required, students are encouraged to take a history course while studying abroad, and to do historical internships, such as a local history museum.

Knowledge Area/University Course Electives

Students will have at least 15 credit hours available to use toward Knowledge Area and/or University Course electives to satisfy the Clarkson Common Experience requirements.

Free Electives

Students will have approximately 30 credit hours available to use toward courses of their choice.

History is everywhere — and so are co-ops and internships where you can put your research skills to real-world use. In the past, Clarkson students have found opportunities in museums, local history projects, newspapers and other organizations with archives. Learn more about co-ops and internships.

Studying history in a close-knit department like ours means you'll have the opportunity to work side-by-side with faculty. That includes working on interdisciplinary research related to the environment, health, gender and sexuality and business. Learn more about research at Clarkson.

With more than 200 clubs and organizations to choose from, you'll have plenty of chances to dive deeper into your academic interests — or pursue something far from them. Build leadership skills in ROTC, participate in a community service group or try a club sport. Explore Clarkson's clubs and organizations.

Of the 120 credits you need to graduate, 31 are devoted to history classes (plus another 15 for your pre-professional concentration). That leaves you the flexibility to pursue other interests. The Department of Humanities and Social Sciences offers several that complement a history degree, including gender and sexuality studies, literature and the arts and philosophy. 

These are two of the most popular:


Understanding other cultures gives you a better perspective on your own. As an anthropology minor, you'll ask how other societies raise children, grow food, handle gender differences and apportion power.

Learn about the anthropology minor.

War Studies

What causes war? How has it affected societies throughout history — and how can we use those lessons to shape policies and decisions now? The war studies minor will give you the kind of research, analytical and communication skills valued by government, media organizations, NGOs and other employers.

Learn about the war studies minor.

Studying history is about understanding different perspectives. There's no quicker route to do that than studying abroad. While you're not required to spend a semester overseas, we encourage you to do so.

Learn more about Clarkson's study-abroad opportunities.

Career Possibilities

Some of the most popular fields that history majors go into are expecting rapid growth over the next decade. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for postsecondary teachers, management analysts and lawyers is expected to rise by more than 10 percent.

A history major prepares you for work in fields like:

  • Business
  • Education
  • Journalism
  • Law
  • Museums
  • Not-for-profits and start-ups
  • Politics

Contact Us

Department of Humanities and Social Sciences
Phone: 315-268-4365

Want to talk more about a history degree from Clarkson? Contact the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences today with your questions.

Go Global, Do Good

You want to give a voice to people who are often unheard. Our social documentation double major program gives you the tools to do that. You'll add a double major in communication, learning the research and production skills employers want — like developing websites or producing oral histories.

Learn more about the social documentation double major

Make History Happen

Blend the past into your profession with a history degree from Clarkson University. Contact us today to learn more.