History, B.A.

History Department
Uncover the Secrets of the Human Experience.

More than just names and dates, history is the entirety of human civilization - past, present and future.

When students study what they love, they are more likely to develop liberal arts skills that employers cite as keys to success in any field, business, or organization. The recent Job Outlook’s list of key attributes identifies what employers are seeking and includes: written and verbal communication skills, problem-solving skills, and a strong work ethic.  A history degree is an excellent way for you to master these skills.

Additionally you will identify and analyze challenges and changes in how humans have organized and understood the world they inhabit —politically, economically, culturally, religiously, philosophically, scientifically, and socially. Lewis history graduates have the knowledge and tools of comparative analysis to understand, appreciate and navigate their way in a multicultural society that is so necessary in our globalized world.

As Fareed Zakaria, CNN and Washington Post journalist, commentator, and history major, has argued in his bestseller, In Defense of Liberal Education, technology and globalization are increasingly replacing rote skill sets in the U.S.  What remains in demand are skills that only a liberally educated person can perform — the ability to sift through information, think creatively, write, speak, collaborate, and continue to learn through life.   

The Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, 2015 Report on Economic Value of College Majors found that among the liberal arts and humanities, history is second only to English in attracting majors.  Georgetown also discovered that history majors earn the highest annual wage among graduates in these fields.

Small Class Sizes. 1-on-1 Attention
Many of your history courses will have fewer than 15 students in them in order to encourage group discussion and debate. Our faculty are experts in their fields of study, and will not only share their passion with you, but help you develop your own, mentoring you throughout your entire experience at Lewis.

High School (6-12) Teaching Certificate
Many of our history major graduates go on to become successful high school history teachers - helping students form logical opinions based on a clear understanding of global events. This program is approved by the State Teacher Certification Board in conjunction with the Illinois State Board of Education and includes all the requirements for a major in History as well as general social studies core courses and Illinois history, preparing students to effectively teach in grades 6-12 in public and private schools in the State of Illinois. Virtually all of our history majors pass the state certification exam for history, placing us well above the state average.

Note: This teaching track option requires a major in Secondary Education.

Secondary Education
We encourage history majors in secondary education to minor in fields that will offer an interesting resume for high schools. Additionally, we have good relationships with area high schools, and have had a solid track record placing our students in high schools around Will County and Northern Illinois.  Students should contact the College of Education for specific education requirements.

Start customizing your History Teacher degree program curriculum today!

Non-Teaching Career Paths
Others use the study of history to develop their analytical, research, and writing skills in preparation for a career in law, business, journalism and more, including:

  • Lawyer
  • Journalist
  • Librarian
  • Economist
  • Museum curator
  • Researcher
  • Law enforcement
  • Public Policy and Politics
  • CIA /State Department worker

The American Bar Association recommends the study of history as an excellent preparation for graduate study in law, and many Lewis students have gone on to successful careers in this field.  History majors will find opportunities to develop analytical, research and writing skills.

Many top schools of journalism require students to double major in subjects such as history, political science, sociology or psychology. The focus on communication, analysis and critical thinking for history majors will help you succeed as a journalist.

Dual Major/Minor in Business
History is an especially appropriate pairing with degrees in international business, marketing, and management.  The modern experience of work, particularly in business, is subject to ongoing shifts in the global economy.  This market now rewards flexibility that grows from broad knowledge and skill-sets and the ability to think critically. Businesses such as IBM list history as a preferred area as long as students also have the necessary preparation in allied business studies.

Start customizing your History, B.A. degree program curriculum today!


  • History Testimonials Melissa Churchill
    Class of '17

    Melissa Churchill is a 2017 graduate with a B.A. in History. While at Lewis Melissa was involved in the History Honors Society (Phi Alpha Theta), University Ministry as a retreat leader and Peer Minister, a student worker for the Lewis Office of Veteran Affairs, a Navigator, Army ROTC, and various other clubs throughout her Lewis experience. Currently Melissa serves as a Military Intelligence Officer in the United States Army and will complete her training at MIBOLC this fall.

    "My advice is that you immerse yourself in everything you do wholeheartedly and find your own path. While at Lewis I was able to join multiple clubs and develop both academically and socially this is not by accident but the design of the Lewis University. Studying history gave me an appreciation for connecting themes and not excepting information at face value but drawing on multiple sources and being comfortable with some ambiguity."

  • History Testimonials Luke Kramarz
    Class of '14, US Army

    Most college graduates celebrate with their friends and family after the ceremony, but Luke Kramarz ’14 had something much different planned. Luke and his fiancé Elaine (Belen) Kramarz ’14 immediately married just two hours after graduation at Lewis University, and one hour after he was commissioned into the U.S. Army.

