Quick Facts

General Education Requirements: 37 hours
Core Courses: 24 hours
Selectives: 12 hours
Electives: 47 hours
Total: 120 hours

Full Program Requirements

Study For Your BA in History Near Chicago

We live in a complex, changing world. Studying the past helps us understand how that complexity evolved, why some patterns change yet others endure, and how we came to our present historical moment.

History refers not only to past lived experiences, but also to the stories told about those experiences. Current debates about which stories should be told and how history should be taught demonstrate history’s importance to our understanding of ourselves as individuals, as citizens, and as a nation—and of what is at stake in interpretations of the past and decisions on which groups to include in those stories. Democratic societies need to critically examine the historical record. More complex, inclusive, historically accurate portrayals of the past can help us better understand the present, which is essential to addressing current issues that have historical roots.

A Governors State’s Bachelor of Arts in History helps students develop the skills to identify, collect, and analyze historical evidence and to engage in interpretive debates on the meanings and significance of those sources. To do this, students develop not only critical research and analytical skills, but also empathy to better understand the experiences of people who lived in unfamiliar places, times, and circumstances. Students also learn to make persuasive arguments and meet evidentiary standards. They “do history” by constructing stories about the past in their research projects.

History students select one track on which to concentrate: United States History or Global History. In the senior year, students complete a two-semester capstone project consisting of an internship or thesis, which prepares them for careers that require critical research and writing skills and/or graduate-level study.

Why Study History?

Our world changes over time. The study of history is important for documenting the past and better understanding the present.

Document Our World

The past can be parsed from a variety of documents:

  • Diaries
  • Letters
  • Decrees

Even mundane items such as inventory and trade agreements can tell us about ancient life. Understanding the past requires context, and documents provide that.

Perhaps even more important than gathering and reading documents is analyzing them. Historians must be able to investigate documents for details, then use that information to reconstruct the world of the past.

Tell Forgotten Stories

History also tells stories that reveal how societies function. One issue we need to consider is whose stories get told. In the past, history has been white-washed and focused on Western influence, ignoring the millions of people who not only lived but contributed to science, politics, art, and medicine. By pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in history, you have the opportunity to uncover these forgotten stories and share them with the world.

Contribute To Group Identity

Everyone yearns to belong. For many, that means strong ties to ethnic, national, family, or local history, contributing to group identity. Understanding our roots has been important since human beings first began thinking about the past, present, and future, and it may be more crucial now than ever.

However, not everyone has a history to connect to. Many groups had their history and group identity severed through imperialism, slavery, and other atrocities. Historical research has the power to connect groups with their ancestors and precursors.

Create Responsible Citizenry

Knowledge of history creates a more responsible citizenry. To make the best decisions for the future, we as citizens need to understand the past. Many facts have been spun a certain way, buried to avoid wrestling with injustice, or doctored to push a particular agenda. Historians seek to look at the past with an objective eye while recognizing the humanity that drove it.

This balance of objectivity and empathy is crucial to avoiding the mistakes of history. By choosing to delve into the past with a BA in history, you’re providing citizens with the knowledge they need to make tomorrow better.

Reach Your Career Goals

As a graduate of history, your training opens various career paths, including heritage management and museum curation and exhibition, among many others. Some history majors pursue graduate studies in history and other fields, such as law, public administration, and political science or certification to teach history or social studies in high schools.

Jobs You Can Get With A History Degree

Being an academic historian or teaching history are not the only jobs possible for History majors. Because of the research, analytical, and writing skills necessary to earn a History B.A., employers of history majors include not only schools, but research centers, libraries, museums, and various agencies and companies needing researchers or historical consultants, such as film-makers. Some history majors work as speechwriters or researchers for legislators and other elected officials.


Given the variety of employment opportunities available for History majors, compensation varies. Despite a misconception that historians are underpaid, in the U.S., the average yearly salary is more than $83,000. Some positions come with health insurance, flexible hours, and other benefits.

So who employs historians? U.S. federal agencies are at the top of the list:

  • Department of the Interior
  • Department of the Navy
  • Department of Homeland Security
  • Department of Defense
  • Department of State
  • Opportunities in the private sector include research centers, nonprofits, and other organizations interested in preserving or disseminating history.

Of course, you can also work in the private sector at research centers, nonprofits, and other organizations interested in preserving history.


Who decides what items fill a museum exhibit? The answer is curators.

Any museum or traveling exhibit you’ve ever visited contained artifacts collected by curators. They manage, display, and catalog items of historical value. In the U.S., curators make an average of $53,000 a year and often enjoy the following benefits:

  • Paid sick time
  • On-site employee gym
  • Flexible spending account


Archivists are wizards with information; not only do they determine the origin of documents, but they’re also responsible for maintaining databases containing that info. They may be tasked with handling aging documents and their appraisal. On average, they make $51,000 a year.

Why Choose Us

Governors State University is proud to offer students a well-rounded education and many opportunities to pursue academic, career, and personal growth. We’re dedicated to making higher education accessible, no matter your background or goals. Additionally, we’re deeply connected to our Chicago, IL, community and provide many avenues to actively participate in local initiatives.

Private College Experience in a Public School Setting

A prominent university isn’t for everyone. Many people prefer the smaller size of private institutions but can’t afford the high cost. Governors State University provides the private college experience for the price of public tuition. Additionally, students enjoy the many benefits of attending public universities, including a diverse population, a plethora of student activities and organizations, and robust student services.

Close to Chicago

Chicago, IL, is a thriving city — it’s a bastion of innovative art, theater, food, and music. For aspiring historians, it’s also filled with historical sites and museums. It’s widely diverse but not as populated as New York or Los Angeles, allowing newcomers to easily find their place within its windy neighborhoods and gorgeous waterfronts.

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<b>Full Program Requirements</b>

Full Program Requirements

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