What Specializations Are There for History Majors?

Studying a subject as broad as the past can seem daunting, but there are plenty of academic specializations for history majors to consider. Choosing a concentration can help you build your expertise in the area of historical inquiry that most interests you. History students can choose from dozens of possible specialties. Most of these focused areas of study are categorized by location, time period or subject matter.

Specialize by Geographic Location

Perhaps the most widely offered specializations for history majors are those distinguished by region and location. For example, nearly all history departments recognized by the American Historical Association (AHA) offer a specialization or concentration in the history of the United States, the AHA reported. World history is another common concentration offering. Some of the best undergraduate history degree programs in the nation also offer specialization options that focus more narrowly on a region, such as focused studies in European history, Middle East history, Texas history or the ancient Near East.

Specialize by Time Period

If you’re interested in a specific historical event or time period, then you’re in luck. Many of the specializations for history majors focus on a particular time of the past. These concentrations can be as broad as the middle ages or as narrow as American Early Federal and Jacksonian Eras. Some of the time period-based specialties you might find as you compare colleges include America Since 1900, American Sectional Conflict and Gilded Age, the Classical World and the Modern Western World. In addition to taking a set of courses related to your chosen concentration, you will still take a variety of courses in other historical time periods and locations as part of your required core curriculum.

Specialize by Subject Matter

Some of the most popular Geography specializations for history majors focus not on a single time or place, but instead a specific subject. Broad subject matter specialties can include geography, public history and economical history.

Other subject matter specialties have a narrower content focus. For example, you might be able to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree in military history specifically by studying past and modern wars and military actions in which the United States has been involved. A number of undergraduate history degree programs now offer concentrations in the history of a group of people, such as women’s history and African American history.

Some academic concentrations are more popular with today’s history students than others. For example, programs that offered specializations in women’s history, African American history and world history saw an increase in the number of undergraduate history students, the AHA reported.

While some bachelor’s degree programs in history allow students to earn a general history degree, there are benefits to focusing your studies. All of history is simply too vast to develop an in-depth knowledge of it in just a few short years of study. When you choose to concentrate in one of these specializations for history majors, you can tailor your education to your interests and cultivate sufficient knowledge of a specialty to continue building upon as you begin your own professional historical research.

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