Ship’s Department of History offers two degrees, the Bachelor of Arts (BA) and the Bachelor of Science in Education (BSEd), with the option to elect a concentration in Public History. Students who elect the BA often use that degree as the springboard to graduate school, government service, and business careers. One of the biggest fields for career opportunities is the variety of positions available in local, state, and federal government. Undergraduate history majors are extremely well prepared to take civil service exams successfully and to provide the skills needed and wanted in most government jobs.
The Undergraduate History Degree at Ship
Our distinguished, teaching-focused faculty members provide a dynamic learning environment where students can explore the fascinating people, events, and ideas of the past through innovative classes, hand-on research, and experiential learning.
The department offers courses in most world regions and a wide variety of time periods. We foster active collaboration between faculty and students, and have a strong commitment to engaging undergraduate students in faculty-student research projects. Learning how to research and uncover important parts of history is crucial for any student.
A distinctive feature of Ship’s BSEd program is that we have two faculty members who serve as special academic advisors to our students pursuing teacher certification. Both of these faculty members were high school history teachers who chose to return and earn their doctoral degrees, so they history scholars and experienced classroom teachers. These faculty members help students to navigate the university and state requirements for teacher certification, teach the department’s course on social studies teaching methods, and supervise student teachers in the field. Students pursuing a bachelor’s degree in history who wish to teach in PA can take advantage of our faculty’s guidance to help prepare them for a career in education.
Our public history courses are taught by faculty members who have worked professionally in the field of public history. We also make extensive use of guest speakers, field trips, and community-based service learning projects to supplement classroom instruction.
Outstanding History Student Resources
Shippensburg University is home to the Fashion Archive and Museum, a professional history museum with a collection of over 14,000 artifacts. The Fashion Archives provides students with a convenient opportunity to volunteer, intern, and gain high-quality professional museum experience without leaving the Shippensburg campus.
Nearby historical sites and institutions offer unusually rich resources for the study of history. Recently, students have arranged internships at such places as:
- Cumberland County Historical Society
- Gettysburg National Military Park
- Pennsylvania State Museum and Archives
- US Army Heritage and Education Center
- US Civil War Museum
Internships may also be arranged with historical institutions anywhere in Pennsylvania or the United States.
Our program has a large and active network of alumni working in education, business, and public history. The department actively connects current students with our graduates by bringing alumni to campus to lecture, conduct workshops, and share their professional experiences with our history majors.
History Admission and Degree Requirements
The department’s curriculum emphasizes a global and comparative approach to the past. Therefore, history majors are expected to do work in 3 major areas:
- American history
- European history
- Non-Western history
Courses are also offered in public history. Within each of these fields, there is a broad variety of courses organized by topic or by time period. Students have opportunities to sample a range of topics. All courses emphasize content knowledge and skills development.
Students in the BSEd program receive professional training as educators in addition to their history coursework. The BA program also requires one course in the theory and practice of history and a capstone seminar in comparative history during the senior year. Every student who enters Shippensburg University must take HIS105: Historical Foundations of Global Cultures and HIS106: Thinking Historically in a Global Age. Students who are receiving Grade 4-8 certification may choose a concentration in Social Studies, which includes history.
Non-majors may take as many history courses as time, program requirements, and space allow. There is a history minor available for interested students. Advanced history courses are especially appropriate for those majoring in social science fields. Small class sizes allow students to build lasting relationships with faculty and peers, creating a strong sense of community at Ship.
Careers for History Majors
Our department offers students continuous career advisement beginning at new student orientation, and continuing until graduation, so that students can prepare themselves for successful post-graduate careers. Students are also encouraged to take full advantage of the campus Career Development Center where they can receive personalized assistance with job searches and applications for graduate school.
Students who pursue the BA degree in history often use that degree as the springboard to graduate school, government service, and business careers. One of the biggest fields for career opportunities is the variety of positions available in local, state, and federal government. History majors are well prepared to take civil service exams successfully and to provide the skills needed and wanted in many government jobs. Our department's focus on global history prepares students for careers with international organizations and government agencies that seek individuals with an understanding of other societies and cultures.
Students interested in working for museums, historical societies, or archives often need a history major as a first step toward their careers. Public history coursework can introduce students to the major fields and methods of public history. History internships allow students to explore historical careers and to gain valuable work experience while earning credit towards their degrees. This combination of training and on-the-job experience provides a solid foundation for students who wish to pursue the advanced degree often required for employment in these fields.
A history major can also prepare one for a writing profession. Media outlets, non-profit organizations, and business frequently hire history majors because they can research, think, organize, and communicate. Many other fields also look for these skills.Students pursuing the Bachelor of Arts degree are strongly encouraged to do internships and to pursue a minor that provide them with additional technical and professional skills.
For those who qualify, there is an active chapter of Phi Alpha Theta, the national history honorary society. This organization, dedicated to history, provides special opportunities for the department’s outstanding students, such as participation in regional and national professional conferences. We also have an active History Club, open to any student who loves history, which organizes a variety of co-curricular activities and historical field trips for the department’s students and faculty.
Students are able to design a personalized internship experience that will meet their educational needs and professional interests. Internships allow students to apply skills learned in the classroom and prepare them for careers after graduation with their bachelor’s degree in history. For-credit internships may be conducted with any of the region's numerous historical organizations or at any appropriate historical site in the United States. An internship can be highly rewarding, offering real world experience in the realm of history, as well as allowing students to showcase their talents, develop new skills, and create long lasting professional relationships.