Why Study History

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. Our 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 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.

Why Study History at Ship

Our distinguished, teaching-focused faculty members provide a dynamic learning environment where you can explore the fascinating people, events, and ideas of the past through innovative classes, hands-on research, and experiential learning.

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 are history scholars and experienced classroom teachers. These faculty help students 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.

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 you 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.

Career Opportunities and Salary Estimates

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.

Many professional fields hire history majors because they can research, think, organize, and communicate. 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.

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.

Other career paths for history majors include:

  • Writers and Editors
  • Journalists
  • Documentary Editors
  • Producers of Multimedia Material
  • Archivists
  • Librarians
  • Information Managers
  • Museums and Historical Organizations
  • Cultural Resources Management and Historic Preservation

The average salary for historians in PA is $56,000.

Major and Minor 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 range of courses organized by topic or by time period. You will have the opportunity to sample a variety 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. We offer a history minor for interested students. Advanced history courses are especially appropriate for those majoring in social science fields.

See the Undergraduate Catalog for specific course requirements.


Public History : 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.

Student Groups

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.

Contact Info

122-124 Dauphin Humanities Center, 1871 Old Main Drive, Shippensburg, PA 17257
(717) 477-1621
Department Website