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  • Careers
  • New Freshmen
  • New Transfer
  • Illinois State Students

History has a well-deserved reputation as being one of the best teaching departments in the university; small class sizes at the 200 and 300 level insure constant student-faculty interaction. We offer close to 100 exciting undergraduate courses ranging from ancient Greece to the modern Middle East, from the French Revolution to World War II and the Holocaust.

Students enjoy unique learning experiences, such as having joint classes (via video conferencing) with the American University in Cairo or by going on study abroad trips.

The department has an active History club and chapter of Phi Alpha Theta (the History honors society). Quality student work gets published in the journal Recounting the Past and Students regularly do valuable internships at the David Davis Mansion or the McLean County Museum of History.

History students receive a classic liberal arts education that can serve as a stepping stone for nearly any career, whether in education, law, government, journalism, or business. Our students possess valuable skills – adaptability, broad knowledge, analytical and research abilities, and excellence in written and oral communication – that employers find attractive. History and a liberal arts background fosters habits of life long reading, critical inquiry, and a curiosity about other cultures as well as the human condition in general. We prepare people for responsible citizenship and a fulfilling life.

Why Study History?

History is a narrative account of political, social and cultural events and achievements of mankind. Historians evaluate and analyze documents and records relating to the deeds and aspirations of past generations and use this knowledge to understand and interpret the present. Students studying history will develop strong research, writing, analytical thinking, and communication skills.

Related Majors

Related Skills

  • Strong communication skills
  • Good analytical skills
  • Good decision making skills
  • Able to explain ideas
  • Strong research skills
  • Able to write and present ideas clearly
  • Develop patience, persistence, and drive in obtaining history related positions.

Being Successful in the Field

  • An undergraduate degree in history is good preparation for graduate study in history as well as other areas such as psychology, law, or business.
  • Research the prerequisites of the area of interest and tailor program of study to meet curricular and skill needs.
  • Research Web sites and books that address various job opportunities, pay structure, and hiring processes.
  • Part-time, summer, internship, and volunteer experiences are critical.
  • Become familiar with the government application process for opportunities in federal, state, or local government.
  • For careers in politics, be prepared to volunteer extensively before being hired or elected as an employee or official. Begin by working with the campaign or official of choice while in college.
    For careers in arts and humanities, obtain a broad liberal arts background including knowledge of the arts, personal and mass communication, and foreign languages.
  • Develop skills by obtaining a leadership role in a school or community organization.
  • Get involved in student government.
  • Prepare to develop a specialty area including both academic training and work experience for history related careers.
  • Join related social and/or professional organizations.
  • Develop a network of both formal and informal contacts.

Related Fields



  • Federal agencies including: The Smithsonian Institute, National Archives and Records, Library of Congress, National Park Service, Intelligence services, Foreign service
  • State and local agencies including: Archives and libraries, museums, parks, and historic sites, municipal archives, arts and humanities councils


  • Gain relevant experience in student government or other related organizations.
  • Complete an internship with a government agency.
  • Maintain a superior academic record.
  • Plan on obtaining an advanced degree.
  • Develop foreign language skills.
  • Become familiar with specialized government hiring procedures.
  • Consider a variety of entry-level positions in all branches of local, state, and federal government.



  • Elected or appointed public officials (i.e., legislators, governors, mayors, judges)
  • National political party headquarters
  • Public interest/advocacy groups
  • Political campaign


Gain experience and make contacts through internships with government agencies or public officials. Volunteer to work with public interest groups, political campaigns, political associations, or community service projects.
Participate in student government and campus politics.



  • Law firms
  • Corporate legal departments
  • Government agencies
  • Public advocacy groups


  • Obtain paralegal training or law degree.
  • Gain experience through summer or part-time work in a law firm.
  • Volunteer with a public advocacy group.
  • Participate in mocktrial and pre-law associations.

Nonprofit Organizations


  • History museums and historic sites
  • Historical associations and societies
  • Cultural heritage organizations
  • Historical projects
  • Research and service institutions


  • Volunteer with various nonprofit organizations of interest.
  • Consider supplementing curriculum with relevant coursework in anthropology, sociology, art history,or foreign languages.

Curatorial and Archival Management


  • Museums
  • Historical homes
  • Art galleries
  • Special collections
  • Historical societies
  • Libraries
  • Universities and colleges
  • National, state, and local government
  • Corporations
  • Non-profit organizations
  • Research institutes


  • Acquire strong computer knowledge and experience.
  • Obtain an internship or volunteerin a related organization.
  • Develop excellent written and oral communicationskills.
  • Hone organizational skills and develop attention to detail.
  • Earn a master's degree in information sciences for advanced opportunities in data management.


