History requires active inquiry into the human past. By delving into the past, Earlham students gain a better understanding of the present, training them for citizenship and for a life of thoughtful action.
Earlham history majors have pursued graduate work at the University of Chicago, Harvard Divinity School and Northwestern University, attended Columbia Law School, pursued library and archival careers and taught in a variety of settings, including Teach for America.
“Earlham gave me a great education. The relationships built between students and professors at Earlham are unparalleled. I consider my education rewarding because of their individualized attention, genuine support and personal investment in my growth.”
Tyler Tolman, ’18
“My grandma talking about family history and genealogy got me started studying history, but what keeps me coming back are all the questions and how history relates to the present. We got here somehow, and history provides the context of how we got here. There’s always something new because we are always making history.”
Sierra Newby-Smith, ’17
Active inquiry into the human past
At Earlham, the study of history is active. You’ll explore diverse perspectives and experiences, conduct hands-on research and participate in the creation of new knowledge and understandings of the past.
Primary source research
Earlham offers month-long experiences that first-year history students participate in, including one that takes students to the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., to conduct original primary source research.
Course variety and vitality
You can take courses such as Workplace Justice, Panafricanism, Racism and Public Health, Quaker History, Fascism, and Cuban History.
The history faculty includes members with doctorates from institutions such as Howard, Texas, Minnesota, and North Carolina. In their teaching and publications, they bring to bear insights from travel to and research in all parts of the world and as close as Earlham’s Friends Collection.
Frequently asked questions
Historians at Earlham work with students not just to understand what happened in the past but how to be historians, studying all parts of the world and humanity in all of its diversity from a variety of perspectives and methods.
Recent graduates have made successful careers as educators in archival, library or museum settings or in public history.
Many use history to prepare themselves for careers in business, law, management, medicine, politics, foreign service, publishing, political advocacy, ministry, law enforcement and public service. In addition, many go into teaching, in both public and private schools.
Some history majors pursue the law and social justice applied minor. These courses provide an understanding of the role of law in the quest for social justice. Students can examine major court decisions, the structure of the nation’s legal system, and the theoretical and philosophical assumptions about the law.
Recent students have received funding from Earlham for internships as archives assistants, researchers for journalists and historical site tour guides as well as in museums.
Learn more about available programs via our Center for Global and Career Education.
Through our 3+1 Education Program, you can earn a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.) and teaching license—all in just nine semesters. You’ll leave Earlham with two degrees, licensed to teach grades 5-12 in Indiana. (And it’s easy to transfer your license to other states—many of our graduates do!)
History majors love a good story and are hungry for facts that offer context. They will often be the most curious people you’ll meet, sustaining interest for both the smallest details of and the biggest questions about what humans have done in the world.
Recent history majors have written capstone projects on eugenics in Mexico, Vietnamese romantic literature, voodoo narratives in New Orleans, the legal history of rape in medieval England, and/or whatever others you like. You can see some of their work at the Earlham Historical Journal.