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.

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of history major graduates from the classes of 2017-19 were working or in grad school within six months of graduation.
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The American Historical Association ranks Earlham 16th in the country for production of future Ph.D.s. Our majors pursue graduate school for degrees in fields as diverse as history, museum studies, teaching, law and public health.

In the past decade, 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.

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.

Our faculty

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.

Program details

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.

As a liberal arts college, Earlham offers multiple disciplinary and interdisciplinary majors and minors in which students cultivate deep and specific knowledge and experience. Equally important, the College expects every student to develop broad, general skills and proficiencies across the curriculum.

As part of their general education, students complete six credits in each academic division of the College: humanities, natural sciences, social sciences, and visual and performing arts. In addition, students meet requirements for first-year courses, analytical reasoning, perspectives on diversity and wellness.

Learn more about general education at Earlham.

To earn a Bachelor of Arts in History, you must complete the following courses, in addition to general education requirements.

  • The department offers the following courses to satisfy general education requirements:
    • Nine courses that fulfill the Writing Intensive Requirement: HIST 228, 231, 232, 343, 356, 362, 371, 372, 373
    • Twelve courses that fulfill the Domestic component of the Perspectives on Diversity Requirement: HIST 121, 122, 204, 324, 356, 357, 366, 367, 368, 369, 372, 373,
    • Twelve courses that fulfill the International component of the Perspectives on Diversity Requirement: HIST 226, 228, 231, 232, 353, 354, 374, 376, 377, 378, 472, 473


  • Majors are required to take:
    • A total of 35 credits consisting of:
      • 3 or more courses from a geographic area (Africa, East Asia, Europe, Latin America, United States)
      • 3 or more courses from a thematic area (Peace and Conflict; Race and Ethnicity; Gender and Sexuality; Urban History; Imperialism/Colonialism; Revolution and Social Justice; Science, Medicine, and Technology)
      • 2 Non-Western courses (may overlap with other requirements)
      • HIST 2XX: Introduction to Research Methods
      • 2 upper-level research courses, chosen from upper-level four-credit courses (other than HIST 410 and 482) that are designated as giving Research Credit, HIST 484 Ford/Knight Research Project, or the Newberry Library Program.
    • One of the following two courses:
      • HIST 410 Philosophy of History
      • HIST 482 American Historiography
    • Senior Capstone Experience
      • HIST 488 Senior Capstone Experience. The capstone Experience is a history colloquium.

View a full list of history courses and their descriptions.

Yes! To earn a minor in history, you must complete no fewer than five courses with at least three courses in one geographic or thematic area and one course in another area.

Among these courses:

  • one must be designated as giving research credit

AND, one must be either

  • HIST 410 Philosophy of History OR HIST 482 American Historiography.

View a full list of history courses and their descriptions.

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.

Learn more about the Law and Social Justice applied minor.

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!)

Learn more about our 3+1 program.

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.

Next steps

We continue to monitor the effects of an industrial fire 1.1 miles from campus.
We continue to monitor the effects of an industrial fire 1.1 miles from campus.