  • Broadcast
  • Print


  • News departments of local, public, and commercial radio and TV stations
  • Syndicated radio services
  • Newspapers
  • National, state, and regional radio networks


  • Work on campus newspaper, TV, or radio.
  • Find summer or part-time work with local commercial TV or radio station.
  • Volunteer with public TV or radio.
  • Consider obtaining a minor or double major in journalism or broadcasting/electronic media.


Teaching: Elementary, Middle, or Secondary, Higher Education
Community Education


  • Public and private schools
  • Colleges and universities
  • Museums
  • Zoological parks, aquariums, wildlife refuges, and bird sanctuaries
  • Arboretums, gardens, and conservatories
  • Camps
  • National and state parks


  • Develop excellent presentation skills.
  • Become skilled in the use of multimedia.
  • Learn how to develop curriculums and workshops.
  • Become an "expert"in a particular subject.
  • Obtain teaching certificate for public school teaching.
  • Obtain a graduate degree for college and/or university teaching.
  • Gain experience as a tutor, camp counselor, church school teacher, etc.
  • Build strong relationships with professors, supervisors, or other community leaders for strong personal recommendations.
  • Complete an internship or volunteer in a setting of interest.

Other Professions

  • Antiques Dealer
  • Archivist
  • Banking
  • Biographer
  • Claims Adjustor
  • Clergy
  • Congressional Aide
  • Consumer Advocate
  • Corrections Officer
  • Criminal Justice Researcher
  • Editor
  • Employment Specialist
  • FBI/CIA Agent
  • Foreign Area Specialist
  • Foreign Service
  • Genealogist
  • Historian
  • Historic Preservation Specialist
  • Historic Site Administrator
  • Historical Museum Worker
  • Historical Writer
  • Indexer
  • Insurance Underwriter
  • Journalist
  • Lab Technician
  • Law Clerk
  • Librarian
  • Management Trainee
  • Museum Curator
  • Park Historian
  • Politician
  • Research Assistant
  • Sales Representative
  • Security Guard
  • Teacher
  • Technical Writer
  • Tour Guide
  • Travel Agent

Career Advising

Name Office Email Phone
Renee Carrigan  110 Student Services Building  (309) 438-2200 

Internship Coordinator

Name Office Email Phone
Alan Lessoff  327 Schroeder Hall  (309) 438-8083 

Applying to Illinois State

Illinois State's preferred filing period for freshman students for the fall semester is September 1-November 15. Applying early is encouraged, as the University must limit enrollment due to space at the University and in specific majors/programs. Visit the Office of Admissions to apply today!

Plans of Study and Progress Tracking

This information is based on requirements for the academic year(s) indicated. Students should consult the catalog year they were admitted under for their academic requirements.

Applying to Illinois State

Illinois State's preferred filing period for fall transfer students is September 1-January 15. For the spring semester, the preferred filing period is from April 1-August 1. You are encouraged to apply early in the preferred filing period for best consideration for admission into competitive majors. Visit the Office of Admissions to apply today!

Minimum GPA


Middle 50% GPA

2.63 - 3.40

Required Courses

Completion of at least three of the following courses with at least 2.5 GPA in those courses: (for students with 60 or more earned credit hours)

  • Western Civilization (HIS 101)
  • Modern Western Civilization (HIS 102)
  • History of the US to 1865 (HIS 135)
  • History of the US since 1865 (HIS 136)

Recommended Courses

  • American history (HIS 135 and 136)
  • Western civilization(HIS 101 and 102)

Plans of Study and Progress Tracking

Academic Advising

Name Office Email Phone Note
Dan Stump  Schroeder Hall 305  (309) 438-8306  Last names A-M 
Ron Gifford  Schroeder Hall 321  (309) 438-8298  Last names N-Z 

Middle 50% GPA

2.63 - 3.40

Plans of Study and Progress Tracking

Application Period

Applications are always available.

Application Information

Current students can use the Apply to Your Program tool on

Major Requirements

If 60 or more earned hours: 2.50 GPA in HIS 101, 102, 135, and 136

Academic Advising

Name Office Email Phone Note
Dan Stump  Schroeder Hall 305  (309) 438-8306  Last names A-M 
Ron Gifford  Schroeder Hall 321  (309) 438-8298  Last names N-Z 
2016-08-03T11:23:40.188-05:00 2016