What Can I Do With A History Major?

nicole bach Nichole Bach, History and Theology Major '09
Minneapolis Institute of Arts: Sales & Services Representative
"The museum world is highly competitive, and it takes time to work your way up into the career you desire. I am still working towards becoming a curator at a history museum, and although the jobs I have worked at aren't the most glamorous, it is important to get your foot in the door."                        
Stephanie Carlson, History Major '12
Graduate Programs in Museum Studies, University of Leicester and Edinburgh
My passion for history and the importance of remaining impartial in the representation of the past has been extremely useful for a recent position as a volunteer at Glensheen Mansion.  Both degree courses are exciting to me for various reasons, a big one being that I would get to continue my work studying history.
Nicole Hochsprung, History and Political Science Major, '10
Higher Education Association, American Federation of Teachers (AFL-CIO)
After working for a while at a job I knew was not my dream job, my contacts at AFT helped me return to Washington, D.C. as an intern.   From there I landed a job at the American Association of State Colleges and Universities helping faculty compete for research funds.  In late 2012 I returend to AFT as staff and I couldn't be happier. 

Tony Jensen, History Major '12    
Peace Corps

I have been interested in living and working abroad since high school. As I studied at CSBSJU and became more and more serious about an international career, I began to look for an experience that would test me and help me realize whether or not I was prepared for a future away from the United States. Peace Corps offered a good opportunity for me to do this by getting me to get out of my comfort zone and immersing me in a culture that is in many ways significantly different from my own. When I looked at my options during the fall of my senior year of college, I felt Peace Corps was a good fit.  

                                          Christine Johnson   

Christine Johnson, History Major '05
University of Edinburgh (Scotland, MSC Archaeology-2009) & Universtiy of Leicester (England, MA Museum Studies-2012)

In my day job, I look after the Director of Pharmacy's office to ensure that the entre Pharmacy Service for the whole capital area of Scotland is running efficiently and effectively. This includes working with other health boards around Scotland and the Scottish Government. I am also studying part time for my second master's degree out of Leicester, England, just working on the dissertation now! This is in museum studies to help prepare me for a career in either collection management and/or curatorship.

Matthew Kapsner

Matthew Kapsner, History Major '87
Rancher, Colorado
My wife and I manage our family ranch in central Colorado, on Sweetwater Creek, at the base of the Flattops Wilderness Area. I irrigate, fix fence, manage the hay cutting, oversee lease agreements for cattle and hunting, feed horses, plow snow and otherwise keep the place up.


Teresa Walch

Theresa Walch, History and German Major '10
Graduate Student, University of California - San Diego
Currently working on a Ph.D in European History, University of California-San Diego
Prior to Ph.D. program, Theresa volunteered, Aktion Sühnezeichen Friedensdienste (Action Reconciliation Service for Peace-ARSP), Dachau, Germany; I volunteered at the Church of Reconciliation, Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site.





































Former students comment on how the history major prepared them for life after college

 "If you have a passion or interest in history go for it!  Don't worry about how it may affect your employment opportunities after graduation.  A history major can prepare you for many careers." '01

 "A history major provided me the analytical skills regarding the "how's" and "why's" the past affects the present, as well as how/why actions taken in the present, may affect the future." '85                                  

"Be open minded. You don't have to use your history major directly for it to be useful, it will help you in ways you didn't think possible." '07        


"The ability to write well, analyze multiple contradictory sources of information and develop my own understanding has been invaluable in my career as a professional soldier. It has served me well in peace and war." '90

 "You might not end up with a career directly related to history, but it can help in any profession. Plus, you'll learn so much along the way. It taught me how to write clearly, collecting thoughts and ideas in an organized fashion and debating my side of a discussion.

 "It taught me a new way to look at history. It was no longer just names and dates but emotions, thoughts, and other insights into specific people and events." '10


"My history studies taught me critical thinking, research skills, and clear verbal and written communication. I also learned discipline and processes needed to handle large, complex, multi-step projects." '93

"I chose history because it seeps into all aspects of life. We share similar experiences with others and are still encouraged to make our unique marks on the world. I am fascinated by the complex, humorous, uncanny and sometimes ambiguous aspects of historical study." '09

"The organization, research, critical thinking and writing skills prove to be absolutely invaluable. I received a wonderful mix of encouragement for creativity, and the tempering effects of discipline and structure." '09


















Current positions held by history majors include

Operational Risk Consultant, Wells Fargo
Attorney/Partner, Burke and Thomas PLLP
Chief of Staff, Obama Administration
Travel Trainer, Canadian Borders Outfitters
Lieutenant Colonel, US Army

Associate Professor of History, Saint John's University
Senior Software Analyst, Health Systems Integration, Inc.
Academic Advisor, U of M
Librarian, Columbia University 
Financial Advisor/CFP, Morgan Stanley

Senior Budget Examiner, State of New York
Battalion Operations Officer, US Army
Legal Editor, West Group
Claim Account Executive, Federated Insurance
Researcher/Writer, Minnesota Senate

Director, Employment & HR Systems, Manpower
Graphic Artist, Annin and Company
Small Business Owner, Gloria Jean's Coffees
Museum Curator, National Park Service
Probation Officer, Carver County
Sports Writer, Seattle Times

President, Farmers Merchant Bank
Sales Training Manager, IDEXX Laboratories
Baliff, St. Paul County Courthouse
Editor, Publications International
Senior Development Officer, Saint John's University
Professor of Special Education, Univ. of South Dakota

Hundreds of former history majors have gone on to be successful lawyers, and a number of our alums are judges.  In addition, dozens of majors have served as officers in the U.S. military.  Even though it seems unlikely, several have combined History with Pre-Med and became physicians.  Finally, many majors have also gone on in education, teaching in secondary schools and colleges, as well as serving as principals and even college presidents.  Did you know five of the last nine presidents of CSB and SJU have been historians? 


The Department offers a great range of courses.

  • Surveys include the Ancient World, Asia, Latin America, Europe, and the United States.
  • We offer upper division courses on Mexico, China, Britain, Minnesota history, the Civil War, US Women's history, Islam in South Asia, US Environmental history, Germany, 20th-century US history, the Reformation, the Medieval Mediterranean, Classical Greece, and many more. 

Majors' Courses:

A series of courses prepares majors to develop the skills of the historian: · History Colloquium (HIST 200), usually taken in the sophomore year, emphasizes the study and interpretation of primary sources.  It is an opportunity to study a historical issue in depth with a small group of majors.  Course topics reflect the expertise of the instructor. 

  • Readings Seminar (HIST 250) teaches majors to read as historians do: reading for the thesis, argumentation, and use of evidence. Course topics reflect the expertise of the instructor. 
  • Historiography and Methods (HIST 395), usually taken in the sixth or seventh semester, dives into a particular content area to help students understand that historians interpret the past, that they often disagree, and that interpretations are part of debates about the past. Course topics reflect the expertise of the instructor. 
  • Senior Thesis (HIST 399), the capstone course, is taken in the senior year.  Students develop a research project to articulate and defend a debatable thesis about the past.  Students make a public presentation to faculty and peers and submit a substantial research paper.  This is your chance to bring together all your skills and work as a historian on a topic of your choice.


History majors have completed internships with the Stearns County Historical Society and the CSB or SJU Archives.  Others have earned History credit for projects of a historical nature at a number of other sites, including Legal Services, the Saint Cloud United Way, the Sauk Rapids school library, and the US Baseball Hall of Fame.


History majors are frequent participants in the College/University Honors program.  The History Department helps its majors participate in the Honors Thesis project by combining it with the Senior Thesis (HIST 399)