Active and engaged learning experiences take place inside and outside the classroom throughout your four-year experience. Contact your advisor for more information on these and other opportunities.
Prepare as a Professional
The study of history prepares students for a wide variety of careers, as well as for graduate study in history, education, law, and other fields. History alumni have pursued rewarding careers in business, education, socially oriented vocations, and government service. Indeed, the methods of learning and the ways of thinking that they develop as history students will prove applicable to the demands of any career that they pursue in later life.
- Internships and other pre-professional experiences
Whatever career path students are considering, they are encouraged to use their time at Puget Sound to gain relevant experience, and to make use of the university’s excellent pre-professional resources. For example, students might explore potential careers through internships over the summer breaks or during the academic year, or undertake a co-operative education experience through academically related employment.
- Networking and shadowing opportunities
Students can gain a clearer sense of the demands and rewards of particular careers through contact with professionals working in those areas. Setting up an informational interview or arranging to shadow a professional in a target career can give students valuable information and help them build a base of professional contacts. The Alumni Sharing Knowledge (ASK) Network is another great resource for students who are exploring options and seeking advice about career paths.
- Alumni career paths
Experience the World
- Study abroad opportunities and experiences
For many of our students, spending a semester or two studying abroad is a highlight of their college careers. In recent years, History students have studied in Chile, Denmark, Egypt, England, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Scotland, Spain, Taiwan, and Tanzania, and have participated in the Pacific Rim Program.
History students gain credit towards their major or minor abroad, but just as importantly they can immerse themselves in the culture of another country, experience a different academic environment, and begin or continue studying a foreign language. For some students, study abroad offers the chance to learn about the history of a particular country or world region in depth; for others, study abroad is closely tied to service learning.
Students usually study abroad in their junior year, and apply to programs in their sophomore year. Freshmen and sophomores contemplating study abroad should consult with their advisors, review the approved programs on the Office of International Programs website, and make an appointment to meet with a member of that office’s staff.
- Postgraduate study and fellowships
Many History alumni have gone on to earn advanced degrees in Education, History, Public History, Museology, Archival Studies, Library Science, and Law, among other fields. Students considering graduate school should familiarize themselves with the requirements for admission to target programs and use their time at Puget Sound to fulfill prerequisites, gain relevant experience, and build strong relationships with faculty mentors. For example, students interested in public history work might work with Career and Employment Services to find an internship at a historical society or museum, while students interested in teaching should consider taking classes in the School of Education. Students contemplating graduate study in history are encouraged to study relevant foreign languages and apply to do summer research.
Students planning to go on to graduate school should visit the Fellowships Office to explore scholarship and fellowship opportunities that can help pay for graduate school, provide professional experience, and fund travel or independent research. Don’t wait to visit the Fellowships Office until you are about to graduate! There are fellowships are available for students in their second, third, and fourth years of college, and many postgraduate fellowships like the Fulbright and Watson have early fall application deadlines, making it essential to plan ahead.
Engage Your Community
The History department supports the university’s commitment to engaged partnership with the Tacoma community, and encourages History students to integrate service opportunities into their college experience.
- Local community programs and partnerships
Such opportunities might take the form of short-term service through the Alternative Breaks program, or a longer-term commitment to a local tutoring or mentoring program. Students interested in exploring service opportunities should make use of the resources of the Civic Engagement and Social Justice initiative. The Race and Pedagogy Initiative, which hosts a variety of events on and off-campus, and will soon begin planning its 2018 conference, offers another venue for community engagement.
- Service opportunities beyond Tacoma
Following graduation, some History students commit to longer-term service with national and international organizations as volunteers and teachers. As well as being personally fulfilling, a term of service with an organization like AmeriCorps, Teach for America, or the Peace Corps can be a springboard to a future career in teaching, policy work, or non-profit management.
- Explore international and long-term service opportunities
Research is central to the study of history, and our major and minor are designed to teach students the research skills that will enable them to be successful in a variety of careers as well as demanding graduate programs.
- Summer research opportunities
History students carry out research as an integral part of their courses, and often do independent research with faculty mentors through the university’s Summer Research Awards program.
- Capstone History Research Projects
All History majors carry out a semester-long research project culminating in a written thesis and public presentation. Students may publish their original research on Sound Ideas, our library’s institutional digital repository. Our annual History Day celebration, held each May on the last day of classes, provides another venue for the celebration of student research.