    Luke currently serves as an Infantry Officer for the U.S. Army in Kosovo, as part of the NATO mission. Their peace-keeping mission descends from international efforts to build peace and stability in an area where significant conflict took place in the late 1990’s.

    Luke began his time as an Infantry Officer in Ft. Benning, Georgia where he finished his training, before being stationed in Fort Carson, Colorado, where he now resides. [More]

  • History Testimonials Tyson Polack
    Class of '15

    Tyson Polack is a 2015 graduate with a BA in History and a double minor in International Relations and International Business. Polack maintained a 3.8 GPA average and graduated with a 3.9. An Oregon native, he came to Lewis University in 2011. While at Lewis, Polack participated in Varsity Athletics on the Men’s Swimming Team for four years and served as captain for two of them. In addition to his athletic career, Polack served of the Student Athletic Advisory Council (SAAC) for four years where he sat as President for two years. Polack also participated in the History Honors Society (Phi Alpha Theta) as Treasurer for two years.

    Since Graduation, Polack has worked in Business Development at Medorizon and as the Operations Coordinator at its child company Rapid Records Request.

  • History Testimonials Richard Joyce
    Class of '73

    Richard Joyce graduated from Lewis in 1973 and received an M.A. in History from Illinois State University in 1980. He taught at Wilmington High School from 1974 until 2008 when he retired. He also served as an adjunct faculty member in the History Department at the University of St. Francis in the 1990s.He has served on the Grundy County board since 1984 and was vice chairman from 2006 to 2010. He has presented numerous papers and given many talks regarding the history of the former coal mining towns (and the activities of their inhabitants) of northern Illinois.

    Joyce reminisced on his time at Lewis in the History Department, saying "I thoroughly enjoyed my years at Lewis (1969-1973). I was well prepared for graduate school and for my future career by professors in the History Department such as Joe McFadden, Vince Howard, and John Lamb"

  • History Testimonials Mary Moran
    Class of '15

    Mary Moran graduated from Lewis University in 2015 with a History major with a track in Public History and a minor in Eastern European Languages: Russian. She also served as the President of Lewis’ chapter of Phi Alpha Theta. Mary holds a full-time position at The Salvation Army Central Territory Headquarters in their Legal Department overseeing all incoming records.

    She said "This is an incredible opportunity to work for a great organization that works all over the world to help with natural disasters, such as the earthquake in Nepal, as well as other social services and programs. The research and organizational skills that I learned from all of my professors at Lewis I know will become my best tools at this new job as I research information for new estates and organize the files of the office."

  • Christopher Zielinski
    Assistant Curator, First Division Museum at Cantigny

    "Lewis University helped me reach my dream of working in the museum world, through an array of classroom opportunities, internships, and workshops. The history department professors challenged me and provided the help and guidance to graduate with high honors, and the skills to succeed in graduate school."

  • Steven Zlatic
    Director of University Ministry, Lewis University

    "My history professors at Lewis had a wonderful combination of knowledge, high expectations, personable approach and interesting stories. I learned how to study history at Lewis, a valuable gift for my graduate studies as I naturally asked questions about the author's historical context, pivotal words and the use of language."

  • Dr. Kurt Schackmuth
    Vice President for Mission and Academic Services, Lewis University

    "I discovered my passion for history in high school, but I learned to be a historian at Lewis University. In addition to helping me understand the past and the world around me, being a history major taught me an array of skills that I use regularly. I'm a better writer, communicator and thinker as a result."

  • Aseneth Ruiz
    Social Studies Teacher, Plainfield East High School

    "I liked that Lewis was a smaller school, because I wanted my professors to know me by name. The relationships I developed with these professors/mentors still continue to this day. They were instrumental in giving me words of advice and encouragement to keep going when things got tough."

Helpful Resources

Bars and Stripes: A Short History of the Joliet Prison by Dr. Robert Sterling.

History Center at Lewis University

The Economic Value of College Majors - Georgetown University

History Connections Alumni Book Club

Fall 2016

Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow
Alexander Hamilton
By Ron Chernow

Fall 2015

Dead Wake: The Last  Crossing of the Lusitania </em>By Erik Larson
Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania
By Erik Larson

Fall 2014

Guns of August By Barbara W. Tuchman
Guns of August
By Barbara W. Tuchman

Fall 2013

Unbroken By Laura Hillenbrand
By Laura Hillenbrand